Carrington Smith- Finding Gifts In The “Stuff” Of Life

At first glance, you might think of Carrington Smith as being born with a silver spoon in her mouth. But, other people’s lives usually look much easier to us than they are for them. Carrington grew up with abuse and trauma in her background. What happens to us is not a choice. What we do with it is. Carrington is a beautiful example of how we can dig through the “stuff” of life and find gifts.

You can find Carrington at:


Carrington Smith is a single mom, attorney, business owner, and executive search professional. Despite being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, life gave her a hard kick in the tail.

She has survived sexual assault, two divorces, piles of debt, abuse, religious mind games, the death of loved ones, and the loss of close friends. In her bestselling debut memoir, Carrington combines wit and wisdom to share her journey through the “stuff”, with a positive attitude and a shift of mindset, into a life bursting with joy, opportunity, and purpose.

Carrington’s book is: Finding Gifts in the Shit of Life available on Amazon

Some questions Carrington answers:

  • There are so many women out there who have been sexually assaulted – how would you advise them about their experience?
  • You felt compelled to write your book because you saw people suffering from the pandemic. Why? How does your story help others?
  • You talk about struggling with body dysmorphia. What message do you have for those struggling with this?
  • What kind of advice do you have for people looking for advice on their careers?
  • Based on your life experience, what advice do you have for people suffering from depression?


Brian Smith 0:43
Now that you’re here at Grief 2 Growth, I like to ask you to do three things. The first thing is to make sure that you like click Notifications, and subscribe to make sure you get updates for my YouTube channel. Also, if you’d like to support me financially, you can support me through my tip jar at grief to growth that comments grief and number two jar or look for tip jar at the very top of the page or buy me a coffee at the very bottom of the page, you can make a small financial contribution. The third thing I’d like to ask is to make sure you share this with a friend through all your social media, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Thanks for being here. Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life the causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth and I have a really great guest for today. I’m sure you guys are gonna be excited to meet her. Her name is Carrington Smith. She’s written a book called blooming, and I’m going to talk I’m going to read her bio and then I’ll bring her in and we’ll just start by having a conversation. I think she and I have a lot in common this should be interesting. The book blooming is candid and Ron and takes you on a treasure hunt, to discovers discover the gifts in the ship should it’s quite literally fertilizer. It’s in the messes, the failures, the trauma, and difficulties of life that we discover we need to bloom into our greatness. So from trauma to triumph through the depth of sexual assault, religious religious mind fuckery these are Carrington words, family rejection body dysmorphia, my midlife metamorphosis, physical scarring and death into happiness, and to happiness, forgiveness, empathy, purpose, belonging and joy. Blooming as a poignant, powerful account of finding your way through the ship. Carrington is a single mom, she’s an attorney, she’s a business owner, and she’s an executive search professional. And despite being born silver spoon in her mouth, life gave her a hard kick in the tail, and she survived sexual assault, to divorces, piles of debt abuse, religious mind games, the death of loved ones and a loss of close friends. So in her best selling debut memoir, which is what we’re going to talk about today, she combines wit and wisdom to share her journey through the shed with a positive attitude and a shift of mindset into a life bursting with joy, opportunity and purpose. So with that, I want to welcome to grief to growth Carrington Smith.

Carrington Smith 3:46
Thank you so much for having me, Brian.

Brian Smith 3:48
Yeah, it’s I’m really looking forward to having the conversation we were talking before I hit the record button. The we do seem to have a lot in common, and our philosophies of life and some of the things we’ve been through or been kind of similar to. So tell me about about your life. You it sounds like you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but you’ve gone through quite a bit between there and where you are now.

Carrington Smith 4:09
Yeah. Well, it’s a part of the reason I claim that you have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth is I think people make judgments based on sort of that initial like, Oh, looks like she lives this fabulous life. And they’re 90 95% of the time incorrect. These judgments, you know, that people make about people. So yeah, I was born into a family that my great, great grandfather founded International Paper Company. I had another grandparent that had a stock or had a seat in the New York Stock Exchange, founded multiple banks, you know, multiple companies hung out with, you know, the astor’s the Rockefellers, du Pont’s. I mean, they had the houses like on Long Island like The Great Gatsby. I mean, it was that kind of life they lived and by the time you get to my generation Some parts of my family still had money. But in particular, none of that got to me. And so there was I was expected to live up to the standards of that background. So there were extremely high standards as far as academics, and a lot of my family was very athletic. So athletic achievement, and social standing were the things that were emphasized. But I didn’t have any of the emotional or financial, psychological support to achieve any of those things. So in my particular family, my parents became fundamentalist Christians, I know we have that background in common. And with those beliefs, my father believed that the firstborn son, which was my brother should get, you know, preference for most everything. And he did. And then my sister was the firstborn daughter, and I was I was the baby or the runt of the litter. So my sister was given a lot of things I wasn’t given. And just to kind of help people understand the stark contrast, my sister went to this boarding school that my grandmother and my mother went to, it’s Oprah Winfrey sent, I think, one of her nieces or something there. It is, to this day, the most elite, all female boarding school in the world. And so it was very important to my grandmother and mother that that my sister go, but they took a look at me and said, Yeah, not carry my sister, so she could go there, they asked me to transfer to public school. So I went to public school with I mean, ever is this very industrial town. So you missed some some Boeing people, because that’s also where the but what a big Boeing plants are, but some pretty, you know, blue collar, folks, and my sister was hanging out with the private jet crew. So on her weekends, they would use one of her friends, private jets to go somewhere. So you know, we’re 18 months apart in age coming from the same family, but our lives could not have been more different. And then when I grew up, when she graduated from boarding school, she went to USC, in Southern California, the University of spoiled children. And my parents asked me to go in state, because they were paying for my brother at Stanford, and my sister at USC. And so I was asked, or actually asked, is putting it nicely, I was told that I was gonna go in state. So I chose to go to Washington State University, we were living in Seattle at the time, and attended there for a couple years, so that we could pay for my brother and sister. So that kind of helps you give people a little bit understanding. And then when I was at Washington State, I was raped. And that kind of, it’s actually the first story I write about in the book, and it kind of helps unfold a lot of my life philosophies and how, you know, how that event, that trauma, how I processed it, and how I’ve actually learned to use it to serve me now. So

