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I previously did another blog post and podcast about some of the philosophies of the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960’s, Vice Lombardi.

There is a series entitled “A Football Life” on the NFL network on cable television.

In part one, in an episode entitled “Lombardi Saves the Franchise” there is an interview with the NFL Hall of Fame football player, Jerry Kramer.

Jerry Kramer played the guard position on offensive line for the Green Bay Packers teams in the 1960’s. Jerry was sharing on the show how when he was being yelled at by Coach Lombardi for doing something incorrectly in practice or a game he would frequently be “checking his shoeshine.”

In other words, Jerry had has head down and was looking at his feet because he was feeling discouraged,. He had lost his confidence and enthusiasm because he was being yelled at so often.  He was being yelled at so often, he was sure he was going to be cut from the team and was wondering what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

Click on this YouTube video to hear Jerry Kramer tell this story, starting at time stamp 8:50.

It is a fairly common reaction for a person to feel discouraged and have a lack of confidence and enthusiasm and check their own shoeshine and continue with negative feelings about everything, walking around with their head down.

So when you are feeling down, what should you be doing instead of checking your shoeshine?

I have a friend Kimo Mahikoa, from Kauai, Hawaii.

Kimo is a Master Instructor of the native Hawaiian healing art of Lomilomi, a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Body Worker, a former Director of Golden Wings Ministry, a retired Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force and a was professional airline pilot, a captain for a major U.S. airline, now retired.

Kimo told me one time during a class I was taking on Kauai that if you are feeling down for any reason, you will always start to feel better if you stand up, go outside, tilt your head back, look up in the sky and “check your sunshine.”

You check your sunshine by taking a deep breath and just slowly exhale and say, thank you..  You will always feel better by checking your sunshine as you are doing it from a place of light and appreciation. This technique works even if it happens to be a cloudy day.

Try it.  It is simple, but it does work. 

Remember, the sun creates climates, weather, water currents, change of seasons and makes all life possible on earth.

So the sun can create a change in your own attitude.

Take responsibility for your own feelings.

When you are feeling discouraged, ask yourself are you “checking your sunshine or your shoeshine?”


Jerry Kramer went on to say, that one day after practice when he was checking his shoeshine, Coach Lombardi came into the locker room and said “Son, one of these days you’re going to be the best guard in football.” 

It was Lombardi’s statement, his approval and belief in Jerry Kramer that caused him to have a surge of energy in his body and establish a belief in himself to become one of the best guards in football history and be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

How do you check your sunshine instead of your shoeshine?

  1. When you feel discouraged, have a lack of confidence and enthusiasm, make sure you check your sunshine instead of your shoeshine.   Go outside, look up, then move forward with confidence and enthusiasm.
  2. When you encounter someone in your life that feels discouraged, has a lack of confidence or enthusiasm, show that person how to check their sunshine instead of their shoeshine and share some kind, loving or positive words with that person. You just never know how your approval and belief in that person will affect the trajectory of that person’s life moving forward.
  3. Use sunshine to energize yourself and others. If you are energized with checking your sunshine on a daily basis, you create a positive ripple effect on the events, situations and people in your life. The sun gives everyone an equal amount of light. It is up to you to personally check your own sunshine every day and suggest your family and friends check their own sunshine daily as well.

Checking your sunshine instead of your shoeshine allows you to create a positive impact in your life and the life of others.

Out There on the Edge of Everything®

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Copyright © 2020, 2023, 2024 by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.