“There’s the word remarkable …that’s why our life looks so different from other people.” –Kristin Smedley


Don’t let your limitations limit what you can do! What you can achieve depends on how you make choices. The key to your epiphanies lies on slowing down and allowing yourself to walk down that path. Having limitations does not mean your journey has come to an end, rather, that it is taking you to somewhere better. Listen to these real life experiences and be ready to make your story different.


Listen to the podcast here:



02:18 A Glimpse of Perfection in the Eyes of a Child
09:48 Slow It Down
17:52 Leave the Limits
24:23 Like Everybody Else
34:02: The Power of Good Labels and Choices
37:37 Make Your Story Different


Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight by Kristin Smedley

Expectation Therapy: Mastering Your Expectations by Art Costello



“When we start to slow down … we start to get these ideas.” ­–Art Costello

“We are only limited by what we think we can ‘t do. And we are only as good as what we think we can do.” –Art Costello

“I just think we need to get rid of labels and just start living and letting people flourish.” –Art Costello

“Some good things about some labels. But I will also say that labels … have an expiration date.” –Kristin Smedley

“Every single person is dealing with something… It’s your perception of that challenge, and usually it’s not as bad as you think it is. Usually there’s already tools that you’re just not tapping into. –Kristin Smedley

“There’s the word remarkable …that’s why our life looks so different from other people.” –Kristin Smedley


Your journey can only go as far as your limited expectations. Rewrite your story in a different perspective and be remarkable! Join @myexpectation and @KristinSmedley in #blindness #limitations #labels #choices #perception #remarkable Click To Tweet



Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies podcast. Today my guest is Kristin Smedley she’s an award winning nonprofit leader, speaker, and author of Thriving Blind. You know, Kristin never planned on any of the accolades that she received and what you did plan on was being a third grade teacher. However, her path to greatness took an unexpected turn and I’m gonna let her explain it. So without further ado, welcome Kristen to the show. Thank you, Kristen for being with me.

Kristin Smedley: Oh, hey, thanks Art. Thanks for, I’m so glad that we get to finally have this chat we’ve been chatting online for, for quite some time now. It’s, it’s awesome to be here. Thanks.

Art Costello: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It really is so great because I admire not only what you’ve done, which you’ll explain are about, but your philosophy on expectations and what they’ve done in your life and how you’ve really moved forward with it. So please tell us about your story.

Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight by Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley: Yeah. So, so I have to, I have to point out too that I, I’m a firm believer in no coincidences. And as I’ve been diving into your book and watch your work, it’s like, well, we were meant to have our journeys cross right at this point in time, cause I was not like this years ago. So to back everybody up, a few years, a couple of decades, 18 years ago, almost 19 years ago now, I was, was living the dream, like literally living, all my dreams were coming true. I was, I was teaching, which was what I had planned to do my whole life. I’m just one of those crazy kids that knew from the time I was little, little that that’s what I wanted to do. I mean, I have four brothers and I would line them all up in our, in our little basement with a chalkboard, be teaching them whether they cared to learn anything or not. But I knew I was going to do that. I knew I wanted to get married, have kids, kids was my biggest number one dream. And I finally had everything and I even had, I had the new baby, the perfect baby. I had the, that was when, and , it was 2000 when the mcmansions, you know, that new term mcmansions a little perfect house and the perfect green lawn I had, I had everything. And then everything kind a took a wild left turn when my newborn was diagnosed with a very rare blindness that I had never heard of. And honestly, I had never, I don’t, I still don’t understand this to this day, but I had never met a blind person in my entire life until the moment I was holding my five month old son. And they said that he, um, he basically could see just about nothing. Yeah. So that was quite a blow to all of my dreams in that moment. And what I would come to figure out, it took me, I’m a little bit of a slow learner. I like to say I’m intense, so I like to get really into a topic. Takes me a while to get my head around it. But it would take me three years and it wasn’t actually me that figured it out. It was my three year old son, Michael that showed me that it was my perception of blindness that was keeping me on the couch crying every single day because he was the happiest kid you could ever meet. I mean, I was a teacher. I come from a ginormous family, always involved with tons of kids and I had never met a kid or a person that was as, as in his DNA, he was a happy person. He just, it was really hard to rock him. So, um, I watched him the one day and I always say it was my garden of get [inaudible] moment of you remember that story I grew up in, in Catholic school, you can tell, right. And I was pregnant with my second child and I did a Ted talk on this and the producers changed the order of my story a little bit for the Ted delivery and it worked perfectly. But the real story is I was pregnant with my second son and I was like very pregnant and I couldn’t get out of, I got out of bed the one morning and I actually just couldn’t get past the bed. I was still in devastation mode and I was scared to death to have a second. It was for me, it was hard enough to survive and put a smile on my face every day with scared of raising one blind child that how could I possibly do a second time and I’m not one for ’em. I always joke, my mom gave me this little blessed mother’s statue recently and she’s on my windows still in the kitchen and we always joke that I’m going to come down in the morning and she’s going to have her hands over her ears because I don’t exactly, my prayers aren’t exactly quiet little chance. They’re more like screaming tantrums, you know, and always having one of those moments that warning when Michael was three and my whole thing was I couldn’t do it again and I said I, I there was no way that God could send that to me to deal with twice. And then Michael Literally bounced into my room and told me that it was the greatest day of his life. And it was simply because the sun was shining and he was playing with his toys and he was so happy and he bounced back out of my room and he considered that perfection, you know? And I thought, wow, I have missed for three years. I’ve been so worried and scared about the fact that he’s never gonna play baseball, he’s never gonna drive, he’s never going to do all that. My expectation was that it was going to be a nightmare. So I was living a nightmare and instead he completely shifted how I should look at blindness. And it was a mere inconvenience to him that’s all it was. And it’s still a mere inconvenience to him. And, and I catch myself constantly now when I’m in the pits because I had to drop them off at college and Oh my God, how’s he gonna figure that out? Because he’s blind. It has nothing to do with that. If he was going through a lot of the stuff, all the other kids are going through, you know? So at any rate that at that moment, thank God my perception changed, which completely changed my expectations of his journey and my prayer became, okay, if this is going to happen again, even if it’s not going to happen again with Michael, I needed to be directed to all the tools and resources to raise a blind child because I didn’t know that was what I realized where I was stuck. I didn’t know what the next right move was, so I needed it to come to me. And low and behold, as soon I’m telling you, as soon as I did that my, our world and our journey opened in ways, that’s unbelievable. But what I would come to find out, probably only two years ago, remember, I’m a slow learner, but I learned it well. When I finally learned it, I learn it well. I found out two years ago, I looked back as I was getting ready for the Ted talk and all the resources and people were being placed in my journey since diagnosis day, I just didn’t see them. I didn’t see them cause I was stuck in what my dreams were for him, and I was trying to figure out baseball and driving as opposed to giving him the tools of blindness. I was trying to give him the tools of the sighted and it wasn’t working, but really it was, thank God Michael changed my perception because my journey would look a whole lot different if he hadn’t.

Art Costello: And you know what I find so amazing is the, the epiphany and the expectations changing mainly because of your perspective and your perception changing. And I write a lot about in my book about perception and perspective and expectations, but something that I’ve just learned here within the last few months is that I’m starting to believe that our, our Epiphany’s are a precursor to our expectations.

Kristin Smedley: –Absolutely.

Art Costello: You know, we, we have these epiphanies and most people don’t do anything with them. They don’t do anything with the Epiphany’s that they have. And we have them at all different kinds of places. I have mine in the shower, that’s why I call the shower epiphany when I’m taking a shower and water’s cleansing me in coming over me. It’s amazing how much many ideas come into my head.

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: When do you get your Epiphany’s?

Kristin Smedley: It’s so funny. I’m so happy that you’re mentioning this. I don’t know, I don’t, maybe you don’t want to know this, but this is my, I always say, see I have for those that you know they’re on the podcast, can’t see, I have very long hair and I, my abilities come into moments when I’m blow drying this hair that takes forever and when I’m vacuuming. Isn’t that funny? It’s, I think it’s just that monotonous I think I have a touch of add also. So when I’m doing this, this like I’ve been blow-drying this hair and blowing it out it’s very, very, very curly. I’ve been doing this one system for so long and it’s just that I can zone my mind on things and those are the two times that I have my biggest Aha moments.

Art Costello: Let me tell you about what I think about this and see what I want to get your reaction to this. I find out people like you and I who our minds are constantly moving at a fast pace. My day, my mind is going so fast, sometimes I have to be careful about writing because I leave words out because I think in these chunks. So I leave –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -hat out and I’ve got to fill in there. But what happens is when we’re vacuuming, when we’re showering, when we’re some people, it’s in a car, some people, it’s at the beach. We slow our mind down and it starts to let the Epiphany’s and the ideas and the drains slip into our consciousness.

