It’s the Steps We Never Take That Hold Us Back

The only difference between where you are and where you want to be is the steps that you haven’t taken yet.”

~Rigel J. Dawson

There are a lot of things that I’ve dreamed about doing in my life. Some things I have done, some things I probably will never get to do, and some I’ve barely touched the surface of but have somehow convinced myself it was out of reach. It’s that last thing that keeps me up late at night (okay I’m just a night owl that gets nagging ideas late at night lol) wondering what it is I could have done differently to achieve those things that I still have it in my heart to do but seem so unattainable. Some of the things are career related and have to do with areas of the industry I have wanted to write in since I was a child and at some point just got knocked off the trajectory of that course. Some of them are things that I always said “if I ever become rich and famous I would do this, that, and the other with my money to help other people”. Both of those areas are something I am wondering constantly is it too late to still do those things.

Now if I’m being honest with myself (truly honest) being a traveling media journalist is probably something that I have passed the point of being able to get into because, well I’m not young and adventurous anymore and journalism is typically for the young and daring when you’re just starting. Only if you’ve already been in journalism for a while can you still be past a certain age and doing it. However, writing for television (soap operas in particular) has always been something that I have wanted to try and am thinking that perhaps it is not too late. Now I’m just wondering what steps I could be taking, what more could I be doing, to get someone to open the door when I knock on it. Unfortunately that answer would be not enough. Largely in part because I had just convinced myself that my time had passed in that area too.

The other things, the one’s more on the charitable side, the things I’ve always said if I had the money I would do, now that is a bit trickier. I have charities that I want to donate to that I’m sure wouldn’t care how big or small the size of the donation is. Then I have organizations and charities that I would like to start to help other people that I just don’t have the money to start yet. Those are the things that I’m really struggling and working to achieve success for because if I can become successful, and yes wealthy, then I can do some good for other people. Then I can really get to the heart of where all of this purpose in me is headed. I want to make a difference in this world, and not just with my words, not just with me motivating and inspiring others, but with the ability to actually be able to help others.

I wonder sometimes if we’re just so convinced of something not working that we just talk ourselves right out of trying. Do we cut ourselves off at the knees with telling ourselves what we can’t do, what we will never be able to do, instead of just actively going for what it is we want anyway. I mean we could fail and fall flat on our faces. But we could also succeed beyond our wildest expectations. Isn’t taking those steps towards where we are trying to get to worth the risk? If we don’t just go for it and take those steps, then won’t we fail anyway? How much do we derail our own journey by refusing to take a step forward and instead remaining still? It’s the steps that we don’t take that I feel we will regret the most because even if those steps don’t get us to our goal, they still move us forward.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeCourageous #BeDetermined

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are We the Mistakes We Make?


Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.”

~Matthew 7: 1-3

I swore I was not going to write about this issue and yet here I am getting ready to do just that. We all know (unless you are living under a rock) about the slap heard around the world that happened at the Oscars roughly two weeks ago. Well, I’m not going to say that I believe that Will Smith was right for responding to a tasteless and crass joke about his wife’s medical condition in the manner in which he did, or even that Jada Pinkett-Smith needed to be protected in that way. What I will say is that if you read Will Smith’s book or know anything about his childhood then you can understand why HE felt that he needed to be protective in that way.

Violence is never the answer, and he could have, and should have, handled it differently. However, I will not sit here in judgment of this man who has had a 30 plus year career without nary a blemish and who has been beyond an extraordinary example to all who are watching, over the one time he dared to show that he is in fact a human being and that he does make mistakes just like the rest of us mere mortals. He made a mistake. He is aware of that mistake, and he has since apologized multiple times for said mistake. There is no time machine, and he can’t go back and erase the mistake he made so what more is it that people want him to do?

We cannot keep throwing people away because they display that they are human beings. We get so caught up in the idea of perfection and in us admiring people who have maybe reached the level in their lives that we are seeking to get to that we tend to put them on this unrealistic pedestal. We hold them up as a model (which is fine until you take it too far) of the dreams and levels of success that we strive for and then we act shocked when they make a mistake. It’s almost as if we somehow forgot that just because they are a celebrity or someone in a position much higher than us that they are also human beings just like the rest of us.

