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Episode 16-
Carmen Ohling

Carmen Ohling on Asking Better Questions


In this episode we're speaking to someone who "helps guide high achieving women to write their own permission slip and live the life of their dreams". Carmen Ohling, a keynote speaker, Flow Academy founder and holistic life Coach. After 16 years in the corporate world, Carmen made the decision to follow her passion to help others be their best selves. Everyone who meets Carmen is inspired by her and I'm excited to share our conversation with you today.


At 25 Carmen found out that she had multiple sclerosis, but instead of slowing down, she worked even harder in her corporate career. Eventually, she started asking herself what she really wanted. She invites us all to ask better questions of ourselves, even when we’re busy and before we burn out.

Carmen is also the host of The Permission Slip Podcast, where she talks about different facets of life including mindset, health, business and more. It gives practical advice for listeners to change their lives today.


Follow your curiosity, connect, and join our ever-growing community of extraordinary minds.

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What's In This Episode

  • Why did Carmen decide to become a life coach?

  • Carmen’s experience of the corporate world.

  • What sort of questions should we be asking ourselves?

  • How Carmen found inner peace.













Dr. Kim Kutsch:

There is a place where technology and art meet, where work and play are one and the same. When the threads of curiosity are pulled in this place, the spark of innovation ripples across industries. Those who make this place their home are giants, titans, who pursue creative passion while leaving their mark.







Dr. Kim Kutsch:

They are courageous thought leaders set on changing the practice of dentistry and their corner of the world. More than the sum of their parts, we deconstruct the traits that bind these uncommon innovators-









Dr. Kim Kutsch:

... to discover what makes them Contrary to Ordinary, where we explore the extraordinary.

Hi there. I'm Dr. Kim Kutsch, host and founder at CariFree. I'm fascinated by what makes the paradigm shifters, world shakers and art makers tick. Let's embark on a journey. Extraordinary is a place where ordinary people choose to exist.

Together, we will trek the peaks of possibility, illuminate the depths of resilience, and navigate the boundless landscape of innovation to discover how some of the most innovative dentists and thought leaders unlocked their potential and became extraordinary. On this season of Contrary to Ordinary, we'll continue to explore the motivation, lives, and character of the innovators who see limitless potential around them.

In this episode, we're speaking to someone who helps guide high achieving women to write their own permission slip and live the life of their dreams. We'll be returning to dentistry soon enough, but I'm excited to include some conversations with extraordinary people that will expand your horizons and make you think a little differently.

Today's guest is Carmen Ohling, a keynote speaker, Flow Academy founder, and holistic life coach. After 16 years in the corporate world, Carmen made the decision to follow her passion to help others be their best selves. Everyone who meets Carmen is inspired by her, and I'm excited to share our conversation with you today. As always, I'm interested to hear about Carmen's early life and what she was like as a little girl.

Carmen Ohling:

I was an avid learner and just a watcher of things. So my mom would always describe me as quiet or shy, but I was really watching and learning and observing what was going on. I was interested and I wanted to know how things worked, not necessarily the mechanics of things, but how people interacted with things.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Did you have any mentors early in your life and what kind of influence did they have?

Carmen Ohling:

My dad, he really taught me about hard work, like get in there and get the work done, but then it's also equally okay to have fun and to play and to enjoy yourself. And then my mom taught me to love with an open heart. So I think your parents are always somehow your first mentors.

As I got older, one of my first mentors was actually when I first started working in finance. So she was a manager to me. And I was a banker at that time, and so I was helping people with loans and annuities and accounts and all of this. And I was young, I was 19.

And she came to me one day and she said ... And this was a pivotal moment for me because while I always worked hard and I wanted to do the best I absolutely could with what I had and give 110%, there was still a part of me that didn't fully believe that I was capable of greatness. I didn't have the full confidence yet.

