Carolyn Rivera Show 3

CRS 003 | Building New Beginnings


At one point, we all wished for the ability to redo events when things don’t go our way. We may not have that exact ability, but we have the next best thing: we’re given the ability to build new beginnings. Host, Carolyn Rivera, has her fair share of having to start over not once, but multiple times. This is accompanied by its own challenges and rewards, both personally and with her family. Join her as she starts breaking down the barriers by starting with one step forward to set things in motion.

Listen to the podcast here:

Carolyn Rivera Show 3

Building The New Beginning

Previously we talked about challenging the status quo. When somebody has a dream or a goal, they’re looking towards their future. They are putting things in motion to make things happen. What are they doing? They are building a new beginning. We said that every ending has a new beginning. When things end, it doesn’t always feel great. We are sad because we no longer have the things that we know, the things that we love. We are giving up the comfort that we have so we’re scared because we don’t know what to expect. It’s all about change. How do we get ourselves comfortable with change and the unknown? I talked about Simone Askew’s story where she was the first woman to reach the First Captain of the cadets at West Point. She planted a flag. She achieved victory.

We are going to continue to build on those topics because they are so important to making us the best that we can be. Isn’t that what life is all about? The theme for this episode is building a new beginning. What does it mean to build a new beginning? You’re stepping into uncharted territory, a place where you haven’t been before. You’re starting something new yourself. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the first to ever do it. That’s something completely different and we talk about those people.

Can you think of a time when you started something new? How did it make you feel? What were the emotions you were going through? I talked about leaving a company after eighteen years and I remember the feelings I had. I had so many great times at that company and that was all coming to an end. Would I still be able to keep in touch with the people I’ve been friends for so many years? Which of those friendships would continue and which ones will I lose forever? I wondered what type of organization was I moving to? What would the people be like? Would they like me? Would I like them? I wondered if I was good enough to take on this bigger role. Did I have what it needed to be successful there?

There were so many thoughts and emotions that I had. I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing and that was from the job standpoint. I had to think about it from my family standpoint. I had to sell this job that I thought was going to be fabulous to my family because by taking this job, I would have to move my family to Florida. My kids were young, but not so young. My oldest daughter was in seventh grade. Moving was a big deal for her. My younger daughter was starting sixth grade, so it was the same thing. My son was in first grade. I knew he was going to be fine. It’s big changes for my family.

I had to worry about how they would assimilate into schools yet again. Even though I’ve been with this company for eighteen years, this was the fourth move that my family did because of me. Each time I thought, “It’s great because we are getting our family better. We’re doing things more. We’re moving our family forward.” It’s still not easy. I had to worry about how quickly they would make friends. They’re into sports, I had to figure out what teams I would put them on. Not just any team because we come from a competitive family. My girls were elite athletes. They both played soccer. My oldest Gabi was on a travel team playing two years up. My younger daughter was the superstar of her regular team. I had to ensure that I found a place for both of them so they could continue their growth on the soccer field.

My son was still young, but he played baseball. I had to figure out what team I was going to put him on. All these things come in to play. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I had to worry about my husband. My husband would have to find a brand new job in Florida. He would have to leave a job that he loved and start all over again. This was not the first time for him. He’d been through this before and it’s not fabulous, it’s not easy. I know that when you take that step. When you decide to get out of your comfort zone, it isn’t easy.

The first person always paves the way. They unknowingly change the norm and make it easier for all of us follow suit. Click To Tweet

There are so many things to consider. These things I had to think about, but I felt some powerful emotions as well. I felt the excitement because I was starting new. I felt the excitement of being given the opportunity to take on a bigger job. To be able to continue to learn new skills and to grow my career. I knew every single time I grew my career I was helping my family grow as well. I felt the excitement that these people who I didn’t even know felt like I was the best candidate and I would be perfect for the job they had given me.

Building a new beginning is both scary and exciting at the same time. You can’t build it unless you take that step. Unless you move out of your comfort zone and you face the unknown with open arms. Every time you do, you push yourself forward. If you don’t take that step, you limit your growth. Think of what you would miss if you didn’t take that step. Think about all the things that you would not get to experience if you didn’t take that step. You have to change your mindset. You have to think of things as a positive and see the value that you’re getting by leaving. Stop looking at the things that are ending and crave the new beginning.

