From Poverty to PhD with Carolyn Colleen

Episode 277

From Poverty to PhD with Carolyn Colleen

Carolyn Colleen’s life story is one of personal and professional transformation and triumph. She is a living example that if there’s anything holding you back, you have the power to overcome it – and to achieve all of your goals. 

I saw Carolyn speak at an event and was so blown away by her message that I asked her to be the opening speaker at this past year’s Best Year Ever [Blueprint] LIVE event, and I’m excited to introduce you to her on today’s podcast episode! 

Today, Carolyn joins me to share the story of how she went from standing in line for food at the Salvation Army to becoming a PhD, and how she discovered true and unconditional self-love, found courage, and escaped the mental jail that was keeping her in an abusive relationship – and how she now helps others do the same.

Carolyn Colleen

Sometimes you have to borrow the love that you have for another, until your self-love catches up.


  • The moment Carolyn realized her definition of love was truly a cycle of abuse – and how it ignited her inner ferocity and transformed her life. 
  • How Carolyn exited the cycle of abuse, why it led her into the cycle of poverty, and how she overcame the internal and external struggles she faced in those moments. 
  • How Carolyn reverse-engineered her first big goal to get out of low-income housing while working full-time and completing school. 
  • Carolyn’s advice for people who self-sabotage, make negative decisions, and can’t let go of the past. 
  • Why challenging our definitions of love give us the power to evolve – and how self-love gives us the power to do anything.


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Carolyn Colleen

When we get underneath understanding where our self-worth and our self-love is seeded from, we can do anything.





Hal: All right. Here we go. Let’s do it. Goal achievers, we’re here. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is Hal Elrod and if it’s your first time, you’re welcome, and if it’s your second time, you’re welcome. I mean, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been here. Welcome. You’re always welcome here, and today I am about to enter into a conversation that is going to inspire the heck out of you and also me. It’ll inspire the heck out of us. And I know that because the woman I am introducing you to today that I’m talking with I’ve known her for quite a while. I’ve not only seen her speak. I have seen her speak at an event. I was so blown away by her message that I then asked her to speak at our event, at my event, the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live experience, and she was actually our opening speaker this past year and that is a sacred spot as you might imagine. Whoever you’re going to have open your live events and close your live event, those are like arguably the two most important careful selections and my guest today, Carolyn Colleen, was the opening speaker for our conference this last year, the Best Year Ever Blueprint. She set the stage. 


And if you don’t know who Carolyn is, she is a fierce mother of three. Carolyn Colleen is an author and international speaker, a life and business strategist, and founder of Fierce Academy. Fierce Academy is a place for women to identify their relationship with their self-worth to amplify their self-love and to evolve to their next level in every area. And Carolyn’s life story which you are about to hear is one of personal and professional transformation and triumph. She’s gone from standing in a food line at the Salvation Army to becoming a Ph.D. and Carolyn’s life purpose is to provide hope and inspire people to move from fear to focus. And I’ll tell you before I bring Carolyn on, the reason that I’m bringing her to you, actually, there’s a lot of reasons but for me, the essence, I’m trying to pick kind of a theme if I can with each guest that we have on the show and Carolyn to me is just a living example of the power of the human spirit. And so, if you’ve gone through any trauma in your life, if you overcome or endured challenges which means that you’re human, right. Who hasn’t? 


But Carolyn is an example. Like if there’s anything holding you back, you know, where you’ve got excuses or you got, “Well, my life hasn’t been easy and I’ve had, you know, you don’t know what it’s been like to be me. You don’t know what I’ve gone through.” Carolyn is an example of no matter what has happened to you, you have the power within you to overcome it, to put it behind you, and to create everything you want for your life to achieve all of your goals as Carolyn Colleen is doing right now and has been doing for many years in her life. 




Hal: So, Carolyn, my friend, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast.


Carolyn: Hey, Hal. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here. 