Kristin Smedley: –H?

Art Costello: Because I believe that our Epiphany’s are our subconscious trying to tell our conscious expectations, what they’re thinking and what they’re doing. There’s a little space in when you do some study on, on the brain, there’s these little between synapses in the brain and, and , there’s these little spaces and of space, but no one knows what happens in there. But –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -that’s where I believe we, we actually transition. It’s a transition point in the brain to go from either dreams, Epiphany’s, whatever you want, ideas, however you want to define them –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: -to an expectation. Because everything we do is based on that expectation. Every breath we take, –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -every thought we make is based on an expectation. What is so different for us is how we act upon them. So many people bury their ideas, their expectations, their Epiphany’s. They just bury ’em because they, they don’t think they have any value when really –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -there’s great, great sense of value in that. So when we slow down and we start to vacuum and blow dry our hair, I just wish I had hair to blow dry, but anyway you know, when we start to slow down and we, and we start to make things [inaudible] in our head and then we start to get these ideas. That’s my thoughts on that, so –


“When we start to slow down … we start to get these ideas.” ­–Art Costello Click To Tweet


Kristin Smedley: — I like it. Yeah. that makes perfect sense to me.

Art Costello: Well, I’m glad it makes sense to somebody cause –

Kristin Smedley: –I don’t know if I’m a credible resource, but there you go, you got one fan of that.

Art Costello: I think you’re really credible, anyway, go ahead. I think I’ve interrupted your story you know.

Kristin Smedley: No, it’s all good. Yeah. So I finally had that change in perception, started seeing all the resources. I realized that I was, had all those folks and, and resources being put on my path I just wasn’t noticing them. And then I actually realized that I was, you know, Michael had had some really great early intervention people coming to the house to give him the tools that he needed. But I was wasting time using them more like a therapist, you know, I was still lamenting over my, the deal I had been dealt and then he changes that perception, I started on the road to I can figure this out. And then Mitchell, my second child is born and four months later we get the exact same diagnosis. So I will say that I did, I was back in the pit again, but only for a few weeks this time because I had, what I realized I needed the most, and this is why I do the work I do, especially with the book. I did not have a role model, I had no case study, no research base, no proof that Michael was gonna be okay. Once he had all the tools and resources, I didn’t know any. All I knew was Stevie wonder and at that point, I’m no singer, I can act like a singer for about five minutes. And then a second song, I actually sang with a band one night, little sidebar here, van to my neighborhood and I did two songs, right? Everybody’s cheering and everything, you know, it was like midnight by the time they’re all three sheets to the wind. They thought I was great, so there’s one woman comes over, she goes, Kristin, your first song was amazing. Yeah, well I’ll do, I’m like, so the second song, not so much, but anyway, so I have no musical talent right. And if they got, I’m not going to have Stevie wonder. And , the only other person that blind person I knew of was the show I used to watch was a little house on the prairie. And what happened to that? If you know that show Mary’s the daughter and they ship her off to a school for the blind, like I thought that was gonna be life. Right? So then I realize that that’s not the case. I start reading up on, it took me if, I mean we didn’t have Facebook back then, the Internet was still relatively new, trying to find people that walked this path and I met a mom who, I met her son at a conference and I, the opening of my book is the first conference I had to go to for this and where I meet these two people and I’m blown away about with this kid who’s in his twenties speaking and he’s funny and he’s dynamic and a good looking guy that’s very charismatic and I meet the mom and everyone had an opportunity to ask questions about raising blind kids in goofy name. My one burning question to her was, when did you stop crying every day? That was my one question of all the things I could have asked her about having success. That was the one thing I could not get my head around cause I was the happiest, most optimistic person that was crying every single day. And she said to me that, she said, I don’t, I can’t tell you when it’s going to be different for every person, but there’s going to be a day that all of a sudden you go to bed at night and realize you didn’t shed a tear and then that’s going to turn into a week. I could cry thinking about it and then it’s gonna be a month and then before long you are going to get to a point where you, this does not consume you. I thought she was nuts. I just like, but it, she was right, she was right.

Art Costello: It’s part of the grieving process actually. You, you are grieving.

Kristin Smedley: Yeah. And I didn’t know that for years. I should’ve had a therapist I should have, should have, should have the right. So it’s all the should’ve could’ve, would’ve showed us that made the book that I have because I don’t want anyone else to walk that path. But I do realize I had to do that journey the way I did it.