I don’t know anyone who has not made a mistake and honestly far worse mistakes than Will Smith made that night. I don’t think that any of us are in a position to judge another man (or woman) by their worst mistakes because Lord help us if we are judged by ours. We don’t (or we shouldn’t) just toss someone aside simply because they disappointed us. We should instead show that person some humility, show that person some grace, show that person some forgiveness and do for them what we want other people to do for us when we mess up. I mean even Jesus got angry and flipped over a few tables (Matthew 21: 12-13) and if Jesus can be imperfect than who are any of us to expect perfection from any ordinary or even extraordinary human being. Be careful who you are tossing aside and make sure that you can measure up to the judgment that you are casting onto them.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeHumble #BeGracious

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Give Up What is Weighing You Down

It is not easy being a creative entrepreneur. Yes, I know being an entrepreneur period is hard work but when you are a creative individual you are not only expelling all of your emotional and mental energy into what you are passionate about. You are also having to tap into a business mindset that, if you’re anything like me, just isn’t something that is second nature to you. I think for creative individuals what stands in our way more than anything is our own self-doubt and lack of confidence in our ability to conquer the things that don’t come natural for us (like business know how and anything related to math in general lol). We get so hung up on what we think we can’t do that we lose sight and focus of what we can do.

So much of what holds us back from living up to our full potential can typically be relegated to an extension of one thing, fear. Whether it’s a fear of failure, a fear of success, a fear of change, fears of financial ambiguity, fears of disappointing either the people in our lives or ourselves, or just a fear of what is unknown. We come up on these boulders (obstacles) sitting there in the road, standing in the way of us getting to our destination. It seems immovable at first because we’re just seeing this obstacle that is taking up the entire space of the road and that instant feeling of defeat sets in. We spend so much time focusing on the boulder (obstacle) itself that we don’t even realize that if we just give it everything we have inside of us to move it, if we just physically push it off to the side of the road, then we can continue on the journey to reaching our goal.

Fear is that boulder in the space of our minds. It can take up so much space in our head, forcing us to lose focus on whatever particular thing we are fearful of in that moment. It can overwhelm us so much that we don’t even realize that if we just tackle that fear head on, just give it everything we have and push past it, then we can move that fear aside (at least for that moment anyway) and continue pushing through to accomplish our dreams. 

Fear is a heavy burden to carry. It weighs on us like that immovable boulder. It starts to seep into our everyday lives until we are afraid to do just about anything that will move us forward. Fear likes it when we are comfortable because when we get comfortable then we never truly grow and we stay stuck right where the fear wants us to stay. Still. So if we want to succeed at all of those dreams we’re so passionate about,  then we have to give up all of those fears that keep us weighed down and tethered to that box we get so comfortable staying in. In order to fly, to really soar beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations, we have to be willing to let go of all of that dead weight.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeCourageous #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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The Misconception Of What It Means To Be Strong

Let’s talk strength and its many forms. As I watched the Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination hearings last week and watched certain politicians (their names aren’t even worth mentioning) try and bait her into playing into the angry black woman stereotype that plagues every black woman who simply desires to make something of their lives, I heard everyone remark about her grace and her strength to sit there so unbothered. I too recall myself commenting on how strong she was because my actions would have been a bit different. But if you are a black woman, hell most women, know that her face said all of what she was feeling but she had to play up her strength because falling for their bait was not an option.

It made me think of why it is that strength is equated with just sitting back and taking whatever is thrown at you no matter how much you might be breaking down on the inside. Why isn’t showing your vulnerable side, your humanity, why isn’t that considered strength. Why do people try to hide their tears when all they need is a good cry?  It’s a shame that in a world that tries so hard to break you down, you can’t even show your hurt or else you will be thought of as weak. 

For most of my life I’ve been an extremely emotional, empathic, person and I feel things at a really deep level. I cry almost instantly when made aware of other’s pain. People have always called me too sensitive, too emotional, and weak because I cry when I’m sad, or upset, or even if I’m really angry. My wearing my emotions on my face has not been an easy thing. I used to hate when I was called all of those things. Now I embrace them. Now when someone says I’m too sensitive or emotional I just say thank you because allowing yourself to feel emotions and express them doesn’t make you weak. Crying when you need to doesn’t make you weak.

