Today, I interview Laura Feltz who after the intense, fast-paced experiences in the corporate world, the uniformity of behaviors and the hierarchy of these organizations became something that pushed her toward perfectionism. She later developed sight loss and was unable to cling to that perfection and perform the way she was used to in the past.
She also didn’t allow herself to grieve the loss of her sight because she compared her loss to those with “greater” losses. Typically working an international 60-80 hour-per-week schedule, she knew things had to change.
Shortly after she decided to stop driving, she felt there was room to make an adjustment and she stepped down. She became curious about neuro-linguistic programming and different approaches to coaching. With her new set of tools, she has now confronted the things that once held her back. Today, she helps others to overcome their own roadblocks.
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Laura Feltz is a Certified Master Results Coach, a Board Designated Institute, Trainer, and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) [ABNLP], a Board Designated Master Practitioner of Timeline Therapy® (TLT) [TLTA], and a Board Designated Instructor of Hypnotherapy [ABH]. She draws upon leading-edge mind/body tools and techniques utilized by board-certified results coaches in 42 countries. Her results-focused and evidence-based approach is designed to deliver meaningful and lasting change. She assists overstretched businesswomen to take the weight of the world off their shoulders so they can have the control, freedom, and peace of mind they crave.
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Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com
Episode #29 Laura Feltz
“Seeing Beyond Perfection”
(00:35) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m with the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. And what I do here weekly is to interview guests who have, at some point in their life, realized that they didn’t have a voice, whether it was a family that they came from, or whether it was a work situation, a school situation a teacher, somewhere along they realized along their life, they realized that there was something more that they could have a voice but what happened? That they lost it and that’s one of the things that I always like to inquire I like to pull back the curtain and dig a little deeper into people’s histories. So that my listeners, you my listeners, can get inspired. Because maybe if you’ve had a history where you feel like you haven’t had your voice, then you can’t speak up now, you will see that my guests have been through so much. And they do find their voice and they do get out into the world. And they do make a difference nowadays. And that’s partly what we’re going to find out today with my beautiful guest Laura Feltz. And I’ll introduce her in a minute. But just I also want to say thank you to all the subscribers, we’re just getting more and more downloads of this podcast and people are coming in and giving it all sorts of great reviews. They like who I’m bringing on, and it’s a real conversation. And I think that’s what we need nowadays– real conversations, real people showing up, real people telling their stories so that we can inspire those around us to grow, to wake up, to be more of who they can be. So today, let me welcome Laura. Hi, Laura.
(02:25) Laura Feltz:
Hello, Doreen, thank you so much for this opportunity to chat with you. I really appreciate it.
(02:31) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, well, you gave me a bio. So, I’m going to read some of that and that will give people some sense of who you are and where you come from. Laura is a Certified Master Results Coach, Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming, Practitioner of Timeline Therapy, Instructor of Hypnotherapy. Now that’s quite a lot of growth. I’m sure we go through a lot just to learn all of those and get trained in it, but then to be able to offer it to others. I look forward to hearing how that happens. Her results-focused and evidence-based approach is designed to deliver meaningful and, of course, lasting change. She assists overstretched businesswomen take the weight of the world off their shoulders. I’m just going to take a breath, weight off their shoulders, so that they can have the control, freedom, and peace of mind they crave. And I’m just going to give Laura’s website right now so that you don’t have to wait to the end. It’s I guess it’s WWW.LAURAFELTZ.COM. So that was a lot of me and a lot of introduction. And I do know that from talks in the past that you have come from a corporate environment where you had to have a mask, and a mask of perfection you talk about, and that has changed to being way more vulnerable. So, we’re going to hear about that today. But let’s start first about your history and what about you not having a voice.