Art Costello: My point exactly.

Kristin Smedley: I had to do it.

Art Costello: Yeah. If you don’t live it, you know, we’re very similar in this um because I have to live it to really make it, pardon me, to, I don’t know. I mean, I lost my wife to cancer in 2006 –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm.

Art Costello: And –

Kristin Smedley: –Oh I’m sorry.

Art Costello: -she spent three years. We were married for 35 she spent three years fighting her really hard and a relic fight, chemotherapy every single week for three years, had chemo brain and, and all those kinds of things. But, um, how, when I, when she had, I promised her that I was not going to go to, she didn’t want me to grieve long matter of fact, she released me from my marriage vows so I could go find somebody else. She said, I don’t want –

Kristin Smedley: –Wow.

Art Costello: -anyone else says, you know, you’re 60 59 years old going to be 60 and you’re not going to have a lot of time to find somebody else. But somebody deserves you as much as you have.

Kristin Smedley: Gosh, there’s love and friendship right there.

Art Costello: And then amazing what she did and was such –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: -a gift and I went and dishonored her for three years. I started drinking, started doing stuff I’d never done in my life –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: And it, you know, it, it just acting like a jerk. And then my kids came to me and said, you promised mom, and she told her, she told us to watch you because she knew you so well. And that’s how expectation therapy started because I went back out on my lawn and just like as a nine year old when I went to this mountain, had a conversation with God. I laid down on the front lawn of our ranch in Austin, Texas. Looked up into the sky and heard this voice inside of me that just said, get off your button start doing. I’ve given you all the tools to be successful. Use them –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -Use them.

Kristin Smedley: Yeah.

Art Costello: That’s what I did. I got up and I started writing and I had of it came expectation therapy, but I wanted to tell you something else. I had when I was a, I’d come home from Vietnam, went to college and went into the entertainment industry and I worked for Jose Feliciano’s manager.

Kristin Smedley: –Oh Wow.

Art Costello: Jose is blind. `

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: Jose’s manager, a quad for legion.

Kristin Smedley: –Wow.

Art Costello: In a wheelchair. Did amazing things did taught me lessons about living and being fearless and not worrying about what others say. Dawn Mangano was his name. [inaudible] his manager and he could drive a car as a quadriplegic. In other words, he had no use of his arms and his legs, but he taught himself to drive in California.

Kristin Smedley: –Wow.

Art Costello: Gave him a license and he could –

Kristin Smedley: –Seriously?

Art Costello: -seriously and he could drive a car. He drove a big old bodacious Cadillac. This is back in 1971 the Cadillac was there.

Kristin Smedley: –Of course he did.

Art Costello: And he drove. Well, he had, he had a Mercedes, you, he had the Cadillac, but he loved driving the Cadillac convertible and he, he’d, I’ve helped him put the top down and stuff and then, you know, some stuff I had to help them wipe and he wanted my help on other things. If I tried to help him, he’d given me a tongue lashing, like couldn’t believe. He would, he’d get in there and he would maneuver his body and you gotta remember California’s pretty strict on their driving –

Kristin Smedley: — h.

Art Costello: -stuff. And he went in and took the test. The guy came back and said, I’m issuing you a license. You can drive as well as anybody else.

Kristin Smedley: –Wow.

Art Costello: Taught me that. You know, we are only limited by what we think we can’t do.

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah. Yeah.

Art Costello: And we are only as good as what we think we can do. –


“We are only limited by what we think we can ‘t do. And we are only as good as what we think we can do.” –Art Costello Click To Tweet


Kristin Smedley: -Yeah.

Art Costello: And it’s one of the things I love and I want you to tell some of the stories about your son’s in, in baseball, because I W I was a huge baseball fan and I played, I played semi-pro ball.

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: I was a catcher and I want people to hear some of what they’ve accomplished in their lives.

Kristin Smedley: Yeah. You know, and, and , I think to tag on to as I go into that, what you’re saying about expectations and it’s, it’s true. It’s what you believe that, that you can do and you can do. But I think that what we have to the other side of that is we have to be very careful about putting our expectations on other people.

Art Costello: Oh, absolutely.

