Soul to Sole – by Guest Blogger, Phil Loxton

How buying shoes taught me to listen to my inner voice.

I recently went to buy a new pair of shoes. It was something I’d been meaning to do for ages and I’d seen some very nice ones in a shop round the corner from my office. They were stylish and not overly expensive and by the time I actually entered the store I’d lost count of the amount of times I’d passed by the window and gazed on the range of footwear available.

The salesman was a youngish man and from the moment we started discussing my intended purchase, everything was wrong. He disdainfully dismissed my current choice of shoe, told me I had brought the wrong size (far too big) and that very soon what was now on my feet “would look like rubbish”. He broke off in the middle of our ‘discussion’ to speak to another woman in the shop and completely ignored my question. When I told him the shoes he proffered were too tight on my heel, he dismissed my concerns as being unimportant. “There needs to be pressure”, he asserted. Nevertheless, I thought they look good on my feet and I promptly bought them.

Two days later I left home wearing my new shoes for the first time. I went to my office and then on to a doctor’s appointment. By the time I hobbled into the surgery I was in agony, I had an enormous blister on my left heel, and was developing one on the right. The nurse on duty took pity on me and cleaned and bandaged my wounds, after which I hobbled off to the shop to complain. The same man in the shop at first tried to assure me that “some rubbing was normal”. When I told him I had blisters after less than 15 minutes of light walking, he merely said it was the first time he had heard of such a case. He then offered to show me on Google how normal it was for shoes to rub! On and on, one unforgivable sales mistake after another. In fact if you analysed everything he did, you could have put it into a book and said this is how not to sell. I mean, really the guy made every cardinal sin there is to make. I, however, committed the biggest sin of all – I bought the shoes!

You see, I had already told myself I would buy them. I’d passed the shop hundreds of times before, often stopping to look in the window, I’d told myself how right the shoes in this shop were for me, how they looked good and were very English, (something I love). I had created in my mind a situation where, no matter what, I would have bought them.

The really annoying thing about the whole process was that all the time I was in the shop my inner voice was telling me “walk away, walk away”, but I didn’t. I stuck to my original thought, I refused to listen to my instincts and the result is: I now have a pair of nice looking, reasonably expensive shoes that I can never wear.

That’s the thing about your inner voice, your gut feeling or whatever you want to call it – it’s always right. It’s part of you and it beats with your heart, it knows what is really best for you, certainly more than your conscious mind does.

But I discovered that I am not alone in ignoring my inner voice. A client recently related the story of a failed house move. She was all set to sub-let an apartment but had asked for written confirmation from the main tenant’s landlord in order to be sure everything was all above board. Although the main tenant was going to write to the landlord to advise them of this change anyway, and she had a perfectly legal right to sub-let, she refused to ask for this written confirmation. When my client pointed out, on the phone, that it would be extremely difficult for her to take on the apartment without such assurances, the tenant exploded and let out a tirade of abuse before slamming down the phone. She then refused to agree to anything my client said– including offers of payment and attempts to return the keys. Later my client reflected that it was a lucky escape and recounted how her best friend had actually warned her against this move purely on the basis of her gut feeling.
Another friend was getting a lot of pain from a tooth and had been advised by her dentist that she should have a crown fitted (not a cheap procedure). She was unsure about this and spoke to her alternative practitioner and healer. Both said the tooth was causing a lot of damage throughout the body that would only spread (the tooth was already dead). She listened to her inner voice and had the tooth removed. Immediately, she started to get better.

If we only spent more time listening to what’s inside, we would be able to make much better informed decisions that were really in line with our best interests. Being aware of our inner voice and trusting it will ultimately make us more confident about the steps we are taking in life. After my shoe adventure, I said to myself: I will never make that mistake again and, to ensure that I do so, I created a list of affirmations to bring to mind before going shopping or making any purchasing decisions.
• I only experienced good service
• I only buy the right products for me
• I listen to my inner voice, it always give me the right guidance
• It is ok to say no

Phil Loxton is a trainer, consultant and writer and also blogs at


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