Brian Smith 8:23
yeah, well, it’s sounds like you, you know, got off to a kind of a rough start in life. And and so what what is it that helped you to turn that around? what point did you say, I’m going to do something with this?

Carrington Smith 8:40
Well, I think part of it is, you know, we, as we’re growing up, we think we put our parents on a pedestal. And we think that everything that they say is true and right. And that they are like, you know, they are sort of like gods to us. And for me, it took years of having a lot of really bad things happen, really at the hands of my parents neglect, abuse, you know, being compared to my siblings, negatively favoritism. Not being there when I was raped, not being there to support me, in fact, rejecting me because of it. Learning to finally grasp the fact that these things were what they were. I think a lot of times, we just think that’s how we’re treated and that’s how what we deserve but actually being able to put a label on it and someone said, you know, you were neglected or you were abused. It was like I was, I mean, helping to put a label on it really helped me then to heal from it and move on. And I mean, I went through a lot of therapy. A lot of dark days, a lot of depression. But, you know, I think doing the hard work and In and always looking to grow and get better. I mean, that’s just that very seed, that core desire to get to the other side helps you seek out therapy. But it was really those moments when I was looking back on the events that happen to be that I had the epiphany, one of the big epiphanies that helped me move forward. And so let me just give you an example. My father, being a fundamentalist Christian, he actually thought he was a prophet. And we went from, you know, we started out Episcopalian, and we he ended up he now has a home church. So there was a whole arc there of progression. And he was, he was a very scary guy, physically, but even more so mentally, getting in your head and using scriptures, twisting scriptures to make you feel less than and to manipulate you to do what he wanted. I grew up walking on eggshells, and really living in fear of my father. And someone asked me, this was probably 15 years ago. You know, what is one of your greatest gifts? And I that was easy. I was like intuition. Like I have to be some people suggest I was psychic. I don’t think that but my intuition is so fine tune, I can walk in a room and pick up on so many things that won’t even register with other people. And they asked me, Well, where do you think you got that gift? And I thought about it, and I said, I got that gift from walking on eggshells. It was my childhood was my training ground. For this gift of intuition. I had, it was a survival skill, right? So I had to constantly be aware of everything happening around me and pick up on things that other people couldn’t in order to navigate my childhood.

That conversation made me realize that if I was grateful for the gift of intuition, I must also be grateful for the path that birthed that. I could not separate those two things. And in that moment, I suddenly had gratitude for my past. And it just was such, it was a shift for me. I then began to go back and look at these other shitty, horrible experiences, and say, Well, what other gifts are there? buried there? What What else can I claim from these experiences that I’ve had? And I uncovered things like, you know, grit, emotional resilience, collaboration, leadership, just all these different life skills that came out of the hardest events in my life. And understanding that it, it also helped my mindset change so that now as horrible things happen, my eye is on what am I getting out of this? Where’s the opportunity in the adversity or where is the gift in this? And so, as bad things happen, it’s a mindset. So here, I’ll give you another quick example. If you say you get a flat tire, and you’re stuck in the highway, flat tire, you call AAA, your day is shot, you’re gonna be stuck out there waiting for an hour. Most people are like, you know, my days gone to hell, this sucks. I’m screwed. That’s where their head goes, right? With this shift in mindset, when something like that happens, I immediately go hmm. There’s a gift in here somewhere. How do I view this event? Instead of viewing viewing it as gosh, you know, flat tire got hit by a new tire, blah, blah, blah, it’s, well, I have the gift of an extra hour in my day, I got pulled out of this crazy hamster wheel that I’ve been on. God made me stop and take stock. I have an hour now to call that friend I’ve been meaning to talk to. I have an hour now listen to that podcast I’ve been meaning to listen to. These are the gifts so as opposed to focusing on Oh, my day is screwed. My mind immediately goes to what’s the opportunity here? What’s the gift? What am I meant to reflect on? Because this just happened to me? And it becomes a mindset of muscles. So it’s my brain has now become trained that every time something bad happens, I’m like, Okay, what am I supposed to get out of this? What’s the lesson let me learn it quickly. So I don’t have to go through this more than Right, right.

Brian Smith 15:03
So I’m curious when you started to make the shift to you, because you said you were you were raped and college and I think you had some financial issues and stuff, too. So when did you make this shift on your own? Was it something that just came to you? Were you in therapy? Or how did you? How did you end up doing this?