And she said, "Well, hey Carmen, what do you think about this? This assistant manager position is open. I'd like you to consider applying for it." And I remember how honored I felt and how much confidence that gave me in that moment. Her name was Ellen, and I sometimes send her cards and thank her for that moment because that was really a catalyst that helped me see that there is greatness inside of me.

And guess what? I applied for the position and I got it, and I actually worked underneath Ellen. And then, maybe even less than a year later, I got a management position. So from then on that really started my leadership career with JP Morgan and the success that I had there and so many things that I learned. But just that one thing, she saw something in me and she wasn't afraid to say, "Hey, I see this in you. I want to encourage you to do this," with a gentleness and softness. So it was really beautiful.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

I think mentors play an important role in our life.

Carmen Ohling:

I remember when we were raising our family in Oregon and I was an avid volunteer for the United Way, and I was a huge advocate for we need more proactive programs that focus on mentorship. And not just for youth, but actually younger parents and even adults of any age, because at some point, not all of us get all the skillsets that we need, whether that be financial, whether that be emotional resiliency or communication.

And mentorship is really what can bridge the gap. It's not all the band-aids and the food boxes. Those are all great too, but mentorship is the thing I think that could be one of the catalysts to bring our nation up if we all mentored a little bit in our life, like maybe that was one of the things, get a free year at college if you mentor somebody.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

I think everybody has something they can offer as a mentor. Whether you're early in your career or retired, everyone has valuable experiences or skills that they can pass on to someone else. Carmen is a mentor and a coach now, but she started out in the corporate world. I wonder what did six-year-old Carmen want to be when she grew up?

Carmen Ohling:

So when I was younger in my 20s, I put pressure on myself in the way that I was self-critical and I had a societal standard that I was trying to reach that was just unreachable. And so that type of pressure is not good pressure, but there's good pressure and challenge that you can put on yourself.

And I think extraordinary people love that because I do think to have a fulfilling life, you have to have pressure or challenge in some way where you can still do it with ease, but it's not necessarily easy. We were talking about that the other day. And it's like fuel for us, it keeps us going to see like, "Okay, I'm going to tackle this new thing. I'm going to serve in this new way. I'm going to make a difference in people's lives in a different way and it's going to be different for me."

And I remember the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone and I went into uncertainty. And so uncertainty is the place that's most scary for people. Once you do it though, you uncover and unveil this new level of curiosity that is almost addicting to get to that, "Okay, I'm going to step into this next place where I'm uncomfortable and uncertainty is even bigger and let's see what happens." And then you gain more confidence and that's when the gifts start really coming out.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

I think extraordinary people are more comfortable being uncomfortable.

Carmen Ohling:


Dr. Kim Kutsch:

And I think they tend to be risk-takers and adventurous people as well. And so they're more likely to step out, and they might even thrive on some of that discomfort, right?

Carmen Ohling:

I know I do, not always though, as I explained. I thrive on uncertainty. It's okay if I don't have all the answers, but I know that I'm being led in the right direction and you can just feel it inside.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

What drove you then into the corporate world in the first place? Where did that come from?

Carmen Ohling:

I needed a job, when I was in high school actually. So I was not making the best choices, and so I recognized for myself, the people I was hanging around with, the things that I was doing, I needed to get myself a job. I started going to the gym before school in the morning, and I was always very responsible, as I explained.

So there was an internship at the local bank and I applied and I got selected for it. It was a paid internship. Of course, it was minimum wage and I started as a teller. And that's how I actually started my career. And like I shared, I gave 110% to everything, and I am a lifelong learner, so I wanted to know it all. My managers and my peers saw that I was doing that and it was pretty easy for me to move up. So I became a manager of a financial institution when I was 23.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Wow. I mean, that's quite an accomplishment.

Carmen Ohling:

Yeah, it was wonderful. That was the year I bought my house. That was the year I became a manager, and that was the year that I started stepping into more uncertainty.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Do you have any thoughts on how people can foster or develop their own curiosity and become more curious in their own life?

