FOCUS: New Underwear, New Socks

Disciplines: Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

Be sure you wear clean underwear without holes.
You never know when you might have an accident.
My grandmother, Eva Buckner


When I was a young teenager, my dad set out to teach me fiscal responsibility. He asked me to keep track of all my expenditures each day, including lunch, entertainment, clothes, etc. At the end of two months I was to make a proposal for a monthly allowance to cover everything. I did this carefully, and was horrified to find I would need at least $30/month (this was a long time ago.)  When I proposed this, he sent me back to do another month. I only learned from my mother that he thought I had requested too little. I ended up getting $40/month. A few months into this deal, my mother mentioned that I needed new underpants. Mine had big holes in them. I said, “Okay, I like white and black.” She responded, “Oh, get any color you want – remember you pay.” I was outraged! I understood paying for my own lunch and seeable clothes. But underpants? Never! I wore the holey ones until I received new underpants as a birthday present.

This fall, I realized my undies were creeping up uncomfortably on a regular basis. (With new materials, they don’t get holes, just stretched and worn so they creep and crawl.) I wondered how that could be, and then realized the my best pants were bought with and for my mother just months before she died. Then I inherited them. She died in 2006.

So – I boldly bought three packages of three at Costco. I can’t believe the difference they make! No riding, creeping. All smooth.

Then when it started to get cold, and I got out my really good warm socks, I realized that they might be 20 years old. I paid something outrageous for them, because a friend had been with me and promised that they were sublime. And they had been. But now they were stretched and flattened, and didn’t stay up or keep my feet very warm. So I took the leap and bought two pair of SmartWool socks. They are cozy warm and washable. I got mine from One is light, the other thick. Then I got another pair for Christmas! I do not think a single change in clothing has ever made so much difference to me. My feet are simply always warm.

 These are foundational changes! Even if you can’t see them, they make a big difference in how I feel. (Like cleaning and organizing my basement.)


1)      When did you last get new underwear?

2)      How good are your socks at keeping your feet cozy warm?

3)      When will you get new underwear, new socks?



I could hardly believe so many of you responded to my note about Hal’s fall in the last Fresh Views . I was touched by your caring, and by your reading to the bottom of my post. If you want to follow his process, I’m keeping an online sharing journal at



No telegathering scheduled, because, as I learned very early, getting underwear and socks is something you have to do for yourself.


Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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