Carrie Walters
Provo, Utah

Describe your life before First Steps To Success.

I was a young college student, about to throw in the towel on the worst years of my life.

When I was stabbed in a domestic violence incident, I became increasingly wary, mistrustful and closed off…the thought of any kind of social occasion left me nauseated and shaking violently. I didn’t want to put myself in that kind of situation again, but I DEFINITELY didn’t want anyone to know about it, either.

A spinal injury resulted in daily level “10” pain, with nerve damage and paralysis. The heavy medication for it just barely took the edge off the pain, but always left me in a numbed-out fog of confusion, making it difficult to work or study. With so many absences from school due to my injury, I was placed on academic suspension.

I couldn’t help my fiancé, who was struggling with a pornography addiction, and our relationship imploded when he cheated on me with my best friend. Totally friendless, I didn’t trust men OR women after that.

On top of all that, a close friend committed suicide. Then my coworker committed suicide. When my father suddenly died, I just isolated myself from the world, feeling totally lost.

To “tune out” and avoid dealing with all of this, I worked four jobs simultaneously (often over 100 hours a week) to the point of exhaustion: five days straight on zero sleep, followed by three days of over-medicated sleep, then repeating that cycle for months on-end, causing me to be sick constantly.

Lonely, depressed, and verging on suicide myself, all I wanted to do was hide! How had I failed so miserably at practically everything?? Where had it all gone wrong? I was tired of fake-smiling. I didn’t know how to feel anything anymore.

Why did you decide to attend First Steps To Success?

God totally baited the hook with what He knew would get my butt in that seat!

I’d been praying for a change for months, I just had no idea where it would come from. The opportunity to attend First Steps To Success (with one day’s notice) reignited a nearly-extinct spark in me: my love of travel. I didn’t even ask what First Steps To Success was going to be about (or care about the 12-hour drive!), all I knew was that I had to get out of town and try something different. I walked into that ballroom totally clueless, but what I found there was priceless.

What surprised you the most about First Steps To Success?

Dani and the DJC team: Leaders who develop other leaders with no ulterior motive other than to see them succeed? That is unheard of! They really, genuinely care for people.

Also, people who attend multiple DJC events for years on end… like, whaaaaaaaat?? I’d been to “leadership trainings” before, which honestly weren’t that helpful. First Steps To Success however, is a path of continual self-education: no useless “fluff,” just solid, applicable wisdom that WORKS in every area of your life. (And now I am one of those “weirdos” who continues to come back every month… pffffttttt!! Who knew!)

What is one skill you’ve found most useful and how have you applied it in your life?

“GEMS”…hands down!! Wherever there are people, there is the need to understand them and the “GEMS” program is the key. Suddenly, your whole life will make sense! “GEMS” shows you strengths and weaknesses you may not even be aware of – in yourself, and in others – and how to motivate and bring the best out in everyone you come into contact with. I’ve used it to make friends all over the world, close deals, ease tensions between different personalities at work, motivate grumbly teenagers and score hot dates!

How has your life changed since First Steps To Success?

My spinal injury has totally healed, my health has improved, and I don’t take any medication. I graduated with honors and a double major. I am 100% debt-free, with thousands of dollars in savings. I replaced four jobs with one, cut my work hours by 60%, and increased my income by 200%. I also receive continual raises, bonuses and promotions in my career. I have donated thousands of dollars to charity and participated in building an orphanage in a Third World country. I have traveled to all 50 states and several countries. My personal relationship with my God is tighter than ever, and I can honestly say that I am really, genuinely, HAPPY!

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about attending First Steps To Success?

Seriously, what do you have to lose?? If it’s not your catalyst for change, it will just be one lost weekend. All I know is, you cannot sit around eating chili dogs from Sonic with your roommates, watching “Law & Order: SVU” marathons and expect your life to change… that’s just crazy!

You’re going to be SOMEWHERE a year from now, why not make it a place you actually want to be? First Steps To Success is the step-by-step roadmap to create the life you’ve always wanted… let’s go!!

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