Dr. Robin Smith has raised her voice and rocked it as a New York Times bestselling author, the on-air therapist-in-residence on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and currently as an in-demand speaker and the host of The Dr. Robin Show on SiriusXM.
In this revealing and wisdom-packed episode, Dr. Robin shares why she’s careful about who she allows “in her ear and in her sphere” – and why an empowering community is essential to rocking it! She also reminds all of us how adversity can be transformed into purpose and power, and how persistence, patience, and self-compassion are crucial on the path to our biggest dreams.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
[2:47] Dr. Robin’s prescription for transforming adversity into purpose and power
[6:23] How Karen and Dr. Robin connected and how they collaborate
[12:32] The importance of who’s in your ear and in your sphere
[15:55] The patience and persistence required on Dr. Robin’s path to becoming an on-air TV personality
[22:35] Letting go of the “exhausted woman” card and embracing self-care to show up fully
[27:15] Dr. Robin’s 2-part Tip to Rock It
Links from this episode:
- Dr. Robin Smith: https://www.drrobinsmith.com/
- Karen Gross: https://www.karengross.com/
- Gabrielle Sellei: https://selleilaw.com/gabrielle-sellei
- Tune into The Dr. Robin Show on SiriusXM Urban View: https://www.siriusxm.com/channels/siriusxm-urban-view
She Rocked It is a media and mentorship platform where creative, courageous women rock it together. We are eager to learn from, listen to, and lift one another up — driven by the belief that women’s voices are essential. On our podcast and Instagram Live interview series, She Rocked It host/founder and creative entrepreneur Karen Gross gets trailblazing women leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs to reveal how they rock it – and their insights may surprise you. Their behind-the-scenes stories, best-kept secrets to success, and actionable tips are sure to inspire the rockstar in all of us!
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Dr. Robin Smith Interview Transcript
INTRODUCTION: Hey Rockstar. Thanks for tuning into the She Rocked It Podcast. I’m your host, Karen Gross. And, I’m so excited that you’re tuning in…and I’m really excited that you’re gonna to get to hear this next conversation, with the one and only Dr. Robin Smith. Yes! She is a New York Times Number one Bestselling author, she spent many years as the resident therapist on the Oprah Winfrey show, she currently speaks to Fortune 500 companies, and also has an incredible show, every Sunday on Sirius XM, The Dr.Robin Show, which I highly recommend. Today, you’re gonna get to hear from Dr. Robin about why we can rock it by having an empowering community around us. This is such an inspiring and important message. And you’ll also hear about the ways Dr. Robin and I work together. I’m very honored to get to collaborate with her as a communications consultant and to help elevate her incredible message. So, just bear in mind that this conversation was recorded on our Instagram live, Woman Crush Wednesday interview series, so it might sound a little different than a regular podcast, but there is a lot of great “woman crush” energy in this conversation and I did not want you to miss it. So, you ready for some wisdom with Dr. Robin? Here we go.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Dr. Robin is here with us from Philadelphia. Welcome, Dr. Robin.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Hello there, Karen Gross, the President and the person who brought us all together have She Rocked It, and my friend, I’m so excited to be with you.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: I’m so excited. I was just saying before you came on that you are not only someone who I deeply admire as a thought leader, as a psychologist, as an amazing voice for healing, for justice. But you’ve also become someone that I’ve been close to as a collaborator in my business. So, we’re going to talk about all that tonight. But first and foremost, I know so many people are familiar with you through your best-selling book, through your many years on television. But why don’t you give a little overview about your work and maybe what you’re up to of late?
