Updated: May 21
“Never give up hope.” You hear this encouraging adage all the time, but what does it really mean to be in a situation that feels genuinely hopeless and STILL refuse to allow despair to win? Today we meet a woman who’s been given every reason in the world to give up hope: Carol Graham. She’s here to remind you that you can get through anything--anything!--with attitude, hope and humor.
3:20 Covid was a blessing
6:00 Laugh when there’s nothing to laugh about
8:40 Never give up
11:40 The Lesson of the Puppy
18:00 When there’s no end in sight
20:00 Being Thankful In Advance
22:40 Living without fear
32:30 The Helmet of Hope
35:50 Standing on a stage
39:10 No limitations
Adrienne MacIain 0:01
Hey, everyone. Welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess, Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we're here with Carol Graham. Carol, please introduce yourself.
Carol Graham 0:13
It's so nice to be here because I've followed you, I've listened to some of your podcasts, I'm a podcaster, as well, so I do appreciate that. What can I tell you about me, I am an author. I'm a podcaster. I am a mother, a grandmother. I have three jewelry stores. I have a podcast that's been going for seven years entitled 'Never, Ever Give Up Hope.' And basically, that's what I'm about. I'm someone who went through hell, lived to tell about it, and share it on a regular basis.
Adrienne MacIain 0:49
Wonderful. So you know, my podcast is all about helping people see that life happens for them, not to them. And that everything we go through, you know, you don't go through it just to go through it. So I think it's so inspirational to see people like you, who have been through so much, just giving their stories to the world so that they can use them, and they can have that hope and that inspiration from that story. So I do want to give you an opportunity to just tell a little bit about your journey to where you are right now, before we jump into talking about Hindsight 2020.
Carol Graham 1:31
My journey, I was 67 when I decided to start a new career. And that career was author, podcaster, etc, etc. and motivational speaker. Although I have been speaking for over 25 years to audiences of every type, I wanted to focus more when I switched to my story. Because I'm one of those people, and I know there are many in your audience, who if they've had horrendous things happen to them in their lives, they try to hide it. They cover it up, they don't necessarily want to share it. Maybe people will think less of me, maybe they will look at me in a different way. And so we bury it. Also we bury it because of the pain. But I have been someone who lost two children, has had my husband imprisoned falsely, and then pardoned. I have had cancer. And when the doctor told me I wouldn't live, I said, I'll find my own care. And I did. I have been gang-raped and left for dead. I have lost two businesses, which shouldn't have happened except for greed from my partners. And the list goes on. As an author, like I said, when I career-changed, and I wrote my book, that's what pole-vaulted me into a new career as author/speaker about never giving up hope, and podcaster for about the last seven or eight years, I guess.
Adrienne MacIain 3:06
Wow. I mean, so much in there. But let's go, let's get into let's get into 2020. Maybe we'll kind of come back to some of that amazing stuff.
Carol Graham 3:16
Absolutely, because where we are now, it's where we came from. Right? So.
Adrienne MacIain 3:21
Absolutely, yeah. All part of the journey. So, question: what is the greatest gift that the year 2020 gave to you?
Carol Graham 3:32
After my husband had a brain injury, and he was not going to be able to work probably for the rest of his life. He was only in his 40s. And because of my own healing that I found through nutrition, I was able to help him. And so after seven years of being bedridden, etc, we came to a place where he was improved to the point where we could open our business back up, which is jewelry store. When we did that things were great. And it was, in our small town, one of the key places to go to because we offered so many services, including custom made jewelry, etc. Things were great. And then recession hit and the bottom fell out. And we tried to sell, after we were there about 11 years, we tried to sell. It wasn't selling. Everybody was basically in the same position. And we just didn't know what we were going to do. We have to have an income, you know, you've reached that point. And then COVID hit.
Adrienne MacIain 4:40
Carol Graham 4:41
And of course everybody all around us was beginning to really hurt and feel the crunch. But what it did for us was we live in a peninsula where people always went to the big city to shop. They didn't have that option anymore. And our business went through the roof. Just, it was amazing. Like, we almost felt guilty because there are so many people hurting, and yet here we are not just surviving like we have been, but thriving. And it opened up all kinds of new avenues. And one of the biggest changes was being able to give back to all those people who had helped us those years. So COVID was a blessing in every way, not just for us, but for those around us.
Adrienne MacIain 5:33
Wow. Wow, that's so wonderful. I mean, a lot of these stories are like, Well, COVID taught me this important life lesson. But you really thrived, that's wonderful.
