Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Robyn Barnhardt Is Helping To Change Our World

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If you have a desire to do something, that is reason enough to pursue it. Wanting to do it is enough. That flicker of passion is your sign to move in that direction.

As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn Barnhardt.

Robyn Barnhardt is a freelance writer and artist. A self-described introvert and armchair therapist, she is likely to be found in the kitchen during a fabulous party, discussing the meaning of life with the waitstaff. Connection over idle chit-chat is always her preference. Though not a “professional authority” on anything, she has discovered a way of looking at life that is too good to keep to herself. So, she has written “See Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses,” an encouraging and mindful book that provides the inspiration and tools to help you recognize and change limiting beliefs that keep you from thriving. By altering and refocusing your view to one that works for you instead of against you, you too, can decide to live a happier and more fulfilling life. Now, she can hand the book out at parties and let the waitstaff get back to work. Most days, you can find her appreciating her view of life on Saint Simons Island, Georgia.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

As the oldest of three siblings, I grew up in the South in a home short on money and structure but rich in love and affection. My parents were very talented and resourceful. My father could build or fix anything, and my mother was a creative genius who had a knack for transforming trash into treasure long before that kind of thing was popular. If she could get her idea and vision for a project across to him, he could make it happen. Today, they probably could have had their own HGTV show, “Watch Joan and Ray renovate this whole kitchen with a budget of only thirty-five dollars!” They were a good team in many ways but as different as night and day.

My dad was quiet, reserved, and a worrier. He was twelve years older than my mother and was born during the depression, and I don’t think he ever got over that feeling of not having enough, not being enough. It was like he was afraid to be truly happy because he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

She, however, had this larger-than-life personality and “devil may care” attitude that I’m sure was very attractive to him initially but drove him absolutely crazy. She was beautiful, charismatic, and highly impulsive. One month she spent all the “house” money on a Persian cat she named Shady Lady. I remember my 9-year-old self, asking her, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? I don’t think Daddy is going to like that.” And I was right, he didn’t, but he was in over his head with her. She could justify anything. She would do things like sign me out of school early for a “doctor’s appointment,” and I would meet her in the office, knowing full well that it was a lie and we were going to the river or a matinee movie. I would reprimand her in the parking lot and say, “You need to ask me before you do that; I had a math test this afternoon!”

My mother was the “fun” mother, and everybody loved her. And while she was entertaining and I adored her, I grew up longing for stability. I yearned for a sensible bedtime and a college fund. Somebody had to be the adult in the room, so I became a very old soul at a very young age. I compensated for the lack of structure in my life by becoming a perfectionist, a rule follower, and a neat freak. That was my way of attempting to control the uncontrollable.

The fact that I attended eight different school districts by the sixth grade didn’t help. My dad changed jobs quite a bit when I was younger, always looking for greener pastures, so we moved around a lot. I hated starting over at each new school, trying to make new friends, and figuring out how to fit in. My parents ended up divorcing when I was twelve, and though it was for the best, it was not an easy time.

But as you grow up and have children of your own, you realize there isn’t a “right” way to parent. My parents each came from their own inadequate upbringings and did their best to give us what they didn’t have, just like I try to do with my kids. The goal isn’t to be perfect; where’s the fun in that? And by the way, that afternoon at the river with my mother is one of my favorite memories.

The truth is, the coping mechanisms I developed for controlling the uncontrollable became my survival skills, some of which have served me very well. I could be a professional organizer; my closet is practically alphabetized. Because we moved a lot and I constantly had to meet new people, I can walk into a room and read it like I’m an FBI Behavioral Analyst. I can shape-shift and adapt to almost any situation. And even though I consider myself an introvert, I can talk to and make friends with a lamp post. Because I know what it feels like to be that little girl who just wants to fit in, I have empathy and compassion and know that whoever you are and whatever our differences may be, we can always find something we can agree on.

And that, my friend, is an education you can’t get from a college fund.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

The first book I remember significantly impacting me was “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My second-grade teacher would read a chapter aloud to the class every day after lunch. She would turn the lights off in the room, we would put our heads down on our desks, and for a few minutes each day, I would be transported to that pioneer cabin in Wisconsin. It wasn’t that the story itself was that inspirational to me, but the fact that Mrs. Wilder, with her vivid descriptions and little girl perspective, could enable me to experience life as a pioneer girl with a corncob doll through Laura’s eyes.