Hal: I’m excited to have you. You’re a lovely person and a brilliant person and I’m excited for this conversation and like I’ve had the privilege of getting to hear your story and hear your message and see you speak and share your journey and I’m excited to share that with our audience. So, let’s just start. Let’s back up and start where you normally do when you share your story of what life was like, your past life if you will before you got to the point you’re at today. 


Carolyn: Yes. Thank you, Hal. So, yeah, in sharing my story it’s interesting and at the end of kind of looking back on my evolution. So, I look back on my life and I look at what has evolved and you shared a little bit about what happened to you compared to what happened for you. And my evolution began in a darker place. So, my definition of love and self-love as I’ve evolved over the years started at a very, very young age and my definition of love was skewed. At age 4, I endured a form of attention from my overly friendly neighbor who sexually molested me starting at age 4. So, at a very young age at four years old so you could imagine your definition of what love and attention is while suffering from sexual abuse and keeping secrets can be very skewed. And my definition of love continued to be skewed growing up in a household where my mother who meant very, very well invited people who were down in their luck into our home and those people sought to either abuse that love and some of them also appreciated it. 


Now, a few of them sought to abuse it and sought to abuse my sister and myself. Now, out of love, I protected my sister and I taught her to play hide and go seek and I taught her how to hide in our home which I grew up in an environment of hoarding so we had stuff and junk within our home. If you can think about a nine-year-old child standing and having hordes of stuff with only a path in the bedroom to the bathroom. So, my little sister, I would teach her how to play hide and go seek and most kids you would think could be out of fun but actually, I taught her how to hide. She’s eight years younger than I am and I teach her how to hide to protect her from the people who sought to abuse us. And so, my formation of love continued to be skewed and very confusing through my middle years and onto my childhood years. When I was a teenager, we all had puppy love and we all kind of might have a crush or two. And if you think about it, maybe you can remember your very first crush. Do you remember your first crush, Hal?


Hal: Sure. Absolutely. 


Carolyn: And so, yeah. 


Hal: Many of them, yes. 


Carolyn: Right. And there’s elementary school, middle school, high school. Well, I had my very first boyfriend in high school and you have your first boyfriend you think, “Oh, it’s going to be forever,” and it wasn’t and that relationship because of my skewed vision of what love was I had this identification that maybe this relationship would save me from the situation and the emotional stress that I had been dealing with. But I had skewed expectations and, of course, as teenage love goes, we broke up. And I found myself in the middle of an emergency room surrounded by providers seeking to pump the 25 sleeping pills I took in which to numb the pain. 


Hal: And that was from the breakup?


Carolyn: That was from the breakup, a combination of my feeling of the void of love. So, yeah, I had tried to take my life at a young age as well. And when I came home from that 72-hour hold that you could put on, my sister was there and I came home to my sister in my bedroom. It was no bigger than really a walk-in closet and she was angry at me, of course, and hurt. And in that moment when I came home to my sister, I gave her a hug and I said I was sorry and we cried and she said to me that never to ever leave her again. 


Hal: And this was you were how old and she was how old? 


Carolyn: So, at that point, I was 16. 


Hal: She was eight. 


Carolyn: Nine. 


Hal: Or nine.


Carolyn: Just turned nine. And in that moment, I realized that I was so caught up in all of the things and how I was leading my life with the things that had happened to me in that environment, my skewed definition of love and the void of love that I realized in that moment that I was a shining star to another person. I was her light. I was her protector and I promised her that I would never leave again and I definitely did not. But that didn’t mean I stopped running and I ran right into the arms of a man who reflected my self-worth. I became pregnant and married, and that was at age 19. So, my spouse, he loved me so much that he would monitor my time in five-minute increments, and our love was so strong that he didn’t allow me privacy. So, if I were to go to the bathroom on my own, that might be too much time alone so he would accompany me to the bathroom. Our love was so undying and no one understood our love that he would keep me up at all hours of the night providing me feedback on how to be a better wife, a fear-provoking feedback, and I was in this world of truly believing that that was love, unending self-sacrifice, and suffering. 


