What Blistering Pain Taught Me About Positivity in Social Media

Last month, I presented an all-day, in-person multigenerational management session.

The training went well, BUT…

I wore a pair of adorable almond-toe, skinny-heeled black suede booties. It was the first time I wore heels since — you know what’s coming — March 2020.

By the end of the day, my feet were throbbing, my back aching, my ankles wobbly, my toes crunched and blistered.

Adding insult to injury, there was also a parade on the street outside the training location, so, instead of collapsing into a cab, I had to walk five blocks to the subway, then down and up the excruciating subway steps, then three more blocks to my apartment.

Those adorable almond-toe, skinny-heeled black suede booties became torture devices.

I reached out to my LinkedIn network for alternative footwear suggestions, and boy did they deliver. This frustrating, painful experience turned into a great lesson in social media positivity.

Nothing Resonates More Than Shared Experiences

Since posting my story on LinkedIn, I’ve received 250+ comments and 75,000+ views. It’s obvious something in my tale of comfort vs. cuteness in footwear struck a major chord.

I’ve learned that women have found alternatives, such as wearing sneakers with suits. I was also intrigued by how many companies were started by women who have had this exact experience, like Sarah Flint and SantM. And while I expected my story to resonate with women, I was surprised to hear that many men have faced similar comfort challenges.

You Can Find Social Media Positivity

One of the lessons I’ve learned during the pandemic is that I need to limit my time on social media. Endless scrolling through Facebook or Instagram just makes me feel bad.

But this experience reminded me of the distinction between using social media actively, which is far more productive and less toxic, and scrolling passively. By using LinkedIn or other sites to actively seek information, connection, ideas and community, we can enjoy the best social media has to offer — without the empty feeling that comes from spending large amounts of time scrolling infinitely.

Social platforms like LinkedIn can become a community where we can rally together to find solutions to our shared problems. But we can’t know that our experiences are universal unless we share them in the first place. Communication creates communities, and social media can provide a platform to make that happen.

So, although I didn’t enjoy wearing those booties (at all), it made me really happy that people wanted to share their experiences and their solutions. Thank you to everyone who weighed in to offer a recommendation or just some moral support.

p.s. For those keeping score, the shoes that received the most recommendations were Clarks, Naturalizer and Cole Haan — plus the always-wise advice to pack sneakers or comfy flats in your tote bag to wear immediately before and after a presentation.

My shopping cart is still filling up with comfortable-but-still-cute options, so please mosey on over to LinkedIn and weigh in!

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hi, i'm lindsey!

Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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