Carmen Ohling:

Ask better questions.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

You're asking me to ask better questions?

Carmen Ohling:

No, I'm asking everyone else to ask themselves better. I love your questioning actually. But we need to start asking ourselves better questions because when you ask better questions, you're going to get better answers. So often we're asking ourselves things like, why is this happening to me? And that's just going to keep you stuck in the same place.

And if you look at it and take that question, maybe we would ask something like, what am I learning from this versus why is this happening to me? And if you can sit more in contemplation and use your own discernment in your own life and start asking more questions. So the question that I ask often that most people can't answer is one of the simplest ones. Do you want to know what it is?

Dr. Kim Kutsch:


Carmen Ohling:

It's what do you want?

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Well, that's the big question, isn't it?

Carmen Ohling:

What do you want? And so what that uncovered for me in my coaching practice was we're not clear on what we want. We're not clear on what we want because we're feeling overwhelmed and stressed. And we're normally not overwhelmed and stressed because we have too much to do, it's because we're trying to be everything to everyone all the time, and it's exhausting.

We're forgetting about ourselves and we're forgetting about our own desires. Those gifts are just really locked inside of us. And so if we can start uncovering our desires, maybe we start a hobby, start asking ourself better questions, then we can start pulling out that magic of curiosity.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

So here you're this really successful young manager in the corporate world and you're wearing the black suit every day and a power suit. All of a sudden you made a shift and went into coaching. What triggered that and what was that journey like?

Carmen Ohling:

So there was a few things that happened. The first thing that happened that was really instrumental in my life is when I was 25, I had a friend pass away from high school. So it was one of the first times that I had had something tragic like that happen, someone that I felt very close and connected to.

And I woke up from a nap after the service, you're emotionally drained, and my face and my head was numb, and so, which was obviously very strange. And then it presented as a migraine. I was able to go back to sleep, but it was still numb. And so I went to the doctor and did a variety of testing.

And I remember the day when I went to my old-school, straightforward general practitioner, and he just looks at me and he says, "Well, Carmen, I'm referring you to a neurologist because I think you have multiple sclerosis." So I went through a variety of tests and it confirmed that I had the lesions on my brain, these protein antibodies in my spinal fluid, and so I needed to start taking care of that.

You would think that would be the catalyst for me to slow down and start taking care of myself, but in my brain, at that time, I was still focused on getting all the achievements and the awards and that pressure I was putting on myself for those really high expectations based on societal standards. And so I thought, "You know what? Tomorrow if I can't walk, talk, or see, I better just do as much as I can." So I did even more.

So for about the next, oh, five years or so, I put the pressure on myself. I moved up the ranks within the financial system. I got all the awards. I got the promotions. I got the big bonuses. And then one day, I was sitting in my car in front of ... I was running the number two revenue producing cost center in the State of Oregon, and I just started to cry.

And that was unusual for me because I was the strong one. I was the one that would just really carry everyone on my back, do all the things, as I explained. I wasn't clear necessarily on what I wanted because I was doing all the things for all the people and it was exhausting. And so I went home that night and I explained it to my partner and he said, "Well, what is wrong?" And I said, "I don't know, but I'm going to find out."

So I went on a journey of uncovering what was wrong, and it was really that I was being really incongruent with who I was showing up during the day in that powerful black suit, all in my masculine energy, just running these amazing, amazing teams. And then when I would go home, I would be soft and loving and caring. And so there was this incongruency of how I was showing up every day, and it was really tearing me up inside.

So I ended up giving my notice and going after ... An old dream that I had was becoming a holistic nutritionist and helping people with understanding how to fuel their bodies.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

It sounds to me like your body or your spirit was saying, "I can't do this anymore."

Carmen Ohling:


Dr. Kim Kutsch:

It was telling you something has to change, it's not working. Does that sound like a fair statement?