I was sharing with you the feelings and the challenges that I had to face when I decided to end my eighteen-year career. All of those things that were weighing heavily on my mind is something to think about. All of these things were ending because I had them in place if I stayed where I was, if I stayed in my comfort zone. I’m sure that some of you can relate to that story. What would you do? Would you stay or would you go? I couldn’t stay. I had to go to move things forward to create my new beginning. What happens when you challenge the status quo? When you become the first?

The first person always paves the way. They unknowingly change the norm. They make it easier for all of us to take a step that they already took before. They make it easier because they were first. Sometimes we don’t want to be first. We don’t want to go through the hard times that can come with being first. The barriers that you have to break down to become first. In some instances, those barriers are tough. In those instances, we may be comfortable waiting. It’s a mindset to be first. Somebody who can see what that means not only for themselves but for everyone. Socrates said it best, “The secrets of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” It’s exactly what I am talking about, create a new beginning. Every week I highlight a woman who stood out, who didn’t take no for an answer. Someone who stepped out of the box to follow her dreams in a world maybe she wasn’t invited. A place where she wasn’t greeted with open arms. Somebody who didn’t fight to keep the old, but fought to build the new.

I am going to talk about somebody who once again did that. She was the first, but she wasn’t the last. In all of the examples, the best part of the story is others followed after them. That’s what I mean by building a new beginning. Opening the doors for other people. Sandra Day O’Connor had a few firsts. She graduated from law school in 1952 and took a job as a County Deputy Attorney in San Mateo, California. She got married right after college and she gave up her job to move to Germany because her husband was in the military and she was the trailing spouse. It’s the same story that I was talking about, but back in the day, the women followed the men. That was the norm. In Germany, she worked on base as a civilian. They stayed there for three years and when they returned to the US they moved to Arizona where she opened up her own law firm in 1959. She had bigger dreams.

Six years later, she became the Assistant Attorney General of Arizona. She continued to build her career and in 1970 she was elected to the Arizona Senate. In ‘72 she was reelected to the Senate but also elected as the Majority Leader. She is the first woman to hold this office in any state. It took her twenty years to achieve this position, but she didn’t stop there. This was not her only first. She continued to climb that legal ladder. What she is probably best known for is being the first woman Supreme Court Justice of the United States.

CRS 003 | Building New Beginnings
Building New Beginnings: Building a new beginning is both scary and exciting at the same time. You can’t build it unless you take the step, move out of your comfort zone, and face the unknown with open arms.


She got this position because she believed she was worthy. She believed that she had the skills to be successful in that role. She wasn’t the only one. Someone else believed in her and in 1981 when she was formally nominated to the Supreme Court, it was by President Ronald Reagan. She spent 25 years as the Supreme Court Justice. There are only nine Supreme Court Justices in the United States. Before 1981, there were no women and up until now, there only have been four women in the Supreme Court Justices and three of them are in office. Sandra Day O’Connor paved the way for those three women that hold that position. She had a dream, she took action and she made it happen. She broke down the barrier that now allows women to fill that position.

What all comes to mind is an ‘80s song, “Ain’t no stopping us now. We’re on the move. There are many things that held us down and now it looks like things are finally coming around. I know we’ve got a long way to go and where we’ll end up, I don’t know.” That’s a powerful song. It highlights what I am talking about. It highlights that women continue to challenge the status quo, but there are so many first that still need to take place. We still live in a world where change needs to take place to allow anyone to go after their dreams. It’s truly exciting when they do. When you believe that you can do something and you go after it. All the stories that I discussed had mentors and supporters who helped them along the way because you need that to be successful. You need to surround yourself with those people because they will elevate you to new heights. You can’t do it alone. Somebody has to pave the way.

