Exploring Every Inch of the Road in the Journey

The day we cease to explore is the day we begin to wilt. ~Cicely Tyson

Good or bad, life is nothing but a bunch of experiences. We have really good moments and we have really bad moments, and oftentimes the bad moments start to feel like they are more present than the good.  Where am I going with this you ask? Well, just that mistakes and hard times are simply apart of the exploration that we do throughout our journey. We can’t avoid them and in all honesty we should probably be welcoming them.

This thought process came to my mind because of a zoom call that I had with some wonderfully creative girlfriends of mine. We were getting together (virtually) to discuss Cicely Tyson’s book and other extraordinarily talented black creative artists. Of course the conversation ventured over to discussing our own creative endeavors and what our vision was for the things we were working on. I was singled out, and rightfully so (because they know me so very well), for often being afraid of stepping outside the box and exploring things, mainly for fear of making mistakes.

I have expressed here many times over the years this really tiresome dance that I do with my fear and how I strive to move past that and I’ve made strides and every now and then I realize I hadn’t let go of all of these fears as much as I would like to believe.  Don’t get me wrong, I am way better than I was years ago in terms of dealing with my constant fears and the obstacle the fear itself presents itself to be. I just have a ways more to go. On that zoom call I was reminded of advice from other successful people throughout history which is that the more you fail or rather make mistakes, the more life experience you have to put into your work and the better you can make the next attempt.

Not exploring things, not exploring life, is in many ways not allowing yourself to experience both successes and failures in various magnitudes and to use those learning experiences to fuel your drive and motivation to power forward.  Without exploration we don’t really learn what works and what doesn’t work, what we like and what we don’t like, and we simply don’t learn much of anything about who we are. 

If you are letting fear hold you back or keep you in that place of comfort, stop holding yourself back from experiencing every aspect there is of success, and that includes the moments in which you will undoubtedly making mistakes. It is not failing to get things wrong and to mess up. You only become a failure when you cease to explore at all. Never stop exploring every inch of the road you will walk on your journey.

Until next time… #BeCourageous #BeInspired #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Can’t Move Forward While Standing Still

“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are” ~Max Depree

I saw this quote and it made me think of how much I’ve grown in certain ways over the last couple of years. It also makes me think of the ways that I still have yet to grow.  There are still risks that I haven’t been willing to take because, simply put, I can’t predict where taking those risks will lead. However, I can’t help but think that perhaps not taking some of those risks costs me way more time than the sheer anxiety of wondering where it would lead. 

Some of us are really good at jumping into the next phase of the dream and taking things head on and I admire that. Then there are those of us who often are hesitant to reach out and grab the next opportunity that comes our way because we don’t know if we’re going to actually be able to reach the level we’re striving for.

It’s true that you can’t move forward while standing still so if you are anything like me and your anxiety or self-doubt is holding you back from something, don’t allow it to continue keeping you stuck.  Let’s make a pact that we’ll reach for that next opportunity together. We will keep moving forward, even if the steps that we are taking are small little baby steps.

Until next time… #BeBrave #BeFearless #BeReady

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Having Courage Is Never Easy

So I know this blog is not necessarily a political type of blog but I have been known to occasionally voice my feelings on something political that has happened. By now everyone who isn’t living under a rock knows that a certain former President was, once again, not held accountable for his criminal behavior while representing this country. In large part, this is due to a the vast majority of the party formerly known as the Republican party who refused to put their country first along with the people they represent over one person who desired to become a dictator.  They lacked the courage that they needed to actually do the right thing and to think of other people besides themselves and their grab for power.

Now I’m not going to waste time in this post today talking about people who clearly don’t exhibit any bravery and this is not a condemnation on the REAL Republicans who still exist and are not beholden to one man but rather to their conservative principles. My point in today’s post is about when people show and exemplify courage to do the right thing even in the midst of pressure to do the wrong things. Those people who persevere in spite of the push back and the struggle will be greatly rewarded in the end with the knowledge that they reached their destination in life, not by taking the easy way out, but by fighting for what’s right.

Life is like that when you are also walking a path towards your dreams. It is so very easy to do things that feel good at the time and that are short cuts to your end goal but easy doesn’t always mean it is right. I’ve often wondered how much further I could be in my career and in the positive change that I want to have on this country, on this world, if I hadn’t always been looking for so many short cuts and easy roads to getting what I wanted. Nothing bad every really happened as a result of those short cuts per say but it ended up taking longer to get to the destination that I was really trying to get to. I had so many things to untangle from doing the wrong things, what looked like the easy thing, in order to get to the point where I was supposed to be. The short cut or easy way turned out to not be so easy after all.

