004: If the Label is Itchy, Cut it Out









In this 9 minute episode, you’ll hear:

  • Carrie in story-telling mode – not sure if you’ve heard her like this on a podcast before
  • Why the labels others assign you (in school, home or even on the playground) don’t have to determine your destiny
  • All the awards and honors she did NOT earn (sniff) and why that’s totally okay!
  • Why social workers told her NOT to adopt her son & daughter!
  • Her late mentor Chet Holmes’ wise words on persistence

Please listen, download, subscribe and share! Someone needs to be encouraged!

[if you prefer to read than listen, please scroll down for the word-for-word transcript]



I think everybody has had the experience of buying a shirt or a pair of pants where there was an itchy label in the back…something that kind of rubbed you wrong. While the label was maybe necessary so that you know how to put that piece of clothing on properly it really was very uncomfortable, and we really just couldn’t wait to tear it out or cut it out or get rid of the label.

I think as humans we have all sorts of labels that don’t always serve us. One of the things I really strongly believe is we need to learn to defy labels.

Let’s start with my dad.

My dad was raised in an uneducated family and an alcoholic family if we’re being brutally honest. It was not a really warm and fuzzy family. I would go as far as to say my grandfather was even verbally abusive. I know that’s not popular to talk about but it is what it is.

My dad was the oldest of four and he was in a “certain” part of town and in a “certain” school. He had “certain” labels. But my dad determined really young that those labels were itchy and uncomfortable and he cut those out as quickly as he could. He excelled in his high school and excelled in his job. As a matter of fact, in one of his early jobs he was told by one of the other men to ‘Stop working so fast and so hard or you’ll work yourself out of a job. You’re making the rest of us look bad and nobody likes that.’ That was uncomfortable for him, too, because he was an achiever.

Being an achiever was unusual for his family because they were not even high school graduates except for his mother. Dad went into the United States Coast Guard and even as an enlisted man he earned the highest medal given, the Achievement Medal. He did that as he continued to take off labels. He continued to work and test and excel and do and I learned early from him that we do not have to fulfill the labels that other people place on us. He retired as an officer in the Coast Guard and later went into the ministry.

We do not have to fulfill the prophecies that other people make for us, the things they tell us in school, the things they call you on the playground, maybe even the things your parents say to you — don’t have to be the case.

The other story I like to tie into labels is when I was in high school. I was not a kid that was labeled. I was not a super achiever and I wasn’t an under achiever. I was kind of in that messy middle. When they handed out labels like Most Popular or Best Dressed or Most Likely to be on Stage or Most Likely to Succeed, I remember being at prom and thinking ‘I didn’t even get any label; I didn’t get recognized for anything!!’

When I left school –that safe ground of education – and moved forward I remember looking at other people and thinking ‘Wow, they know what to do. They know what’s next. They know what defines them.’

I had to make a choice. I could either be defined by a label that somebody gave me or be defined by the fact that nobody gave me a label.

  • Instead, I determined to be successful.
  • I determined to be onstage and
  • I determined to create my own label – a label that was comfortable and a label that fit me instead of something that I let somebody else assign me.

Later, when I became a mom I adopted two amazing toddlers, a boy and girl who are biological siblings. Mark was a little older than 2 (maybe 24-25 months) and Emily was 8 months old. I’ll never forget sitting in the meeting of the decisions makers (the social workers and the caseworkers and the important people that were deciding the fate of these children) and they were saying to me ‘I don’t think that these kids are for you. I don’t think that they’re a fit. We think that the little girl has autism and failure to thrive and failure to bond. You’re educated and you’re achievers and we don’t think she will ever meet your expectations. We don’t think this is a match. We’re going to recommend that you say no.’

I’ll never forget the outrage that we felt at that label being placed on her and those limitations being placed on her at 8 months of age. Sure enough, I guess I’m just stubborn enough that she became ours anyway against popular advisement. When she moved in the Child Specialist told us she was almost 9 months old but at a 3-month developmental level. Within 6 weeks that child was at a 10-month old development level because of music therapy and physical and occupational therapy and just what my late mentor, Chet Holmes, would call “pig-headed stubbornness” on her part and mine.

Long story short (or maybe we’re past that) she was a 16-year-old high school graduate who was the fourth in her class. She was Drum Major of the marching band. (Incidentally, Drum Major of her momma’s marching band….so she was a second generation Drum Major.) She was an honor graduate, of course, as fourth in her class. She was President of the National Honor Society. She was involved in student government and so many other things. She was First Runner-Up for Homecoming Queen in her Senior Class and Band Sweetheart her senior year. She is now on full scholarship at college studying Music Therapy so she can work with amazing kids and special needs populations that have been labeled in so many different ways.

I tell her over and over again that she did not meet my expectations and shame on me for those expectations. She blew every one of those out of the water. She ripped off every itchy, painful, uncomfortable label that she had been given. She defied them and refused them and she defined what she would do and what she would be. She continues to do that.

