“They have gone up by a size and a half?” I looked at the woman measuring my feet with incredulity and back down at my right foot encased in the tool that had led to this result. Apparently, it is due to potential spreading of the feet as we age, likely accelerated by the last year being at home. The video call does not necessitate the wearing of formal footwear and walking shoes or trainers (which are a larger fit) have been my daily outdoor foot protection of need, rather than stilettos.
“Oh, how terrible, I will have to buy a load of new shoes then!” said no woman ever and it is this first world challenge that I now find myself required to solve. I had not realised that they had increased in size because it was not something that I was looking out for. Hence, the surprise in the shop last week. Like so many things in life that we are not measuring regularly, change creeps up on us without warning and we can be blindsided.
This reflects the parable about boiling a frog. Place a live frog in a pan of boiling water and it will immediately leap out. However, put a frog in cold water and slowly heat it up and the amphibian will not realise what is happening until it is too late.
It explains how humans can be remarkably resilient in putting up with excessive work becoming the new normal, how seeing themselves in a photograph triggers someone to take action and lose weight, or paying cash makes tracking spending more real than online or using a card or smartphone.
Therefore, despite gaining new awareness, we can put up with things that are not quite right and continue as before. Various theories of change including the Transtheoretical model (see above) predict that it can be six months from first having the awareness that a change is required before action is finally begun. This is reflected in my coaching clients: by the time they engage my services they are experiencing the Preparation and then Action stages.
I am not going to force my feet into the old, wrong sized shoes though. When you have all the information you need, you have to act upon it without delay, otherwise the situation will worsen, and pain will ensue. Keep testing the water… and be the frog that jumps out!