(04:21) Laura Feltz:
Mm hmm. Well, thank you so much to read again. And yes, it sort of happened over time and it happens so slowly. It’s like you don’t even notice that it’s happening. And that’s really what happened in my case. So, I spent 20 years in corporate and I remember early in my corporate career, I had come from a recruiting background for a small boutique firm and coming into a large corporate organization, you know, from dealing with presidents of companies in technology and sales representatives, –so very fast paced, very forward thinking– to a large corporate structure where there was hierarchies and ways of doing things. And I remember a leader early on saying, “Oh, well, we don’t do that here.” And I just, it just made me stop and kind of think, and I really started to pay attention to the interactions. And what I wasn’t paying attention to was how was I responding then in those situations, so it happened, you know, over the course of my career with my clients, I was very, you know, direct, and very focused on getting the results. And then it, yeah, it– I just noticed over time, I had this mask of perfection firmly in place, I was wearing these lovely Italian wool suits. And you know, dealing with executive teams and board rooms, and I looked the part. And it was almost like I was a shell. And about 10 years ago, I developed an eye condition, and I started losing my sight. So, I confess that I do have had heavy prescription corrected. And on top of that I had glaucoma develop. And the first couple of years it was stable, and then it wasn’t. And I started seeing more and more like an out of focus picture. And I was desperately clinging to that mask of perfection and trying to perform my job and do what I used to do in the way that I used to do it. And that was not working for me, because I couldn’t see people’s faces, you know, how I would present previously. So in corporate, I was presenting about cyclical programs on compensation and talent management. So, it was more about here’s the information dealing with a little bit of emotion in terms of how managers would implement. And I was relying on my scripts. And then suddenly, I couldn’t see the scripts or the audience. In those presentations. And in meetings, though, meetings where I would be sitting across the table at someone, their face was blurred for me. So, I found that it was shaking my confidence. However, I put another mask on top of all of that, of, I’m just going to power through this. And it really wasn’t working for me, I knew things were not working for me. And there was an opportunity for me to exit corporate after four years of restructuring. And I took it and ran. And when I left, I was burned out and knew that I needed to focus on myself. And that’s what I did, I focused on getting healthy, both inside and out. Because I knew that it had to be an inside job to step back into the confident person that I was. And yeah, I really, you know, in that period, I did actually lose my voice and lose my way it was almost like the amount that I couldn’t see myself in the mirror was the amount that the volume of my confidence and my voice seemed to turn down in some ways. So…
(08:31) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, I’m sure that this is going to be– your story is going to speak to a lot of people who have found themselves in somewhat of a trap, you know, they get up on the ladder, and they get to a certain plateau. But that phrase you used, we don’t do that here, or we don’t say that here. It reminded me of children. And parents telling children how to act and what they can and can’t do and what they should say and shouldn’t say, and I know that a lot of times corporations can be like big parents that are not really interested in helping people become more of who they can be because it’s not advantageous to the company to do that.
(09:18) Laura Feltz:
Yes, yes. And there’s certainly, you know, and I mean, I’ve been out of corporate for six years, and there was a certain profile of someone who would be successful, and those who weren’t, and it was, you know, a really, a certain type of individual that was successful in that environment. And, yeah, it definitely, at that point, there didn’t seem to be room for other ways of being and I was molding myself into that false way of being and really forgot who I was.
(09:53) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Ooh, that’s the molding yourself into that false way of being again, that feels like society pressures people to, in order to get approval in order to be successful, you have to look and do and speak a certain way. There’s one thing I noticed in being with you because we’re, we’re on Zoom, and we’ve got, I’ve got, I can see you, people listening might not be able to see you. But what you did when you talked about putting on a mask, is that you put your hand over your face, and you came down over your eyes. And then you started talking about how your eyesight diminished? And that’s how it showed up for you in in that environment.