I began to understand the power of the written word, the power the writer has to enlighten or inspire the reader. Through the pages of a book, you can travel to places you may never have the chance to go and experience life from a completely different perspective. To quote George R.R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives one.”

You can read about racial injustice in your history books, but when you read and experience it through the eyes of Scout Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” it becomes tangible and relatable. Atticus sums it up when he tells Scout, “You never really understand a person until you see things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Books, stories, and biographies allow you the opportunity to do that.

Imagine my delight when I discovered there were eight more books in the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series. So, I could continue my journey with Laura “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” in a “Little House on the Prairie,” and “On the Shores of Silver Lake!” I got to grow up with Laura! And imagine how thrilled I was a few Christmases later when Santa brought me my own set of paperback “Little House” books in a yellow cardboard gift-boxed set! I loved those books!

I’ll never forget one hot night in July when my mother woke up my brothers and me and loaded us in the car to go stay at my grandmother’s house. She had had an argument with my father and didn’t know how long we would be gone. Knowing my mother and how emotional she could be, I figured we would probably be back in a few days. But, knowing my mother, I also knew that I couldn’t be sure, and I didn’t dare take the chance — those “Little House” books were the first thing I packed. And that same yellow boxed set of books still sits on a shelf in my house today!

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I applied for a job at the Hall of Justice as a front desk receptionist. Because it was a government job, I had to go through several phases of interviews. My first interview was with this very nice, older gentleman. We chatted about my experience, which up until that time was mostly retail, restaurant work, and working at a summer camp. I didn’t want my lack of experience working in an office environment to hurt my chances. So, I confidently turned on the charm and explained to him that I thought my ability to work with the public would be my greatest asset in this position. I thought the interview went very well. He told me he enjoyed meeting me and would be in touch. Then, as I was turning to leave, he said, “By the way, I wouldn’t submit that resume’ to anyone else until you double-check your spelling.” And then he winked.

When I got in my car, I pulled out my resume’ and carefully checked every word. There as plain as day, I had misspelled “public.” I had gone into great detail about my extensive “pubic” relations experience.

I was mortified! But I got the job. I don’t know if I got it because of that faux pax or despite it, but I’m sure it made me a memorable candidate for the position!

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

I think we are in a strange place right now as a society because our collective state of happiness is so dependent on the actions of others. It’s become “in vogue” to feel victimized, outraged, and offended. We are addicted to talking about our problems. We expect to be overwhelmed and anxious. We are laser-focused on what we don’t want and then shocked and appalled when we continue to see more evidence of it. We have to get over the fact that life is never going to be perfect…it’s not supposed to be.

We can’t control the world or the behavior of the people in it, but we can control how we decide to feel about the world and the people in it. We can control how we choose to respond to life. That’s the only thing that we can control.

When you need circumstances and other people’s behavior to change in order to feel more comfortable or at peace, you are at the mercy of things you have no control over. You have given all of your power away. When dealing with unwanted things in your life, you have two choices. You change the situation if you can, and if you can’t, you must find a way to change how you feel about the situation. You have to find a way to let go of the uncontrollable. Anything else is madness, a total waste of time and energy.

My book is all about self-empowerment. It can help you define your perspective and provide the steps and strategies you need to alter your view to one that works for you instead of against you. A view that promotes peace and well-being instead of fear and anxiety. Taking total responsibility for how you feel and understanding the significance of that is life-changing.

I know this to be a fact. I’m not sharing this information from a theoretical point of view. I was the Queen of trying to control the uncontrollable. I didn’t set out to write a self-help book; I was just trying to help myself. I was trying to find a moment of calm in the storm when I stumbled onto the fact that nobody could give me that. If I wanted it, I had to feel for it; I had to love myself enough to find the balance between letting go of what I couldn’t control and focusing on all the things I had to be grateful for and appreciate. That’s when my ability to change the quality of my thoughts began to actually change my situation.

I hope my experience, my story, and my book can help someone else navigate that balance in their own life. I know when I was searching for something to help me make sense of it all, I would find a passage in a book, stumble onto a podcast, an interview, a quote, etc., that would resonate and hit home with me until I started to see a rhythm to this way of thinking. There’s not an original idea in this book. Just like I used the wisdom of others to inspire me, I hope something in my book can be a source of inspiration for someone else on their journey.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I’m not sure if it’s the most interesting story, but it is certainly the one I get the most comments about.