DR. ROBIN SMITH: I will absolutely, so, thank you again for having me here on Women Crush Wednesday. The crush is mutual. So thrilled to be on blushing. You know where what I’m up to is, as you mentioned, I have a radio show, The Dr. Robin show on Sirius XM on Sundays at 11am in the east,
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: which by the way has become a Sunday ritual for me to listen to at 11am. It’s so nourishing, friends, if you have Sirius and you can tune in at 11am on Sundays, you will be so moved. It’s really like such a nourishing thing to do on a Sunday. So back to you.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Thank you. It’s been such, so humbling to be interviewing all of these different people. I mean, thought leaders and musicians, famous people and mothers who are struggling. I had talked to a mother recently, whose son made a fourth attempt at suicide. And so, we’re talking about suffering and pain and the redemption of what it means to take what has not worked out in our lives—and it may not be that heavy. Maybe you lost your job, COVID, you know racial injustice and inequities, Roe v Wade I mean, there are so many things happening— but what my mission is really about and it always has been but I’m even more committed to it now—is helping people transform their hardship and adversity into purpose and power. That is my mission. It is my, my prescription is— wake up, show up, grow up, rise up. And that’s a prescription—
KAREN GROSS/ SHE ROCKED IT: that’s like a drumbeat I want to repeat in my heart.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Wake up, show up, grow up, rise up— the prescription that I used in my own life. I was in two very serious car accidents, one in 2010 and the other in 2016. And 2010, it hurt my body, in 2016, I ended up with a traumatic brain injury. And okay, so what was I going to do? You know, and people know what that’s like, whether it’s physical or it’s emotional, whether a relationship fell apart. And I had to figure out, or I didn’t have to, we don’t have to, I made the choice and the decision to figure out how to convert all of that stuff that had fallen apart and not gone well, and convert it, what I call—you know this— into usable currency.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Hmm. It’s so powerful and you and thank you for sharing all of that. And I’m, you know, taking it obviously this journey that you’ve been on, and how you’ve, you know, risen up yourself from these things you’ve mentioned. You bring a really incredible background and expertise as a licensed psychologist, the “Dr. Robin”, you know, comes from that but also I know you’re an ordained minister. So you bring this kind of scientific and therapeutic and spiritual perspective to your voice and how you raise your voice. Can you tell us a little bit about the blending of your background and your expertise and how that, you know comes forth in the voice as you raise it on your radio show, for instance? You’ve had so many, such an amazing diversity of guests. You’ve had everyone from like Faith and Kenny Lattimore, you know, the power couple that they are to just other incredible thought leaders in the mental health space— Kier Gaines, who’s amazing. So, tell us a little bit about how you bring your voice to the table and how that informs your work with these other amazing voices.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Yeah, I will. And I want to talk about in terms of raising my voice, and how I met you if we can do that first. And it’s important, because it is part of the story of how I am doing what it is I do and being who I am. We share a an attorney who is also someone special to both of us, Gabrielle Sellei, shout out to Gabrielle.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: It is possible to have a woman crush on an attorney? Yes, it is.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: I think so. We both, you know, we both do. No apologies.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Woman entrepreneurs get an amazing attorney.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Oh, my Gabrielle Sellei? Absolutely. Yeah. See, all of a sudden, she’s gonna say, wait a minute, don’t put me on blast, like, Oh, good. So I said to Gabrielle I said, “Look, I need help.” And this is the first thing in terms of women raising their voices. Not only to be able to articulate that we need help, but to ask the right person. Because we can ask the wrong person and get the wrong person for help and get the wrong help. So, part of this is knowing ourselves and asking, who’s in my ear? Who’s in my sphere? You know, who am I surrounded with?