Kristin Smedley: And that’s the problem and especially in the educating blind children is there nothing much is expected of them. So they’re not accomplishing much. I mean the 70% unemployment rate is big byproduct of that expectation in my belief. So my guys, you know, thank God Michael, had we changed my perception, which changed my expectation. It was this uphill nightmare because nobody else was on board with this expectation shift, which so much so that we got to kindergarten and move to a school district that’s top in the, and we’ll, if you ask the school district, it’s top in the world with confetti, right. You know, whatever. But they are great, okay. So they’re kindergarten goals for Michael were that one of them was that he would find his cubby 70% of the time, you know, and, and when it came down to, as we argued that goal, I mean me with an education background and my then husband with an engineering background and really going through line by line of things, their basis was that the site, I said, what we’ll decide the kids do, he needs to do the same as a sight of kids. Can they only achieve at 70% with these cubbies? Are they magical? Like what’s the problem with them? And they said, no, he’s blind. So 70 is great and that didn’t sit well with us. And that’s where all of this started to change. And it was a, it was a difficult way to change. But to know my guys, they just go about their day and they’re not, they don’t pay attention to all this noise from other people. They just have it in themselves that they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. And they’ve developed this charisma. And I swear some of its innate, but a lot of it is because they realized a long time ago, it’s just easier to, to charm people. And then they end up, I mean, I joke that my Michael goes out the door and red carpets rollout and things come his way. It’s what he puts in the universe and he expects that people will just, kindness will come. And then my Mitchell is exactly, completely opposite of Michael, but the same thing happens for him. He expects that he can be his charming self. And it’s not a phony charm. It’s just this, I don’t even know what the word is for this charisma that they have. And I joke that Mitchell’s had a staff of people. Now he’s more his peers. 

Michael gravitates to adults, but Mitchell’s had a staff of, of girls helping him since about kindergarten and he utilizes it. He will say the things that he wants to do himself, but he’s like, why am I going to walk all the way over there and get that marker? It’s like, hey, Dylan wants to go get it from me. I’m going to give her the honor and pleasure of helping me out. That’s how he looks at it. Like, Hey, I’m making their life better look how happy she is, you know. But anyway, so I get, I go off on these wild tangents, but, so that all, then they were doing um, you know, my, we are a huge sports family. I grew up on the soccer fields, softball fields, and I, that was the last thing I couldn’t get in my grieving process. I couldn’t get over that how was I going to be this? I was still playing soccer when I was about to give birth to Michael. So how is sports not going to be a part of our lives? I didn’t know what to do with that. And then we found a blind sports program, which was so wonderful. They learned all the mechanics of sports and their sports that are specifically designed for the blind. All the adaptations for the other sports were built in. It was wonderful until it was wonderful. If, if they were sheltered in a blind community and at a blind school, it would have been, you know, perfect. The problem became at nine years old, Michael’s in the regular quote elementary school and he’s hanging out. I mean, I’ve forced social skills on this school district. Like they didn’t want to see me coming around the corner anymore because nobody was addressing social skills so I’m forcing it. I’m in the school constantly helping we’re inviting everybody over to the house. I mean, he had friends out the Wazoo now the problem is on the recess yard and at lunchtime. What are the kids in the spring talk about? The baseball teams that they were all on, every one of the kids Michael hang out with was on a baseball team and he wanted to play too because in his mind he’s just like everybody else. He’s at their school, he’s at their birthday parties, he’s doing everything in the community. Why is he not on the baseball teams? So that was a wonderful day that I go and I joke with people, especially around here that when I walked, I wrote this, this blog one time about when you walk into registration, baseball registration day in North Hampton, township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Disney has it all wrong. This is a magical place, most magical place on earth, baseball registration. I mean it was like for the love, it was like a Disney soundtrack was playing in the background. Everyone’s hugging people that I know hate each other, you know, politically and at the school board meetings and all. But that baseball registration, they’re all best buddies. Right? And I walk in with the kid with the cane and, and the commissioner of the organization walked up to me cause it was like instantaneous. The record, needle scratches, all the sound goes down and I’m of all these people looking at me and I wasn’t as well known in the community yet. I was known in our elementary school cause I was the mom that was there all the time. And I didn’t know many of these people but luckily one of my friends from the swim team I managed was working the gear table and knew the commissioner and introduced me as one of the most fun people, the planet. And I was like, there is my end with him right and all eyes were on us at that moment when I said, Michael wants to play baseball. And the commissioner said, that’s wonderful we have this program called the Miracle League and it’s a special needs baseball. It’s the most amazing program you could ever see. And I said, I know about the Miracle League and Michael wants to volunteer in the Miracle League, but he wants to play for North Hampton. And I give this guy his is Steve Briar. I give him all the credit in the world because he stood for a full minute with nothing to say. And it wasn’t a look of shock on his face and it was an upsetment it was pure thought on. And I know it was going through his mind, could I make this work? 