In the book, I talk about Universal Energy and how everything is connected. How everything is energy coming from the same energetic Source, and how we all have the ability to connect to Source. That collective consciousness is something you can tap into that will steer you in the right direction. It’s an internal knowing, your conscience, your connection to God, Source, the Universe, or whatever you want to call it.

The Spirit part of you is part of the Universal energetic consciousness. And as we understand, from a scientific view, that energy is neither created nor destroyed; it just converts from one form to another — I believe that when we die, our energetic Spirit simply takes another form.

To illustrate this, I told a story about my mother. My mother passed away in 2013. She had suffered poor health for years and had reached the point where she would need to have major surgery to survive. However, the odds of her surviving the surgery were very slim. She was prepared for either outcome. It wasn’t that she wanted to die, but if she couldn’t have an improved quality of life, she was ready to go. I spent a lot of time with her the week before the surgery. Though I didn’t want to lose her physically, I was prepared to let her go if that was best for her. It was such a gift to have that time with her. We talked and laughed about everything! She confided in me that she was not afraid to die and almost felt giddy about crossing over if she didn’t make it. So, I told her, “If you die, I want you to give me a sign of some kind. I want to know that you’re okay.” She thought about it and said, “Okay. I guess my sign to you will have to be a dog.” She loved dogs and always had one and sometimes several. I said, “Well, that’s crazy! I see dogs all the time; how will I know which dog is a sign from you?” And she said, “You’ll know.”

Unfortunately, she did not survive the surgery and died the following day. As hard as it was to say goodbye, I was thankful she no longer had to deal with her health issues and was finally at peace. I knew she would send me a message if she could. And she certainly did.

When she told me that her sign would be a dog, I was thinking of a literal dog, but the signs I received were all related to a specific dog named “Mitzi.” Mitzi was a puppy she received from her father when she was pregnant with me. Mitzi lived to be fourteen years old, and of all the dogs my mother owned in her lifetime, Mitzi was the most significant. I won’t list them all here, but I received several unmistakable signs that I had no doubt were from her. I still get signs and messages from her. If she comes to me in a dream, she’s always young and beautiful, never sick and frail like when she died. I love that. It’s like getting a visit from her.

I think people love this story because it helps them to see death as something not to be feared. Most of us are so resistant to the thought of physical death, but it’s something that everyone will experience at some point. We can’t change that fact, so we have to find a way to think about it that brings us comfort. I like what John Lennon had to say about dying. He said, “I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car and into another.” As for my mother, I like to think she slipped out of that broken body as easily as you would take off a heavy coat. I didn’t lose her; I know she’s still around when I need her.

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

This experience wasn’t the moment I decided to write the book, but it was the moment I realized the power of perspective and reframing your focus, the moment that it really crystallized for me.

Years ago, my husband and I had settled into this really unhealthy pattern of communicating and getting along. We are complete opposites. Sound familiar? Like I said earlier, my personality is that of a rule-follower. I like to be on time; I want a plan. I am what I call “a color inside the lines person.” My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t just color outside of the lines. He scribbles on the page, tears it out of the book, balls it up, and throws it across the room! He’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy: an adrenalin junkie, a risk taker. He’s not irresponsible; he’s very successful at what he does for a living. His approach to authority, scheduling, and life is just much looser and more willy-nilly than mine.

Opposites attract for a reason; I get it. If I had married someone with a temperament similar to mine, we would have stayed home on Saturday night organizing our sock drawers. I need that will-nilly nudge every now and then. But now we had kids, with their schedules and their little personalities added to the mix. For the record, I tend to become more rigid and structured when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. That’s just my coping mechanism. And, come to find out, the last thing that helps one to become less stressed and overwhelmed is to be told repeatedly to chill out and relax. That doesn’t help.

So, we would have these long, drawn-out arguments over the tone of his voice, how he didn’t respect my feelings, how we couldn’t take the kids out of school simply because he wanted to take a trip, etc. We really began to resent each other. I was walking on eggshells, always waiting for the sarcastic comment, preparing my snarky comeback. The tension would be so thick you could cut it with a knife. And I hate confrontation. It was bad.

Now, I had already been through this with my parents, and I could see where this was heading. The last thing I wanted for my kids was a divorce. So, I suggested we try marriage counseling. Confidentially, I felt it was time to bring in an impartial third party to explain to my husband why he was wrong. But that’s not what happened.

Evidently, other people are not required to behave in a way that makes you more comfortable. Their job is not to make you happy. You have to make yourself happy. You can work on your communication skills, but we are not here to try to change the other person. Or, so it was explained to me.

