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Denver Hidden Gems Interview

Carolyn Daughters - Denver Hidden Gems

I’m honored to be featured in Voyage Denver’s “Denver Hidden Gems” series. In the interview, we discuss perseverance, storytelling, and my work and my brand.

Denver Hidden Gems Interview Highlights

Like many of us, I’ve ridden a roller coaster most of my life. Low lows, high highs, and quite a few placid stretches.

As a young child, I felt unsafe at home, school, most everywhere I went. From kindergarten on, I remember being awed into silence by the beauty, strength, and smarts of most of my peers. I got pushed around by a boy as I walked to and from school. I had a yet undiagnosed hearing problem and didn’t understand what was happening in the classroom. I hid in the back row of class and rarely spoke up. In the second grade, I did as my teacher said and stood on a table to hang decorations. I tripped and fell into a boiling crockpot of chili on that same table. (I wish I were kidding. Honest to God, I do.) Later that year, that same teacher realized that I was the only kid in class who couldn’t read.

Strangely, hard work saved me. Wanting something saved me. Fighting for that something saved me. Maybe “saved” is too strong a word. It’s probably more fair to say that the wanting and the fighting and the willingness to work got me on the field instead of peering from the sidelines.

Starting in the fifth grade, I watched my sister before and after school and babysat neighbors’ kids on weekends and some evenings. I worked 30 hours a week at age 15, and by age 17 I worked 20 hours a week at college, edited peers’ papers at night for extra cash, and went from my day job to my night job all summer long.

The roller coaster dips throughout my life have included a difficult childhood, the illness and death of my fiancé, the dissolution of my marriage fifteen years later, and the shocking death of a lifelong friend who suffered a stroke while we traveled in Mexico. On the financial front, I’ve dealt with massive student loans, massive financial instability after my divorce, and massive financial losses during COVID.

What helped me through these showstoppers is the wanting and the fighting and the willingness to work.

I’ve been known to suffer from bouts of crybabyitis. I have a propensity to sulk and feel powerless and stuck. I sometimes get in my own way, and I trip and fall a lot (though hopefully never again into a chili pot). I tend to fixate on what I should and shouldn’t have done, on all that I shouldn’t have said and all that I left unsaid. I can be my harshest critic and my own worst enemy.

Here’s the thing. Elizabeth Gilbert said (or wrote), “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” That is no joke.

During my first semester of college, I earned a C in a six-credit calculus class that I myself chose to enroll in for some unbeknownst reason. That semester, I ended up with a 2.86 GPA. I had scrimped and saved and worked exhausting hours to pay for my own schooling, and a 2.86 was what I had to show for it. After a solid hour of sobbing, I picked my sorry self up and swore I would never again get a C (or a B if I could help it).

I’m pretty sure I have few if any, natural talents. Nothing has ever come easy for me. Every single life transformation has resulted from my getting tired of my own bullshit. My every accomplishment, both personal and professional, has been the result of the wanting and the fighting and the willingness to work. (The courage to fail time and again until I get it right hasn’t hurt, either.)

Just as the world’s not fair, so too the road’s rarely smooth for any of us. What I have in spades are tenacity, grit, and the ability to rewire when the rewiring’s called for. Time and again, the tools I’ve crafted and cared for throughout my life enable me to transform “I can’t do it” into “I need to get off my butt and figure out how. Now.”

Read the Interview

I believe it’s important to tell your story. Everyone has a story. I’ve been inspired by so very many people over the years. I hope my story inspires a few people as well.

You can read the entire Denver Hidden Gems interview here.

Read the interview with Carolyn Daughters (

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