(10:41) Laura Feltz:
Yes, yes, it’s, you know, it’s certainly not lost on me that what I wasn’t “seeing”, there’s certainly some metaphors in terms of my sight loss. Because I do know that you know, where we have stress, we manifest that physically in some way, shape, or form. So, it is not lost on me that I was a highly visual person that I actually stopped seeing. So, you know, now my auditory skills have tuned up, and I pay attention to people in other ways. So, it–yeah, it’s interesting how our body responds in stress. And in that type of environment, for sure. Yeah. The other piece that I’ll just share, I mean, when I started really losing my sight, at the same time, a friend of mine from college was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And I, you know, you and I both know, from listening to the stats of women, and ovarian cancer and their survival rates, it was very grim. And I thought to myself, Okay, you know what, so what’s happening to me is life altering, it’s not life impacting not going to die from this. So just put on your big girl panties, and just, you know, focus and deal with this. And what I realized now is I was doing the thing that I hear some of my clients saying, where, you know, I don’t feel like what’s happening to me, there are people that they’ve got a worse scenario. So, I don’t think I can give like, you know, I can’t really give myself that space to be– it’s not that bad. And what I realized now is I was discounting and diminishing my feelings and the grieving process. And you know, what I was going through, the emotional ups and downs, in comparing myself to someone else who has a totally different situation, and kind of kicking myself in the shins saying, okay, like, pull yourself up and just focus forward. It had some good points. However, in retrospect, I really get that. I just diminished that emotional piece. And likely, you know, not likely I did stuff that down. And it came out later, that grieving process for me in terms of my sight loss. So that’s something that, you know, goes along with my voice, because I didn’t give voice to the grief that I was going through.
(13:26) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Oh, yes. Yes. And I think comparing yourself to other people and the grief that they may be experiencing that the suffering you– when you compare yourself as well, at least I’m not there, and I’ve got something else that I I’m lucky. But on the other hand, oh, that’s such a message that if there is any kind of loss, we need to value the grieving process. Well, you talk about being in that realization, eventually coming to that. And I know you said that they had this opportunity, or you found the opportunity to leave. But before that, what was– how did you get to the process of saying, “Ah. Done.”?
(14:16) Laura Feltz:
Yeah, well, I was working, you know, 60 to 80 hours a week, I had a global job. So, I was on, you know, video conferencing before zoom was popular a decade ago, working with clients in Asia, you know, early morning meetings, evening meetings, plus a full North American day schedule. So, I was running on empty already. And then, you know, going through my journey with sight loss, plus just the things you deal with in corporate like restructurings, that sort of thing, I just knew my life wasn’t working. And when I stopped driving, because there was a certain point that it just I felt that it wasn’t safe for me to no longer drive and stopped doing that, like made that decision powerfully for myself because I just thought, okay, I don’t feel safe, that it’s not safe for other people around me. It was around that same time that I really started reflecting on, Okay, so I’ve been doing this work for about a decade or more, it’s not working for me, my life isn’t working, I’m working a lot. You know, there’s got to be something different. And, yeah, it really lined up for me that as we had restructured the HR organization, there wasn’t really another opportunity for me to move into at that point. And I just said, “I’ll take the package. Thank you.”
(15:51) Dr. Doreen Downing:
A lot of gratitude. And what I also hear, though is that, whoo, what’s next? I mean, you’re saying this is, “I’m done here, and I have this opportunity.” But did you have an idea of what was next for you?
(16:06) Laura Feltz:
I had no idea I actually enrolled just before I left corporate in the Landmark Forum, because I knew that I needed to reconnect with myself. And I just, I hadn’t done any personal development, I’ve done professional development. Personal development, really looking within myself, I hadn’t done. So, I did some work with the courses with Landmark, which was helpful. And then through that journey, I came across NLP, and Neuro Linguistic Programming, coaching. And it was something that I had seen about 12 years ago before and hadn’t had time, I think we had an acquisition. So, you know, I was dealing with something else. And I was curious, went to an information session, and I was just hooked with making change at the unconscious level, and the evidence-based approach to coaching, which kind of spoke to my corporate background that I have. And from there, you know, going through the training, I actually use the tools on a day-to-day basis to navigate my world. And through that journey, I started sharing about my journey with sight loss, because I initially was stepping over it. I was ignoring it. I wasn’t talking about it at all. And you know, I realize that it gives people a space for their voice to come through.