We are going to take it to the Survivor angle. We are talking about creating new beginnings. How does that relate to Survivor? We are talking about change and the fear of the unknown. How does that relate to Survivor? That’s exactly what the game of Survivor is all about. It is a game of change. It’s a game that takes you out of your element. It puts you through emotional changes every single day. It puts you through physical challenges every single day. It’s a game where you have no idea what to expect and you have no experience in that situation. Survivor is a social experiment. You have to build relationships with all different types of people from all walks of life, different cultures and different backgrounds. Most people think they know exactly how to play the game. We’re all guilty of it. When we are watching it on TV at home, we are thinking we know exactly what we would do in the situation that we are watching. When you are playing the game from the comfort of your living room, it’s a different experience than playing the game on a deserted island with people you don’t know when you’re starving and freezing.

You’re placed in a scenario where you don’t know anyone and everyone is going after the same prize and there is only one winner. Survivor is a game that is all about change. The producers of the show make sure that you have no idea what to expect. As soon as you get comfortable, you’re with your tribe and you think to yourself, “I’ve got this. I’ve got my alliances. I’m sitting here pretty,” that’s when it all changes. You have to start all over again. You have to go in there thinking, “I’m going to play this strategy. I’m going to do this from a social perspective and I’m going to build these relationships.” You have no idea what you are going to do because you don’t know what the situation is. It’s a tough game and you don’t realize how tough it is until the game is over.

You don’t realize how much you’ve learned about yourself until the game is over. Having said all of this, it’s tough, you’re starving, you’re freezing, why does almost every single person that has ever played the game want to play it again. I’ve said it before, Survivor was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. If you talk to any Survivor contestant, they’ll say the same thing. People are quoted saying, “The game has changed my life.” It’s not because of any financial gain because there’s only one person who wins the $1 million. It’s for what it did for them, for their self-confidence and their self-image.

I remember the first night on the island like it was yesterday. I was in the white-collar tribe and we were pretty clueless when it came to survival skills. Our shelter was a total disaster. We had no clue how to build a shelter. It could possibly be the worst shelter in Survivor history. As soon as the sun went down, everyone goes to the shelter and lays down. For us specifically, we didn’t have a fire. It was getting dark and we had nothing to do. We’re sitting in the shelter, we’re talking and all of a sudden people start falling asleep. I wasn’t tired. I thought it was 8:00 PM, the sun goes down early. I didn’t know what time it was because we don’t have a watch on the island, but I got up and I paced the beach back and forth. The moon was bright enough where I could see the beach.

Give a strange idea or a foreign thought a chance before condemning it. Click To Tweet

When I got back to the shelter, there was no room for me to sleep. We didn’t even build a shelter big enough to support six people. That night I didn’t sleep at all. I stayed up all night and my emotions were going crazy. I thought about where I was. I thought about what I was doing. I thought about whether I could fit in with this tribe. I thought about what do I need to do to compete against these people? I was the oldest competitor in my tribe. The closest person to my age was fifteen years younger than me. I wondered if I was good enough even to be out here. I thought, “What if I would be voted off first? What would my family think of me?” I wondered if I made a mistake thinking that I could do this. After one day, I already miss my family. My husband who I knew would be scared for me. My kids who would be praying for me and my mom who probably still couldn’t understand why I had this crazy dream and what I was doing out there in the first place.

After I was through feeling sorry for myself, I changed my mindset. I thought about how excited I was to be on this island. I thought about my strategy and all the things I was going to do, the goals that I had set for myself, the milestones along the way. I thought about how I saw Jeff Probst in person and couldn’t believe that this experience was happening to me and it was real. I knew I had to push myself into unknown territory, to believe in myself to get through the game. All of these feelings were ones that we face as we go to those uncharted waters. A place where you don’t know what’s around the corner and you have to figure it out along the way. That first night was one where I was scared but full of excitement. It’s one that I would replay over and over again in my mind. When I think about the reasons why I believe it’s because if we stay in our comfort zone we limit our growth. New experience changes our lives. You need to create those new beginnings.

Building your new beginning. Here are some tips on building a new beginning. Embrace external changes. Give a strange idea or a foreign thought a chance before condemning it. This is easier said than done because we all base our decisions on the experiences that we have. We think about the things that we’ve gone through and those experiences become our norm, what we are comfortable in. They become our comfort zone. You can make yourself more flexible as a person if you embrace the changes that come your way. I will go as far as saying, “Seek out change.” Look for ways to learn new things, put yourself in situations that you haven’t been before. Every time you do, you’ll learn something new. It doesn’t always work. I can remember a scenario where I didn’t look forward to change. I fought it tooth and nail. Along the way, it seems like the worst thing possible. I wanted to go back to my comfort zone to the way things were, but I couldn’t because I didn’t have control over that. I didn’t realize it at that time. The ending to this story is not that fabulous.