This is a kid and there’s Michael standing there and it had nothing to do with anybody looking at us. And he said to me, of course he wants to play baseball and he should play baseball. And I just had to give some thought and I think I have the best coach for him. And proceeded to walk us and introduce us to this man. And he ended up Michael’s to be Michael’s first coach, came over to the house with his son to meet Michael and talk to us about what he could and couldn’t see and our ideas on how to make it work. And we came up with a system and he was able to play. And not only did he play, so the system to be very brief was he had to play the outfield because I was too neurotic about I was, I was paying a fortune for his braces and I said I can’t possibly have at that. You know, one last second, all the thousands of dollars are down his throat because the ball hits him in the mouth right? So he played the outfield and they got special permission for him and him to have a another guy on his team out in the field with him and the guy would feel the ball, hand it to Michael. And it was brilliant how these kids figured out real quick that everyone had to be quiet. When Michael had the ball and wherever the play was, say he was playing right field and the play was at second, whoever was standing on second waiting for the throw would holler his name and only one person could holler his name and that he could, I’m telling you, Art, he could throw it on a dime to where the play was. And it was funny cause the kids had to teach the parents to shut the heck up, you know, cause everyone screaming yeah Michael. And then it’s like, and the kids are like shut up, you know, and, and he would get it and then he, he did the, the biggest struggle he had with that was he had to hit off the tee. And at that point, you know, to be nine years old, that’s when they move out of the tee ball and out of coach pitch and all that. And he wanted out also, you want to do everything just like everybody else. And it was a struggle for about a week and I finally said to him the one night, the thing that won him over was, look, you can certainly get up there and swing just like everybody else, but you’re going to play by the rules of everybody else. You get three tries, what are the chances you’re going to hit the ball in three tries? I’ve seen these kids pitch not a whole hell of a lot it’s coming over, over the plate. You don’t know that you’re just swinging right. I said, plus the other guys are going to figure it out and throw it all over the place you’ll never hit it. So what are you contributing to your team? Nothing, but if you hit off a tee and you have three tries, your chances are so much better to help your team. So, and then he gave me my kids, you know, having brilliant kids. Sometimes that’s a drawback because he went in for about an hour on velocity and speed and it was never going to hit into the outfield. I’m like, finally, I was like, you know what? Shut up and go to bed I’m done with this conversation. You told me in the morning what you want to do. And he decided that it was, he would hit off the tee and he had to, he had to swallow his pride. Those first couple of times at the tee came out, but little by little seats, that perception of it, he figured people would judge him that he wasn’t, you know, good enough and cool enough and little by little without saying a word, he taught everybody else that this is my, I know my limitations and I’m going to work within it to do the best I can to help the team. And I swear to God he led the team and rbis.

Art Costello: Amazing. Just –

Kristin Smedley: –Is that wild.

Art Costello: Yeah, it’s boy what a, it’s just, it almost brings me to tears because I played baseball and I know the difficulties of hitting even, even off of a tee is difficult –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: -for children to learn it. I mean just go out and watch them, you know? And it takes a lot of progress. Practice no less having to be impaired with sight and then being able to do it, it’s amazing. One of the things that comes to my mind about in our conversation over and over again is it seems like when we label people, no matter what the label is, they live up to that label. And when we expand the label or, or discard the label entirely, which I wish we would do cause I have a lot of feelings about labels because they limit people. I mean –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: –You being a third grade teacher, no, when I was in second and third grade kindergarten that I was raised Catholic and I was taught by nuns and priests.

Kristin Smedley: Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: I had a priest in my first grade class that used to call me dumb. I mean literally would call me dumb. There was nothing dumb about me I just learned differently. I, my mind work has always worked differently, but it, that label sticks with you, –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm Mm.

Art Costello: -it sticks with you in your head yourself. But it sticks with others who hear it –

Kristin Smedley: –Yup.