All of those Republicans who think they’re going to keep their seat, hold onto their power, by doing the wrong thing, I believe are reading the room very wrong. I think that they forgot that there were real people who they are supposed to be representing and they’re taking short cuts to hold on to power supposedly in the name of the constituents that they seemed to not even be really listening to.  It seems easy to take short cut after short cut or to try to find any path without a challenge in it, one that doesn’t require any fight or any bravery. But doing the right thing, the challenging thing, the courageous thing, will never be easy. If it were easy then everyone would do it.

Until the next time… #BeFearless #BeCourageous #BeDetermined

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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What Is Left to Be Discovered?

I love that even at the age of forty I am still discovering things about myself and my creative abilities that I had not realized before. For instance, I have been doing my YouTube channel for almost a year now (May 9th will be a year) and I was so hesitant to dive into that realm of the creative world. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am an extreme introvert and being on camera terrifies me. Nevertheless I took the risk and dove into the world of becoming a YouTuber and while it is a bit of a slow crawl to get a good sized audience I have discovered that I like doing it more than I thought I would.

Not the being on camera part mind you, but knowing that something I said or some advice that I have given has somehow inspired some other writer or given them courage to start their own YouTube channel. I always want to make a difference, in whatever I do, so getting comments on my videos telling me how much they enjoyed the video and how much they got out of it really makes me feel like I’m leaving my mark, however small of a mark it might be. We all leave our marks in this world, admittedly some leave bigger marks than others, but it all adds to the betterment of this world and the people in it.

I also happened to discover that I like editing videos and I’m not too bad at it either (imagine how good I can be at it if I can learn some more about the proper techniques) but I would have never discovered this hidden capability had I not attempted something that I was fearful of doing. Now I’m not saying we should dive into every single whim that we have.  However, taking a few risks every now and then can help us really learn things about ourselves that were just waiting to be discovered. Have you ever wondered what talents you might unearth if you just took a leap into that endeavor you’ve been holding back on? You should take the risk and see just what you discover about yourself.

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBold #BeCourageous

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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The Year of No Excuses

The Year of No Excuses

It’s a New Year now with new possibilities and more hopes for a better year than the last. The first day of the year really does feel like you’re getting a fresh start. It seems like this year truly feels like the time to take further risks, no holds barred type of risks. I’m more of a risk averse person but I know that given the visions and dreams that I have for my future, avoiding risks is never going to do me any good.

I read Shonda Rhimes book, A Year of Yes, the year before last and after reading it I really wanted to be able to take the bull by the horns and say yes to everything that came my way. However, I really wasn’t in the position to say yes to everything that I wanted to say yes to, and I wasn’t really sure if saying yes to everything would have the same effect on my life as it did for Ms. Rhimes. This past year however, through the magic that is social media, I saw on a friends Facebook page that she had made 2018 her year of yes and she truly committed herself to leaving no opportunity untapped. Of course she had moments that were scary, moments that pushed her far out of her comfort zone and frankly it was a really beautiful thing to watch, even if only through the lens of social media.

Now here was someone who wasn’t Shonda Rhimes (but maybe the next Shonda), having one of the best years of her life all because she was saying yes instead of no. I had a flash of what it might be like for me to be able to say yes to every single little opportunity that has come or will come my way and thought to myself that maybe it was time for my year of yes. Then the reality of the fact that I’m still not quite in the position to say yes to everything, just yet. A Year of Yes is a nice notion if you have endless financial means, or at least unstrained anyway. So it got me to thinking about starting smaller. Now I could just resign to the fact that I just can’t do the Year of Yes this year and leave it at that and just simply say that I will try my best but that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m making this my year of no excuses on my way to my Year of Yes.

I know that they might sound similar but my premise is that maybe I can’t make it to Atlanta to attend a writer’s conference in the summer time that I’ve been wanting to attend for the last couple of years now, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t instead drive to a writer’s conference somewhere closer to where I live that won’t drain my finances. I haven’t yet been able to secure myself an agent for my novels (and the rejection letters have really been piling up in my inbox) but there’s nothing really stopping me from going ahead and beginning the self-publishing process and taking that leap to put my own work out there. Sure it wasn’t the way that I had imagined it would happen but why should I keep letting that stop me.

One of the scariest things that I am doing this year is starting a YouTube channel. Not only will it take me extremely out of my comfort zone, but it will push my boundaries in the technology area which I’m not really all that great at and quite frankly I’m terrified that I won’t be any good at it and that no one will want to watch but I’m going for it. While it’s a big step for me I’m just jumping into it and the not knowing how things are going to turn out is a little nerve wracking but no excuses right.