Carmen Ohling:

Yeah. I had been getting those small nudges, and God had been giving me signs, but it's very easy to ignore the nudges or the silent whispers when you are in the mode of constantly doing and achieving because you're only using your logical brain. You're not tapped into your intuition or that inner knowing and you can't hear it.

So on that day when I was crying, that was more than a whisper because that was so unusual for me. And it was scary, because after leaving, I didn't just leave my 16-year successful career. I left my identity because that was the identity that I built from when I was 19 to when I was almost 30, and I didn't know who I was.

So at first it was scary, but looking back on it now, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself because it enabled me to become so much more self-aware, have so much more self-love, and really understand who I am and what my purpose here is in the world to be able to show up and serve others.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

When you talk about you lost your identity, I went through that when I retired from clinical practice because I saw myself as a dentist. And the one thing I didn't anticipate was how much of my identity that was, being a dentist.

And it's not unique to dentistry. I think anytime somebody changes a career path, like an abrupt change like you went through where you have developed this long-term identity for yourself, I think there's maybe even a grieving process that people go through. I mean, that's what it kind of felt like to me, but letting go of the old identity obviously got you the opportunity to create a new identity, right?

Carmen Ohling:

Yeah, I agree. I definitely went through a grieving process. Interestingly enough, because I was working for myself, even though I was still surrounded by my friends and family, I felt really isolated. I felt really alone because I was so used to going and being around teams and being around people, and it took me a while to uncover what that feeling was.

And so it was like the grieving of just being in community with people all the time, whether it be my employees or our clients that we had. And so I had to begin to put myself in situations, and places, and community groups, and events, and things like that to be able to fulfill that piece for me because that was really missing for me.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Having gone through that experience, are you less likely to create your identity around a career and more around just who you are as a person now?

Carmen Ohling:

That's something I think about a lot as far as what's happening inside of me versus what's happening on this outward body, this vessel that I've been given, and what are those values that I value the most? I was thinking about this actually this morning. I have a really regular journaling practice as part of my morning rituals, and I was just writing down a bunch of words that were meaningful.

And then what really came through was live, so make sure I'm living, make sure I'm having fun. Love, make sure I'm loving and caring for other people. And then leadership. So that's my opportunity to serve and to help other people. But then the last word came through and it was legacy. So it was interesting. I really liked that that came through. So it's around building a legacy now for me. And what exactly does that mean? I haven't really dove into that as much, but I think it's just all around presence.

So I want to make sure that when I show up in a room that people are impacted merely by my presence and not by what I'm saying or doing, any awards that I have, or what I can do, that people just feel seen around me and they feel safe and they feel loved.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

I think it's beautiful that Carmen wants people to feel safe and secure around her. I think she has something special, true charisma. In her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Olivia Fox Cabane says that there are three traits that you can cultivate to increase your charisma.

The first is presence. That is being able to stay in the moment and be truly engaged with the people you meet. The second is power. This means being able to project confidence. If you don't have it, fake it till you make it. The third is warmth. This means making others feel comfortable and valued. I think Carmen ticks all the boxes. She has charisma. How Carmen cultivates her charisma has changed throughout her life. I wonder if how she approaches her health has also evolved.


Carmen Ohling:

So it's different than what I did in years previous. So years previous, the pressure that I put on myself and the intense workouts and the scrutiny over what I was eating, because of my MS diagnosis. So because of my MS diagnosis, I eat dairy-free, gluten-free, pretty much refined sugar-free and soy-free. And so people think, "Oh my gosh, that's so limiting."

However, it actually just allows you to eat whole real foods. So like single-ingredient foods, great quality proteins, vegetables, meats, grains, seeds, nuts, all of the things that we should be eating anyways. So I sort of think of it as a gift.

But I was really strict and dogmatic about how I was eating and what I was doing and how I was working out. I would do a ton of high intensity workouts and I could still do that. So if I chose to do that, I could still do that, but if I did that today, I know that it actually depletes my energy. It doesn't give me a lot of energy.