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Goosebumps
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Yeah, I mean, who am I surrounded by? And so, Gabrielle, is someone who knows me, she understands that merger of the scientific and the soulful, you know, taking complex information and making it understandable for all of us. And so, I went to her and I said, “Look, I need help. I need help writing, I need help crafting what it is that I do so that people can better understand and reach me. And that is how I met you. She said, “Look, I don’t know, I know someone you know, I know someone” is what she said, I don’t know if she’s available? I don’t know, I don’t know. But let me reach out. And then you and I connected in January of 2021. So, a year and a half ago feels like—
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Hard to believe.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: I know, like we’ve known each other forever. Yeah. And, and I mentioned that as you’re asking the question about how I do what I do, and interviewing people, because it has a lot to do with surrounding myself with people who understand, appreciate, honor and respect, the gift that I bring to the table. And so, I really invite all people but women in particular who are listening, who are part of the She Rocked It community to realize that to raise your own voice, you must protect and honor your own voice.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Mic drop.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Yeah. I mean, it’s really important. You know, Karen, we have this fantasy that someone’s going to help us more than we are sometimes willing to help ourselves.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: And you have done that. You have magnetized… I love what you said about who’s in your ear and who’s in your sphere. Oh, yeah. And that’s not always easy to really take a hard look at that, you know, and I feel like there’s a certain thing right now and I think in this world, in the moment that we’re in, in the world, that people are really reevaluating, and looking at who’s around them and nourishing them or not. And I love what you said about kind of protecting your, your voice internally, your inner voice, and then how that reflects in your outer, you know, your, your expressing, manifestation. Yeah, yeah, yeah, a lot of writing speaking to corporations and individuals. And so that’s really interesting to hear how you’re very protective of that.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: I’m very protective of my inner world, you know, I say to people, “if you want your life to look different on the outside, differently on the outside, you want a different relationship with your external world, including people, the place to start is on the inside—transformation is an inside job.” It really is. It, you can have the biggest job, you can have the best, you know, relationships. But if your internal world is chaotic, or is unkind, or is in denial of what it is you need to take a look at so that you can convert. Remember, I talked about converting— convert the things that didn’t work out well, into usable currency— so, that’s what I call redemption, meaning the things that we think like, “Oh, I wish it didn’t happen?” Well, me too, like, there are a lot of things that I wish had not happened. But that’s wasteful. Because we can’t do anything about yesterday’s moment, whether it was good or not, what we can do is learn how to live this moment, authentically, and being fully accountable for what happens or does not happen in our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t need help. I needed help.
I asked Gabrielle, and I met you. You helped me write, you’ve helped me create, you’ve helped— I mean, go to Dr. Robin smith.com, my website, you see me, but Karen Gross is all over and inside that website. And the language and the precision of my voice being lifted so that people could find me and understand what it is I could do to serve and to help them. But I had to make the decision to say, “I need help.”
And Karen, I do want to also remind everyone who’s part of our community tonight on She Rocked It, that family—just because someone is our family does not mean that they necessarily are carrying an empowering message for us. And so, I want to tell women that, because as daughters and mothers and sisters, we can sometimes get really confused. You know, “that’s my mother,” “that’s my daughter.” That’s okay. It can be your mother and your daughter, but we must ask the relevant question: “How does that person help me lift my authentic voice and live more authentically and liberated in the world?” And if they are not helping you do that, and they are harming you doesn’t mean that you don’t love them, they don’t love you. But if they are harming your person, and your mission, then even our blood relatives may need to be placed somewhere else around our table. I didn’t say they can’t be at the table. But maybe they’re too close to your ear. And maybe they’re too close to your sphere. And so that we need to be able to have these fearless conversations these fearless, truthful conversations about what we want and what is required to execute it.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Wow, so much wisdom that I wish I’d known 10 years, 20 years. Thank you for that.
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KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: And thank you for all that you so graciously and generously shared about our work. For those of you who are not as familiar with my background, in addition to being the host and founder of She Rocked It, I’ve for almost 10 years run a communications business supporting amazing thought leaders like Dr. Robin in helping elevate their message and their voices. So, I had the great honor of that— But I want to, I want to ask you, because I can take some little smidge of credit and thank you. However, you have had an unbelievable career of raising your voice as a New York Times bestselling author. You spent have spent many years on television including many years as Oprah’s on-call, on-air therapist on the show all the time. You’ve been on Tamron Hall, you’re constantly on Karen Hunter show. How does this happen? Dr. Robin, I want to know like the real story like how do you get to be that kind of national thought leader because you have to —you— have to have a serious amount of confidence of persistence to be the superstar you are. So, give us like the real story. How does that happen? Because, you know, you obviously have done a lot right to get to where you are. But what can you tell us about that?