Showing that you are vulnerable and that you can be hurt, that you can be broken, makes you stronger than the ones who are still hiding their humanity. We have to get away from what is perceived as strength in this world because oftentimes true strength is revealed when we let our guards down and display our real emotions. We shouldn’t have to act like nothing gets to us just to come off as strong. Strength is surviving in a world that wants nothing more than to see you fail, by any means necessary.

Until next time… #BeVulnerable #BeBold #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Rest If You Need To But Just Don’t Quit

The journey to fulfill your dreams is not going to be a road without obstacles. In fact, it often feels like the closer that we get to those dreams that we’ve been striving towards for so long, the harder they seem to be to reach.  I’ve said it here before, but anything worth having, any goal worth achieving, is going to require hard work and tenacity to attain.  However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be days in which you will want to quit.

I know it doesn’t seem like it here or if you follow me anywhere on social media (particularly my YouTube channel) but I grow exhausted with the amount of effort I have to put into this dream of mine. I grow increasingly weary at times with the fact that every time I take two steps forward, it seems to be followed with three steps backwards. I get frustrated at the fact that I’m not anywhere near (at least in my mind anyway) where I think that I should be with my career or life in general. I have wanted to quit so many times that I’ve lost count. But I can’t quit so I just rest.

We all have our moments where things get so hard that we just want to throw in the towel. You think to yourself sometimes that if this is something that you were meant to do, if this is truly your calling then it shouldn’t be this damn hard. You think about all of the people who, things seem to come so easy for them, and you have that quick thought questioning why it’s not that easy for you.

The truth is that we have no idea what someone else’s journey has been like. While it looks like they might have had an easy go of it, their journey could have been just as rough as yours seems to be now. We should never compare our journey to someone else’s because each of us has a different hill to climb. Nothing worth having is ever going to be easy so if it’s something that you really want, that really matters to you, then be prepared for the hard road ahead. I believe it will make actually accomplishing your dream that much sweeter.

When you get weary and grow tired and feel you’re stuck in reverse, don’t quit, simply rest. Rest so that when you have sat with those frustrations and feelings of doubt, you can then get back up and keep climbing up that hill. Eventually you will reach the top, but only if you keep moving forward. Our dreams are worth holding on for.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeTenacious #BeSteadfast 

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are You Willing to Be Corrected?

I remember saying to a friend a long time ago that if I could continue to go to college indefinitely and earn as many degrees as I could stand, I would definitely do that. I would be, what she called, a forever student. She laughed at the thought and assumed that I was joking but truly if money were not an issue, I don’t think there is enough information out there that I could immerse myself in that I wouldn’t choose to do so. I like to learn, and I am a person who never feels like I know enough of anything. That’s not to say that I’m not smart and I don’t already know a lot, but I’d like to think that we are never really done learning, at least not until we are dead and gone.

Two times last week I was reminded that we have to be willing to be corrected, to admit we have to do something better than we thought we were doing, in order to stay on or get back on track. Not only did my Pastor on Sunday preach about whether we are willing to stop what we think we are doing right in order to learn what we’re doing wrong and remain open to being corrected. Days before that I had sought out a consultant regarding my business and the social media marketing part of it to see what I was doing wrong so I can do it better. The consultant was hesitant to tell me everything I was doing wrong because I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways at times so they weren’t sure I could handle hearing that even the one thing I thought I was actually doing right, I was not. I told him I’m here to learn so whatever it was I wanted to know because I can’t fix it if I don’t know the problem.

How many times are you aware that a problem exists but unwilling to allow anyone who might be willing to help you correct the problem actually do so? Are you unable to be taught when you think you’ve learned all there is to learn? You will never be able to know everything about everything and even if you know a lot, there is always someone out there that will know more and that can help you do more, but only if you are open to learning.

There’s this saying that I love that says you should never be the smartest person in the room. That the moment you become the one in the room who knows the most information then you need to move on to the next room. Not only would that allow you to be in more rooms with a broader spectrum of people. It would also ensure that you are always learning and that you are always correcting what needs to be corrected. You can’t get to where it is you want to go thinking that you know everything, that you’ve somehow learned all there is for you to learn. So be open to the things that you need to be corrected on, and when you’ve learned what you needed to learn then move on to the next room and keep learning.

