Don’t Over Plan Your Way Out of Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

I woke up today and realized something. I waste entirely too much time planning. I have always been a planner, one who has to have a list for everything and everything in its place before I go for the end goal. When I was younger it worked for me and my love for being the list maker and the consistent planner grew. But as I got older the plans and the lists began to hinder me because what I never accounted for in all my planning and goal setting was life just unfolding as it was going to, as it was inevitably meant to.

I have a tendency to plan so thoroughly that by the time I am done with the plan the opportunity to actually follow through with any of those plans has long passed me by. I will think of something, have a vision for something if you will, and by the time I have worked through all the lists and plans it ends up being too late and someone else has presented something to the world far too similar to mine for me to move ahead with it.

It’s like the story where the man is waiting to be rescued from the sinking boat he’s on and every person that is sent to rescue him he tells them that he is waiting on God to rescue him and to take someone else. When he drowns he asks God why didn’t he save him and God tells him that he sent three different people to rescue him and he refused them. Essentially he sent the opportunity that he needed and he missed it. I feel like I might have missed far too many opportunities that were sent my way because it didn’t fit with the plan, or undoubtedly because I hadn’t finished planning for that opportunity and I was blinded to what was presenting itself right in front of me.

For example, quite a long time ago I had an idea for a show about women living their lives behind prison bars and about what they go through, how they get treated, how they maneuver their new lives. I started making plans and lists but it was never quite as perfect as I needed it to be and before I knew it I was hearing about this new show on Netflix, “Orange is the New Black” and (No, no one stole my idea, I never communicated it to anyone else) I watched it and felt deflated as I saw what I had been planning for unfold from someone else’s imagination. It was my own fault and my own neurosis that kept me from what could’ve been a breakthrough opportunity had I only not wasted so much time trying to make it perfect.

I say all this to say that if you too are like I was, like I have been, stop wasting so much time trying to make everything just right, and planning everything through to a tee. I’m not saying don’t plan at all, or don’t have your lists. I’m saying don’t focus so much on the lists and the plans that you forget the goal, the vision, and so you don’t miss the opportunities that can come your way while you’re busy planning. Sometimes the opportunities can be so small that if you blink you’ll miss it so pay attention to what’s in front of you before your lists and plans are all that you end up with. Until next time… plan less, live more!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 11:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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I Have To Move Out of My Way

I have to get out of my own way 2

So I have been trying to figure out what it is that I have been doing wrong all this time to still not be where I should be in my career. It’s very disheartening when you realize that the person who has been standing in your way the most is you. I’ve posted here before that throughout my adult years I have suffered with bouts of depression, some worse than others, and one just recently in the beginning part of this year. I’m getting better and I’m starting to feel that drive and ambition come back but even still I think I have become somewhat lazy and I have no idea where that came from cause that has never been me.

In the past I was always that person who you couldn’t pull away from the computer or that notepad because I was always writing and working on something to further my dream but even then I think I’ve always been afraid of the submission part of things. Part of it is being scared to put myself out there but a larger part is being afraid that my work wouldn’t be seen as good enough, that I wouldn’t be good enough. And the times I do get rejected I take it really personal because I consider myself to be an extremely talented writer (which makes me wonder why I’m so scared to submit my work) and I suppose I still get offended that talent these days doesn’t seem to be enough.

I think another part of it is that when I dreamed of being a writer when I was younger and I dreamt up all the books and television shows and plays I would write I only thought of the artistry of it all. The business side of it was the part that I just completely ignored and that is the part of it that confronts me now. I have plenty of ideas and I have the words just lying dormant inside of me but what makes me anxious, what makes me fearful, what makes me downright panicked is the business side of writing.

When I think about it really, the submission process of writing is also the business side because I have to think about marketing and my numbers and stats and I have to create packets to present myself in just the right way, and sometimes I just want to write but when I think about the business of it my writing ceases up.

Sometimes it feels like an outer body experience. I can see all the potential, I can see the end game of what I want and I know the things I need to be doing to get there and I’m watching myself paralyzed by fear and sheer lack of confidence just standing there not moving. I want to scream at myself “what are you doing just standing there?” but nothing comes out and I remain still. I have to get out of this cycle because it’s the only way that I am going to see what I want become a reality. I swear I don’t mean to get in my own way.

I’m in a self-evaluation process because I know that I can’t fix the problem without analyzing and figuring out what all there is that I need to work on. I have to really evaluate where I went off track at to begin with. I am a work in progress but I have to be real with myself and truthful with myself if I expect to get myself back on track. So this is not a post excusing myself, in fact this is me realizing that I have no excuses and I can’t keep allowing myself to stand in my own way.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on August 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM  Comments (3)  
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The Element of Control

Element of Control

I keep wondering if success has an age attached to it. If there is a certain age that if you haven’t reached a certain level of success by that time then you are doomed to be unsuccessful at everything that you attempt. Is there an expiration date on the possibility of succeeding at what you want in life?