I was working in a company and there was a big reorg and my reporting relationship changed. I’ve got a brand new boss and I did not handle the situation well. I did everything in my power to get it changed. Everything that I was doing was creating a wider gap and a significant strain on this new relationship. I didn’t even give it a chance. In my mind, “It would never work.” I created my own outcome. I created the problem. I knew I had to leave. I couldn’t stay even though it was a place that I loved. I caused the whole problem myself because I simply did not embrace the change. I did not look for the positive. I did not look for what I could do to make this situation better. I was the problem.

I told myself that it wouldn’t work and it didn’t work. Even though other people were telling me, “Give it a chance. You’re not giving it a chance. It could work.” I ignored that advice. I ignored the warning signs. Our mind is so powerful. When we tell ourselves things, we make them happen. I always say, “You are who you think you are.” It’s up to each and every one of us to have a positive outlook. We can’t always ensure that we know what’s going to happen, but we can always choose how we respond and how we react to those changes. We can always choose to find ways to see the positive with any change. I learned a hard lesson that day. That lesson caused me to fully change my mindset. To learn from my mistakes and begin to embrace change.

When we fight to stay in our comfort zone, we limit our ability to experience new things. We limit our ability to learn and grow. Here is a question for you. Would your friends or family describe you as flexible, as open-minded or not? Do you see new ideas as an opportunity to experience something new or not? Is your mind open to trying new things? Your mindset is your power. Your mindset is critical. Your internal thoughts and beliefs make things come true. You are who you think you are. You won’t give yourself a chance to try new things if you don’t believe you are worthy, if you don’t believe you deserve it. We need to figure out ways in which to be ready for change. To embrace it, to seek it out because change brings new experiences. It brings excitement, adventure and diversity. You can’t progress without change. You can’t make yourself better without change. You can’t add new experiences to your life without change.

CRS 003 | Building New Beginnings
Building New Beginnings: We don’t realize what our blind spots are and the warnings that we might be getting. Instead of embracing and managing it, we ignore it and we resist it.


Here’s a funny example. A man buys a brand new car and he is excited about driving this car. He takes it for a spin on this country road. He’s speeding down this winding road. He’s coming up a dangerous curve when all of a sudden, a car is heading straight at him. The car swerves to miss him and the woman driver yells out, “Pig.” He responds by screaming, “Cow.” He continues driving. One second later, he hits this enormous pig on the road and totaled his car. The man did not realize that it was a warning, not an insult. That was his blind spot. What blind spots do you have where you don’t know what’s around the corner or where you don’t know what to expect?

Do you have warning signs that you’re ignoring as I did or resisting that can help you through these changes? This is a silly story that illustrates that we never know what’s around the corner. We don’t realize what our blind spots are and the warnings that we might be getting. Instead of embracing and managing it, we ignore it and we resist it. What are you doing to uncover your blind spots to embrace the unknown? What are you doing to learn and grow? It’s time for Life Served Weekly. Let me know about your experiences. What’s happening to you that’s helping you build your new beginning? What things have you done to embrace change to challenge the status quo? I have my first participant. What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Donise. I’m from California.

Tell me what are you doing to create your new beginning?

I have a bucketful, but I want to talk about change because I still agree with you that change is about mindset. I have a saying and I say it often, “The only thing consistent in life is change.” This whole experience is a new beginning for me.

You’re taking your first step and bringing yourself closer.

If you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll be prepared to handle whatever situation that comes along your own life. Click To Tweet

It’s another example of coming out of the comfort zone and stepping forward and get her done.

What else have you done to create your new beginning?

My real change started several years ago when my life had a major shakeup. I have been on the road for thirteen years as an entertainer working with my husband. I had to retire because when I was younger, I was in a car accident. My knees needed physical therapy and you can’t do physical therapy unless you’re in one place. I asked for guidance and messages started coming. I listened to them and followed them the best I could. It wasn’t easy. I lost most things that I loved. My friend offered me to move into a vacant condominium in Los Angeles, which is scary for this little country Florida girl to be in a big city. Traffic is awful and I wasn’t close to anyone. My friend who owned the condo was an hour away. I kept my head up.

