My Life Story….Turning Obstacles into Stepping Stones

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38 years ago in a small town in Tennessee, a little girl lost her dog. She cried and walked the streets of her neighborhood searching for her best friend in the whole world. Days passed. Nothing. She laid down in the grass and looked up at the sky and asked, why? The answer to that question changed her life forever.

That little girl is me. The answer is a secret I haven’t told many people. I know this must sound crazy but I heard something that day. I don’t remember if I heard it in my head or out loud, but the fact is that have remembered those words for 38 years now. What I heard was, “You’re dog isn’t coming back. You will have many bad things happen to you. Don’t be discouraged. Your job in this life is to learn from these experiences and help people. And remember…. I will always be with you.”

At 8 years old, I knew there would be a purpose to my pain. I knew that I would be able to make it through anything and create the life of my dreams. And that is what I did.

We are all born with the power to create anything we want. We have a purpose that reveals itself in dreams and fantasies. We have a passion. Yet, somewhere along the way , we change. We listen to people, media and our ourselves tell us what we can and can’t do. We get conditioned by society to live a certain way. We make sacrifices. We set aside our dreams and become a part of someone else’s. We make decisions not based on our own desires but on what other people think. We create our own little world that we call, “the way it is”, full of limitations and ideas that we made up. Then one day, we wake up and ask, “ is this it? Then we move into a place called “fine” and “happy”. But somehow, we still feel a tug in our hearts when we see other people living their dreams, doing what we long to do.

The problem is that we have been living a life of someone else’s design. And now here we are, unfulfilled, wanting more. We have forgotten what we really want because it doesn’t feel possible anymore. We have convinced ourselves that this is as good as it gets and we have loads of proof to back it up. We go to sleep at night and dream of extraordinary things but wake up saying, “it was just another dream”. We tell ourselves how happy we are and settle for “good enough”. To put it simply, we didn’t create our life, it created us.

So, how do we change it? How do we take a life filled with responsibility and create something new? How do we go from happy to extraordinary?

My name is Carrie Charles.  I have spent over 25 years studying life…. self growth, psychology, philosophy, religion, financial planning, fitness and all sorts of self-improvement disciplines. In my early teens, when other kids were reading Nancy Drew, I was studying psychology books at the local library. I am a Life Coach, Certified Financial Planner and 45 year old, single mother of 2 amazing children. But really, I am just an ordinary person who has had extraordinary experiences, some tragic and some miraculous, that have given me insights on how to live a great life.

Here is the short version of my story….

After my dog ran away, more bad things did happen. My parents divorced – for the 2nd time. We had to move from our nice house in our nice neighborhood to a trailer park. My dad moved to another state, yet he came to see me often; probably because he had a “special” relationship with me. I was being abused by him. When my mom found out, she forbid him from seeing me ever again. I was confused and hurt. I didn’t see him again until the week before he died.

My mom dated a lot and remarried when I was 12 . I hated my new stepdad. He was violent and abusive to my mother. He threatened to kill her if she left him. When I was 13, I watched him drag her down the stairs by her hair. The next month, she tried to kill herself. I saved her life when I found her suicide note.

At school I was popular, at home I was terrified. I was a rebellious, wild teenager. My mom and stepdad moved out when I was 15 because she couldn’t take the fighting anymore. I lived on my own all through high school; not a good thing for a teenager.

Then one day, I got a call saying my father had a stroke. He had no brain activity. Since I was his only living blood relative, I had to make a choice to terminate his life support. He died my first week of college. I felt like I killed him.  I was so depressed that I dropped out of school before the year was over. I felt so lost.

Then, on a dare, I chopped off my hair and joined the Marine Corps. It was a drastic step, but it saved my life. I graduated boot camp first in my class, which was not an easy task seeing that USMC boot camp is the closest thing to being in hell.

I was sent to Japan, where I met my first husband. We moved to California and he immediately became abusive and violent.  Funny how we repeat patterns.

I got out of the military and became completely dependent on him – no car, no job and 2000 miles away from home. That didn’t stop me though. I found a job and walked to work every day until I could afford a car. I saved up money to get an apartment, packed my bags and never looked back.

Over the next few years, it seemed that all the people I loved died. My mom, both my sisters, my stepfather and all my grandparents. It was crazy. It felt like a constant knife in my heart.

But then in my mid-twenties, my whole world changed—– I met an amazing man, got married and had 2 beautiful children. Life was incredible. I loved being a mom more than anything. It felt like a fairy tale. But that fairy tale ended when we divorced after 12 years. I was broken into pieces.

There were so many times when I felt like I couldn’t keep going. I would just fall to my knees and cry…. not knowing what to do next. However, I picked myself up and was determined to move on.

I was just rebuilding my life when my 11 year old son was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. It was the most horrific pain I have ever felt. Standing over his hospital bed before his surgery, I remembered what I heard when I was 8 years old.  Faith and strength filled my soul and I was ready to fight for his life. God gave me a miracle that day. I still have my son.

Through all these experiences, I have created what I call an extraordinary life. I have incredible relationships with my children, an amazing man in my life and great friendships. I have successful businesses, a seven figure net worth and everything I could ever want.I feel balanced, fulfilled and at peace.

I am far from perfect, however. I go through the challenges of everyday life such as balancing work and family, maintaining successful relationships, being a good mom, paying bills, taking care of everybody, staying fit and making a difference.

I have issues, challenges, big mountains to climb and huge boulders in my path. I mess up all the time, start over and learn countless lessons. I am constantly working to find peace amidst the chaos. But I have a gift in my heart and I want to share it with you.

In my work, I want to give you resources, tools, techniques that I have used to help hundreds of people have exceptional lives.  Some tools I have created myself and others I have borrowed.

I will tell you how I made it through tragedy, crisis, loss and absolute craziness. You will get a peek at my current breakdowns and breakthroughs. Then you can tell me about yours. I will show you how I fall down, get up and create the life of my dreams every day. And you can do the same.

You may hear something that causes you to see things in a different way. You may learn something that will make you more successful, productive or effective. Or there could be that moment, the one you can’t explain, that changes you forever.  My intention is to touch you and to give you something each week that will make your life better.

Please tell me your thoughts, challenges and what you would like to hear about. Please give me your feedback… I love it! This blog, like my life purpose, is about YOU having a great life.

I heard a story once about a little boy who was leading his sister up a steep mountain path. She was behind him grumbling and griping. Finally, she said to him, “This isn’t a path. This is nothing but rocks and bumps.” And that’s when he turned to her and said, “If you want to reach the top, bumps are what you climb on.”

Life is a series of rough rocks and uneven terrain, with many bumps. It’s the bumpy reality of life that causes some to quit, and others to climb. Be a climber in your life. You may find that the top of the mountain wasn’t as far as you thought.

Love and Blessings,


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