Now, he monitored my time by 15-minute increments. So, in order for me to get home from where I was working, it would take me generally about 12, 15 minutes. If I were to skew from that time, let’s say it was instead of 15 minutes, it took me 20 minutes to get back, he’d require an inspection and upon passing that inspection which I always did, he would reward me with his passion. Now, he promised me that our love was so undying and I believed it that no one could ever love me as much as he did. No one understood our relationship. Everyone was against us. And he promised me if I were to think of leaving that he’d end my life and in his own so that we could be together forever. 


Hal: Wow. And this was from 19. How long were you with this man?


Carolyn: For three years.


Hal: For three years. So, three years of physical, mental, sexual, psychological abuse?


Carolyn: Yes. Yes, but that was what I thought love was until my daughter was born and my daughter, she was a colicky baby and if you may have heard of colic, many people may be familiar, but it’s this inconsolable screaming. You’ll go to the doctor and the doctor says, “Good luck.” So, she screamed for two months and I remember it vividly at two months I tried everything and I was actually on autopilot because I was very scared. I was very scared because I had read and read probably 10 parenting books while pregnant and I wanted to, I was very young and I also wanted to do things better, to have a better experience for my daughter than I have had. And so, I was running on autopilot two months of her screaming. I remember vividly about 4 in the morning at two months old I was exhausted, both from my husband who would continue to keep me up with arguing every night, so I was exhausted from that and then also a childhood in sleep, I prayed. I prayed at 4 in the morning and I just said, “Please, anyone who’s listening, send me a sign. I don’t think I can take much more.” 


And in that moment, as the sun was coming out of the sky, my daughter she stopped crying and she looked me in my eyes and I got chills over my body as if she was looking into my soul saying to me, “I’m your sign.” And I remember that so vividly because that was a transformational moment. It was a moment when I realized what true love was which is unconditional and I realized what it wasn’t, unending sacrifice and self-suffering and the light was ignited within me. I knew I needed to do something. Did I know what? No, I had no idea, but I knew I had to do something. I was not going to continue the cycle of abuse and I decided in that moment to ignite my inner ferocity and start toward a positive path in order to provide a life better for my daughter. I knew in that moment that no matter whether I would leave this situation and this unhealthy relationship for myself, no, but for my daughter, yes, because sometimes you have to borrow the love that you have for another until your self-love catches up and that’s exactly what I did. And that’s how I ended up standing in line in the Salvation Army. 


I was standing there fearful for my life, afraid of the unknown, immobilized by fear, anxiety, overwhelm, and knowing that I needed to push forward in order to create a life for my daughters so I could be someone she looked up to, someone that she might get advice from one day, someone that she could be proud of. And I hustled. I found myself escaping the cycle of abuse and falling right into physical poverty. 


Hal: And let me ask a few questions. When you were with your husband, were you a stay-at-home mom full time? Were you working? What were you doing at that time outside of being a mom? 


Carolyn: So, I was in school at first when I was pregnant, and my husband convinced me to drop out of school. And there’s wording that other people that have been in emotionally abusive relationships maybe can resonate with is, “Well, you’re not smart enough for that,” and, “Oh, well, who do you think you are? Do you think you’re better than me?” kind of thing. And so, he convinced me to drop out of school. I did have a retail job in the mall. I did that and then I also stayed home with our daughter. 


Hal: And then when you had that moment that your daughter ignited, looking into her eyes and realizing you needed to escape this abusive relationship, what was that process like for and I think that there are lessons there. Obviously, if someone is in an abusive relationship but even if someone’s in just a bad situation, they’re in a bad job like how did you – it’s courage. What were the logistics like? And how did you make that move? Did you disappear in the night? Like, I guess, I’m personally curious on how that played out. 