To be fair, she told this to both of us, not just me. I was not required to change to make him happy either, but that is not what I heard. What I heard was that this was not fixable. Nothing was going to change. She wasn’t going to perform a personality transplant on my husband. He was still going to push all my buttons, and I just didn’t think I had it in me to continue. I was tired of defending and justifying every little thing. In my head, I thought, this is it. We are getting a divorce. The very thing I do not want is going to happen. There is no way to stop this.

Now, when I mentally made this decision, two things happened. The first thing was that I felt an immense feeling of relief. It was like I had been holding a giant beach ball underwater, and it just popped to the surface. I let it go. Energetically, I just gave in to this thing I had been struggling against. In my book, I call this shift “Release.” It is making peace with what is. It’s actually the feeling of pushing against something unwanted that is so uncomfortable.

Then I started to think about what a divorce would look like for us. Yes, my parents did get a divorce. Initially, it had been a difficult adjustment for all of us, but in the long run, it was for the best. My mother remarried, and my stepfather became a beloved member of our family. My dad and stepfather sat on the same pew at my mother’s funeral. They were friends. I was proud of the evolution of the dissolution of my parent’s marriage.

As for us, my husband and I had spent more than half our lives together. We had a history. Whether or not we had a piece of paper saying we were still a couple was irrelevant. We had grown up together; we had comforted each other when our parents passed away, we had struggled to get pregnant, and eventually had two amazing children together. And what about those kids? No one else in the world can look at those kids the same way I do except him and think, look at what we made. He’s a loving and supportive father. He’s someone I love and respect. And I like him; I would still want to be his friend even if we weren’t a couple. We would always be a part of each other’s lives.

When I started looking at what I appreciated about him instead of focusing on our differences, I could feel the second shift taking place. I could feel a calmness, a weight lifting off my shoulders. By shifting my perspective, even the tiniest bit, I could take the weight out of what was happening. “Divorce” only carried as much weight as I allowed it to have. I didn’t have to attend every argument I was invited to. I didn’t have to take everything as a personal attack. I didn’t have to convince him of anything. My peace of mind did not have to be dependent on him. We would find enough things that we appreciated about each other to stay together, or we wouldn’t. Either way, we would be okay.

We did not get a divorce. Does that mean because I had this “perspective epiphany” that we never argue and are oblivious to our differences? No. No, it does not. We will have been married for thirty-four years next month, and we still might get a divorce. But my focus has changed. I no longer put energy into avoiding a divorce, but try to focus on what I appreciate about him instead of the things that drive me crazy.

Adjusting your focus and perspective isn’t a one-time fix. It’s an in-the-moment decision over and over again. Whatever your outlook is, you are always choosing. Some days I’m successful in maintaining that balance, and some days not so much. Some days, I’ll admit, I walk that line like a drunken clown at the circus. But when I lose my balance, I know I can find it again. My state of happiness and peace of mind is entirely up to me. And that is a really powerful place to be.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I’m happy to give you a specific name. It’s me — Robyn Barnhardt. I know how much understanding perspective and the power of deliberate thought have helped me, and I want to share that. And that’s why I’ll talk about it to whoever will sit still enough to listen.

I don’t care if you’re a total stranger; if our conversation goes longer than fifteen minutes, odds are we are going to get deep. I don’t know if I attract that or just have a knack for getting to the heart of things. But no matter how the conversation starts or what we end up talking about, I find that we inevitably get around to perspective. What are they looking at? What are they focused on? If they’re happy, then we’ll talk about that. If they’re not, I will try to help them find a way to look at it that will bring them some relief and lighten their mood. As different as we all are, we all have this in common; we all want to be happy, at peace, and loved. So, if you can walk away from any conversation helping or inspiring someone to catch a glimpse of that, that’s pretty significant.

If you can help or inspire someone to find that for themselves, even better. That’s the whole point of my book. It’s like the old “give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry again” proverb. That’s all this is about; I’m just trying to help you catch your own fish.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

The number one, most effective thing any of us can do to make a difference is to start with the only thing you have any control over, and that is you — the man in the mirror. Taking responsibility for your own state of happiness is the most significant step you can take to create real change. Lead by example instead of trying to lead by controlling other people. Shift your focus from them and their behavior, to you and how you want to feel. And then figure out how to achieve those feelings for yourself, regardless of what is happening around you. Imagine if we just minded our own business and permitted everyone else to be a work in progress.

