The Picture Isn’t Always Perfect

Nothing is Picture Perfect 2

Oftentimes we like to paint a picture for people that things in our world are running smoothly. We like to put a smile on to pretend that things are perfect even if they aren’t. We like to highlight the things that are going well and leave out all of the mistakes that we have been making as we go. It’s the whole fake it until you make it syndrome. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have positive self-talk and to tell yourself that you can do this or that, even if deep down you are unsure of your capabilities. But to leave out the things that went wrong in your journey sometimes does a disservice, not only to you but to the people that you hope to inspire along the way.

If you think about it, there are no real mistakes in life. Everything that happens to us or even for us is by design and has already been mapped out by God. Even the slight detours we take are to teach us something, to show us what we are made of when we start to lose sight of the true depth of our purpose. It is in the failures that we truly triumph because we learn perseverance and it forces us to get back up again even when we don’t feel like we can.

I’ll admit that it feels good when you are presenting yourself to people as if you have everything all together and figured out. Particularly in the instances where you want to impress someone who impresses you, you want to seem like you can make all the pieces to the puzzle fit perfectly. Sometimes you fake it so well that you may even start to believe it yourself and it kind of gets you motivated in a way you may not have been otherwise.

The problem with faking it is that in leaving out the mistakes that you have made you also tend to leave out the lessons that you have learned from those mistakes as well. The people that you want to inspire and who may be looking to you for guidance are being mislead by this false perception of what success looks like and that really isn’t fair to them or you. There is no such thing as a flawless road to success and trying to pretend that there is only makes things look pretty on the outside, but it doesn’t change the reality of how messy the journey really is.

Stop trying to make everything look easy to everyone else because by doing that you diminish all of the hard work that you have likely put into your journey. Your path has more substance because of the obstacles and failures that you have had as you have walked along it. All those times you fell that you would like to instantly forget are important because they taught you that you are not a quitter and that you can get back up again. The detours on that straight and narrow road that you had planned to take likely gave you something that you needed at those particular times. Don’t leave out what you believe are the bad parts of your journey because odds are the good that came out of it wouldn’t have happened any other way.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Fabric that Creates Our Stories

Fabric that creates our stories

Let’s talk about the stories that make us! We all have moments in our lives that we sometimes wish hadn’t happened. There may be certain experiences that we wished had gone a different way than they did. Or even just a small rough patch that you wish you could’ve somehow dodged along the way. I know that I have a huge chunk of childhood experiences I’ve wished I could have replaced with better ones and some mistakes that I’ve made in my teenage or young adult years that I would do over again if I could.

The problem with trying to recreate history, however, is that if we were to do that we would completely miss out on the lesson that we were supposed to learn. In addition to that we would also not have the experiences that help to shape and mold us into the people we were meant to become. I was watching an episode of Oprah’s Master Class and the guest was talking about the fact that the stories that we share with others, the wisdom that we tend to draw on from other people’s experiences, come from the rough patches in life.

We wouldn’t have those experiences and those moments that give us teaching tools for life if there were no rough patches to begin with. What I’ve gone through in my life, the issues I’ve had with deep depression, the abuse I suffered in my childhood, even my struggles with my weight throughout most of my life, sure I may wish they hadn’t happened, but they could very well be the inspiration that someone else needs down the line.

I think of all of the inspiration that I’ve gotten from other people’s struggles and the obstacles that they’ve overcome to get to the level of success that they’re at now and it’s amazing. Knowing that when I finally achieve the goals that I’ve set out to accomplish and when I get to that level of success where I can truly influence others, to think that I could possibly provide some inspiration to someone else in the future and possibly give them feelings of hope is extremely comforting to me.