Carolyn: You know, I’m glad you asked that because it wasn’t an overnight thing. In that moment, I knew what I needed to do, but did I leave in that moment? No. And it was a struggle. It was a mental struggle. I had built my own mental jail. He had not locked me in the house. He had not, you know, told me that the door wasn’t locked. I could leave the house. It was my own mental jail and I have friends. At one point, I had had friends but I had isolated myself to be in the relationship, and my friends, they would say, “Hey, I’ll come pick you up and I will take you out of that house,” and I refused. It’s an interesting thing because when you’re on the outside of a relationship, an abusive relationship looking in, it seems insane. It seems like, “What in the world? Why don’t you just get up and leave?” And the thing is, is that when you’re in a relationship, especially when you meet someone new, when you start dating, it’s not like, “Oh yeah, come date me. I am going to make it so that you have no friends. You think horrible things about yourself and I’m also going to abuse you.” That’s not the sale, right? You get into the relationship and it’s slow-moving. You don’t quite realize that you’re in that space until it seems almost too late. 


And then with an empathetic viewpoint of, “Oh, well, if I just were a little bit more of this, a little bit more of that, if I just maybe if I just cooked the spaghetti exactly the way he liked it, he wouldn’t get so angry? Or maybe if I just gave him more hugs and more understanding and more and more and more, I’ll try harder tomorrow. It’ll be better tomorrow. Or I know how to not make him angry. I know it’s okay. I know this might not be the right situation, but nobody else loves me as much and he just needs somebody to take care of him and then he’ll be better.” And so, it’s this continuous mental struggle back and forth, back and forth, and actually, my daughter was two months old when I realized that I needed to do something and it was actually 13 months later that I left. And so, that struggle of back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, “Okay, maybe just one more week he’ll be better or maybe when she’s older it’ll be a little bit better. Or, you know what, I just need to work harder. It’ll get better,” in this continuous struggle. And then also the biggest thing is not having that self-worth basis in the beginning. 


So, as the abuse would ebb and flow and continually get worse, I didn’t notice exactly how much worse it had gotten. Yes, it’s quite a mental jail. So, when just going in and trying to remove someone from a situation like that and that’s why men and women, both, anyone in this relationship they end up going back because it’s all they know. 


Hal: So, 13 months after is how long it took you to muster up the courage and kind of make the plan to leave?


Carolyn: Yeah. Right. Muster up the courage, exactly. 


Hal: And how did you go from, I mean, you’re about to make your walk through your Ph.D. here in a few months, which congratulations by the way. That’s such a huge accomplishment. 


Carolyn: Thank you. Thank you. 


Hal: So proud of you. How do you go from poverty to Ph.D.? It’s a great title, but, yeah, I mean, that’s such a radical transformation and triumph and overcoming of, I mean, not just they were both internal huge internal struggles like you said your own, what do you call it? Your mental prison? 


Carolyn: My own, yup, mental jail. 


Hal: Mental jail. So, you had to overcome radical internal struggles and limitations, beliefs, and self-worth and all of that which I know now that you’ve dedicated your life to helping other people do that, but you also had to overcome radical logistical challenges from standing in line. So, talk about both of those for as much as you want but how did you overcome the internal which I would imagine was kind of I don’t know if I would say came first. Maybe you could speak to that but kind of you have to do both at the same time and I’m sure it’s kind of an ebb and flow back and forth. But how do you, what were both of those processes like overcoming the internal challenges and then actually the external logistical challenges that you were faced with? 


Carolyn: Right. Yeah. And it’s both of those things. So, there’s another piece, another place that I share where I evolved. So, when my daughter spoke to me in that moment I evolved and I’m standing in line in the Salvation Army and there I am, just the fear of the unknown is just so immobilizing. It can be just something that can overpower your body. Now, there I am and I’m standing there with my daughter and I’m looking around the room and I remember it vividly the bright fluorescent lights, people all around and I’m looking around almost numb thinking, “Carolyn, is this your life? This is not what you had planned,” and I needed a way. A very well-meaning person came and they could see the fear in my face and said to me, “It’s okay, Carolyn. Just take one day at a time.” One day at a time as my mind’s whirling. Not only is it it’s, yeah, like he said the logistical piece, okay, how am I going to put food on the table and then the emotional piece where I’m literally flashbacking. Now, at that point, when you have PTSD and you suffer from many different things that has occurred in your life without addressing them, I would flashback often. 