Number two, respect each other’s differences and promote inclusivity. Our determination to get everyone on the same page, whether it be religion, politics, or whatever, is at the root of what causes so much unnecessary pain and resistance. We aren’t the same, and we’re not supposed to be. Different is not wrong. We need to appreciate and learn from our differences and look for mutuality. We have so many things in common; embrace and focus on those things.

And number three. Focus on the good. We have many serious problems going on in the world, that’s true. But at the same time, the world is also this beautiful, self-correcting miracle with so much more going right than wrong. That’s also true. Decide to give your energy and attention to the things that lift you up. Then, from that connected state of being, you can inspire and lift others. That’s the only way to achieve positive change. You can’t positively motivate others from the energy of fear and hate. But you can scare the hell out of them and create strife and division, and we can see where that has gotten us. We’re better than that — let’s act like it.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I think you can only achieve real leadership through inspiration. You may get people to do what you want through fear, intimidation, and bullying, but that’s not leading. That’s pushing. That’s manipulation.

To truly lead, you have to evoke emotion. People want to “feel” something. If you can help people feel good about themselves, give them hope and something to believe in, or motivate them by your example, you can lead.

In college, I worked at a big chain record store. The manager who hired me was a young guy with a wife and small kids. His approach to managing a bunch of college kids was that he knew we weren’t making a ton of money in retail, so as long as we provided good customer service and got our work done, we may as well have some fun. He would do things like order pizza for everyone when we had a big shipment to unpack, have DJ nights, and we’d play name-that-tune when business was slow. He took an interest in our lives. He knew when you had a big exam or paper due and made sure not to schedule you or let you leave early. He scheduled us, so we always walked to the parking lot in pairs after work. He cared about us. And we cared about him. We knew that his salary was dependent on sales and bonuses, so we did whatever we could to help him achieve those goals. The record companies would send posters and props to promote new albums, and there would be incentives within the company for the store that came up with the best display. One night, another employee and I clocked out at 10:00 pm but stayed until 3:00 am trying to win a trip for our manager and his wife.

About a year and a half later, our manager transferred to another store, and the company brought in this flashy “numbers” dude. He couldn’t even remember our names. He would put you on the schedule even when you asked off. We would have these emergency meetings when the weekend sales had been low, and he would stomp around, yell, and pound his fist on his desk. And it was no wonder the sales were down. He was lucky if we showed up at all, much less worried about him making his quotas. Most of us left after a few months. It wasn’t the same; it was just a job. And it didn’t even pay very well.

I saw two very different leadership styles in the same position, back-to-back. And I never forgot it. Anytime I observe someone in authority, I immediately classify them into one of two categories — they’re either a “Dennis” or a “Van.” And, to this day, I would take a pay cut to work for a “Dennis.”

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. If you have a desire to do something, that is reason enough to pursue it. Wanting to do it is enough. That flicker of passion is your sign to move in that direction.

I have always enjoyed writing. I dabbled with writing fiction but found I really enjoyed writing in my own voice. But the fear of being vulnerable and putting myself out there prevented me from writing from my point of view. What do I know? Why would anyone care what I have to say? When I eventually gave in to the idea and thought, “Why not?” the words just flowed onto the page. Writing became fun and effortless. I enjoyed every minute of it. The process of writing the book was the reward. Now I think one of the greatest compliments I get about the book is when someone I know reads it and says, “Oh my God, I loved it! When I read it, I could literally hear you talking in my head — it was like having a conversation with you!”

2. Start writing even if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want to write.

When I started the book, I really didn’t know what I wanted to say. I had this collection of quotes that resonated with me and a vague idea about how they fit together but didn’t have the big picture. Eventually, I just started organizing and stringing these little fragmented stories, quotes, and ideas together like puzzle pieces, and it began to take shape. I had to trust that I would figure it out as I went along, and I did. I surprised myself. You don’t have to see the end result to start; just start and the path will light up.