Carrington Smith 15:21
Well, with therapy for me, that really came down to sort of deprogramming, I had this negative tape that was constantly being triggered, the minute something bad happened, or there was any kind of negative inference towards me, I would just go into this downward spiral of self hatred and self loathing. And what therapy did for me was helped move me from that tape to a internal dialogue that was more about self love than self flagellation. And as I learned to talk to myself, or have an internal dialogue that was more positive and more caring, and more supportive to myself, it helps me let go of a lot of my anger, and moved from anger and focusing on myself and what had been done to me to self love, and looking outward to what I could do for others, and having empathy for others. So there’s literally like the spectrum of, you know, self hatred, anger, you know, what was done to me to self love, what I can do for others, empathy, joy, purpose, and it was a journey. I mean, it’s not something that just was a snap moment, it was doing the hard work facing those things. As I like to say, you have to reach rage to reach forgiveness, get angry about what happens, you know, like, feel it, but let it pass through you. So you don’t hold on to it. I think that’s where people get stuck. They either a deny that they’re angry or upset, say, I don’t want to, I want to pretend this didn’t happen to me, big mistake, or they stay in the anger or the muck and sit in it, you have to let it move through you feel it, acknowledge it, but let it move through you. So then you can get to the other side, which is forgiveness, happiness, empathy, Joy.

Brian Smith 17:28
Yeah, I think that that is just Wow, such a huge revelation. And like you, I went to therapy, I was probably close to 40. By the time I got around to it, you know, my life just was not working for me. I was having panic attacks. And the religious stuff was, you know, I was like, I thought I was a bad person. And God didn’t love me and I’ll and all this kind of stuff. And you would you just so I remember my therapist saying this to me, just like you have to feel those feelings that I denied when I was a child the things that I didn’t get, you know, because I always just said, Well, I don’t, I didn’t really deserve them. Or they did the best they could. And you know, those were the things I was telling myself. And she said, but as a five year old, you didn’t know that. And that’s what really kind of opened my eyes up.

Carrington Smith 18:13
Yeah, absolutely. That’s so so true. Yeah.

Brian Smith 18:18
So I’m curious, how about your religious spirituality? And where you are on that, on that journey? Now having come through that, or where do you How did you process that?

Carrington Smith 18:31
Well, boy, that was hard. And where I am today is I consider myself spiritual, not religious. I know we have that in common. I feel like religion is a trap that people use to impose their beliefs, morals, values, whatever on others, and to cause cause shame, or create shame or other negative things. I believe that God is a loving God. And I always go back to me, the most central thing is I think of Jesus and how he was the person who loved the least of them. And that’s who he chose to hang out with, and how he threw out the tax collectors and the Pharisees and those people made him angry. And that helps give me clarity about who he is, and what’s what he’s about. And the most essential and important verse in the Bible is Love thy neighbor as thyself. And I hold on to that. So when people judge other people, I’m like, you know, God told us not to judge he told us to love. And so when people use religion to judge other people, I’m like, wait a second, that’s fundamentally wrong. So I have just landed at a place where I have a great relationship with God, but it’s about love, and it’s about showing up for other people. and spreading joy, making a difference in people’s lives in, in whatever small way I can, whether that’s a smile, or a compliment or a prayer or a gift or, you know, whatever it is a kind word. But, you know, it was a long way to get there. I mean, my father loved to manipulate scripture. And one of the scriptures that was his favorite was the commandment that we were to honor our father and mother and mother. Yeah, they love that damn thing. And what he would say is, it’s the only command that comes with a promise. And that is, if you honor your mother and father, you’ll have a long life. And he twisted that to say, and likewise, it also comes with a curse. So if you don’t honor your mother and father, you’ll, your life will be cut short. And so he actually sent me what I refer to as the demand letter, where he laid out all of his demands for what I was to do, to honor him. And it was a very specific list of this point, I was an adult, he was like, you know, each one of you three kids needs to host us for holidays. And, you know, you need to make sure you give us gifts, and like, it was like a whole list. But what was so paramount that came out of that letter was that there was a curse. And I got the letter before my brother and sister and I picked up the phone and I call them I said, burn it, don’t open it. It’s evil. Because it’s the kind of thing that gets in your head, you can’t get rid of right? It just eats at you. And that’s just an example of what he would do. But it was constant where he would use scripture to manipulate behavior. So

Brian Smith 21:49
yeah, and that’s, you know, it’s I, I’ve gone through toxic religion, I work with someone where we would talk to people all the time about it. And it’s just amazing how the thing that’s supposed to teach us to love and bring us together, can actually be manipulated, as you said to do to do the opposite to end. And you know, as you were typing that letter that your father would have been B just reminds me of talking about the law. This is literally him laying down the law to do his adult child. But I guess at this point, you had enough self confidence that you were able to put that aside.

Carrington Smith 22:24
Yeah, I really, his behavior, I guess, in some ways, his wild behavior help, because he had actually sat me down and had this like three hour dinner where he told me he was a prophet. And then when I got to heaven, God was gonna affirm that because I was clearly like, yeah, right dad. And his behavior gotten wild enough that I was like, Okay, this guy, you know, he’s out there. So that kind of helped a little bit. But yeah, I mean, it. Still it when you have it constantly in your head drummed into your head for your 1718 years of your life of just this toxicity and these crazy beliefs. It’s really hard to step away from that. And it and it was after that letter of divorce, that first husband, I was on my second husband, that my therapist said, Look, I really think that you would benefit from daily on the couch cycle analysis, so five days a week, on the couch, for a year. And that was really talking through these beliefs that these crazy beliefs and helped she just would kind of ask questions. She was great. I mean, she would make me think about what I was saying, and I’d go, Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense, you know, and you kind of gradually and you do sort of build self esteem for that process. Because you realize on your own that, okay, this isn’t right. And I did arrive at my own set of, I mean, I, I believe in God. But I believe in a loving God. And so I just issue all of that crazy. If you don’t, you know, stand on your head and clap three times, or whatever it is, whatever religion tells you to do, forget it. That’s not what God’s about. So

