Cara Brookins on Building


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Cara Brookins built her own 3500 square foot house by using YouTube tutorials. The impetus for her decision to build that house with her four kids came after surviving domestic violence. When that occurred, she was faced with the stark challenge of providing for her children but with no means and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home, but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible: she built one from scratch. And when I say built from scratch, she built it using her hands, using her kids, they built it together. She was the electrician, she was the plumber, she was the contractor. And she in turn helped to rebuild her family and help them develop confidence and ultimately thrive.

Cara’s story went viral in more than 75 countries and has been viewed more than 2 billion times. She’s appeared on many networks and done amazing interviews all over the world, but this conversation is going to be about more than just building a house. Cara is extremely vulnerable and real in telling her story and some of the challenges and hardships that she’s gone through in her life, and yet how she still remains optimistic, a creator, an innovator, and a mom.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for her as a kid (6:14), her relationship with her brother (7:55), how old she was when she started caring for him (8:38), what it was like losing her mom (9:29), what her relationship was like with her parents (14:04), which parent she is more similar to (15:49), what led to her parents getting divorced (16:53), if she is religious (18:41), how she thinks about the relationship between conviction and curiosity (19:56), her experiences with marriage and domestic violence (27:08), how she trusts others, especially men, when factoring in what happened in her three marriages (36:21), her advice regarding safety (42:35), what was underneath her desire to undertake the project of building a house (50:28), “getting out” of an unsafe community (54:07), what the reaction from others in her community was when she said she was going to build a house (58:14), what the last year has been like for her in the pandemic (1:02:27), what “being” looks like for her (1:06:10), why the story of building her house with her kids was so popular (1:08:22), if she has a philosophy that guides herself around creativity (1:16:55), and what she learned about herself going through the process of building the house (1:19:48).

You can find everything you need to know about Cara on her website,

Thanks so much to Cara for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

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