Sometimes I have a smell or a particular smell or a person walked by me and it would flashback to a memory and that would emotionally that which is being emotionally deteriorating. So, I’m dealing with these two things and the lady who said that, she meant so well. She said, “One day at a time, Carolyn,” and I thought to myself, “Man, one day at a time? One day sounds so ridiculously long. I don’t know if a day is even worth it,” and I need to find new way so I thought, “Hm. Can I do a half day? No. Man, okay.” And I broke it all the way down to five minutes and I thought, “You know what, I can do anything that I think I can’t do for five minutes.” So, think about maybe something you hate to do or maybe if you’re trying to push through something, you could probably muster up enough courage to step forward in the right direction in five minutes. So, that’s what I did. I broke it down to five-minute increments and I’d focus on just one thing at a time and what I did is I took a deep breath, a pause, I focus on just one goal and my one goal was, “Okay. You need to smile because you need to keep it and fake it until you make it so that your daughter doesn’t worry about what’s happening.” 


So, that was my one goal and then my action. I call it my fierce action because I had to tap into my sympathetic nervous system, I had to tap into that fight or flight. I needed to be able to use that fight in order to push me in a positive direction to get done what I needed to get done and push the negative, the flashbacks and the negative things that were keeping me from getting done what I needed to get done out. And so, I did that five minutes at a time and I stacked those five minutes so 5 turning to 10 turned to 15 and then soon enough I was able to get through a whole day and look back and realize, “Wait a minute. I do have the courage. I do have the ability to do this. So now, after getting through one day, “Okay. I can do this. Now I can get through another day and another day.” Soon enough I’m making goals for a whole year. Now, what I had done is I reversed engineered my first goal, my first big goal, and that was a goal to get out of low-income housing. Now, I registered myself into college. 


I readmitted myself and then I also worked full-time, actually more than full-time because within the circle of poverty what’s so interesting is when you are living in low income, you have food stamps, you’re trying to get food from food pantry in order to get enough to feed, to sustain. It’s a tricky system and it’s almost more like the more that you try to get out of the system, the more you need the system. And so, I hustled. I hustled hard. I worked 60…


Hal: What age was that? Yeah. What age was that where you got enrolled back in school with your daughter, being a mom?


Carolyn: So, I was 21.


Hal: Oh, wow. 


Carolyn: Twenty and twenty-one. Yup. 


Hal: Okay. 


Carolyn: And so, see here 21. Yup. And so, I hustled and that was difficult because I was older than the other kids and I was the only one with a child in a traditional college and I would run. I would go from my job, from class to my job, fit class in, pick up my daughter, turn around, go to another job, and just hustle. And for five years I slept maybe four or five hours a night and busted my butt but I did it and I kept resetting and I kept thinking playing into that sympathetic nervous system of what I call fierce action because I took those things that could potentially hold me back, the things that I was angry about, the things that shouldn’t have happened but they did and I use them as fuel to push me forward, to get me excited and to move in the right direction. So, when I felt tired, when I felt, “Man, I just want to give up. What am I doing this for?” All of those negative mindset things that come in when you’re tired and you’re so tired of continually grinding but knowing that you need to push forward in order to create something bigger, I would tap right back into that fierce action piece that is igniting that fight mode.


Hal: Let me ask you this, Carolyn. You mentioned something a minute ago that I want to ask you about because I have my own way of doing this and my wife says that I’m not normal and so I would love your perspective on it and what I mean is you mentioned that when you were thinking back to the way your life was and it wasn’t fair, right? I think a lot of those struggle with that. If bad things happen, especially in our childhood, and it’s like, “That’s not fair like that messed me up and I was a freaking kid,” or it doesn’t matter what age you were, right? I mean, to be abused like no one deserves that. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and yet life is what it is. And so, for me, I have my whole can’t change it philosophy like if you can’t change it, then there’s no value in wishing that you could in putting energy into it and creating negative emotion and feeling sorry for yourself or feeling like a victim like there’s no value in that. 


