Carole Brody Fleet
*Are you happy at the moment?
I am very happy. I have the privilege of being in service to others in need and I get to combine that privilege with my passion for the written word. I have a beautiful family and I am surrounded by an incredible support network of friends and work colleagues. Mine is truly a life of abundance and I take none of it for granted.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Be aware that there are “dreamsnatchers” who will try to compromise your dreams for any number of reasons . . . jealousy, pessimism, lack of vision or simply because they choose to be negative. Dreams accompanied by solid goal-setting and hard work can come true and no one should or has the right to interfere. If you had a 16 x 20 picture that needed framing, would you purchase a 3 x 5 frame for it? Of course not. Similarly, you cannot share your 16 x 20 life-vision with 3 x 5 minds. You cannot let dream-snatchers define your destiny, as they are not the ones who are living your life; either today or in the future.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Two of the most important things in the world are character and integrity; without which we are nothing. Recently and sadly, I have been witness to those who seem to be lacking these traits. Worse, I have witnessed some of the most vulnerable preyed upon by these same people. I am reminded every day to remain true to myself; to produce the best and most meaningful work of which I am capable; to steer clear of anyone who operates with a lack of integrity and a less-than-authentic character and help as many in need through my work as I possibly can.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
The next 12 months will be a very exciting period of growth and discovery. My new book releasing in September, 2015 (“When Bad Things Happen to Good Women…”) has taken me outside of writing specifically for the bereaved community and I will be welcoming a wider variety of readers – which ultimately means that I am able to answer the needs of more people. It is a thrilling prospect and I cannot wait to see where the road will take me during the next year and how many new people I am going to welcome into my life as a result.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Realize that happiness is a right. Own the entitlement. Reassess your “deserve level” (which many women forget to do) and embrace that you are entitled to a life filled with every happiness and abundance that you seek. Also understand that true happiness has nothing to do with your marital status, your age, what you look like, your career path or any material accumulation. Happiness begins and radiates from the inside outward and therefore cannot be provided for you by the presence of another person or a bunch of “stuff.”
Also recognize that what others think of you is not half as important as what you think of you. When you embrace, accept, appreciate and love who you are, the way you are, at this very moment and at this season in time, not only will you find your happiness – you will experience a great peace as well.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Setting aside time each day that belongs to my husband and I alone is an important part of keeping me centered. To the very best of my ability, I have dinner with my husband every night. That may sound obvious or old-fashioned or even silly, but because of the nature of my work, it would be very easy for me to just grab something to eat and keep right on working – which is exactly what I did prior to remarrying. However, just as we need nurturing as individuals, our relationships need nurturing as well – and dinnertime is our daily “nurture.” Occasionally, I’ll enjoy a Girls Night Out, which is fun or I’ll have appearances or other deadlines in connection with work, but the majority of the time, my husband and I have dinner together and we really enjoy it.
*What’s your biggest regret?
By far, my biggest regret would be listening to and believing people whose advice and/or opinions were against my own better judgment or belief system – to the point that I actually doubted myself. Years later, I figured out that I had been listening to the wrong people saying the wrong things about a life that they were not leading. When people try to insinuate their life choices into your life and you permit that insinuation to happen, the only unhappy person who comes out of the equation is you.
Once I figured out exactly who was in charge of my life, things got much easier – I became a much happier and more content person and the regrets are now left where they belong . . . in a distant past.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kids?
Understanding that many of the lessons that our children learn are “caught”, rather than “taught” and that our children never stop watching us (regardless of their age), I have tried to set the healthy example that while tragedy and adversity will definitely shape who we are, it does not have to define who we are and who we will become. In other words, you do not ever have to settle for where you are, if where you are . . . is not where you choose to be.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I have never been a very patient person and I wish I had more patience in general. I am not sure that qualifies as a “bad habit”, but it is something that I work on regularly…although I am still convinced that if I am sitting at a red light and I yell at the red light long enough, it will magically change to green.
*Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am immensely proud that I survived, eventually recovered from and thrived after one of the darkest seasons of my life (my late husband’s two-year battle with ALS and his subsequent death) and that during the recovery process, I discovered the depths of my strength and helped my daughter to do the same.
I am also proud and delighted that through the books and the websites Widows Wear Stilettos and The Write Difference, we took our own tragedy and turned it into triumph by contributing to others’ healing processes and / or authorship goals in some small way. In the process, I also fulfilled two of my late husband’s dying wishes; that I use our experience to help others and that I find love once again.
*When were you happiest?
Professionally, I am happiest when I am interacting with people. Whether it is listening to stories, holding a hand, wiping away a tear or even making someone laugh for perhaps the first time in a long while, I never tire of spending time with the people I meet through my work.
Personally, I am at my absolute happiest when I am surrounded by my family and my dearest friends. When my girls are here, when my dining room table is full of food, when we are tripping over each other during family gatherings because the house is so crowded, when there are twenty simultaneous conversations going on . . . my world doesn’t get any happier than that.
*What ten words best describe you?
Wife, mother, author, writer, survivor, leader, non-conformist, teacher, loyal and passionate.
Carole Brody Fleet is the multi-award winning author of the critically praised national bestsellers, “Happily EVEN After…” (Viva Editions) and “Widows Wear Stilettos…” (New Horizon Press). A regular contributor to The Huffington Post, ThirdAge.com and winner of the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award for “Happily Even After…”, one of the top awards in publishing, Carole is featured on a variety of television shows and regularly appears as a guest expert on numerous radio programs both nationally and internationally; as well as in national and international print and web media.
Carole is looking forward to the release of her third book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good Women…” (Viva Editions) in September 2015 and has recently released an online course for both new and seasoned authors and writers. To learn more, please visit www.widowswearstilettos.com and www.thewritedifference.com.