So my personal approach is to do some resistance training every week, get in some cardiovascular exercise every week. Specifically, I lift weights five days a week. And I'm not a weenie, I lift heavy. And then I get in a couple days a week of cardiovascular exercise. I live in Miami Beach. I walk every single day. I'm in nature every single day because there's something to be said about getting that sunshine the first 20 minutes when you wake up. It helps with you sleeping.

The other thing ... So those are those typical things people think about with health. As far as with the life approach, I make sure that I'm checking in with myself every day. So I have a journaling, meditation practice, prayer and devotional in the morning. And then I have a reflection practice in the evening where I'm really looking at like, "Okay, did my actions today match my aspirations? Did I do what I really set out to do as my highest self?"

And instead of putting myself down or being judgmental or feeling bad, if the answer is no, then you use that curiosity again and you just become a witness of your life and be like, "Okay, well. Well, how am I going to do differently tomorrow?" The other big thing I do now is I share vulnerably.

Often we have things that go on in our mind that we're overthinking, we're over-analyzing, maybe something happens and we're trying to reframe, we're trying to be in that positive space that I talked about, but we're not able to. And in those circumstances, instead of just holding it inside, find someone, maybe a friend, a business colleague, your significant other, and let them know, "Hey, this is happening right now. I'm kind of having an off day. This is how I'm feeling. This is what I'm thinking about."

And simply by doing that, instead of holding it inside, because let me tell you, we all go through that often, then what happens is we don't hold it inside and we don't pack it away in our shame closet, as I like to call it. And the difference between guilt and shame is when you feel guilty or upset about something, it's like, "Oops, I made a mistake." But when you feel shame, it's when you say, "Oops, I made a mistake," and then you make it mean something about yourself, about your self-worth, that you're not good enough.

So oftentimes, we're going through the day and we're not talking about these challenges. We're like, "No one else has this. I'm just going to not talk about it and I'm going to pack it away in the shame closet." And that builds up over time. So, if you can share your challenges and your vulnerabilities as much as possible, you're not going to be holding onto that weight and that baggage, and you're going to feel a lot freer in your spirit and in your mindset.

So not only do you want to take care of your physical body, but you want to take care of your mental health, and then you also want to take care of that spiritual relationship that you have. So it's really all of those things is my approach to taking care of myself holistically.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Hi, Contrary to Ordinary listeners, we're going to take a short break from this conversation for our segment, Questions with Dr. Kim. Don't go anywhere. In this segment, I'll answer a listener's question about their dental health. If you have a dental question that you want answered, then send it to That's CariFree is spelled C-A-R-I-F-R-E-E. And add Questions with Dr. Kim in the subject line. If your question gets read out on the show, we'll send you a small gift to say thanks for checking in.

This week's question reads, "Hi, Dr. Kim. I absolutely love the show. It's so inspiring. I'm thinking about using an antibacterial rinse, but I've heard that it can cause thrush or fungal growth in the mouth. Is this true?"

Well, thanks so much for the question and for the kind words about the show. Antibacterial rinses are designed to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, and they're not typically associated with causing thrush or fungal growth on their own.

However, in some cases, the use of an antibacterial rinse can disrupt the natural balance of microorganisms in the mouth, which can potentially lead to fungal growth or thrush. By contrast, antimicrobial rinses also inhibit all microbes and ideally reestablish a healthy microbial balance in the mouth.

To minimize the risk, use the rinse as directed and always maintain good oral hygiene. You can also rinse with water immediately after using these rinses. It's advisable to consult with a dentist or healthcare provider for a proper evaluation and guidance on managing your oral health.

And if you, dear listener, would like more information on all things dental, then head to,, where we've got more resources on dental health and our line of CariFree products that can help you always keep a healthy smile. But right now, let's get back to the conversation.

Carmen Ohling:

For most of my life, I didn't have the courage to speak vulnerably. The word that I think of the most for a lot of us is we fear exposure. What if someone finds out who I truly am? I won't be loved, I won't be accepted, they won't like me. And so we go back to what we talked about with the identity.