Art Costello: -and it gets transferred from teacher to teacher to teacher. And I’ve always, since I’ve been an adult, even as a young person, I’ve always hated the labeling anything, don’t believe in labels. I think that they, they don’t serve any useful purpose other than, you know, labels. Like if you put them on your coat and you aren’t your coat, but I’m talking –

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: -about the labels of your beautiful, or you’re even the label of, you know, I have a lot of friends that are from different ethnicities and I do not refer to anyone who’s black or Hispanic or anything like that because there’s a connotation that comes with that. To me, they’re all human. They’re human –

Kristin Smedley: –Yup.

Art Costello: -beings and we’re all together so I don’t classify people as blind. I never classified Don as a quadriplegic. Don and I would go to Las Vegas and we would scout talent that’s what I did when I was younger. A scout new talent for Jose’s management company and stuff. So when Don and I would go, people would say, oh he, he’s in a wheelchair. You know, we need a handicap room, Don doesn’t want handicapped room. He wanted to live in a room just like ever. But we’re having a suite like everybody else, you know?

Kristin Smedley: –Yup.

Art Costello: Nope, nope, nope, nope. Can’t do that. Can’t put that label on me. So, you know, labels, we, we tend to live up to the label that’s attached to us, you know, including –

Kristin Smedley: –Yup.

Art Costello: -including your handsome or you’re beautiful or you know, you’re this or you’re that or whatever you are. And I just think we need to get rid of labels and just start living and letting people flourish.


“I just think we need to get rid of labels and just start living and letting people flourish.” –Art Costello Click To Tweet


Kristin Smedley: Oh, I, I believe that 100%. I mean, I, I said mentioned, I have four brothers. My brother that’s older than me and the rest are, are younger than me, but he was labeled back when there was no add or ADHD diagnosis. I mean, he, you heard all kinds of stuff in the Catholic school about him and he couldn’t learn and he was a, a daydreamer and he was doing it on purpose and all of that and nobody ever, and that he lived exactly to that expectation until he got to some amazing teachers in his high school that were breaking that label and that expectation. They met more people like himself and had more options. And I mean, he to this day, he could, he could take apart a car and put it back together. I mean, he’s your guy that you want to have come over if you want something done right, no matter what it is, you call my brother Richie because he will from beginning to end, figure it out and do it the right way first so you’re not redoing it I mean, he’s got an amazing brain. I just happen to have the Great Catholic school brain and style, you know, so mine worked perfectly. But I will say that my, my family always said to me, you’re brilliant. You’re going to accomplish great things, you’re strong, you’re this, you’re that. They always had these positive things to say. And I certainly have lived up to all of that, even through all of the, the, the to diagnosis and then going through my divorce and it was, it’s still going on and it’s still horrific. And my parents will call me every single day and say about how they can’t believe how strong I am. And they constantly, and there are days when if I don’t hear that, you know, I continue to live up to that expectation. So I think that there’s some good things about some labels, but I will also say that labels, and I’ve said this to my kids and, and good friends of mine labels have an expiration date in my opinion. I mean you may have been a certain way before, but I think that they expire and you can jump into a new one. You know, you can like, like writing your own story. You know, like I love that analogy of this is your story. It’s your new day, What’s Today’s page going to look like? It doesn’t have to be yesterday’s story, change it.


“Some good things about some labels. But I will also say that labels … have an expiration date.” –Kristin Smedley Click To Tweet


Art Costello: Absolutely. I agree with that 100%. You know that you can change the power of choice to change. What I do with some of the, some of my clients that I work with, I actually have them take their, their right hand, if their right hand left handed, if they’re left handed, put it to their temple and turn a switch, turn an –

Kristin Smedley: –Hmm.

Art Costello: -imaginary switch. And I call that the, the, the power of choice. Turn that switch to the direction that you want, positivity or whatever you want. Or you can turn off the negativity and I tell them and it gives them a physical action that they can do to remind themselves. Of course, people think they’re kind of strange when they see ’em out. Someone stopped me here, reach up and turn this way. Hey, you know, if it works, it works.

Kristin Smedley: It works. Yeah, I like that one. A lot of people do need that physical –

Art Costello: –Yeah.

Kristin Smedley: -piece to do.

Art Costello: Absolutely. It, it just gives them a path that they can literally follow in action that just solidifies it all for them.

Kristin Smedley: –Yeah.

Art Costello: Really great. Well we’re getting towards the end of our time and I don’t feel like we’ve, we’re done. I could talk to you all day.

Kristin Smedley: Yeah, we’ve got a lot to talk about.

Art Costello: We really, really do. And we’re going to have to do this again, but –

Kristin Smedley: –Absolutely.

