Please Judge Me by My Shoes

By Katina Hubbard

It’s true: I judge people’s shoes. Fortunately I don’t do it to place them in a master shoe hierarchy or a dichotomy of good and bad shoes, oh no, I am not capable of this sort of cranial computation.

Instead, I learned to look at people’s shoes due to an extreme hippy upbringing that fostered all sorts of open-minded, non-judgmental behavior in me such as taking a bus into the Congo when I was 19 and having “heart-to-hearts” with strangers on New York City subways. Somewhere along the line I started using shoes as an indicator of where people are going and who they might be.

And now I notice shoes in a borderline idiot savant sort of way. I actually remember people by their shoes and will regularly describe strangers as “the one wearing the tan loafers with dark laces” which has proved particularly unhelpful to some of my dearest male colleagues and counterparts.

But I love shoes for the stories they hint at, how specific to space and time they are, and for their subtle indications of who their wearer might be.

So I’m in a bit of a vulnerable situation with this new video my boyfriend and I made on Friday profiling every shoe I currently own, in high definition. Yes, every single shoe besides my scuba diving flippers, which were an accidental omit.

This little movie came from the most organic place it could have, that is: our intuition, friendship, and love. It just sort of came out of us. Now that I write this I see how ridiculous that sounds, considering that your average person wouldn’t know how to make and publish a short film in a week let alone have one “accidentally come out” over a three hour time period. But my boyfriend is a genius filmmaker who has a lifetime (literally, since age 9 when he was making Star Wars mash-ups on a VHS player) of incredible work, both some of the best commercials you’ll ever see as well as meaningful artistic pieces from his huge heart. Oh and we work together, for money, sometimes; I’m also a producer.

Anyway, our little film turned out to be a subtle portrait of a person via their shoes, which got me thinking about why I have so many shoes.

Now, I have a pretty good grasp on who I am. Thank god. Because I didn’t always. For a long time I was very confused.


A dear friend and mentor at GAPzip helped me find my life’s purpose. He pointed out that I was most angered when people I saw great potential in were sabotaging themselves, or when people were sabotaging my potential greatness. He helped me find the trends throughout my entire life that led to the realization of the one thing I do best and care the most about. I’m an empowerer of empowerers.

Things would be different if I knew that at birth. If I came out of the womb with a label saying “this girl is meant to empower people,” my family could have catered my life around opportunities and processes that would have prepared me for my most successful life. But they didn’t, so I’m doing the best I can with where I am.

That’s not to say that my life is definable by this one thing.  I have many purposes, within my life, my month, my week, today.

But when I look at the people I admire the most, they have one thing in common: they know exactly who they are. Whether it’s Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson, Meryl Streep or Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs or Jumpa Lahiri, the most successful people in the world have somehow embarked on life with a purpose that perfectly suits who they inherently are. If you asked them, “What’s the point of your life?” chances are they wouldn’t have to think too hard. I’m guessing that they’d say something like:


Michael Jackson: “to bring joy to the world with my music”

Meryl Streep: “to unlock meaningful emotional moments with my acting”

Steve Jobs: “to revolutionize the way people use technology”

It doesn’t mean that 100% of their lives are or were devoted to that cause, or that their lives are in any way better than anyone else’s, but these people felt the pulse of something deep telling them what they were meant to do, and they did it. They lived with purpose.

I believe we all have a purpose that is uniquely ours. Really, it’s a series of purposes, overlapping and cycling, growing and expiring. But most likely there is one main purpose for your life, right now.

As I watch myself jump in and out of screen wearing my different shoes, I grow nostalgic for all the different roles I play, people I know, and places I go. There’s something about life where we’re meant to keep going, as things keep changing, so must we. We need our work shoes, our play shoes, our dirty shoes, our fancy shoes for all the things we’re doing in the cycle of living: celebrating, mourning, working, playing, relaxing, exercising. Part of our existence is just to keep going, cycling through the ups and downs, lows and highs…

Yet amidst the seasons and routines there is some pulsing drive that keeps us wishing for more, hoping for something deeper. You might call this love, God, peace, growth. Some people say they don’t have it but I know it’s there. It’s the search for a purpose, a reason for being.


And without any authority, I’m betting you have one, and it’s an important, unique part of who you are and what makes you happy. It’s separate from your parents, where you grew up, what schools you went to, what you do for money, and any one you’re around. You are unique and incredibly special, and you have a mark to make that is unlike anyone else’s in this world.

I believe our happiness depends on finding this clarity on who we are and what we want. Not that it’s one thing, and not because it won’t change. But because owning our own purposes, no matter what they are, is an important step to being able to live each day and moment to the fullest potential.

I’m challenging us to live with purpose!


Cultivate and value our voice and means of expressing it
Feel distance and gratitude for the people that raised us
Wake every morning with hope and resolution
Feel excited and invigorated by our challenges
Experience deep connection with people in our lives
Laugh at ourselves, our lessons learned, and our past
Bond with other souls who support us on our journey
Create and engage with community
Celebrate things that move within us and beyond us


Finding our life’s purpose could take a lifetime! Or, we all inherently know it and just need a little help revealing it to ourselves.

I recommend the GAPzip workshops for all of us interested in finding our purpose — be it in a grand sense: “what am I doing with my life,” or the every day wonders: “why am I getting out of bed this morning.” Taught by executive strategic consultant Andrew Papageorge and inspirational genius Craig Marshall, they offer two-day workshops for people looking to learn strategic tools for innovating their lives from the inside-out. I took the workshop a year ago and systematically overhauled my entire life. I’m more clear on who I am, what I want, and how I’ll get it, plus my friends and family keep telling me I’m more powerful than ever before (I’m hoping they mean this in a good way…)

In terms of exercises, I like Marie Westmore’s tips and exercises. I found this via google and found it promising:

“Step #1 Motivations
First, think of the 10-12 activities you like to do most (food and sex do not count, unless you are truly destined to be in the food or sex industry). Next you determine what actions are required to do your favorite activities. Think in terms of “action verbs”; action verbs are words like: create, nurture, restore, catagorize, communicate, etc. Then, narrow it down to the top 3 choices.

Step #2 Principles
Next you think of the ideals that you, personally, believe in most strongly. What you stand for. Come up with as many as you can think of (10-12 if possible). Then you choose the single most important principle to you; your guiding principle.

Step #3 Targets
Your life purpose also involves being of service. Being of service to others. Being of service to others in the real world. Think about others in society who you care about strongly and would like to see helped, i.e. what groups or types of people or entity would you most like to serve or see helped? Think of as many as come to mind (10-12 if possible). Then you choose the single most important one to you, the one that you feel the strongest about. This is your target.

After you complete these 3 exercises properly all 3 components of your life purpose will have been revealed to you.

Taken from

Send me your thoughts on your life purpose, I love this topic!