So we put ourself in this box and make this identity for ourself so that we can feel safe, we can feel seen, we can feel soothed, we can feel secure. That's what we want as humans. And it's hard to break out of that box sometimes because that's where our safe place is. That's how we have noticed that we can feel seen and we feel like part of a group.

But what happens also in that is because we have so much armor all the time is we're never able to, and I'm speaking from personal experience here and I see it all the time with my clients and my students, is that we're never able to have deep, meaningful connections. And so even though we're surrounded by people all the time, we feel alone.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Tell me about your four pillars of holistic health.

Carmen Ohling:

So the first one is to protect your energy. And most of the time people think of physical energy. I have this much energy during the day, but I'm really talking about your physical, mental, spiritual body because when we go through our day, everything is pulling down.

We want to be high vibrational. We want to be our highest self, highest and best self every day. And we start our day off really good and then maybe we hit traffic, it drains our energy. Maybe there's an annoying song on the radio, it drains our energy. We get to the office. That coworker did the thing that we always hate at the coffee pot, and it drains our energy, and then something happens with the kids.

And so while nothing's not necessarily bad or challenging, these little irritations as we're looking at them through life. So it's like, okay, what can we do, one, to change our mindset, two, to set boundaries, or three, to start filling our day with things that lift us up versus drain our energy? I mean, down to walking in your house and you walk past a painting or a picture on the wall and you despise it, and every day you think, "I really dislike that painting. There's that ugly painting again." Get rid of it.

So things are draining your energy. That's the first one. And really think about that. Think about how much you're doing to put things in your life, people, places, or things that uplift you versus how much you're just putting up with things in your life and it's draining you.

The second thing is nourishing your body. I alluded to it earlier, but eat simple foods, single-ingredient foods. Drink water, at least 75 ounces or more, every day. Eat good quality proteins, vegetables, produce, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grains. So fuel your body.

And make sure you're not under-eating and skipping meals. I think that's a really big problem that I see with busy, ambitious, even extraordinary people is that we skip meals because we're out there doing all the extraordinary things, but we need that fuel.

The third thing is practicing daily movement. Everybody can walk, everybody can do some breathing exercises. Everybody can do that. But if you want to get to that optimum level, then add in some resistance training. It doesn't have to be weight training in the gym like me. It could be body weight movements or bands.

But get out there every day. Something I do, and I highly recommend as part of your morning rituals is going for a walk while not listening to any podcasts or anything and just being open and available. So get in daily movement.

And then the last thing is just slow down every day. Oftentimes we don't take the time to reflect on our day, to dream, to vision what we want in our life, to ask better questions. If we're feeling stuck in our life, like I said, instead of asking why is this happening, we can start asking what am I learning and what do I want and what do I want to do from here?

So slowing down every day to be contemplative and think about your life. That's one of the questions that I'll ask people sometimes like, "How often do you just sit and think about your life and reflect on it and how you want and what you're dreaming?" And everybody can answer that for themselves as a rhetorical question, but the answer I get is, "I don't do that."

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

In his 2006 autobiographical novel, The Pursuit of Happiness, Chris Gardner sleepwalks through his life working multiple jobs, never asking himself what he really wants. He only starts reflecting on his purpose once everything has crumbled around him. Carmen invites us to all ask ourselves, what do we want at any time, not just in moments of crisis? She thinks that because we're constantly doing, we often never get to tap into our spirit, our God, or whatever we believe in for guidance.

Carmen Ohling:

I get the best information when I quiet my mind, and I want people to know though, it's a practice. And so again, life isn't about being so judgmental about ourselves. It's about being a witness of what's happening and see how things are working for us or not, and reflecting and changing and growing and shifting.

And so I remember the first time I was really, really able to quiet my mind. I was getting a massage and I went into a really deep meditative state. And I say that to say it was like I was forced to not do anything, but what a gift though. I was so trained over time to always constantly be doing, that once I got that massage, I was like, "Oh, that's available to me, too."