(17:45) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, yes, the whole, I hear that there’s an inner kind of draw to grow yourself and that you found some organizations and opportunities there like Landmark and NLP. But it’s interesting that you start on a personal growth journey, and you discover yourself. And that’s when you discover more of what you can do, who you can be, it wasn’t like you set out to be a coach or a hypnotherapist or an NLP master coach, you know, you didn’t say that “I’m going to quit corporate and go for that,” but this trust of starting your journey, and I guess that’s one of the things I just want to point out now to listeners is, the starting of the journey of that inward Who am I? What do I want? What do I believe? What do I value? is a great start, you don’t have to figure out “what do I want to be when I grow up”, you just have to start the discovery.
(18:46) Laura Feltz:
Well, and also you know, during my time in corporate, I had done the, okay, when I have finished this project, then I’ll… when I get this next promotion, then I’ll… so the “if and when” sort of equation of looking for the outer fix, and when my life wasn’t working, I knew that it had to be an inside job. There was just, like, I had done all the vacations, the promotions, that you know, buying things, it just it didn’t work. And fixing from the outside doesn’t work. It always needs to be an inside job. And that’s where I’m so passionate about working with women, especially around how women diminish, deflect, and downplay their skills, ability, and greatness. We do it in subtle ways. And we lose our voice through that. So, I’ve been, I’m going on that journey. I’ve been on that journey. I’m maybe a step or two ahead of where my clients are and it’s so important because women have a voice, it’s just stepping into the voice that they have. And that’s what I realized for myself is, I need to step into it. Because there are women who really need to hear what I have to share.
(20:17) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yeah, it’s not a mask. What I feel just listening to you now is that this is who I am. And this is what I believe. And I’ve been in a very difficult situation, I’ve come through it I’ve learned. So you’re saying, “step into the voice.” Say, say more about that, what that means for women?
(20:38) Laura Feltz:
Yeah, so it’s really, you know, we hear the message about when you feel the fear, just step through it. So, you have to take a step forward, we’re always going to feel fear when we’re doing something new, or something that’s uncomfortable. It’s different. It’s just it’s how our biology is. Like, no wonder presenting is one of those things that’s the top fear for people. Well, it’s just our biology, it gets our adrenaline going. Our reptilian brain says, Oh, wait, this is new. Danger. It’s looking for the saber tooth tiger. And our body responds. And part of its harnessing the adrenaline as it’s not a bad signal, use the energy to step into it. And if you– when we breathe into that, it becomes excitement.
(21:37) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, I’ve heard that it’s the same kind of energy of just how we label it or frame it. Is that it?
(21:43) Laura Feltz:
Yes, absolutely. And I’ll, I’ll share a little story, if we’ve got time. So I was in downtown Toronto, I lived downtown. I was walking to a course one night in early spring, and I was crossing in front of Union Station. So that’s where our commuter hub, and it was during rush hour. So, you’ve got these people coming from all– the financial district, going to their go trains, you know, they it’s like cutting through Olympic sprinters, who are just focused on getting to their train because they’ve timed it beautifully. And I’m cutting a path through them walking with a white cane, at dusk, and it’s a little bit foggy. So, for me, it’s like dodging shadows. And I could feel myself getting more tense as I kept stepping forward with all these people who are dodging me and my cane, you know, sometimes they would jump at the last minute over my cane. And I needed to get to my class. Traffic was horrible, so jumping a taxi wasn’t an option, I needed to just keep going. And I could feel the pit of my stomach turn and the little tingles go up the back of my neck. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, I’m almost paralyzed with fear right now. And I just paused for a second. And I thought, okay, you can do this. And I use the Mel Robbins five second rule. So, I took a breath in. And I exhaled, and I counted 5,4,3,2,1. And I just took a step forward, and I just kept breathing. And I said to myself, I’m excited. I’m excited. And I just kept stepping forward, going, I’m excited. I’m excited. And within a block, I was actually excited. So, we can make that shift by just stepping and breathing into the fear that we have.
(23:54) Dr. Doreen Downing:
I get that. I get that people hopefully heard what you just said, it wasn’t just breathing and repeating some kind of mantra. It was also a physical is what I’m hearing you say, that this step actually, was the manifestation of what you were saying. And it wasn’t just either just stepping, stepping, stepping, but it was the combination of stepping, saying, and move, well, the moving. Is that it?