Carol Graham 5:48
It did me too, because my whole life lesson has been never to give up. And that's exactly what we did. We stuck with it, and it paid off in ways we never thought it would.
Adrienne MacIain 6:00
That's incredible. So, you know, you've been through so many things. And I think you know, it's one thing when you've sort of been through one big trauma, but it's like trauma after trauma after trauma. Is there a part of you that says, What if, what if there's something wrong with me? Like, what if this is me? What if I'm like, attracting this or creating this? Does that go through your mind?
Carol Graham 6:22
It hasn't for many years, but certainly in those years of struggle, absolutely. And I think that's one of the reasons that people who do go through so much, they try to hide it. Because it feels like, I shouldn't be going through this. Not because, you know, things are, whatever is happening around me, but just that, What did I do wrong? And I knew I made mistakes? And we both did, we made some terrible business mistakes, we trusted the wrong people. But instead of dwelling on that, again, turning it around and what did we learn from this? We won't do it again. And it's what I said, there's two things you need in every life, and that is attitude and humor.
Adrienne MacIain 7:05
Carol Graham 7:08
And even when my husband was going through all those years in bed, I still made him laugh, like belly laughs, when there was nothing to laugh about. And we had no income, and the world was crashing in. But I made him laugh. And you know what, if you make somebody else laugh, you end up laughing too. And when you can laugh at yourself...
Adrienne MacIain 7:28
Endless material, endless material. Someone, and I don't remember who said this, but they said, "Life can be roughly divided into two categories. Either it was a good time, or it's a good story."
Carol Graham 7:43
I like that. Or both.
Adrienne MacIain 7:46
Exactly. Sometimes both, sometimes both. You know, I think the wonderful sort of transcendent moments are the ones where, even in the midst of a messed up situation, you can kind of step out of it for a moment and see the humor, and laugh. Those are just some of my favorite memories. Like in the middle of just like a messed up situation, but then realizing this is temporary, it's gonna pass. Right? This is gonna be hilarious someday. Why not laugh now?
Carol Graham 8:21
Hopefully they'll laugh with you.
Adrienne MacIain 8:25
Exactly, rather than at you. So what do you think have been some of the greatest lessons you've learned? I mean, you know, people always say like, Oh, this is a great opportunity for growth. Wow, you've had plenty of opportunities for growth, lots of life lessons in there. What are some of your biggest takeaways from your experiences?
Carol Graham 8:48
I think there's the common thread, which I already said, and that is never give up. Because no matter what we're beaten with, battered with, bruised, broken, all the things that could crush us, we maintain the right attitude. And that's not easy. And I do a lot of counseling, and I also do a lot of coaching as well. And this is what people really need to hear. And you know what, it's not just words. And I think that's what we really have to be careful with. Because you can very, you know, nonchalantly say, Well, you know, you need a good attitude, or you need to laugh about that or whatever. But no. Stories, to me, have been key, telling my story. I've written three books now, and basically they are stories because the stories...
Adrienne MacIain 9:39
Sorry, I'm sorry, my cat is so rude. Cats, man are so rude.
Carol Graham 9:47
It's the stories that people can relate to.
Adrienne MacIain 9:50
Carol Graham 9:51
In my book, there's 12 chapters, 12 traumas. So I fit, I think that I've covered all the bases as far as things that could go wrong. I've been there. So this is how I did it. But it's written as a novel, and so it's a really good story. And people relate to stories, and they see themselves in that story. It's just watching a good movie. So.
Adrienne MacIain 10:14
Absolutely. I think resilience is so key. So key. And I always say, you know, I can't really relate to people who haven't been through something. You know, I mean, you can just tell when someone has that resilience.
Carol Graham 10:32
Adrienne MacIain 10:32
And when someone does not. And any little thing that goes wrong, they're just panicking and freaking out, because they haven't been through something significant, and they don't handle it. They don't have the tools. You know?
Carol Graham 10:45
It's like I say, they throw a pity party, and no one shows up.
Adrienne MacIain 10:48
Yeah. And I think we've all been there. I mean, you know, to be fair.
Carol Graham 10:56
Absolutely. You stub your toe, you want people to feel sorry for you! You know?
Adrienne MacIain 11:02
One of my favorite lines that I, you know, it's like you have these kind of repeated lines that you say, one of my favorite famous lines is, "Where's my parade?"
Carol Graham 11:12
Yes, yes. That's good. That's good. Yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 11:15
I survived that. Where's my parade?
Carol Graham 11:17