I don’t think that I can recall a time that I didn’t have outrageous and over the top plans for my life. My goals were always (as I was constantly told by the non-believers surrounding me) beyond my physical reach. It never used to matter what other people said I couldn’t achieve because I knew different. However, at some point, when the dreams haven’t happened yet, when you reach a certain point in life, a certain age, you start to wonder (or at least I did) if I haven’t achieved everything I wanted to by now, then isn’t it too late.

I realize that I cannot control when it is that my plans start to fall into place. I can’t help the obstacles that are bound to get in my way as I struggle to get to where it is that I want to be. What I can control is my thinking and my actions.

As you all know, my actions lately haven’t been up to par for a person who wants to achieve big things in their life, largely in part to letting the setbacks, failures, and the feelings of defeat, get the better of me. I wish I could say it’s as simple as me allowing myself to fall into a state of depression but for anyone who suffers with frequent bouts of depression you already know that it doesn’t work quite that way.

While I may not have been able to control the feeling of depression that came over me I sometimes wonder if I could’ve somehow kept it from completely taking over and not just wallowed in it instead of doing everything I could to pull myself out of it. Now that I am finally starting to feel things shift and turn around I notice I am starting to get my drive back and my creativity is beginning to flow again.

I realize that while there are many things that I have to accept are beyond my control and that I just have to let go of, there are still some important aspects of my plans for the future that I can control. I am working on my projects again and I am not giving up on my dreams and my journey to success. I know I’m not getting any younger but as far as I know, success can come at any time as long as I keep pushing and moving forward and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on July 1, 2015 at 12:44 PM  Comments (1)  
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Letting Go of What Holds Me Back

Letting Go of Whats holding me back

I had a conversation with a very successful singer/songwriter a few weeks ago right at the point where I was starting to feel my creative block turn a corner. It was an unexpected phone call through a friend who knew that I needed the motivation and we had a 45 minute conversation about artistry and creativity. We talked about fear and being blocked and pushing past those obstacles that are in your way to fulfill a purpose.

Truthfully I suffer with bouts of depression and when these periods of depression come on (far more often than I would like) I get stuck in this fog of gloominess for an indefinite period of time. After talking to this artist I felt reinvigorated and once again energized but the fog was still there. For anyone who has ever suffered with depression or is currently suffering from it then you know to just say I don’t want to be in this state anymore is not enough.

One of the main things I remember her telling me in our conversation was that I needed to write down my list of fears because the fear is what is paralyzing me and sending me into depression. Then she said once I had written down everything that was paralyzing me with fear I needed to work on letting it go. I am guilty of dwelling in things for far too long. I dwell in the things I can’t change more specifically and I dwell in things that I fear that haven’t even happened yet. I get hit with a setback and I completely sit in the stickiness and muddiness of that mess of a setback and I dwell there.

It’s not something I am proud of but I figure if I can admit that this is my problem then I can better work on fixing it. So that’s what I am working on, letting go of those fears that old me back and that paralyze me. Learning to let go of the routine of things because the fact is that things do change and everything will not always go how you planned it out. My life is definitely not where I want it to be and in order to get it there I need to get over the fear of change and let go of all of the negative self-talk bouncing around in my head. Some things you just can’t hold onto forever.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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It’s All In the Subtle Reminders

God's Subtle Reminders

It’s very funny how God works. I don’t mean funny as in a laughing matter but rather in an ironic one. I talk to God all the time but every once in a while when I get in that place of confusion and I start feeling like maybe I’m losing my way, or maybe I am not going in the right direction like I thought I was, I sit down and really pour my heart out to God and I talk to him, no holds barred. Sometimes I get so deep into my feelings in talking with him that it literally brings me to tears. And then I wait and I listen or I pay extra attention following that talk because sometimes in the silence God answers you. Well last night I had one of those no holds barred talks with him.

I was really trying to figure out what it is that I am doing wrong and whether or not I am really on the right path like I believe that I am. I suppose I was checking in to make sure that I was on the path that God wants me to be on. So after my talk I went to bed and I truly felt better that I had gotten all my frustrations out and asked all of my questions and now I just had to make sure I was paying attention.

So this morning as I was going through Facebook I saw that one of my friends had shared a video of a young girl, just starting high school, and the girl was sharing her story of how she had been bullied from quite a number of years and how it made her feel and the harm that it made her do to herself and she reminded people that everyone reacts to being bullied in different ways and words do hurt. In that moment I felt like it was God showing me that there is still a need for me, for my purpose, for what I set out to do in developing my Write 2 Be brand.