Until next time… #BeOpen #BeMindful #BeTeachable

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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In a World of Leaves and Branches, Make Sure You Know Who Your Roots Are

I saw a social media post this morning that got me thinking about the thought process we have sometimes behind creating our circle of friends and the standards or boundaries we set, or often times don’t set. The post was essentially about not putting too much of our burdens on our friends, particularly if we aren’t reciprocating and allowing them to cast some of theirs on us as well. Now obviously our friendships should never be viewed as a burden but so many friendships are rarely fifty-fifty. There’s always a little lopsidedness going on at different points in the relationship.

I suppose the question lies in how we distinguish between friends and associates. Then the question becomes do we limit what our friends can put on us and to what extent because the shoe can always be placed on the other foot. This brings up that Tyler Perry play that I saw once (can’t remember the exact name at this moment) where he gave advice about knowing people’s place in our lives and comparing it to a tree of life scenario.

There are some people who are just the leaves on our tree of life, those acquaintances that we wouldn’t really classify as friends, but they are not without their added value in our lives. They may have very well come along just to show us something about ourselves that we needed to see through someone else’s eyes. Then there are those branches, those friends who are there for just a season. They are there to get us through something, most likely they are equipped with something that we are lacking just a little of so they can help us get through. They are necessary and they are most certainly a blessing, but they aren’t meant to stay and sometimes it can do more harm than good trying to hold onto the branches of a tree that have long since served their purpose.

Then there are those roots. Those friends who have a firm place in your life and who hold you up when you are collapsing and who, without them, you wouldn’t be who you are. They are the ones who ground you and remind you not only of who you are, but of whose you are even when you sometimes forget. They don’t have to necessarily be friends you’ve known all your life either. Sometimes you can just have met someone who does so much in a short period of time to change your life and your perspective that it can feel like you’ve known them for a lifetime.

In creating your circle of friends don’t get hung up on how many friends you have around you, going for the maximum number possible. It’s not the size of the circle that matters, but rather the quality of the people within that circle. It’s whether you have a whole bunch of leaves that you have not yet swept away. It’s whether you have far too many branches that need to be removed. It’s whether you are watering and nurturing those roots in order to sustain the tree itself.

You can have just three solid root friends and still have the best circle than that of someone who has 20 friends who are leaves and branches. It’s not about accumulating a massive amount of people around you. It’s about having the people around you be the best ones to add value to your life, and you to theirs. The roots are where the value of the tree lies. Get yourself some roots and make sure that you are someone else’s root!

Until next time… #BeMindful #BePatient #BeKind 

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are You Willing to Play the Long Game?

 

For any individual who decides to become a creative entrepreneur, the phrase consistency is key will be one you will often hear. That’s because as a creative, unless you get super lucky or you know all of the right people you are most likely playing the long game. It will also not be an easy journey as you make your way along either. There will be a lot of no’s and not nearly enough yeses to balance out the scales. Some days your passion for whatever artistic gift you have decided is going to be what you do with your life is going to be the only thing keeping you going.  Hold on to that passion because you are definitely going to need it.

I don’t say any of that to be discouraging. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I say that because on the really hard days, the days when it just seems like no matter what you do nothing is working, it will be your passion that carries you through and whispers to you to keep going. For me and my writing career it has been a really long road and while it has been fruitful at parts, it hasn’t moved nearly as quickly as I thought it would or would have liked for it to. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my passion for the words themselves, I probably would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

I recently took David Baldacci’s Master Class and one of the things he said was that if you really want to make it as a writer with longevity you can’t just see writing as a hobby or even just a job. Rather you have to see writing as a lifestyle. For me that’s exactly what it’s always been. I’ve known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old (really and truly it was 6 but I started producing actual material at 10) so my heart has always been in this. I have at times wanted to quit because it’s hard seeing the potential outcome and never being able to achieve that reality. However, when passion is the driving force it’s kind of hard to quit because the passion won’t let you.

So, I’ll leave you with this. If you are struggling and you’re having more and more days where you want to just quit, don’t. Anything worth having is never going to be easy to attain and if the life of an artist is the one you want, you’re going to have to be prepared to work really hard for it and stay consistent. Consistency really is the only guarantee that you won’t fail because one thing is for sure, if you don’t keep trying and working at it then you won’t ever get there. If this is something you are passionate about, something that is really in your heart to do for the rest of your career and your life, then you can’t give up now.