Brian Smith 24:12
no care. It’s hard for people that haven’t been through this, this to understand it. And I’m in this group on Facebook, for people that have gone through this. And sometimes people that have it, they’re in the group and they’re like, why would you ever believe that crazy stuff, but it goes back to what you said at the very beginning. When we’re when we’re young children, we look at our parents as gods. I mean, they literally look at them as like, all knowing. And all the adults know everything and they give this stuff and people don’t understand that programming becomes a part of you and you feel like and I don’t wanna put words in your mouth. But when that starts to fall away, how did that feel to you when you when you start to say these beliefs aren’t, aren’t real?

Carrington Smith 24:53
That yeah, I mean, you start to feel a little crazy, right? I mean, I did My father, we weren’t even allowed to question his beliefs at all. So when you get out there in college, and then later in law school, you know, finding out that there were different viewpoints and what they were, I was kind of like, I really, I mean, I really mentally was lost, I couldn’t make sense of the things that I had been taught. They just didn’t. And there was so much inconsistency in them too, because he was constantly changing them. So I just couldn’t make sense of what I’ve been told. So that kind of helped just put me on a journey of kind of figuring out what really mattered to me and what was important. Yeah,

Brian Smith 25:41
yeah. And that’s the thing you don’t even realize until you get to a certain point that the things that you’re believing are contradictory, you know, that God is love, but he’s gonna send all these people to hell for eternity. Right. And somehow, people hold both these ideas in their head at the same time. Until, like I said, you get to the point where you start to question it, but then, for me, it’s kind of like a house of cards, when you start to pull that one thing out, you know, then the whole thing kind of collapses. We call that pride, you know, process deconstruction. And that can be a very scary process, which a lot of people avoid that just say, I’m just gonna gloss this over. I’m not gonna I’m not going to question.

Carrington Smith 26:18
Yeah, well, I think a big part of it for me was also developing friendships with people that I hadn’t previously even been exposed to. And realizing, like, my father’s beliefs, they’re just, I couldn’t reconcile that God could believe what my father said he believed about, I’ve so many gay friends. And he was he had, he was very anti homophobic, or he was homophobic, he was anti gay. He. I mean, he, his beliefs, I just, I couldn’t make sense of them. I just couldn’t see when God was the least of them, why he why he would then discard these people. I just, I couldn’t reconcile. I mean, so I have extremely diverse friends from all kinds of walks of life, you know, ethnicity, color, background, sexuality. And, you know, my perspective is just a love. So

Brian Smith 27:23
yeah, well, like I said, that they’re they have these contradictory beliefs that they that they put on us. And then in that what the big thing, don’t question because questioning is bad, too. So it kind of the it’s built in, it’s a kind of a trap that I want people to understand when when people look at you today, and I understand a little bit of the process. You’ve been through that, as you said, it’s a process. It’s not something that slips overnight, and I heard you say you were in therapy for a long time. And yeah, I tell people, it’s it’s a practice, it’s a daily practice to, to break those things. And it’s still, you know, sometimes you’re like, oh, maybe I’m, maybe I’m wrong, you know, maybe maybe they were right, you know, that little voice in the back of your head?

Carrington Smith 28:06
Well, I have to say, for me, the most pivotal moment in my journey was when I stopped speaking to my father and cut him out of my life entirely. This man who claims to be a Christian, and tells everyone else he knows who Christians are, like, he’ll judge and say, well, they’re not a Christian. He wrapped his hands around my son’s neck and tried to strike both him. And that moment, I was like, my, you know, the mama bear comes out, right? And I’m like, You don’t mess with my kids. You’ve done enough to me. You don’t touch my kids. And so I was like, to my son, I’m just like, you never have to see that man ever again. He’s not part of our life anymore. He’s out. And I have to say, I wish someone had done that. For me. I had a grandmother that was equally toxic. And I was constantly paraded in front of her because we they wanted me to get her money and favor and whatever. And I was subjected to some really just horrible treatment. And I was like, I don’t care. This is my kid. You don’t get to touch him psychologically, physically, spiritually by and that’s when I was like I am done with you. And when I close that door and set that firm boundary, I finally myself could heal. What I came to realize is that these constant interactions with people that causes these, you know, terrors and issues and thoughts about that just make us feel bad. It’s like an open wound that every time you interact with them, it’s like the scab is picked off. It can never or heal until you completely close the door and say goodbye, and they have no access. That was when I finally began to heal. And that total separation helped me also, to really go on a more of a journey. And embrace. I was like, Look, you know, all of that was toxic and bad. And I want to create a loving, supportive environment for my children, and how do I do that? And what are we gonna stand for? And what are we going to be about? And so that journey as well kind of helped me get to where I am.

Brian Smith 30:36
Yeah, that’s, I think that’s an extremely important point, you know, because sometimes, especially dealing with the religious background, we were taught, you know, forgive, we have to forgive and forgive. And I’m a big believer in forgiveness, but I’m also a big believer in boundaries. Because Because we forgive someone doesn’t mean we have to take abuse from that person.