And for me, I draw that for my story of, you know, when I was hit head-on by the drunk driver and broke all these bones and permanent brain-damage, told I’d never walk again, I would like, “Well, I can’t change it so there’s no point in being depressed or sad or angry over it.” So, I want to hear just what language would you use to describe the way that you were able to accept the things that it happened in your childhood in your young adulthood that weren’t fair, that were downright evil some might say? But what’s your process for that? If someone’s listening and they’re going, “Yeah. I’ve had a really bad past that wasn’t fair and I didn’t deserve it and, gosh damn it, I’ve got some lingering effects that are really unfair as well,” what’s your thought, what’s your advice for someone on how to overcome that, how to let things go?


Carolyn: What I say is don’t let them win.


Hal: Okay. I like that. 


Carolyn: Because when we choose a self-sabotaging action, when we choose to stay in that negative emotion, when we choose to make a negative decision that affects ourselves and our families due to something that happened and then the meaning that we attached to what happened, they win. So, that’s what I mean as far as igniting that fight mode is that that’s what I did. I took those people that it’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s not right to be sexually abused, starting at age 4. It’s not right to be sexually abused by men and women. It’s not right to have to learn how to navigate emotional and physical abuse. However, if I were to choose a negative path. Let’s say I decided, “You know what, screw it. I’m just going to decide to take a path that I wanted to get into things that would destroy my soul, that would make it so that all of those people that abused me won.” So, I decided that they would not win because if I were to choose to take up a negative act let’s say so like if I wanted to do stealing or getting into drugs or getting into things that destroyed me as a person and destroyed my daughter, then those people who abused me won. 


And I decided that I’m going to prove them wrong. I am not put here on earth to be abused. I am not put here to be taken advantage of. I am a fighter and I’m a fierce fighter, and so I decided that absolutely not. I’m going to go all the way to Ph.D. and I’m going to prove all those people wrong who decided that they could maybe hold me down. And through that, I’ve had 20 years of therapy. I’ve aggressively looked after trying to be the best mom and the best person I could be in this example to my daughter because I know that the things that happened to me needed to be addressed and they needed to be worked through and being able to understand what happened to me and how that might affect my future decisions. So, I needed to be able to look those things in the face and work through them aggressively and I had work through them with the same aggressiveness that I used in order to get out of my logistical issue as far as poverty and becoming a better person mentally as well. And so, I used the exact same fight mode and I turned to that on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I wanted to definitely hide many, many, many, many times, but I took that anger that I had for the things that shouldn’t have happened and I used it as fuel in order to push me into an uncomfortable zone of trying to continually be better, learn, and grow. 


And don’t get me wrong, like I definitely feel that what happened was very wrong and I’m not looking to try and find the certain pieces that I would say, “Absolutely not.” Now, some people will say, “Hey, let’s find the gratitude in these things. You know what, no.” But it doesn’t mean it has to eat me alive and it doesn’t mean that it defines me. It’s a piece of me. I can’t take it away but I can definitely identify it as something that can be turned into a way that can be positive. So, for example, I’m extremely tenacious and resourceful. Why? Because of my upbringing, because of the things that happened to me and seeking out the things that I might be able to find something that I can use. Does that mean I’m grateful for that? No, but it means that I can find something that I can use to better my current and my future state. So, people will say, “Carolyn, you are the most resourceful person that I know and I go, “You know what, that’s because I figured out how to break free from the circle of poverty.” And, “You’re the happiest person that you smile all the time even under massive amounts of stress,” and I say, “Well, yeah, because you got to not only fake it until you make it. You have to fake it until you fierce it,” is what I say.


Hal: Well, what do you mean by that?


Carolyn: Yes, it works.


Hal: What do you mean by that fake it until you fierce it? 


Carolyn: Fake it until you fierce meaning so fake it until you make it, there’s that saying that people are very familiar with. I say, “Fake it until you fierce it,” meaning that you’ve pushed into your next evolution. I look back and I look back at all of the things that I have experienced in my lifetime and I can say, “Heck, yeah. I did that,” and that’s the fierce portion of owning my strength, owning my courage, and owning that I am worthy. 