There are many purposes that I wanted to serve with my Write 2 Be brand. In developing what I wanted it to stand for I knew that one thing for sure was that I wanted it to serve a purpose for children who are suffering from being bullied and from feeling like something is wrong with them just because they’re different or unique from everyone else. I feel like coming across that video this morning was God’s way of telling me that I was still on the right path and that I have to remember all of the reasons why I am in pursuit of this dream of mine. Sure it’s to change my life and my daughter’s life but I feel like he was reminding me that it’s also about all of the lives that I want to improve with my work, my writing, my brand.

I have always wanted to make a difference and it wasn’t until the recent couple of years that I realized just how much I could actually make a difference and sometimes, when it gets really tough and when things don’t look like they’re going in the right direction, I forget that and I forget that I can really make a difference. God works in really ironic ways and I am thankful that he is so patient with my lack of patience and I am thankful for these subtle reminders.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 3:52 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Now That Award Season Is Officially Over…

End of award season 2

So with the broadcasting of the Oscars last night this means that the award season is officially over. We’ve watched all of the celebrities walk the red carpet in their latest fashions and the most glamorous looks and we have either celebrated the movies and actors that won an Oscar or we have griped about who we feel should have won an Oscar but didn’t.

However way you feel about the Oscars awards show you have to admit that the actors and the movies that were nominated (and those that were so obviously snubbed) are extremely talented actors and directors acting in extraordinary stories being told in cinema. Some of the wonderful speeches and the awesome performances last night were just inspiring and motivating and in some ways left me speechless.

Whenever I watch the Oscars it reminds me of what I am working towards and of where I want to see myself eventually get to in my career, in my life. When I see those people who have worked so hard in their careers and who displayed such perseverance it gives me hope and reassures me that hard work really does pay off. Giving up is never an option when it comes to your dreams. If you are questioning your dreams or wondering if all of your hard work is truly worth it and if it is even going to pay off then just go back and watch the Oscars and listen to the speeches again and then you will see that it is not all for nothing.

Hard work really does pay off. Being unique and different does pay off. And never giving up even when everyone around you may be telling you that it’s pointless or that it’s not going to happen for you does pay off. Your greatest reward for all that you are going through now to get what it is you want will be the satisfaction of saying that you made it and that everyone who doubted you were all wrong. Keep moving forward and never, ever, give up!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on February 23, 2015 at 3:22 PM  Leave a Comment  
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You Have To Be Willing To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Getting Out of Your Own Way

In the midst of our journey’s to get to wherever it is that our destination is leading us there are many things that we do to create our own obstacles. It’s not intentional of course because no one purposefully sets out to not achieve their goals. Nevertheless our own actions, or majority of the time our inactions, cause things to get off track.

I know that personally I have allowed, for far too long, for my fear of everything not being perfect and fear of someone else not liking what I have written, to keep me from even trying to get the goals I set done. Then I look back and wonder to myself why wasn’t I able to get a particular thing published in this or that publication, or why wasn’t I able to get this book or that book out there for people to buy. The reality is that it didn’t get published in a publication because I was too afraid that it wouldn’t be perfect enough and it would get rejected to send it in, or I was too afraid that people wouldn’t like it to get it published. I stood in my own way.

I was talking to my best friend and he said something the other day that I have now added among my quotes on my bulletin board. He said “if you get out your own way what’s really there to stop you”. We weren’t talking about anything writing related but it applies all the same. I keep putting up these road blocks that no one else has put up but me. No one ever does anything perfectly, let alone writing, so why do I keep feeling like I have to.

No one ever gets to where they are going without ever hearing no and truthfully I have already heard no more times than I care to count so why do I care if I hear it again. Everyone isn’t going to say yes and logically I already know this. I get inside my own head a lot, some might say too much, and it’s a part of what makes me a good writer but it’s also what hinders me when it comes to following through with all of these larger than life ideas that I have, and I have plenty.

I suppose if I don’t ever get out of my own way I will never see those ideas come to fruition and I would hate for that to happen because I do think that I have a lot to offer the world and I would hate to leave this earth not having fulfilled my purpose. So that’s what this year is all about for me, moving out of my own way and letting God do his work on me and my life and listen to his plan for my life.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Focusing on the End Goal

Focusing on the end goal

Well National Novel writing month is more than over and I have had a whole week to decompress from the event that went more than a little off track from me. From my technical difficulties to the distractions of life and (if I’m being completely honest) just sheer procrastination the month of November was definitely disappointing in terms of actually completing my projects.