Carrington Smith 30:54
Right. And I think that one of the challenges in society today is people feel like, but particularly the parent child relationship, they’re like, oh, okay, he’s your dad. Can’t you just forgive him? He’s your dad, or she’s your mom, you know, shorter than being a murderer or child molester. Very few times, do your friends or social circle give you the grace to say no, I’ve had enough. Because they make this judgment that that relationship is more important than anything possible, negative they could be doing in your life. And I’m here to tell the world if they can take one thing away from this, is you have permission to protect yourself and save your sanity. And it is okay to create a boundary between whatever toxic person whether that’s a parent, or a sibling, or a grandparent or a close friend, or whoever it is, you have permission to create that boundary to separate yourself and heal it is okay and do not let anyone in your social secur social circle or society tell you otherwise, or make you feel guilty for creating that boundary. By creating that boundary, I could finally forgive my father, when he was constantly offending and picking at me. all I felt was rage and anger. And I just finally I could heal and forgive and forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Brian Smith 32:26
Wow, I’ve got goosebumps as you said that. I mean that. You just said that so perfectly. Because people, again, they misunderstand this idea of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not for the other person. It’s for ourselves, you know, as long as we’re carrying that anger, that anger is toxic to us. And, and as you said, No, sometimes in extreme situations, and I would say your father’s extreme situation. You’ve got to draw a hard boundary where it’s like, no, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore. And that person says he’s not likely to change and you’ve adjusted your budget, but the mama bear too. There’s something about our kids that really, that really triggers us right? Because it’s like we’re going to protect our kids at all costs. Yeah. Yeah, for me, one of the things was when my daughter was born because I was you know, I was hearing like this guy that supposedly loves us, but since us to hell and bottle blonde. I looked at my daughter and I just like a cage, she could never do anything that that I would put it that I would be angry with her. I mean, man might be angry. But I would turn my back on her for never, no matter what she did, I would never turn my back on her. And if God supposedly loves me more than I love my child, and how could this be possibly true? And so those those that I remember that moment when I looked at my daughter, and I’m like, This is crazy, this doesn’t make any sense.

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Brian Smith 34:43
Yeah. So um so I was going to ask what your relationship with your father’s like now but it sounds like you’ve decided that you know you’ve that’s that’s it so you have no relationship with them?

Carrington Smith 34:57
Yeah, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been to candidly, I’m not the most at peace. I think a lot of times we carry around these emotions that are so toxic to us physically, right? I’m the most like relaxed and at peace within my not just my mind, but my physical body. And I feel that I’ve released these emotions and let them go. And it’s been a journey. But I know that I’m in the right place. And my I have two very healthy, well adjusted, beautiful boys one about to go to college, the winner about to go after him. And they know that their parents love them. Even though we’re divorced. They know they’ve got two loving and supportive parents who work well together to co parent, and they have a support structure, they never have to wonder if we’re going to show up for them.

Brian Smith 35:54
Wow, that’s fantastic. I also want to ask, because I know you talk openly about being sexually assaulted. And I know that that’s a lot more common than a lot of us would like to believe. So what advice do you have for women who have gone through that and as to how to deal with it?

Carrington Smith 36:11
Yeah. Well, the first piece of advice I have is, so in my situation, I was told that I could not talk about it. And I listened to my mother and my sorority sister, and didn’t talk about it. And so for six years, I didn’t speak about it. And during that time period, I became very depressed. I, you know, before that point, I had been very straight laced, I became promiscuous after I was raped, I was free, I was reenacting the event, I was I like to say I became the messenger for the message that I had received from the rapist. And I just kept reliving that trauma. They say that trauma is the monster under the bed. If you don’t deal with it, it will own you. I did not know that. And what happened is it did on me I mean, for six years of my life, it only when I finally, the first time I ever really talked about the rate I wrote a short story is first story I ever wrote about my life. I wrote about the rate. And I did that to share with them when to help them understand why I was behaving oddly. And that just opened up for me learning that I could write a what I love about writing versus telling stories is there’s no opportunity for someone to interrupt and interject with their filters and opinions. And a lot of times, our friends tend to minimize our feelings, which is so unhealthy. or reject them wholeheartedly. Or you say it wasn’t that bad. When you write, you can just say, these are my feelings. This is what happened to me, this is my perspective. And there’s no judgement when you write, there may be feedback later, right. But in that moment, it’s unfiltered. And there’s not there’s no pressure to change how you’re feeling. And so what I learned from being brave was a, it was really critical to face it, and deal with it. But as I went through my journey, and I write about this, I really hope people do pick up the book, because this is one of the best chapters, I feel like it’s the most helpful for anybody who’s been through this because I literally take the reader on a journey of how I went through this and what books I read what shows I watched, you know, all of that, how I arrived at where I am today. But I came to a place of realizing that if we look at the shit in our life, that the traumas, the failures, the difficulties being sexually assaulted, and we actually instead of trying to hide it, and saying, it’s not going to define us, we actually claim it and say, Okay, this happened to me, and then use this horrible thing that happened to you, as a springboard to propel you forward and take what’s happened to you and reshape it, make it your own and use it for your own purposes. And by doing that, I’ve been able to take something that was so horrible, and turn it around into something that actually propels me forward through life. So,

Brian Smith 39:34
wow, that’s, that’s profound. I mean, because we, again, I think people misunderstand things. And as you just said, sometimes people will say, I’m not gonna let this define me. So we kind of deny it, we deny the impact it had on us, we just deny the importance it has in our life. Whereas you’ve taken it and you’ve integrated it, which is the exact opposite of denying it. I’m going to I’m going to take this and I’m going to look for the for the gift in it and I know that word. I know it bothers a lot of people to say that there’s a gift and something and something like that. But it’s something that you’ve decided to claim you’ve made. You’ve made the gift, it doesn’t come with it automatically. You had to claim it.