DR. ROBIN SMITH: So, I love the question, because this sounds so cliché, what everyone says. But if I knew all the time that I invest in to get where I got— it was years in the making. I mean it to end up on Oprah’s show, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was an extraordinary honor. I mean, Oprah is she’s careful. And she is precise. Talk about a woman who has raised her voice, and uses her voice wisely, and well. She was careful about who came on that platform. And so, when I arrived, that by the time I arrived on The Oprah Winfrey Show, from that first show, I mean, who would have known— I didn’t know I was gonna get hired—you get on there one time and, you know, you’re grateful. And, but, prior to that, I had worked for Good Morning America as a correspondent. Prior to that I had done other daytime talk shows, I’d been on MSNBC many times talking about world events and the events in the country like we have now. And so, and then local here in Philadelphia,
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Right
DR. ROBIN SMITH: On all of the local affiliates. So, what I did and how I arrived at that larger, extraordinarily great moment, was doing the baby steps. That felt like, at times, they were going nowhere, when I did it, anyway. And so, I would encourage anyone who is listening, that if you have a passion, your passion needs to be matched with effort. And I didn’t say work yourself in the ground. What I said is match your passion, your life’s calling—this was my life’s calling, to help people take adversity and hardship and convert it into usable currency of purpose and power— but I had to do it first. I had to do it first. And so, there are many things that went right. And there are many things that didn’t go so right. Relationships that were dishonoring of me, and friendships that were not good. So, if we allow every opportunity to be a learning experience, and so when I hear people say, you know, that went wrong, and this didn’t work out, that’s okay. My question for you tonight, right here, right now, for everyone is, “what did you learn about you?” Not what did you learn about the guy, the man, your family, about racism and sexism, those things are important, they’re really important. But that’s not what will change your life. What will change your life is what you learned about yourself.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: I’m, first of all, I feel like I’m going to re-watch this interview 30 times to take in all of the wisdom that you’ve already shared. It’s so it’s so true. I think one thing you also called out, that’s important, I just want to pause on is it takes effort to be a voice and a thought leader like you, but it also takes patience. I think that these things take time, right? And like I said, along the way, you’re learning all these things, right? And yeah, you’re shedding yourself of things that may not have worked and you’re aligning yourself with things that are… So, I just feel like there’s this instant kind of “overnight success” mentality that a lot of people believe is possible. But I think you’re reminding us and especially as women who have a dream, who have an audacious goal, that we have to have that stick to-itiveness you know of, right? Like, you started with a local local market and then you did these other hits and then you did this and now you’re doing this and you know now you’re speaking to corporation— you know your your your journey continues to evolve in such a beautiful ways I think because you you keep on betting on yourself, you know you keep on and also betting on that the path will unfold as it should, perhaps?
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Absolutely, you know, it’s interesting and thank you for for saying that the way you did because I think, not only are we in this instant, you know, pop it in the microwave oven, many people don’t know how to turn their ovens on they use to store, clothes or sweaters
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: No judgments.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: No shade, you know, this is a no judgment zone. And that’s okay. But there is a season. In Ecclesiastes, it says, “there is a season for everything, there’s a time to love. And there is a time to hate,” I’m, like, “oh, hate?” “There’s a time to build up. And there’s a time to tear down.”
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: We’re start the gonna sing along, Doctor Robin right now. [Sung] There is a season turn turn turn
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Yes, yes, yes! Absolutely. I love that. And I say that is because, you know, like, you want to bake a cake. And you it’s got to be in the oven at the right temperature. And you cannot make the cake bake faster than what the cake requires. And so, this is true. For our inner lives, there were things that I couldn’t know. That couldn’t happen, that could not have happened for me, had I not been crushed? In certain ways. You know, this is when Women Crush Wednesday, crushing is how wine is made—crushing, is how good juice is made— crushing, is what happens when we want to get the best out of something— that cannot happen without the crashing. And so, I just want to remind us that crashing takes time.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: I needed to hear this. Give a heart if you needed to hear this right now. This is like exactly the medicine for my soul. And you I know you because we have had the great honor of getting to work with you and meet with you regularly. I know that you are what literally walking the talk about “it starts with yourself” because you have so much going on. But you’re you also take time to take you take a walk, you go out and take walks. You’re out in nature, like tell us your own mental well-being and self-care habits, that you know that it’s because like you said, it starts with you. So, tell us like how you’re walking the talk. Basically.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: I you know, I think women—not I think I know. Sometimes, we flash that “woman card” that says “exhausted” and you know, “I’m so exhausted.” And then we give this laundry list of everything we’re doing for everyone except ourselves. And then we feed off of that and, and instead of, “okay, I’m doing a lot for other people.” But, where it starts is with the self. So, I say to mothers who are out there listening to us right now and caregivers who are taking care of maybe elderly parents or helping someone, and I know we hear this on airplanes when we used to fly and we’re going to fly again. “In the event of an emergency, put your own mask on first. And then the mask of the person who you’re traveling with a child or a parent.” And why is that? Because honestly, we are no good to anyone. Good intentions, love people, but if I’m operating from empty— an empty Dr. Robin cannot show up here tonight with Karen Gross and She Rocked It and rock it with you because my tank would be empty. And so, my journey is, nature is hugely important to me.