Nevertheless I am not going to use that as an excuse to stop working on finishing these projects. I have done that in the past, get so upset with myself for not completing something that I just sink into a dark whole of depression and end up not doing anything. Well 2014 was a year full of promise and it was all wasted and it was the fault of no other person than myself. Setback after setback I allowed that negative voice in my head to get louder and louder.

With each setback I gave myself even more reasons of why I couldn’t get what I wanted accomplished. I focused so much on the things that I didn’t have at my disposal instead of using what I do have to my advantage. If you focus too much on the things that you don’t have then you can’t sufficiently notice all of the blessings around you that you have seemed to overlooked.

So I am going into the year 2015 with real hope and with faith that can’t be shaken and with the knowledge that whatever God wants me to have will be mine and that he will make a way for all of the plans that he has for me to come to fruition. I have to stop counting myself out before I even truly get into the race. I’m not doing myself any good by doubting God and his belief in me. So no more excuses for why something didn’t get accomplished. Nothing but results from here on out.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Despite My Urge to Give Up…

Never give up

I tell you if it is not one thing it is another and when the devil is busy trying to get in my way he really does pull out all of the stops. So week one and two for me was plagued with technical difficulties that would just hit one by one, back to back.

Last week, while the week started off rather strong with a fair amount of productivity, I had a physical injury that kind of left me unable to sit up and type or write anything. I was in so much pain that it almost brought me to tears to even try and move to do anything. That physiccal injury has unfortunately carried over into this week and although I am trying to ignore the physical injury it is very hard to pretend I am not hindered by it.

It just would seem that there are mini obstacles stacking up in my path like mountains trying to keep me from moving forward. I am pushing through and while my goal will more than likely not be met by the end of November, I will take comfort in the fact that I didn’t (like last year) just completely throw in the towel and say the hell with it and just stop even trying. Last year was a bad year for me creatively and this year has not exactly proved to be much better but I am going to make the best of the rest of the days left in this year and kick 2015 off with these two projects that I’ve been taking on during NaNoWriMo and use them as my positive start for next year. Well back to my writing cave I go, hope all of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo are doing well.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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At Times the Horizon Seems So Distant

Horizon in the distance

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up, it’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon’.”

~From “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

 

I saw the above quote on a friend’s timeline in my seemingly constant Facebook surfing (which is really great for inspiration by the way) and it struck a chord with me. It’s kind of like those quotes that say don’t give up because success is right around the corner except in this quote it is much more profound and hard hitting. I won’t say that I am a person who gives up a lot because I am still not where I thought I would be, and long after the period in which I thought I would be there, and I still get people who tell me to just go back to working a regular job so I could live a much more comfortable lifestyle. Yet here I am, still going for it and pursuing it, one crushing blow after another.

But I’m not going to say that I haven’t had constant moments of doubt and wonder about whether I should give up. That quote hits home with me because I feel like I am constantly being tested, and not to sound too melodramatic, but I feel like the tests come at least every other day and they don’t ever stop. It is said that the bigger the battle the bigger the victory that God has in store for you and I just keep thinking that God must have one (excuse my language) hell of a victory waiting for me at the end of this part of my journey.

I suppose one would think that the constant testing is to make sure that you are absolutely certain about what it is that you say you want, what you say your dream is. We as a society tend to expect immediate results a lot. We want what we want, when we want it, and exactly the way we want it to happen. I suppose it is natural to have a plan and to actually expect that plan to go accordingly but in such an unpredictable world with surprises at every turn, we can’t allow ourselves to be so thrown off course that we simply stop moving.

I sometimes feel like this journey for me is like a trek through the desert. I keep seeing mirages of what I think is about to be my breakthrough. I see glimpses in the distance of what my future will look like but those glimpses seem like they will take forever to reach. Oftentimes it seems like I am standing in some figurative form of quicksand where I am sinking faster than I can find some far away branch to grab ahold of. And even when some spiritually appearing hand pulls me out of that quicksand the well of water sitting underneath the shady palm trees (my dream) still seems so far off in the distance that I feel like just giving up and succumbing to dehydration and heat exhaustion.

But I am still here. Through every test that the Soul of the world seems to be giving me, I am still making my way through that desert. I may still be seeing mirages far off in the distance but I know that the well of water and the shady palm trees are there and I will get there, eventually. I don’t want to be one of those that collapses along the way and finds the well and palm trees right at the edge of their fingertips at the point that they gave up. I plan on being the one who survives every tests and who makes it to the well. And if that well is dry, I plan on being the one who treks on until I find the well that is full, of all my dreams and all that God has in store for me. I am told that I am stronger than I give myself credit for and looking back on just how far I have come in this journey of mine, without giving up even once, I am starting to realize that maybe they are right.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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