Carrington Smith 40:15
Yeah, absolutely you have. So that’s part of this story of is, you have to own your shit. You have to go back and look at it. And don’t just keep pushing it out of the way. So yeah, that happened. I’m not gonna think about it anymore. You’re there are diamonds in there. There are gifts there are diamonds. Like if you don’t go back and look at it and say, you know, what do I need to learn from this experience? You’re gonna keep reliving it. I mean, that’s one thing that’s for sure true about life. If you don’t figure out the story, or the gift that God intended for you from that experience, you’re gonna keep having those experiences, because God really wants you to have that gift. And so I like to say, you know, when something bad happens, I immediately go there. Okay, God, what’s what is it that’s here for me in this the opportunity, the gift? You know, what is it? Let’s find out quickly, because this hurt, this sucked. Yeah, acknowledge the pain. But say, okay, as I’m processing that pain, and moving through it, my eye is always on the prize.

Brian Smith 41:19
So the these things that happen in our life, and I always hesitate to use the word bad, because whether something is good or bad is really a matter of our perspective. 100% We get to decide whether it’s good or bad, but these things that happen to us. What is your belief? Is it soul planning? is a God sending it to us? Or what is your belief about that?

Carrington Smith 41:37
Oh, you know, I don’t know that I’ve actually arrived at a belief on that. I do believe it’s about perspective. One of the things that I kind of teach is it’s about these daily choices that determine the outcome of our life, you know, thoughts precede actions, and outcomes. And so, if we, and I see this all the time, my ex has been, you know, something goes bad. And he’s like, I’m screwed, right? Days ruin. That’s where he goes, something happens to me. And I go, Hmm, okay, that sucked. How am I going to make my day turn out better? Where’s the gift net? How do I, you know, I really go to strategizing and glass half full. And so it’s totally that mental perspective that does determine things. And one of my favorite stories, it’s in the book is oh, I went to Vegas with a friend and we wanted to see the fountains at the Bellagio. And so we made a reservation at at the time, it was a restaurant called all of us, that had a patio overlooking the mountains. And we had just finished our dinner watching the beautiful mountains. And the tables had umbrellas. But I just finished I stood up to get away from my table, my friend was still sitting down. And just at that moment, a massive gust of wind comes through, hits one of the fountains and carries it over and hits me like a tidal wave. And I was drenched. I mean, drenched from, like someone to the fire hose to me. I mean, from head to toe. And my girlfriend looks at me with expectation like, like, what’s she going to do? Like? I realized in that split second, that I had a choice to make that was going to determine the outcome for our evening. So in that second, I said, What are the odds of getting hit by a fountain at the blush? They were saying, No, it’s this has never happened before. And I was like, it’s never happened before. I’m the lucky. I said, I’ve been baptized by the holy water. We’re gonna wit tonight. And so my response was that so we quickly you know, I blew dry my hair, change my clothes were out the door was one of the best nights I’ve ever had in Las Vegas. But it was that split second choice of how I was going to view that event that determined the outcome of that evening, it could have gone a completely different direction. I mean, I could have just thrown a fit, you know, gotten angry as to talk to the manager, you know, it could have just gone the other direction. But instead, I saw it as a blessing.

Brian Smith 44:24
And you talked about this already, but I want to I want to emphasize this point to people because someone might look at you and say, well, that’s just carry I can’t be like that. And I would have said this six or seven years ago myself. It is a practice it’s something that you have to actually work on on a on a daily basis. And as you so brilliantly pointed out, there’s a choice there’s a choice at every moment as to how we precede the things that happened to us. And I asked you the question which about whether you how you believe it happens, which because I people always go there it’s like well, is it soul planning or to God? Do it or you know, or whatever. And your answer, I think was great. It’s like, it doesn’t really matter. It’s how you perceive it. Yeah, that’s your choice. And that that’s what you know, that’s not even a belief. That’s something that you make happen.

Carrington Smith 45:11
Yeah, absolutely. Every single day, 100 times throughout the day, we are making these decisions that determine our mood. And the mood then determines, you know, how we perform, which determines our relationships, which determines I mean, it’s these little micro decisions that happen throughout the day. And it is it’s like to say it’s a muscle. It’s that constant practice of stopping and like, Ha, I can choose how I perceive this. Maybe I’m gonna look at it from a different direction.

Brian Smith 45:44
Yeah, well, again, that’s that is great, how you’ve developed that muscle, you know, over these years. And you again, you talked about the things that happened to you when you were younger, the resilience I think he used the word grit. Yeah, that that you that you develop that you wouldn’t have had if you had been in different circumstances. Yeah, absolutely. So I know another thing you talk about in your book is body dysmorphia. And so what message do you have for people that are struggling with with with that?

