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Fear in High-Heeled Shoes

I always call perfectionism fear in high heeled shoes, because it’s fancy. It’s like a really fancy haute couture version of fear because perfectionism can advertise itself as a virtue and it can trick you into letting it think that it makes you special.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I heard Liz Gilbert say this to Marie Forleo in an interview over the summer and the visual image really struck me: fear masquerading as a set of fancy heels. High-heeled shoes make our legs look great but, let’s face it, they’re not usually the most comfortable shoes. We sacrifice comfort for beauty which, if we analyze it in different terms, means we’re focused more on the external perception of ourselves than our internal one.

I like how Liz links perfectionism as an advertisement for virtue. We think our perfectionism makes us special instead of who we are, full stop. While perfectionism exists across the spectrum, I find it especially pervasive in women, particularly accomplished women. After the Judge saboteur, it’s definitely one of the top saboteurs I see in coaching. As I said in a recent blog, saboteurs aren’t interested in resolution; they are only interested in being right. Perfectionism drives us to do more, work harder, be more and then it tells us to be grateful that it’s doing its job because of “x” achievement even when we feel completely physically and emotionally drained.

What’s the cost of perfectionism? Dissatisfaction, frustration, disconnection. As we dig through the layers, we eventually get to Liz’s key point: fear. What are you afraid of? What are you hiding? And here’s a question I love: What are you tolerating? Take a moment to inventory the cost of perfectionism to you today.

Laura Barker

We all want purposeful, authentic lives. When we focus on the exterior which in this case takes the form of perfectionism, we serve ourselves no favour. When we pay attention to the interior world, the need for perfectionism drops away. Why? Because it just doesn’t matter. Our purpose comes from within not without and authenticity becomes the natural outward progression of living a life fully loved.

The older I get, the less I wear heels. I’m special not because of how I look but because of who I am. I am enough. No more, no less. And so are you. Take that, perfectionism!



High Heels Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.


I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.


Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.


I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!


Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.


I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.


Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.


Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.


Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.


From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.


Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.


I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.