Our struggles that we endure and the obstacles that we battle through become some of the greatest fabric to our story. To ever try and wish that away would more than likely be a costly mistake because so much of our trials and tribulations are woven so intricately into our lives that without them we could be completely different people and not necessarily who we were ever meant to be. So when you start to dwell on the hard times that you’ve experienced, stop and think. If you were to wish those hard times away, those rough patches, then you wouldn’t have a story to tell. Those experiences have built your character and they are the reason that you can inspire the world around you. So make your stories count and let them be a way to heal somebody else.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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I May Have Been Down but I was Never Out

Down but Not Out

So let’s talk about failure! I hate to fail and what’s ironic is that though I hate to fail I seem to be doing a lot of it. Granted, I don’t view everything that has happened in my life as failures but I have failed enough times to make anyone want to just lie down and give up. In fact, I think that a lot of this past year and half long bout with depression was pretty much just that, me being so tired of failing that I just wanted to lie down and accept defeat.

Writing is definitely not for the faint of heart and rejection is a part of the package that comes with this career but sometimes it can feel so jarring to one’s self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities. I’ve been shopping my novels around to different agents and while I’ve had some of them ask to see the whole novel, which in itself can be cause to celebrate, in the end I have not been received with the kind of acceptance that I crave and truly thought I was talented enough to get. Logically I know that being rejected by a publisher or an agent is not a personal attack on my abilities but as most of you writers know, your novels tend to feel like your babies and my work is personal for me because I always add a touch of myself into my characters (well my main characters anyway).

But I’m learning, or rather remembering that my failures are not what is going to define my eventual success. In reality, my failures are what is going to propel me forward into my destined prosperity. These are the moments that will build me up and make me stronger so that I can be better and excel further than even I thought possible. I’ve always heard that when we plan, God laughs and he must be really laughing it up at me because since the age of ten I’ve had some pretty big plans for my life and career. I had milestones, in my mind, that I just knew that I was going to hit at just the time I envisioned hitting them, some I even thought I would hit earlier than I expected. I couldn’t have been more wrong and being that wrong is just plain hurtful.

However, if some of those plans had come to pass there would be a lot of other wonderful moments that I wouldn’t have had happen, mainly my daughter being born, and I could never regret her. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be, in many cases, what protects us from a disaster right around the corner. In other cases it can just be the sign to let you know that while you may be going in the right direction, you’re not quite ready just yet. There are lessons in the failures that we go through but sometimes what matters is not the actual act of failing itself but rather what those failures can add to our overall story.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Boxes on a Shelf

boxes on a shelf

I was watching a Joel Osteen Sermon this past Sunday and as always his message was something that I could really relate to and that resonated with me right at that moment. He spoke about having faith in yourself and in your abilities enough to ask God for what he already said was yours. You know we pray for the things we want out of life and finagle our way around obstacles in order to achieve them. But I think that perhaps if we were more sure about the fact that those opportunities that we want and that we see for our future are already in God’s plan and that they are already ours to grab ahold of we wouldn’t worry so much while we are praying about whether or not they are going to come to pass.

Joel used a metaphor that our opportunities are like moments that are all in boxes, lined up on shelves, in this massive warehouse in heaven, just waiting for the people whose names are on those boxes to actually ask for them. It made me wonder just how big my box of opportunities would be because I know that I am one of those people that while I am praying for my opportunities and wishing that they would come true, I am also crossing my fingers to cover all my bases.

Crossing your fingers is not a sign of true faith, and neither is worrying while you are praying. It’s so funny because I have no trouble believing in other people’s dreams and in the fact that their opportunities will come to fruition but when it comes to mine, it’s like I let all of those demons of doubt cloud what I know in my heart. I don’t want to get to the end of my journey and see my opportunities sitting in these boxes on some shelf just waiting, unclaimed, and unused.

There’s so many other things that I am unsure of in this life but my purpose, my desire to change this world for the better with my message and through writing and other media avenues, that’s not something that I am unsure of. So while you are seeking your opportunities and praying for the doors of opportunity to be opened for you are you crossing your fingers or are you surrendering in faith? It makes a difference on whether or not the right doors will be open or not.

