As we enter another year, during this holiday season, the team at Shoes With Heart wants to follow the path of our CEO. Wayne Elsey has an expression that he always uses: YOU MATTER. It’s an important message and something that during the holiday season, our team wants to spread. As many people know, the holidays are wonderful, but they can also be tough for many. And there are many reasons why the holiday season can be hard for many people.
For instance, the holidays can be stressful for those who lost a loved one during the year. Also, there are life circumstances that can make things hard. Other examples are job loss and financial stress, illness, or anxiety about having a “perfect” holiday season relative to others. Today, people have depression and anxiety as the planet goes through its sixth mass extinction, and we see how the climate is an existential challenge. Unfortunately, in the worst-case scenarios, all these things can lead to destructive situations. That’s why we decided to share Wayne’s YOU MATTER message with you today. We hope that sharing his story will help someone who needs to hear those words.
YOU MATTER in Wayne’s Email Signature
Our team thinks that it’s essential to express how deeply YOU MATTER is ingrained in Wayne’s thoughts, which he often shares with others. Many years ago, when he was in school, he went through a tough time, as everyone does. In fact, one of his teachers told him that he would amount to nothing. And, it was only after another teacher, Mrs. Busch, realized that he was not himself, that he was finally able to speak to someone.
After Mrs. Busch listened to Wayne’s self-doubts, she told him, “YOU MATTER.” She also helped him see that he could achieve whatever he wanted in life. Thus, all of these decades later, our CEO has those words as part of his email signature. As a result, it is his hope—and ours—that at any moment someone could see those words (and message) if they need it. In other words, sometimes, people only need a reminder that they do, in fact, matter.
Remember, Words Matter
All of us have busy lives. We’re all trying to accomplish something and get ahead. But, as Wayne always says, “Words matter.” People might think that words don’t matter or injure, but they do. A comment you say to your child or partner as you rush out the door can set the tone for that other person’s day. That’s why remembering YOU MATTER is essential because when you recall those words not only for yourself but others, you get reminded about our collective humanity.
Wayne will never know if the first teacher who told him he would not amount to anything thought about what he was saying. In other words, Wayne doesn’t know if the teacher understood the profound impact those words would have on his life. Unfortunately, there was a moment when there was a severe risk to Wayne’s life. As a result of those words, it added to Wayne’s struggle with enormous self-doubt. But, when he thought the darkness would become pitch black and he would be lost, Mrs. Bush stretched out her hand with her words, YOU MATTER. That’s what he needed—hope that he could be somebody. He needed kind words, support, and understanding.
Channel Words Into Positivity
The words the teacher told Wayne that were not so nice ultimately became a driving force for him. He channeled the teacher’s negative energy and turned it outward to propel him forward. And, with the support of Mrs. Bush and her positivity, Wayne decided to “own” his life–every bit of it. In other words, he accepted his circumstances, but he also decided to do the climb for a better experience for himself. And, the words of YOU MATTER remained continually in mind.
No matter what has occurred in Wayne’s life, he’s never forgotten Mrs. Busch and her words, “Wayne, I appreciate you…YOU MATTER.” Those words became the energy that he tries to send out to the world every day. And those words taught him at an early age to see the humanity in every person. Once you deconstruct the image we each project to the world, you discover that we all need the same things: love, family, respect, health, and some form of hope in our lives.
So, during this holiday season, we wish that Wayne’s story and the words YOU MATTER get shared with as many people as possible. The team of Shoes With Heart would like to wish you peace as we close 2019. And, we hope you have peace as well for the coming New Year.
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