I kept positive and I kept getting directions of where I should be. Instead of giving up, I changed my mindset. I signed up for self-help development courses. In one of them, we created a branding logo and I developed a mantra. That mantra was DIG, “Dig for Inspiration and Growth.” I found a mentor. With gentle and soft trotting, she helped me to take the action steps that it takes to build confidence. To move beyond what you’ve been handed that you think is the most awful thing in the world. You rise from the ashes like you did in Survivor. You figured out what you need to do and you just do it. You pull up your bootstraps.

This is an amazing story. It’s fitting for our discussion. You hit on a couple of things that are critical. Changing your mindset and you had to go through a lot. Giving up everything that you loved and being able to have a positive outlook. That is simply amazing. That’s exactly what I’ve been talking about. Your mindset is your gift.

Your discussions gave me the strength to share my story.

CRS 003 | Building New Beginnings
Building New Beginnings: We’ve got the devil on one side telling us all the things that can go wrong and we have the angel on the other side telling us all the things that could go right. Who do you listen to? It’s up to us. We have a choice.


Thank you. That’s sweet. I’m excited that you did. The other thing that you talked about is finding a mentor. That in it for itself is a big step. That is huge.

It was a major step. Once I was introduced to this woman and I began to listen to her webinars. I took a step back and I was like, “I wanted to be like that.” Her concern, her passion and her gentle kindness. It seemed after that, the doors opened. It’s almost like she was put at my feet like, “I guess you’re going to be my mentor now.” It was an amazing journey and I’ve gone through two different classes. I have a lot more self-confidence. My neighbor has become my friend and she is supportive. I was able to find people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in me, people who had a vision for me that I couldn’t even see, but I trusted. I kept going down the path and I’m glad I did.

Donise, that is such a fabulous story. It’s everything that we’ve been talking about. You are on your way. You are doing all the things that you need to do. You’re surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and helps you to believe in yourself going forward. It gives you the avenue to be able to feel confident. I am so excited that you share that and thanks for taking that first step.

Thank you. You’re doing a remarkable job and keep up the good work supporting and elevating women.

What a great story that was. I can’t even get over it. I’m excited when I hear people stepping up and trying new things and changing their life for the better. Donise took a bad situation and made it better. She stepped into a place where she didn’t know anyone. She truly had to start over but found someone who did. I want to thank you, Donise, and everyone who shares their stories with me. That’s what this is all about. Her mantra was DIG. That reminded me that these women all planted their flags for victory. When you plant your flag, you achieve victory. We talked about change and what we need to do to embrace change. We talked about the two things that you can do, the two ways that you can look at situations. You can look for all the things that can go wrong and ensure that they do.

You are who you think you are. If you think things are going to go wrong, you subliminally make yourself have that happen or you can figure out how to make a situation better. Find ways to make things work. I shared a story with you where I didn’t do that. I took the wrong road and the ending is what I expected. It did not fare well. Our mindset is powerful. The way that we think is a make it or break it scenario. It’s like having those two voices in our heads. We’ve got the devil on one side telling us all the things that can go wrong and we have the angel on the other side telling us all the things that could go right. Who do you listen to? It’s up to us. We have a choice. We make that decision each and every day.

How do we get ourselves comfortable with change? I love that US Navy SEALs saying, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” If you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll be prepared to handle whatever situation that comes along in your own life. That is powerful and true. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. We don’t always know what to expect. It’s okay. If you can make yourself look for situations that you have to try something new, something different, expand your mind, expand your thoughts. You will continue to learn and grow over and over again. Make yourself become a lifelong learner because learning never ends. We’ve all heard about continuous improvement, it never ends. There are always ways for things to improve. If you change your mindset and look for ways to expand your experiences, you’ll be able to push yourself further than you ever thought possible. It’s never-ending. Go to my website at and send me a message. I’d love to hear from you. I’d like to hear the topics that you want me to discover and talk about. You can book me to deliver a keynote speech or work with any people to improve themselves. That’s my passion.