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Goths, Neon Socks, and Confidence

Have you noticed, that young children are riddled with confidence; ignorance is total bliss and their peers seldom scare them. I remember seeing a girl skip to primary school in neon orange knee-high socks, covered in neon hearts. I had been stunned to stillness, but, few children paid her a second look. Maybe they thought she was weird, but maybe they thought she was cool.

I have never forgotten the little girl; I couldn’t tell you how old she was, whether she had blond hair or brown, freckles or glasses, or what school she attended, but I could tell you about the socks she wore, and how, despite the looks adults dealt her, she never ceased to skip until she was far out of my view.

Children love to play pretend, and the idea of storytelling and personas that an individual adopts follows them into adulthood. Nurturing the inner child is an element of adulthood that often gets put on the back burner. But each morning we wake up and we choose to be the adult, we choose to be responsible, and plain and boring because that is what’s expected of us.

How many times have you been on a commute and seen a teenager, someone with headphones on and ignoring the world? Trends go in and out of style faster than the British weather changes, but, some young people adopt a subculture that draws the eye. Perhaps there is a goth wearing a pair of six inch platforms, sat across from you on the bus, blasting a song you’ve never heard before, tuning out the whispers of Agatha and Mary who say that she needs Jesus. She knows there will be whispers, but she’s still wearing the outfit, her hair teased outward, and lips painted black.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m talking about goths and little girl in neon orange socks, but, it is all about confidence. If you know goth, are a goth or were a goth, you probably know stories. Many can probably recall people remarking to them that they wished they could wear that but they don’t have the confidence. Goths, unlike the little girls in neon socks, get criticised, they get talked about, people make remarks and, usually, in a really unsubtle way. But they choose to ignore the comments, because they are happy in their appearance. They’re confident. They know they look amazing.

The difference between a primary school aged child, a young, teenage goth, and an adult member of the workforce is that many members of a workforce are reluctant to speak up, and make themselves seen or heard. In order to avoid getting into trouble, being fired etc. many spend their shifts trying to appear as small as possible, and be an effective cog in the capitalist machine. When you’re a part of a large company, workers may find themselves wanting to pick up as many shifts as possible, and be part of the furniture, glanced over, but seen. This would be the case in a cluttered living room too, whether there are clashes or not. Perhaps you work for a large company with greater ethical issues like animal testing, child labour in factories or supporting anti LGBT organisations, you may find yourself unable to leave. Capitalism as a system means that you need to work to live, and you need to live to work.

With this in mind, ideals clash, whether they’re being shouted at, disrespected etc. because, unfortunately “when you wear the company uniform you represent the company” and it’s not as endearing to see a worker speaking out, or dressing up as it is to see a child wearing perhaps the gaudiest pair of socks ever.

But you can learn from the girl with the gaudy socks, and embrace her confidence. Whether this be in a literal sense or more philosophically. Of course, every workplace has different rules and regulations but you are in an office, you probably see a sea of neutral colours from shirts and skirts and blazers, just like you would in school uniform.

Seeing someone who is unapologetically themselves, reminds me of that little girl with the neon socks. And I think that we could all learn something from wearing a bit of extra colour to the office. Screw Dennis in the cubicle opposite seeing your superman socks, do you think he actually cares? Is he going to mention them?

Buy the crazy socks, wear them to work, and lower the adult mask for just a moment. The confidence a pair of socks could give you, the empowerment that flows onto your inner child, is immense.

And once you’re nurturing your inner child, your confidence grows, and you will feel better within yourself. Once you are comfortable within yourself, you can be confident to speak up and mention other things. Wearing a pair of neon socks to the office, truly could be the first domino to fall in the process of implementing some amazing changes for yourself, your team and your company. After all, it’s the confident workers who get put in leadership roles, and leaders are the ones that set the tone for wider change.

Perhaps, like the little girl in the neon socks, you start a trend. You’ll never know unless you take those steps yourself. Nurture your inner child and wear the novelty socks and see where your days take you. There’s no harm in trying, right?

Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (, is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address:

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