And so I say that to say that it's available to everyone. So try doing things, whether it's a meditation, whether it's just sitting, and then see what kinds of thoughts or ideas come through. People often ask me, "Well, how do I know if it's me just trying to figure things out, or if it's actually my intuition, that inner knowing?" It's a common question that I get as I've developed my own intuition and inner knowing over the years.

And your intuition, that soul nudge, that little whisper, it's going to be quiet and it's going to be soft, and it's not going to be fast. It's just going to come and it's going to go. And so it's our opportunity to listen at that point and trust it. So if you haven't listened before, make it an experiment. Write it down, trust it and see what happens.

And now, if it's not your intuition, it's going to be your overthinking brain. That's when you're over-analyzing, that's when you're thinking quickly, you're wanting to rush, you're worrying about it. That's not your intuition or inner knowing. So it's always going to be that soft, subtle voice that just comes in and is graceful with you. That's the one you want to listen to.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Yeah, that's beautiful. Aliveness is a really important word to you.

Carmen Ohling:

It is.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

So tell me about aliveness.

Carmen Ohling:

Aliveness. So I 100% think that the things that we teach are the things that we need to learn the most in our own lives. So for many years, I was focused on goal achieving and not actually living and enjoying life. That's why those words that I shared with you are so powerful for me, the words that start with L.

And it started with live, live, love, lead, and legacy, because I want to make sure that I am living my life. Because I know that when I am calm in my spirit, but also enthusiastic, I can show up authentically to any room and I can impact the lives of others just through my spirit.

I also know that the spirit of joy and having fun is so much more abundant than being serious and reaching goals. And now I'm not saying that I'm not reaching goals or I don't set them and I don't financially plan with my CFO and do all of those things and have goals and dreams because we have that.

But here's the thing, if you're having fun and if you're joyful, you're in that high vibrational state, so things are going to come with ease. The right people, places, and opportunities are going to come to you, and you can realize that you can never make the wrong choice. It's always going to be something that you can learn.

Often we say, "Well, I'm going to reach this, or it might be this," and it's something a little bit lower. But I like to say it's going to be this or something better, always. And if you can come with a sense of aliveness, that's going to happen for you, 110%. You're going to see the synchronicities and miracles.

In my community, we do this thing, anytime there's one of those nudges or synchronicities where you would want to say, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe that happened." We say, "Of course that happened. Thank you. More, more, more, please." Because you want to speak into existence the things that you want. You don't want to say, "I can't believe that happened." Yes, you can. You deserve that. Miracles are natural and blessings are natural, and we all deserve them.

A Course in Miracles says, "You know that something has gone wrong when miracles are not occurring because they're natural." So aliveness is having that sense of joy and playfulness and fun, and it's just going to be reciprocated to you. You're going to see it like a boomerang just coming right back to your heart like 10 times over.


Dr. Kim Kutsch:

Talking about goals and achievements, and now you have a whole different approach and attitude about that, what would you consider at this point in your life your greatest success?

Carmen Ohling:

Peace and calmness in my spirit. I know that when I can start with peace and calmness within my spirit, I can show up as my best self and I can help others in the big impactful way that I'm meant to help. I can show up for my friends and family in a way that's loving and supportive and sometimes challenging, because sometimes we all need that.

But for a long time, I didn't know what that felt like because I was in a constant state of doing and achieving, and it was chronically activating my nervous system. And so it was, my nervous system was trained for that and I actually didn't know what it felt like to be calm.

And if someone's really not relating to this, it's like that feeling that you get, so you're calm in the morning, and then you start your day and it's like holding your shoulders up. You have a little tension in your chest maybe. You always have to go to the next thing. I couldn't ever shake that. And because I couldn't ever shake that, it was almost like still, I was holding on to some of my armor and that old identity still. And so I really had to peel that away to be able to find calmness and peace within my own spirit.