Carrington Smith 46:12
Empathy, I guess, is the first thing. You know, it’s funny, because, you know, I’m Gen X, we were raised with Cheryl Tiegs. Who was known as Twiggy, right? So it was all about being skinny and not having any curves. And obviously, you guys can’t really see that I’m five, three, and very curvy. And so I just felt shame. And my father just completely, you know, enhanced that by telling me that I wasn’t pretty. Yes, affirmatively saying you’re not pretty. And I had some other life experiences that just kind of added on to that. And so I just was, you know, constantly just feeling out of sorts, and I couldn’t wear any of the same clothes as my friends and how it was I was having to get alterations. And so and I laugh about this now, because I had liposuction of my hips, thighs and buttocks. Back in 1999, and I told somebody that recently, and they were horrified. They were like, Why would you do that? Why would you reduce the size of your hips, thighs, and but everybody’s getting butt implants now, and I’m like, Well, this was what the standard was, you were supposed to be skinny and have no curves. And so I was trying to become that person. Now. You know, it made me a little less curvy, but the curves are still there. And so part of my journey, and I’m very grateful, honestly, to these body positive people who suddenly made, you know, my figure, more popular, but, um, you know, it’s just coming to look at your body differently and realize it’s an instrument that’s here to, you know, perform certain things. It’s not about just being, you know, whatever society’s idea of beauty is at that moment, and I think partly with aging, I’ve realized, wow, like, my, my knees and ankles, and hips are gray, I’m not going to need any hip replacements or anything anytime soon. I’m healthy, I’m vibrant. I’m, you know, physically in shape. My body helps me do all these things. And so, you know, partly, you know, it’s also I think, for immunity, say, telling your body, how you’re taking good care of it, and thanking it for taking good care of you, and developing a different relationship with it. So I am not perfect, I still have issues. This is probably one of the issues that will battle me, you know, for the rest of my life. I think there’s just so much out there as far as beauty, but I do like to say it’s an Instagram world, and I’m living life and filter. So what do you see is what you get? I am scarred I am. I have cellulite. But you know what, I’m grateful for the body that I have.

Brian Smith 49:15
Yeah, well, again, it’s that shift. It’s that shift, as you know, not looking at the, the negative, negative part of our bodies, but the fact that my body is functioning and the older I get, the more I’m grateful for the fact that my body just still girl totally works, right? Yes, seriously. Yeah. So it’s that it’s that making that dope because the world will send us these messages and you move this we’ve been talking about this whole time that worlds telling us we’re not enough our parents, our religion, society, your body’s not good enough, you know, you’re not a good enough person. And so you’ve I love your journey you’ve gone within to find that inner strength and bring it out and and practice it and really put it out there for everybody to see

Carrington Smith 49:59
it. Yeah, I literally have a dialogue with my butt and whatnot. I think I think my size like, Thank you, thank you for helping me to walk healthy. Thank you for giving me the strength. I have very strong legs, like, you know. So it’s it is it’s changing that dialogue.

Brian Smith 50:18
Yes. And and you know, it’s funny because I tell my clients, sometimes you know about talking to yourself because we always say, well, it’s not good to talk to yourself, but I like talk to yourself. Give yourself positive self talk, you know, I just did a short course on people pleasing. And the thing about people that are people pleasers, it’s because we do it because we’re looking for praise. Yeah. And I’m like, what if we started praising ourselves? Yes. What if we started thanking ourselves for, like you said, thanking your body and, and really realizing that, you know, you are a resilient person and telling yourself that if no one else does,

Carrington Smith 50:50
yeah. In the end, this is where this is an important reminder for me to I’ve been single for a while now, you know, married divorced twice, and single for a while. And somebody said to me recently, you know, you were you came into the world alone, and you’re leaving the world alone. So you might as well figure out how to be alone. And well, in some ways, that’s kind of sad. I was like, Wow, that’s so important about the ability just to be content with yourself and your own space. And part of that, again, is having that internal dialogue, of nourishment and support and love. Because you can’t count on that always to come from somewhere else. So it needs to come from within.

Brian Smith 51:35
Yeah, well, that’s the thing about you know, being alive. You have you have kids, and I’m sure family and friends, you talked about your friends and stuff. So this idea that we have to be paired up. That’s another thing, society, you know, tells us. And if you’re not, you’re you’re alone. But as you said, the one person that you can count on, the only person you can count on is yourself, to give yourself that positive self talk and all that stuff. That’s the number one thing and people that go searching for that for someone else, that other person’s not necessarily reliable.

Carrington Smith 52:04
Exactly. So true.

Brian Smith 52:07
So you also help people I know you’re executive recruiter. So what advice do you have for people that are in careers looking to make changes? Or what do you what’s your career advice for people?

Carrington Smith 52:19
Well, I think a lot of people just wait for that opportunity to come along, they kind of look to see, you know, what the job openings are? Or if a headhunter calls them, and there’s not really any direction. And I really ascribe to the belief that you should begin with the end in mind, meaning, where do you want to end up? If you’re going to paint a picture? If you’re going to write a story of what your life looks like, five to 10 years from now? Excuse me, what does that look like? And so if you want to be, you know, CEO of a company, or you want to, you know, whatever it is you want to be, what kind of life do you want to leave, as opposed to waiting for someone to come along and offer you that next step in your career, say, Okay, this is where I want to be? How do I get there? What do I need to get there? And I encourage people to do things like do informational interviews. People, a lot of times, when you ask for advice, they will actually come back and they say, ask for advice, they’ll give you money, ask for money, they’ll give you advice, when you go on an informational interview, they’re likely to say, hey, you know, when an opportunity opens up, maybe this is someone I should put in that opportunity. So learning about where you want to go figuring out a path and then being much more directed about it, and saying, Okay, if I want to get to this place, there’s these five places maybe that I could make pitstops at, I need to network with these people. And being strategic and directed, as opposed to just kind of waiting for life to happen to you. I mean, I’ve always lived my life that way. And I feel like, if more people did, they would be much more satisfied in their careers. And part of that is, when I say where you want to end up, I’m talking about let’s paint this whole picture. And that is, I only want to work so many hours a day, this is the kind of area I want to live in. I want to have my family around, like really paint the picture so that when you’re given the opportunity to go work someplace and slave away for however many years, eventually you’ll get that brass ring. If that doesn’t meet your picture of what you’re if you’re not willing to give up that quality of life to get there, that’s not the opportunity for you and you’re going to be unhappy if you take it. So it’s really having a again, a dialogue with yourself figuring out what it is you want to do. And then getting out there and asking questions, doing research and planning. Okay, if I want to get to here, these are the steps I need to take to get there. I’m being deliberate about it.