I continue to do that and my dad continues to do that. At his age he continues to rebuild and works and does things that other men his age are not doing. He refuses to be defined by labels.

I want to encourage you to defy labels whether it’s a label that somebody else gave you, whether it’s a label you read in a book, a label you’ve assigned yourself, or maybe a label that somebody didn’t give you that you desperately wanted.

I did not get the label Most Likely to Succeed. I did not get the label Prettiest Smile, Most Likely to be Onstage, Best Dressed. I didn’t get any of those labels and guess what? I went ahead and created my label and I wear it proudly.

[End of Transcript]
What label will YOU choose?

Motivation doesn’t last long

We’re continuing with the “M” principles that are important for you to apply to your business (and for your life too). Last time we talked about mindset. If you missed that one, go back and spend some time there. Your mindset is like a foundation for the rest of the M’s and I want you to get the most out of this series.

Today we are tackling motivation and why YOU are the only one who can move yourself to action. I want you to QUIT waiting for motivation to come.


No one else can do it for you. It won’t show up at your doorstep or arrive each month like a magazine subscription or auto-ship vitamins.

You may be thinking, but Carrie, I NEED you to motivate me! What gives?

The truth is, I CANNOT motivate you.

I can inspire you, sometimes even persuade you into getting rid of your excuses but I can’t be the one to motivate you. Only YOU can do that for yourself.

Motivation means “move to action”.

You are the only one who can:

  • pick up that pen,
  • pick up the phone, or
  • pick up your feet and start moving yourself to action.

YOU are the only one who can motivate YOU.

Motivation is important, hugely important. I want you to find what motivates you and then keep on fueling that “thing” that I like to call your WHY so that you are continually moving to action.

I want you to live an extraordinary life and in order to do that, you must know what it is that fuels you to press on:

• when you are tired
• when you hit an obstacle
• when others think you’re crazy for doing what you’re doing.

I remember learning in school that there are basically two types of motivation: Extrinsic and Intrinsic.

  • Extrinsic or External Motivation is based on either receiving a positive gain or avoiding a negative outcome.
  • Intrinsic or Internal Motivation is when you are motivated by an internal desire because you enjoy the behavior in and of itself. You want to keep doing it because you enjoy it and that’s that.

I challenge you to spend some time thinking about what motivates you both extrinsically and intrinsically. Find your WHY and let that be what moves you to action on a daily basis.

Perhaps you aren’t really motivated just by making more money (most of us aren’t) but you are motivated by the choices that making more money affords you.

You may want to help someone else with a cause they believe in, pay cash for something coming up like the dress, hair, nails, and shoes for your daughter’s prom, or maybe you wish you could pay for private school or a nicer place for your parents to live??

Maybe you want to fund adoptions, help out your sister who is a single mom or secretly fund a scholarship for a teen that wants to go to a fine arts camp.

Find your WHY and then post it everywhere so you can continually fuel the fire and keep moving forward. I’m being literal here.

• Write it down…on actual paper
• Put it on a post-it in your planner
• Post it on your message board in your office
• Write it with a dry-erase marker on your bathroom mirror (or lipstick, whatever ;)
• Make it your screensaver on your computer

Your why needs to be right in front of your face and at the top of your mind for you to keep moving forward. The more you see it, the more you believe it and until you start believing it is really possible, you will have a hard time jumping out of bed each morning and getting to work on those goals.

Each and every day as you shower off the grime, the disappointments, the “no’s”, I want you to think of your WHY and intentionally “put on” your motivation for moving forward to places that only you can take yourself to. Stop telling yourself that motivation is someone else’s responsibility and start moving yourself to action.

You can do this.

Let me hear from you in the comments below if you KNOW what MOTIVATES YOU!! I’d love to hear some of your tips for staying focused and motivated!

Our freakishly Jetsons kind of world


Here was the day’s events…


  • I got cash from an ATM – no human required.
  • I got my groceries at the self-checkout – no human required.
  • I got gas from a pump – no human required.
  • I got my car washed at a drive-thru – no human required.
  • I got into the airport through an automated toll system – no human required.
  • I got my boarding pass at a kiosk – no human required.
  • I tagged my own bag and put it on the belt – no human required.

I never needed a human until I got to security and they wanted to put my gear (and my person) through another machine to make sure I wasn’t endangering other humans. #irony

These were all jobs once upon a time.

  • Bank Tellers
  • Grocery Clerks
  • Gas Pump Attendants
  • Car Washers
  • Toll Takers
  • Airline Ticket Agents
  • Bag Checkers

What makes us think ANY job is secure?
Why rest in ease that ANY lifestyle is set?

  • Keep upping your skills.
  • Make sure you are invaluable, cross trainable and not too dependent.
  • Start something on the side.It’s a scary, automated freakishly-close-to-the-Jetsons kind of place we live in these days.Make sure you aren’t automated out of the picture and out of a paycheck.

I’d love to hear from you below with how you are taking steps to protect yourself from being automated-out.


[Yep – I cover how to start something on the side in ‘The Barefoot Executive’ ]