And while most people would say, "Well, is that really a success?" To me, it's a huge success because how I feel every day is happy and light and free and joyful. And because I feel that way and I focus on feeling that way, I'm able to, in the eyes of achievement, achieve and serve and do so much more

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

To better serve others, we need to lighten the load for ourselves. I said in the last episode that I need some alone time when I get home from work before I feel human again. This is a prime example of this. If Carmen could give her younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Carmen Ohling:

Stop being so hard on yourself. You are a gift to the world, and you need to start sharing it more. Stop hiding. There's nothing to hide. Start speaking up. Use your voice, not in the way that you're doing it right now, like you think that you should. But there's something inside of you that people need, and when you start sharing it, once you heal yourself, you can heal the world.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

What's one thing about you that you would say people don't know?

Carmen Ohling:

It makes me so happy when I see people exercising outside. I am uncertain why that was the first thing that came to mind. But you'll see me, if you see me walking in South Beach and Miami Beach, I'm walking and I'm like the crazy person with a smile on my face. And people make me so happy because they're exercising and using their bodies and taking care of themselves outside.

When I'm driving and someone's jogging or exercising, it just makes me smile and it makes me so happy on the inside. Someone told me the other day, I'm attracted to other people's joy. And I was like, "Ooh, I think I am attracted to that, too."

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

So Carmen, I know one thing about you that I think quite a few people might know if they followed you. You did some bodybuilding at one point in time.

Carmen Ohling:

I did.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

You entered some competitions.

Carmen Ohling:


Dr. Kim Kutsch:

And I was like, "Wow." Again, the same thing, was that part of your personal journey?

Carmen Ohling:

It was a personal challenge that I gave myself, and it really built belief and confidence in myself. So my son and I, when he was in high school, we did CrossFit together and we loved it. It was really fun. He was really great at it. But they did a challenge, it was an eating and a workout challenge. And so I told myself, "Hey, if I win it, I'm going to do a bodybuilding show." Some of the ladies at this CrossFit gym had been doing that. Guess what? I won.

So I'm the person that keeps commitments to themselves, and so then I did the bodybuilding show. But really everything that we do, your thing, people's thing could be something different, but it just really built belief and you have to have a lot of mental toughness and emotional resiliency.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

And I would say just outright discipline.

Carmen Ohling:

Discipline, yeah. I mean so much discipline. It was a big part of my journey in building belief, helping me uncover my gifts, helping me move forward. And I think that goes back to what I was saying is you can never make the wrong choice. Life is always for you, and so we need to learn the lessons today.

We can't just get the thing that we want all the time because if we got it, we probably wouldn't be prepared for it, and we wouldn't be able to sustain it. So enjoy the today with the lessons. But yeah, bodybuilding is fun. And you know what? I think of it often, primarily, you know why? Because of the challenge.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

So Carmen, I just want to thank you so much for spending this hour with us today, and sharing and being so open and sharing your whole life journey and your view of the world. And I can't thank you enough. I've enjoyed so much knowing you for so long and just seeing you thrive with aliveness. It's a joy to me. So thank you so much for being with-

Carmen Ohling:

Well, thank you for having me. And I want to recognize you for your leadership, your energy, how you show up on a daily basis because you've been being the one to show the world how great life is for a really long time. And so keep doing that. I thank you.

Dr. Kim Kutsch:

If you want to hear more from Carmen, then check out her podcast, The Permission Slip. You can find it wherever you're listening to Contrary to Ordinary right now. She's got so many stories and has such wonderful advice for her listeners. I really recommend you tune in. Thank you so much to Carmen Ohling for being such a fantastic guest. And thank you for coming on this journey with me today.

Around here, we aim to inspire and create connections. We can't do it without you. If this conversation moved you, made you smile, or scratch that little itch of curiosity today, please share it with the extraordinary people in your life. And if you do one thing today, let it be extraordinary.

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