It took me three cross-country flights to finish Wayne’s book. It’s 161 pages of simple but powerful language. You want to hear the essence of someone who left the corporate world and built one of the largest non-profits in the world—one that has donated 15 million pairs of shoes? Want to find out how the founder of Soles4Souls gets things done versus getting stuck in meetings, to cut through excuses and to empower his people?
It’s no-nonsense. Wayne Elsey recounts how he was waiting to board a flight (it was late), when some blowhard hassles the gate agent with a “Do you know who I am?” attitude. Wayne goes up to the counter, takes the microphone and says “Excuse me folks. This gentleman doesn’t know who he is. Let’s all try to help him find out.”
We are all the same, says Wayne. We all die. We all have the same 24 hours per day and allotted amount of time to walk this earth. So it’s about making the most of it—to be bigger than the car you drive or lifestyle you enjoy. It’s what motivated him to leave the cushy lifestyle of a shoe industry executive and start Soles4Souls.
It was watching one shoe float up on the beach to realize that even one person can make a difference—that his mission would be to give away as many shoes as possible. And in Katrina, he gave away one million pairs of shoes by rounding up other shoe executives.
Soles4Souls sends shoes to 121 countries, of which there are 300 million kids without shoes.
Yet, who knows how many pairs of shoes the average teenager buys each year, only to have them sit in the closet or landfill? The answer is about 4, by the way.
I was visiting Adidas headquarters yesterday and saw a Soles4Souls donation box, just as I’ve seen at Reebok and countless other shoe companies. These boxes are ubiquitous. Have you seen them, too? I’m amazed that one man’s vision has translated into such physical reality.
Whether or not you read Wayne’s book, there is one point that I think you’ll benefit from. To act immediately. To have a bias for action vs long-winded discussion. To “just do it”.
So what are you waiting for?Almost Isn't Good Enough, leadership, Soles4Souls, Wayne Elsey