3. Mistakes and failures aren’t the opposite of success. They are necessary for success.

This lesson was another enlightening example of the power of reframing my perspective. I never finished college. I changed majors three times and never completed any of them. For a long time, I thought of that as a failure and was embarrassed by that. But the reality is that I learned a great deal during that time. As a nursing student, I found that since I get queasy and am likely to faint at the sight of blood, this profession probably would not work out for me. But I also realized I was fascinated by and enjoyed the behavioral psychology and mental health classes. As a graphic arts student, I learned that I loved the creative process of making art but did not enjoy the pressure of deadlines and competing for accounts. As an interior design student, I loved everything I learned about design and textiles. But I did not enjoy haggling over fees, mark-ups, and coordinating with unreliable subs and contractors. Even if I had gotten a diploma, I would not have pursued any of those careers. The things I learned however, I use to this day. None of that was time wasted. Mistakes and failures are nothing more than a directional tool nudging you in another direction. And I consider that valuable information. I’ll take it.

4. Trust your intuition. Just because someone is better educated, older, or has more experience than you, doesn’t necessarily mean that their way is better.

Trust yourself and your vision. Ask for all the advice you want, but what you do or how you do it is ultimately your decision. In the end, it’s your name on the book. It’s your time and energy put into a project; it’s your life. It’s much harder to deal with mistakes when you know deep down that you knew better. Have the confidence to pay attention to that inner knowing. Several people told me it would be much cheaper to produce my book without color printing and photography and I should rethink that. And yes, it would have been. I considered changing that up, but I didn’t want to print a cheesy-looking informational tract about perspective. I felt passionate about what I had to say and thought the book would be much more inspiring and impactful with those beautiful quote pages, and I was right. I’m really proud of the finished product.

5. Everybody is not going to “get” you, and that’s okay.

Being a people pleaser by nature, this was a hard concept for me to grasp. But once I understood what this truly meant, this realization gave me the most freedom. When I first started writing, I was very concerned with how what I had to say would be perceived. I was trying to write in my voice but thinking in the back of my mind, “I can’t say it like that…Aunt Helen may read this!” When I tried to write it in a watered-down, generic kind of way, then “I” wasn’t happy with it. I finally realized that I had to write it to please myself and let the chips fall where they may. Writing was effortless when I concentrated on what I had to say instead of what people would think about it. No, my book won’t be for everybody, but it’s not supposed to be. That wasn’t even the point. To quote Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“There will always be someone who can’t see your worth, don’t let it be you.” Mel Robbins

I love quotes and have referenced over a hundred in my book, but I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. This particular one, though, has been an anthem to me on more than one occasion.

This quote reminds me that the most beneficial thing I can do is to believe in myself. You can waste a lot of time trying to win the approval of others. It’s not their job to like and appreciate you; that’s your job. If your focus is always on what other people think of you, you are fighting a losing battle. People will only understand you from their limited perspective, so their opinion really doesn’t matter. It was so liberating when I finally wrapped my head around this concept. I don’t have to explain or justify a damn thing to anybody. If you do not recognize what I bring to the table and appreciate what I have to offer, I will not convince you. You either get me, or you don’t. And you may not. That’s okay.

Sometimes the biggest motivator is not someone urging you on or a cheerleader, but the doubters and the haters — the ones giving you all the reasons why it won’t work and why you can’t do it. When you get negative feedback, just smile, say thank you very much, and then go about your business. They don’t get to define you; you do. They don’t know what you know. They may never know. As long as “you” know your worth, that’s all that matters.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

It would have to be Oprah. I know that answer may seem cliche, and the odds of it even remotely happening are slim to none — I mean, she’s a busy woman. But I do feel she has done more to positively influence her audience and the general population than anyone else. You have to remember that Oprah came on the scene before we had access to the internet; if it wasn’t happening down the street or you didn’t hear it on the news, then you probably wouldn’t know about it. She exposed us to mindfulness with guests like Eckhart Tolle, Maya Angelou, and the Dalai Lama. She was the pioneer of the celebrity book club, introducing us to authors and subject matter I most likely never would have picked up on my own, thereby expanding my horizons and my consciousness. She brought mental health out in the open and helped to destigmatize it. She had health professionals on, giving us public service announcements with advice and tips that literally saved lives. At a time when there were countless talk shows only interested in ratings, airing shows about midget-tossing, paternity suits, and neo-Nazi nonsense, she used her platform to educate us. She made it her personal mission to provide us with the tools to “live our best lives,” and I’m grateful.

Though it would be lovely to meet her, and I’m sure we would have the best time hanging out — don’t you know she would love me? I don’t need a private audience with her. I would just like her to know that if her goal was to make a difference in the lives of her audience, she certainly did with me. And I would like to say thank you!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can connect with me at or follow me on Instagram @seethroughrosecoloredglasses. I would love to hear from them!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Robyn Barnhardt Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.