I walk, I jog. I also now do yoga thanks to you because Karen Gross shared her yoga instructor with me. That’s why I said, just because we have blood family— that’s okay, if they’re nurturing, but if they’re not, creating a family of people who will help us get our real needs met, who will encourage us and who will say— I said to you, you said to me? When I was walking, you said, “I want to do more of that.” And I said, “and you’re getting off the calls and going to yoga, I want to do that.” And so, when we know we are aligned, is when the best of us is inspired by someone else’s best. Hmm. It’s sort of women, almost like keeping a secret. It’s kind of like a good shoe sale. And someone says, like, you know, I love those shoes. Dr. Robin, where’d you get them? I know where I got them. And I know they were on sale. So why wouldn’t I say, “I went to the store, the sale was still on, you should go.” That’s what She Rocked It is about that’s what my platform is about. It’s about sharing truthful information about hard topics, and about happy topics. But it’s about sharing real topics so that we can wake up, show up, grow up and rise up to become who we were born to be.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: I love that. This has been so incredibly rich. Dr. Robin, Tell us quickly where we can find you.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Yes. Yeah, I’LL do that. You can find me my website drrobinsmith.com.That’s Robin with an “I”. drrobinsmith.com. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tik Tok.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: And last but not least, what is, Dr. Robin, your one tip to rock it that you want to leave with us tonight?
DR. ROBIN SMITH: And so, Karen, thank you for having me here. I also want to just give a shout out to all the women who work with me. You’re one of them. But I have an amazing team of women. I have a manager and a PR. I mean, almost everyone is a woman. And, they are sharp. They are bright. They are mission-driven. These are the most heavy-hitting women. So, I just wanted to thank all of the women in my life, who have laid a foundation and a platform and believed in me, as I brought a believing me to them. So alright, here’s my tip. To partner with people who are worthy of you. That’s the tip. To find people, tnd they’re not that many. I’m not you know, people who are worthy of walking your journey, who are worthy of your tears, worthy of your fears, worthy of your joy and your laughter. But be selective, and be discerning in terms of who is worthy. And that means who’s worthy to be in your ears who is worthy to be in your atmosphere and your sphere? Who is worthy. So that’s tip 1,1-1. And tip one-two, I have to give you
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: I love it
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Is self-compassion. That we cannot as women make the journey of living vibrantly, and with purpose if we are mean to ourselves, so I just want you to be cautious about not only the external people who are in your ears, and who are struggling maybe to have influence, but are you, kind to yourself. And so, the tip is, find people who are worthy of you and make sure that you treat yourself in a worthy, kind, self-compassionate way.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Amen.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Amen. Amen.
KAREN GROSS/SHE ROCKED IT: Thank you so much Dr. Robin for the gift of your presence tonight and in my life.
DR. ROBIN SMITH: Thank you so much Karen for inviting me and allowing me to be a part of this rock star community. You know that I’m a big fan. I listen on my walks, you know, I send you texts and say, Wow, that interview was incredible. It was so helpful to me. So, I’m honored to be a part of your your tribe in this way tonight. Thank you.
OUTRO: Thanks so much for tuning into the She Rocked It podcast. I’m your host, Karen Gross. This episode has been produced by Tori Marchiony with audio engineering by Teng Chen. The She Rocked It theme song is by Karen Gross and Tim Motzer. Visit our Instagram page @sherockedit to join the conversation and visit our website sherockedit.com To learn about how you can join our community, support our work and attend our live events. Also, you can apply on our website for our Rock-It Launcher group mentorship program. See you there!