Overcome Adversity 5 Minutes at a Time

5 Minutes Read

Episode 103

What if you could overcome adversity 5 minutes at a time? Carolyn Colleen joins us to talk about how she transformed her life in the face of adversity 5 minutes at a time.

Carolyn is a fierce mother of three children, an author, and an international speaker.

She is the founder of the FIERCE Academy. This online program helps women create life strategies that enable them to have the life they dream of without sacrificing their families, careers, or lifestyles. She is also the author of ‘F.I.E.R.C.E.: Transform Your Life in the Face of Adversity, 5 Minutes at a Time!’

Carolyn is the epitome of what it means to overcome adversity. While her past trauma and abuse have a permanent stamp on her life, she has not let it define her. It has instead positioned her to develop and leverage her grit to serve other women who also want to transform their lives.

In this episode, Carolyn shares her journey, insights, and philosophies, proving that you can turn hopelessness into hope-just 5 minutes at a time.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the complete Episode:

  1. Discover how Carolyn Colleen overcame crippling fear 5 minutes at a time.
  2. She discusses her acronym F.I.E.R.C.E. which forms part of her framework.
  3. Find out why the concept of multi-tasking is a lie and the importance of having one goal.

Episode Highlights

Who is Carolyn Colleen

    • Carolyn Colleen is a renowned keynote speaker, author, PhD (candidate), life coach, and proud mother of three.
    • A serial entrepreneur and business strategist with 14 streams of income.
    • She’s overcome immense adversity and is on a mission to help other women transform their lives.

Her definition of fierce

    • There’s often an aggressive connotation associated with the word fierce.
    • While we sometimes need the ferocity in which to lean into what we deserve, there is an element of grace.
    • Fierce has to do with standing in your integrity, standing in what you believe in, despite your adversity, along giving yourself grace. 

To overcome adversity

    • Carolyn suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
    • She found herself in a toxic and abusive marriage.
    • Fearing for her life and her future.
    • To find a way out with her 18-month-old daughter, she found herself standing in the line at the Salvation Army for food.

5 minutes at a time

    • Carolyn suffered from P.T.S.D. and found herself immobilized by fear.
    • She was told to take things one day at a time, but a whole day felt overwhelming.
    • The concept of 5 minutes at a time allowed her to make incremental progress out of her crippling fear.

The adverse advantage

    • When Carolyn looks back, she thinks about the strengths that come from adversity.
    • Using these strengths is what she calls the adverse advantage.
    • We all face adversity in some form, and we need to consider how to use it to our advantage and how we’re going to react.
    • By moving forward 5 minutes at a time, she found her strengths and resourcefulness.

Turning points

    • Carolyn says that there were multiple turning points in her journey.
    • We all have moments in time that got us to where we are now, and success leaves clues.
    • It’s essential to look to the past, appreciate and understand what was, so we can understand who we are and use it as a foundation to launch us into the future.

Forced to pivot

    • When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Carolyn had to pivot.
    • She had written her book, started the FIERCE Academy, and became an international speaker while having a corporate career.
    • She was on the leadership team of cancer centers that had to close down, and all employees were furloughed.
    • Over a year’s worth of events, speaking engagements and investments into businesses went out the door.

Her superpower

    • Carolyn believes that her superpower is resilience and resourcefulness.
    • It comes as a product of her environment and that she wasn’t born with it.
    • Resilience is something that you develop and sharpen.
    • She says that life doesn’t get easier; you just get better at navigating it. 

Fear of success

    • The common thread that Carolyn sees with clients is the fear of success.
    • She has suffered it herself, and she admits that it can be debilitating.
    • It’s not a lack of confidence or self-esteem; it’s the fear of whether you can handle and manage success and what you’d need to give up.