I’ve become a pro at making excuses for why something can’t happen so it’s really time for me to take the leap of faith that say I have in myself and my abilities and just go for it all. I mean I couldn’t fall on my face any flatter than I’ve already fallen in the past right so why not. So maybe I won’t be able to say yes to all the things that I want to do this year but that is no excuse that I can’t find a way to make things happen that will get me closer to that yes for next year. So here’s to the Year of no excuses and making things happen. Even if they have to be a slight variation to the yes we want, it can be the yes that we need to keep moving forward. Here’s to a brand new year with a brand new mindset! Whether you are having a year of Yes or a year of no excuses, take a leap of faith with me! Let’s do this!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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No Risk = No Reward

No Risk No Reward 2

Children are fearless and their tenacity has no boundaries. It’s wonderful and exciting to watch a child get an idea for something and because they have absolutely no fear and no worries about rejection they go for any and everything. I wonder at what age we lose that fearless, tenacious spirit. Adults are far less likely to try new things, unlike children, because all of the fear seeps in. They wonder, what if I get hurt? What if it doesn’t work? What if someone else does this better than me? What if no one gets it? What if no one accepts it? Children miraculously don’t worry about such things. They just go for it! If it fails they simply get back up and try again as if the failure never happened to begin with. Why do we lose that as we get older?

In my more recent journey of becoming more spiritually grounded I knew that one of the things that I needed to work on within myself and that needed to be changed was my many different degrees of fear. I have a lot of defense mechanisms that have become sort of a crutch for me. One particularly bad one that I’ve been trying to break is one where I play out all of the worst case scenarios in my head when thinking about attempting something new or, in my case as a writer, submitting something. And while it is good to be realistic about the good and bad of something so that you can be prepared for either outcome, in my case dwelling on the possible negative outcomes have somehow held me back from even attempting things at all. It wasn’t intentional but I would find ways to talk myself out of doing something or submitting something because I had convinced myself that it was never going to be accepted anyway so why bother.

I have no idea when it happened? When I began to think about all of what made me afraid of going after the dreams I have instead of the wonderful things that can come from achieving them. I wasn’t always so fearful and I used to like taking risks but perhaps my risks were met with too many rejections and not enough rewards. But that’s life isn’t it. Looking back on all of the “failures” I have had in attempting my dreams I can ascertain the many lessons that came out of them. However, I am also realizing that some of the more recent “failures” I have had happened, not because of the risks that didn’t pan out, but rather because of the risks that I was too afraid to take to begin with.

A lot of times we don’t try new things because we can’t predict the outcome. We don’t want to fail so we think that it’s better to never actually try. Somehow it is more appealing to not put ourselves out there because then it means that we can’t get hurt, our ideas can’t get rejected, and no one can tell us that what we’ve poured our hearts into is somehow not good enough. However, that also means that our ideas don’t get heard at all and that what we have effectively poured our hearts into just sits around never being seen by anyone. If we never leave the place that feels comfortable for us, the place that’s safe for us then we miss out on so many things and we will never truly succeed. At that point we would simply be living in our fears instead of living up to our dreams. So, while our comfort zones may make us feel protected we can’t stay there if expect to get to where it is we are destined to end up.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Warrior Within

The Warrior Within

Lets talk American Ninja Warrior! I know, what does the show American Ninja Warrior have to do with writing and taking care of yourself creatively and spiritually. Well that’s the thing about inspiration, it literally can come from anywhere and anyplace and at any time. I am just as surprised as you might be because if you know anything about me, aside from finally implementing a gym workout into my lifestyle, I am not a very athletic person. Other than football, and perhaps the basketball championships, I don’t particularly watch that much in the way of sports.

So when I turned on a rerun episode of American Ninja Warrior one day, it was kind of just on and I wasn’t paying that much attention until this young woAmerican Ninja Warrior 1man came on the screen named Kacy Catanzaro (pictured to the left), and it was the episode where she became, at five foot two (possibly shorter), the first woman to ever make it up the warped wall and from that moment on I was hooked. Now I’m late to the Ninja Warrior game so I’ve been watching the reruns every week of older seasons but they’re all new to me so I am just gaining such a huge appreciation for this show, these athletes, and their stories.

It’s the stories behind these athletes that fearlessly run a course of seemingly impossible obstacles that I think are the most motivating for me. Most of these athletes are coming back from injuries, from others sports careers that were prematurely cut short, and from life altering struggles that would make the average person curl up in a ball and just give up, but not these athletes. They show their grit, and their tenacity, and their strength and it’s just amazing to watch it and I’m usually left in awe of these players.