Hal: Beautiful. Well, you are all those things and I love your mindset and the part about this is that you went out on a limb, you took major risks to leave your husband, and set an example that your daughter could be proud of and I just want to acknowledge you for doing exactly that at a level that I don’t think you could’ve ever even imagined you were capable of. 


Carolyn: Great. Thank you. 


Hal: Yeah. I’m on your website right now., looking at your beautiful daughter and your beautiful boys, your family. You are very blessed. So, take us a minute to talk, what are you up to now? So, what do you do now? And I know you have a fierce action guide to share with our listeners which I’d love to hear a little bit about that. So, if you take a minute or two to mention what do you do now, what are you using this Ph.D. for? I’d love to know that and where can our listeners learn more about you, get that guide from, that sort of thing?


Carolyn: Yeah. So, thank you. It’s been an awesome journey. And I went from standing in line at the Salvation Army to standing in many lines with my daughter and my two boys giving back to the community and I’ve gone from seeking advice from Ph.D. to save my life to becoming a Ph.D. in which to save the lives of many and I went, what’s interesting is that I went from embracing my little girl praying for help to releasing my little girl at her first day of college and it absolutely just brings a smile to my face every time I think about it because as she’s walking away and I’m trying not to cry, I think, “You know what, that little girl she’s got nothing to worry about besides getting to Target to buy Ramen noodles.” 


Hal: Yeah. 


Carolyn: And to me, that is success and so…


Hal: Huge success. That makes me so happy. As I’m looking at your daughter right now and I’m thinking, “Wow.” She’s roughly your age with all that abuse and thanks to you, you couldn’t ask more from a mom than to protect her from that type of thing and now like you said, nothing to worry about except for getting Ramen noodles.


Carolyn: Right. That’s the biggest worry she has, right? And so, I’m honored to be able to help women internationally sharing my story and creating a Fierce Academy, which is helping women identify their self-worth, evolve in their self-love in order to move on to their next level of business, their next level of relationship because when we get underneath understanding where our self-worth and our self-love is seeded from, we can do anything. As I look back at my life, I’ve been able to really grow and evolve because every time that I challenged my definition of love, I then evolved and my business and my career evolved. My relationships evolved and I was able to then understand and really lean into what this life is all about and to be truly happy, have authentic friendships, and be able to share with other women how exactly to do that. 


Hal: I love that. And so, the Fierce Action Guide which I know is something that you give to people as a freebie, a free value. Well, talk about that. What is that? 


Carolyn: So, that’s teaching what I did in the moment to what I created out of survival in order to the five minutes at a time, breathing, identifying a goal, and fierce action. So, breaking that down and how to use that because I created that tool back out of survival and I use it today for many different reasons. So, resetting and changing the direction of where I’m going, just five minutes at a time. So, taking a pause, identifying one goal, and taking fierce action. I call it BFF, your new best friend. Breathe, focus, fierce action. 


Hal: I love that. And where can we get that free download? 


Carolyn: So, I’ll put that in the links. So, that’s at


Hal: Awesome. Well, Carolyn, you’re such an inspiration and I’ve been inspired by you since I’ve known you and I’m more inspired hearing your story again today so thank you so much for sharing with us. 


Carolyn: Thank you so much for having me, Hal. It was an honor to be here. 




Hal: Absolutely. Goal achievers, as I opened up the podcast today saying I brought Carolyn on because I wanted her to share her story to inspire all of us to realize that no matter what happened in our past, our past doesn’t dictate our future unless we allow it to. And, Carolyn, I think this is just one of the best examples of someone who and at such a young age to be roughly 20 and having that type of background and those challenges and that adversity and be in that situation with a psychologically and physically abusive husband and then to take that leap and take that risk and take your daughter and go out and pursue your dreams and achieve your goals, and she has done all of that. So, I hope that this has inspired you as much as it inspired me. I hope that you will take that inspiration and turn it into fierce action, as Carolyn would say. Thank you for tuning in today’s episode. I love you, I appreciate you, and go out there and achieve your goals and I will talk to you next week, everybody. Take care. 



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