(24:25) Laura Feltz:
Absolutely. Making that decision, the countdown of 5,4,3,2,1, because that’s, you know, where we make a decision and we decide not to do something or we go into inaction. Going, doing the countdown and just taking that step and breathing into it? So powerful. So, it’s sometimes these small tools that just help in the moment of dealing with life. And I use the tools all the time in my day to day. And you know, it’s not to say I don’t feel fear every day or hesitation. Like last week was, there was world sight day on the 14th of October, and I was fortunate to do some media interviews with my advocacy work for blindness in Canada. And, you know, media is something new for me. So, stepping into my voice and sharing that story, I definitely use my tools to do that. Yes, I felt that excitement. And I knew that by sharing my story, it’s going to help someone who’s navigating either sight loss or something else in their life.
(25:40) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yeah, anything that, where they hesitate. And I’m, because you’re talking about you using tools every single day, before we have to sign off here, I certainly want to have you talk just a little bit more about working with the population that you work with– sounds like women– and how people can find you and anything else that you want to share about what you currently do, that voice that you have now that you get to use that makes a difference, like with the Canada what you just talked about the sight loss or the sight day? Yes.
(26:16) Laura Feltz:
Yeah, so I’m part of what I’m doing is an advocacy, an ambassador with Fighting Blindness Canada, which is a charity that raises funds for sight research, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Because I realized I had some unconscious bias with What does a blind person look like? You know, coming from HR, that’s sort of hard to admit. And it’s important to provide education and a voice and a face to what it looks like, because it can look like anybody, actually. So doing that type of work. My passion, though, is working with women. In my corporate career, there were so many successful women that in my client group, who I’d have conversations with in my office where they would downplay, diminish, and deflect their skills, ability, and greatness in some way, shape, or form. “Oh, well, I don’t have ‘this’” when they were applying for a job, or thinking about applying for a job, or they did something fantastic and accepting praise, you know, deflecting that, “oh, it wasn’t me, it was my team.” And as women, stepping into that and really owning that is so important, because there’s so many very capable women who are holding themselves back. And I know I was doing that. And I have done that in my career as well. So, working with them to get to the root of what’s really at the basis of that, and releasing it so that they can step forward into what they’re doing. Because right now women are working way too hard a lot of times. And feel like there’s no resources or support for them when, you know, putting the oxygen mask on first is job one. So yeah, I’m really passionate about that. So, I do offer a complimentary discovery call for women. If you want to bring your issue or challenge you’re faced with you can go on my website at LAURAFELTZ.COM and book a discovery call with me, and I’m happy to provide some, one or two recommendations, no strings attached, to you and the situation that you’re dealing with.
(28:42) Dr. Doreen Downing:
So yeah, that’s generous. And I do know that what you’re speaking about and I noticed they were three Ds, and I’ll be taking that today, the “downplay”, “deflect”, and “dismiss”, I think those were the three that you mentioned. And that it’s always, when you’ve got something like okay, those three Ds will help me remember too about people who dismiss, downplay, and deflect in ways that hide who they can be. And you also said greatness, the greatness that’s within and I like that phrase, the greatness.
(29:20) Laura Feltz:
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. And this platform, just showcasing other individuals who have found their voice in different ways… It’s so important because every time we hear a story, it’s just being open to see yourself in that story. And I’ve done so much learning from that, and I love your podcast. So…
(29:48) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yeah, I love inviting people and I get to have deeper relationships with people rather than just have a, you know, conversation, a social conversation. This is really meaningful. And just by us having a conversation, we open up possibilities for people who are listening, who find us, who find you. And also, what a wonderful moment. Is there anything you’d like to say– last words?
(30:17) Laura Feltz:
Oh, last words, especially during this time of pandemic or pandemic hangover, wherever you’re at with whatever region you’re listening to this, there are resources and help available for you. I know anxieties are still running high, so please do reach out and get the support you need. Asking for help is actually a strength. So please do that.
(30:43) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, asking for help is a strength. That’s a great last line that will hopefully reverberate like a bell.
Also listen on…
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.