The struggles that they’ve overcome and the things that they are able to accomplish is just remarkable. They are able to put all of their focus and energy into tackling the task immediately in front of them, being the obstacle course, and finish it, and in some cases not finish it and have to get back up again and prepare for the following year to do it all over again. It takes a hell of an individual to do that and in many cases to fail in completing the course and have to come back the following year to do it all over again, not knowing if they’ll end up failing the course again or if they will finally complete it. Some of these athletes took several years before even being able to complete the course one time and they kept returning with such enthusiasm and vigor. It’s a level of courage that I wished I had and makes me question ‘who am I to be afraid to go after my dreams despite the many stumbles and falls? It just inspires me to be better, and to do better.   What inspires you to do better and gives you courage?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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My New Year’s Wish for All of You

I just wanted to take some time out to wish all of you a Happy New Year.  I will be embracing the year 2012 with the faith that this will be a good year for me and that it will bring new adventures and experiences for me.  Last year I went into 2011 saying that it was going to be a good year for me, but in the back of my mind there was always doubt there and I didn’t really believe that it would be.  This year I am going to have faith and confidence that it will.  I wanted to encourage everyone to embark on this upcoming year embracing the idea of change and being fearless.  I pray that all of you will go into the New Year with confidence and faith that whatever you are wanting for yourselves this year will happen.  Until tomorrow…Have a Safe and Blessed New Year’s Eve! 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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Lessons We Can Learn From Our Children

It’s easy for us as parents to get annoyed with children who just keep pestering you until they get their way, and to get frustrated with their complete disregard for danger or consequences.  Sometimes what can also get on our nerves is when children go from one activity to the next as if it is their money that they are wasting on that particular activity.  However, we as parents can learn a lot from our children and their sometimes annoying behavior.  

Children have such persistence and resilience within them.  Their fearlessness allows them to try a multitude of things without the thought of failure.  What we see as their indecisiveness and constant change of activities should be acknowledged as them trying to find what interests they are better suited for so that they can master what they are truly good at.  Children are really good teachers sometimes and perhaps we should take a few pages from their book.  

If we didn’t think so much about the failures that we might encounter, we may be more inclined to seek out more adventures and endeavors.  If we were as persistent as our children to get what it is that we want out of life, perhaps we might learn to always go after what it is that we want and to never settle for less then what we deserve.  

Just imagine what we could do in this world if we followed the words that we often tell our children; to always go after what you want and never let anything get in your way; to figure out what your purpose is and then be the best that you can be at it; and to never be so afraid to fail that you never try to begin with.  Until tomorrow…What lessons could you learn from your children? 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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I Regret Not Being Fearless

“Being fearless isn’t being 100% unafraid; it’s being terrified, but you jump in anyway!”

~Taylor Swift 

I was watching an interview the other night on Lady GaGa and her rise to fame and her upbringing.  I was excited to watch this interview because while I am a fan of her music, I am an even greater fan of her business savvy and her work ethic.  She has certainly made a name for herself and her story didn’t start off that much different from other people that have a particular dream growing up.  Of course her upbringing was different in terms of the fact that she probably had a lot more things in the pros column than the cons but the struggle to achieve her dream was still there.  

What I love and can appreciate most about her is her bravery and her fearlessness.  She has never been and still isn’t afraid to do anything when it comes to accomplishing her dreams and she seems to jump head first into everything without ever really looking back.  Watching the interview I found myself wishing that I had that same fearlessness and bravery, both as a child growing up and especially now.  

So many times I had opportunities when I was younger to maybe go to some poetry event or open mic night and read some of my poetry or even sing (because I could actually sing a lot better when I was younger) but I was too afraid.  Afraid to be on stage in front a crowd full of people, afraid that they wouldn’t like my poetry or like my voice, afraid that I somehow would not be good enough and that maybe the talent that I thought I had was all made up in my head and that no one else would share the same thought.  I wasted so much time on all of the cons and I missed out on all of the pros, all because I wasn’t fearless enough.  

I guess it’s too late to wonder what could’ve and might’ve been if I had just been brave enough to jump head first into any number of the things that I wanted to do.  The only thing left to do now is strive to be brave and fearless from this point on.  After watching the interview I was wondering aloud to my best friend, was it just simply too late for me to do the things that I really wanted.  I mean I’m 31 now and I’m not getting any younger and my dreams aren’t becoming any more attainable as time goes by.  She told me (being the voice of reason that she always seems to be) that it’s never too late as long as I still have the ability and the passion to do those things that I want to do.  

That voice of fear was in my ear yet again but this time I don’t plan on feeding into it.  I’ve wasted too much time already and now it’s time for me to be brave, and yes even fearless.  So how brave and fearless are you willing to be for your dreams?  Until next time…Be brave, don’t give yourself anything else to regret!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://writetobe.wordpress.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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