Until next time… #BeConsistent #BePassionate #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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It’s Not in How You Failed, It’s in the Way You Keep Trying

“My greatest concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

~Abraham Lincoln

Feeling like a failure is inevitable. At some stage in your life, depending on how ambitious your goals truly are, you will repeatedly try new things and while some of them will work out brilliantly, some of them won’t. Trial and error is a very normal part of life but sometimes those errors just seem like they keep coming, one after another, after another. To put it plain and simple, failure can be, at times, relentless and exhausting. Last week I felt like I was failing at life in general but specifically in the area of my writing business.

However, I was reminded last night when I was watching the History Channel’s Documentary on Abraham Lincoln just how much failure is ultimately a part of eventual success. After all, Abraham Lincoln had a lot of losses and he suffered from severe depression after a lot of those losses. But what he never did was give up. He never gave in to those losses and he kept trying.  In the end he still won the ultimate goal he was going after, being the office of the Presidency.

I suppose I keep thinking about failure in the wrong manner. I tend to think of failure as this immovable boulder that just abruptly landed right on my path to my goals and me not being strong enough to lift it out of my way or to even work around it.  Therefore, it leaves me stuck right where I am, most likely feeling weak and incapable. Of course, that’s not the way that failure should be looked at.

What failure really amounts to are mistakes that can and should be used as lessons to navigate us through the rest of the journey forward so that we, provided we actually learn from those particular failures, can avoid making the same mistakes again. Failures allow us to know what we are doing wrong so that we can course correct and get things right. I know I’ve written this before and perhaps I repeat it because I need to keep reminding myself as well (because on the really hard days I tend to forget) but if you are failing it generally means that you at the very least, tried to do something in the first place and as long as you are trying you are not failing.

It’s all about mindset and the ability we have to change ours. Instead of seeing the obstacle on the road, we need to see the multiple paths that lead us around that obstacle. They are detours from what you originally had planned but they are alternate paths that still can lead you to where you want to go with knowledge you didn’t have before. You will still have that lesson that you learned to carry with you into the next stage of the journey and with each mistake you may make, you will pick up even more knowledge. The key is seeing the mini failures along the way as opportunities and not necessarily as obstacles that need to be dodged. Just remember, when you are feeling like everything is going wrong and you aren’t getting anywhere, that you are not alone and that trying is what matters most.

Until next time… #BePersistent #BeResilient #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Pride Can Derail the Journey

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but He who does not ask remains a fool forever”

~Chinese Proverb

I was having a conversation last week with a friend of mine in which I opened up about some personal issues I’m having and their first question to me was why haven’t I asked for help? The only response I had (which admittedly is not a very good one) was that I am too embarrassed to ask for the help that I know I need. They returned with the question of what I could possibly have to be embarrassed about and I took a moment because I knew what I was going to say sounded silly. My answer: That I’m not exactly where I should be in life at my age, and I shouldn’t have to need any help at all.

You know what’s telling. When you can hear the answer, you’re about to give someone and in your head, it made sense but logically when the words actually leave your mouth you realize it makes absolutely no sense. Now I’m not going to get into what my situation is in this post, except to say that it does boil down to financial setbacks, but I am a person who hates having to ask for help. I am typically the one who likes to figure out ways that I can help other people so to turn that around and have to admit needing the help myself is a bit touchy for me.

Nevertheless, my friend was absolutely correct in saying that having a setback of any kind in life is not and should not be embarrassing. Life comes with all kinds of roadblocks and things that just knock the wind out of you, both physically and emotionally. It shouldn’t be something that we are afraid to talk about or seek help about. Pride is not a bad thing when you’re talking about having pride in your job or career path, or something your child or family member does. However, pride that just keeps you stuck in a bad position, or even worse, makes your bad situation that much worse, is not something to cling to.

If you are having a hard time and going through a setback, you are not alone. If you need help to get through your setback then please don’t be afraid to ask for it. Don’t be so strong and proud that you end up putting yourself in an even worse position. There is nothing wrong with experiencing setbacks in life. In actuality, setbacks can very often become the set up and the building blocks for the next level that you are on your way to. Don’t let your pride be the hill that your dreams die on.

Until next time… #BeCourageous #BePatient #BeResilient

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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