Honoring the calling

    • You’ll experience moments of that calling, where you have the talent or an idea but need to leap.
    • When Carolyn helps people in this position, she says it’s vital to have a foundation.
    • Daily routines and structure are important to hold the foundation to launch.
    • By establishing this, you’ll already have the integrity of schedule, daily practice, and self-development to soar and grow when you’re successful.

The F.I.E.R.C.E. acronym

    • F – Focused breath.
    • I – Identify one goal and one action.
    • E – Examine barriers to that goal.
    • R – Reflect and visualize your truth.
    • C – Courage and co-creation.
    • E – Engage and take action.


    • You don’t have to do everything alone.
    • Within a hero’s journey, surround yourself with people and mentors that will help you get there in an efficient way.
    • Just like a board of directors in the business, you should have a board of directors in your life.
    • People are helping you to co-create your dream life.

One goal

    • Don’t fall into the trap of spreading yourself too thin. You don’t need to do everything.
    • The concept of multi-tasking is a lie. It’s not an efficient use of your energy.
    • Focus on one thing, get it done, and get it done well. 

Celebrating victories

    • Celebrating your victories is important in building self-confidence and building your being.
    • Carolyn says we do a whole lot of human doing but not a whole lot of human being.
    • Entrepreneurship often becomes about the chase, the addiction to the next thing we want to pursue and achieve.
    • But celebrating even the small wins is key; we’re honoring the work we’ve done.

The FIERCE Academy

    • The FIERCE Academy is for those who know there’s something they need to pursue but are holding back.
    • Imagine a community of fierce women who welcome you with open arms.
    • They encourage your idea, help you, and hold you accountable.
    • The academy aims to help you to lean into your purpose.

How does Carolyn Colleen want to be remembered?

    • Carolyn wants to be remembered for ferocity and love. Grit and grace in perfect balance.

3 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

08:01 – “Today, when I look back on that, and I think about, hmph, what are the strengths that come from adversity? What are the things that you can use? What I like to call adverse advantage. And I know we all have adversities. All, every one of us. It’s not a comparison of, you know, how severe your adversity is. No! Because each adversity is our own. How can we take it and use it as an advantage? Use it, not saying that it’s right. Not saying what happened is right. I’m talking about how you react to “. 

28:51 – “Look to the inside and remember that you are enough. You don’t have to do all the things. And here’s the other brilliant thing: one goal, this concept of multi-tasking, is a lie. Multi-tasking, you’re not efficiently using your energy. And so focus on one thing, get it done, and get it done well. Celebrate, move to the next thing. Now, if you realize that concept, you will be able to move so much faster, but with intention.”

31:03 – “And so in that celebration, we’re honoring, we’re honoring the work that we’ve done. And that’s another way that we’re continually building entrepreneurial resilience. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, there’s the concept of being an intrapreneur, building yourself within an organization, and building yourself within your self-development. The power of the celebration is a process that gives you peace, and gives you accomplishment, and builds your courage onto the next thing in razor-sharp clarity.”


About Carolyn

From standing in a food line at the Salvation Army to earning a Ph.D., Carolyn Colleen is avid about sharing her own life story and encouraging others to make changes that move them from fear so that they can focus on the pursuit of their passions.

Carolyn is the owner of Acton Midwest private schools. The philosophy is clear thinking which leads to good decisions, good decisions lead to the right habits, the right habits lead to character, and character becomes destiny. 

She is passionate about uniting as a human race to elevate each other, remaining positive through challenges, and rising above the noise to build stronger communities.

Her ability to overcome adversity is nothing short of incredible and by sharing her journey, she hopes to inspire others. You can read about her story in her book: ‘F.I.E.R.C.E.: Transform Your Life in the Face of Adversity, 5 Minutes at a Time!’

Connect with Carolyn




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Thanks for listening,

Picture of Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and Co-founder/CEO of Yokel Local Digital Marketing Agency. He and his teams have helped businesses generate over $300M+ in revenue online. Every month, he leads virtual workshops teaching actionable strategies and tips from his experience helping companies market, grow, and scale.