Brian Smith 54:54
Yeah, well, obviously you’ve been very deliberative about your life and that’s that’s good that you’re giving people that advice because I I think a lot of us, we are too passive about our lives. And we just kind of let things happen to us. And you can you can take the reins, and you can start making these plans. And I love what you said. But also it’s about the lifestyle, not just not just whatever the job is whatever the compensation is, and a lot of us don’t realize that until too late. Yeah, so we’re, we’re nearing retirement, we’ve realized that we missed watching our kids grow up. Because we were, we were on the road the entire time, or we were working 60 hours a week. And so I’ll taking all those things into consideration.

Carrington Smith 55:32
Absolutely critical. I mean, I’ve I’ve passed on a lot of job opportunities. In order to stay in a in a situation where I have daily interaction with my kids. I mean, I created a life for myself where I could be working, when they were babies, I could be working one minute and breastfeeding the next and then hand the baby back. I mean, it was I created a life for myself where that was central and important to me. And I mean, I think with the pandemic, we’re seeing those things really become more of a priority. These lifestyle, things are definitely more of a priority. I really encourage people though to not get like you said, Don’t be passive, really get clear on where you want to end up and then figure out how to get there.

Brian Smith 56:14
Yeah, and speaking of the pandemic, I think you released your book around the time of the pandemic. So what why do you think your book is so important at this time?

Carrington Smith 56:23
Well, I feel like the pandemic is a universal trauma that’s happening to all of us. And it’s, it’s really, we’ve been living in a shitstorm colloquially, over the last couple years. And I wrote the book, because I realized that the way I approached this situation was way different than the vast majority of society. You know, there were all those news reports at the beginning of the pandemic of recycle bins full of wine and liquor bottles of people just, you know, eating a ton, gaining a lot of weight, drinking a lot, just completely self soothing, not sure of how to handle this. And because of all the different life experiences, I’ve already had all the trauma and difficulties I’ve been through. I saw this as an opportunity again, I was like, Okay, this is like the Great Depression, over half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded during the Great Depression. This is one of those great historic moments in life that’s full of opportunity, we’re going to see so many amazing things come out of this time. So that’s where my mind went, then I went to the okay, there’s all these people dying cetera, how do I protect my family? I really got on the knowledge side of that we don’t have I don’t, how do we? How do we change our lifestyle in the way we’re living. So we’re interacting with people less, et cetera, et cetera. And I realized that I had the tools to survive, because I was already a survivor. And so I didn’t experience the NX that other people did, I was almost like, bring it like I’ve been through so much. This is just another thing to me. And I realized that that attitude was different. And it was a gift that I could give to other people, if I could walk them through how I arrived there. And that’s why I wrote

Brian Smith 58:17
the book. Yeah, I think, wow, that’s just that’s so impressive. And so So I think powerfully needed during this time. And you’re right, that the pandemic is a universal trauma, universal grief that we’re all going through. And I’ve I’ve seen people react to it in both ways, you know, it can really bring out what our I don’t want to say what our true character is, but it can it can really help us if we’ve got that resilience already. You know, we can we can meet these things, as you said, what’s, what’s the opportunity here? You know, we can say, Okay, well, now I’m isolated. I can’t go see my friends. But maybe now I get to spend more time with my family. Yeah, you know, and people I know, people that were, we’re talking about people that travel all the time. They didn’t have to travel anymore for business. So they got to spend a year at home with their kids and stuff. So we can we can we can take anything, and we can look at it, you know, one way or the other.

Carrington Smith 59:10
Yes, absolutely.

Brian Smith 59:13
So I’m curious and really great talking to you about your book and everything. So tell people want to make sure people know that the name of your book and where they can get it and where they can reach you and all that kind of information. Sure.

Carrington Smith 59:26
So the book is blooming, finding gifts in the ship of life, and it’s by Carrington Smith. That’s me, and you can find it on and it’s available in paperback, hardback and audible. So if you want to listen to it, it’s actually me telling my personal stories, and you can find me on social media at Carrington ATX, which is for Austin, Texas, so at Carrington ATX on Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Brian Smith 59:55
Nice nice and your website. It’s Carrington

Carrington Smith 59:59
hyphens. All right,

Brian Smith 1:00:01
cool. Well, Carrie, again, really great meeting you. It’s been an honor getting to know you a little bit better and sharing our common paths. And hopefully, this will help somebody.

Carrington Smith 1:00:12
I hope so too. Thank you so much for having me on your show. All right. Have a great afternoon. Thanks, you too.

Brian Smith 1:00:20
Don’t forget to like, hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.

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