The idea for The Red Boot Way started quite by accident. In 2010, I gave a TEDx presentation where I began the speech with an innocent-enough story about a pair of red boots.
I’ve never been much into fashion and have been labeled bland by my kids. (Something that has never bothered me at all. :)) My daughter, Helen, thought it was time to spice up my sense of style a bit and so she purchased a pair of bright red boots and presented them to me for my 50th birthday.
Even though the bright-red-attention-getting-footwear pushed me outside my comfort zone, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with those darn boots. Why? They were natural conversation starters and for folks like me, who are not the shy type, they opened the door to many a heartfelt conversation.
In 2013, I retired from Girls on the Run and spent time on Capitol Hill working on a two-year leadership project. Over the course of this experience, I became deeply distressed by how people were communicating there.
As someone who has told thousands of young girls that empathy, listening, and compassion matter in how we communicate with others, I became very frustrated and angered by what I witnessed in our nation’s capital.
I decided to venture off on my own to discover what was at the root of all the discontent, name-calling, and mean-spiritedness. In August of 2014, I put on those conversation-starting red boots and set off on a cross-country journey talking with hundreds of Americans about our nation’s toughest topics . . . politics, religion, race, sexuality, gender, parenting, and economics.
I came back with a renewed sense of hope and a very intentional and “teachable” way of communicating. I had experienced the heart-driven, open dialogue I had longed for with all those I encountered. After several weeks of soul-searching, I wrote The Red Boot Way 11 Steps.
Soon after The Red Boot Way 11 Steps were born, Ann Davant Crehore entered the picture. Ann and I had known each other for a long time. When Ann heard about the work I was doing, she was intrigued. We met in a coffee shop and realized together, we could grow the program.
One morning after a Red Boot meeting, I asked Ann if she would be up to the challenge of helping grow the program in an official capacity. Ann said yes; and since then, thanks to the foundation and structure Ann brought to the program along with the efforts of literally hundreds of people, the program is what it is today—a resource that teaches people an intentional form of communication where self-awareness, trust, and connections happen.
To learn more about the program, please head on over to our Facebook page by the same name or visit out website http://www.theRedBootWay.org.
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