Art Costello: -in our final few moments, what tidbit do you want to leave my audience with that is going to sum it all up and really bring it all to show an actionable place for them.


“There's the word remarkable …that's why our life looks so different from other people.” –Kristin Smedley Click To Tweet


Kristin Smedley: Yeah, so I guess the thing is, what I have learned is every single person is dealing with something and almost all the time you get out of one challenge and it’s like then you’re falling right into another. And what I have figured out, and maybe many people figured this out before, is that it’s how you, it’s your perception of that challenge and usually it’s not as bad as you think it is. Usually there’s already tools that you’re just not tapping into. But if you can do that, take a breath. I think it’s Mel Robbins it says five, four, three, two, one. Take a few seconds, a minute, whatever it is, and see if you can look at it differently. I mean, I had to look at my son’s blindness differently. It’s not my journey, it’s his. How is he seeing this journey and what do I need to fix for him? If anything, when I went through my divorce. Yeah, other people have gotten divorced. How have they survived? What is really the issues in this divorce? Where’s the positive? Where can I flip a switch to? This is a new piece of my journey that I can move on and then find those tools and resources you need to get from where you’re at. If you’re at the bottom of the pit to even start the one step climb out of it, what is, who is someone you can talk to? Um, I’ve always surrounded myself with a tribe of positive people. What are the tools? What for blindness? It’s pretty clear it was Braille Mobility. For my divorce, it was I needed a good therapist. I needed to start working out again because I’m an athlete by nature. I need to get back to some of that so what are some tools and even in financial crisis for me, I had to take a look at the stuff I didn’t want to look at. I’m scared of finances. I’m not, it’s not my thing. I had to get somebody to help me with it. I had to go find an accountant that would help me start sorting through. So take, how can you look at your challenge differently? Where can you find the positive in there? And then set expectations that are different from what people would typically think. People gave me a pass that I should be able to sit on my couch and cry with two blind kids and then divorced from a nightmare person. They gave me that pass and I thought, I don’t want that to be my story that everybody else has. If they’re the victim sitting on the couch crying, that’s not me. So I wanted, you know, I always say in my speeches that extraordinary to me in the dictionary, there’s the word remarkable. I want my kids when they tell the story of their mom, that she was remarkable, that she did things differently. And that’s why our life looks so different from other people. So what can you do that makes your story different from the typical victim saga that’s gone through your challenge? How can you be a little bit different that’s more you and more positive? And that then brings us into the hero’s journey instead of perpetuating the victim saga.


“Every single person is dealing with something… It's your perception of that challenge, and usually it's not as bad as you think it is. Usually there's already tools that you're just not tapping into. –Kristin Smedley Click To Tweet


Art Costello: Remarkable, remarkable, remarkable. There’s no better description of you than that.

Kristin Smedley: –Oh thanks.

Art Costello: Can you tell the audience where they can get a hold of you, what’s coming up? And we’ll close out with that.

Kristin Smedley: So everything I do is housed@kristinsmedley.com and I say it’s Kristen with two eyes. I’m in the eye field and I’ve got two eyes in my name, KristenSmedley.com. That’s where you can find the book thriving blind that was supposed to be this tiny little manual for doctors has now become this, this amazing project. And it’s not just for people that are raising blind children. It’s actually if you’re involved in any challenge, cause it’s 13 stories of people that pick themselves up. And then on social media, I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Facebook are my hubs with, and you can find me by my name Kristin Smedley.

Art Costello: Thank you Kristen for being with us. We’re gonna do this again. We’ve got a lot, a lot of stuff that we can cover and we can do it in, in 45 minutes, 50 minutes or an hour. It’s going to take us some time, but I want you to know that I’m always here for ya. And, I think are remarkable.

Kristin Smedley: Oh, thanks right back at you Art. Thanks so much for this.

Art Costello: Well, thank you, and we’ll see you again.


About Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley was living the life of her dreams until her dreams turned into a nightmare. Kristin always wanted to be a teacher and have a great family of her own. And she did! But, her almost perfect life was distorted by the news about her kids. Her firstborn was diagnosed with rare blindness and so is her second child. Is it over? No, she turned her limitations into her strengths and became a remarkable mother and an award-winning, inspirational leader, speaker and author.

Connect with Kristin

Website: http://kristinsmedley.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thrivingblind/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KristinSmedley
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinsmedley/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsg-jjFm7uqck5I089NAubw/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristinsmedley/


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