You can’t receive all of the blessings and opportunity that God has planned for you with your fingers crossed because then you are not fully prepared to receive them. So try having absolute faith that what is meant for your life, the opportunities and changes that you have been waiting for, will come to you. And when you have that absolute faith, that unshakable belief, then ask for ALL of what it is that you want. Not some, not just enough to get by, not just one door and then you’ll worry about the next door when you get to it, ask for it ALL. Aren’t you worth EVERYTHING it is that you want?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Leaders Must First Learn To Follow

To lead you must first follow 2

I know that you’ve heard the saying “Be a leader, and not a follower” a lot, probably more often than you even care to count. This saying is particularly used towards those who are aspiring to run their own businesses and striving for successes of great measure. I always believed in that saying, for the most part and have always tried to steer clear from ever being put in the category of being a follower. However, I recently have come to a realization that you can’t really be a true leader if you have never known what it is to follow.

I mean following is essentially being a team player. Learning how to work within a setting where it is not just your opinion that matters and things don’t just rely on what you say but on what others say or do as well. After all, once you reach your leadership status, you are asking others that are working for you to be that team player right, and follow you on your journey to help build your dream and your legacy up. Is it not only fair that you, the leader, would have some knowledge of what it is like to be a part of a team, to work with others to form a well working collaboration, to in essence, follow.

How can you blindly ask people to do something for you that you have never at one time had to do for anyone else? You can’t. In all actuality, unless someone was just born into wealth and an already built legacy, you have to follow for quite some time before you ever get to lead anyone. So where did this saying come from? Where did people get the idea that following at some point in your life, is a bad thing? Yes you have people who are natural born leaders but they too must first be followers before they can learn how to lead anyone.

I think that sometimes people get hung up on this saying and pass up on many opportunities that would allow growth within themselves because they don’t want to be labeled as a follower. I myself have done that. Passed on something that would mean I am helping someone else build up their dream but yet taking away from working on building up my own. Not even realizing at the time that those whose dreams that I help to build can then show me the way to in turn build up my own. I may have not seen certain situations for the opportunities that they truly were, all because I didn’t want anyone to ever see me as a follower and not the leader I know I was destined to be.

But see the good thing about getting older and making certain mistakes is that you also get wiser and learn how to work smarter. One of the bigger lessons that I am learning now is that in order to lead you must first learn how to follow. It is the lessons that you learn while following others that you can then take into your journey of leadership. So remember that before you turn your back on opportunities that require you to follow all because you don’t like that label. All leaders were once followers. Stay focused and pay attention!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Best Things Can Sometimes Come Out of a Bad Situation

When you're down to nothing

I seem to find myself having to make the best out of a bad situation more often than I care to.  It always feels like just when I think I can cruise on down my path for a little while without any bumps and bruises, there goes another obstacle in my way and often times it feels like it’s a mountain just sitting there, knowing that I cannot move mountains out of my way.  I’m simply not that strong.  At least that’s what I convince myself at the time when I am staring down the very thing that is causing me to stop dead in my tracks.

I guess the truth is that I sometimes don’t know my own strength and that the strength that I need is not necessarily physical but rather spiritual and it comes from God.  I have realized throughout the years (and have been reminded whenever I forget by Ms. L.) that I am so much stronger than I think I am and that each time I make it through a struggle I am always, somehow, better off for it.  I suppose those that have never struggled through anything cannot fully appreciate the things that they are fortunate enough to ascertain in this life.

Nothing that you want, that is worth having, is ever going to come to you easily and if it does you better believe that there is some kind of string attached to it, visible or not.  I’m in a bad spot right not, it’s certainly not a spot I want to be in, but I can already see the lesson brewing out of it.  I guess the real failure in failing at anything is not learning from that failure and not fully capturing the lessons that there are to be built upon and shared.  Times are hard right now, but they could be so much worse, and when they get better I know how to avoid a repeat.  Trouble doesn’t last always and this too shall pass.  Stay blessed and be grateful!

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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My Past is Preparation for My Future

learn from past not live in it

I saw a post on Facebook that had a quote that said “don’t look back, you’re not going that way”.  It got me to thinking about the past and things I’ve been through, things other people have been through and how the past really does affect our lives.

It’s true that we can’t let our past hurts and tragedies alter our lives in such a way that it stunts the growth that needs to be made throughout.  However, aren’t our past experiences a huge part of who we are, of what makes us stronger and more motivated, and what, all in all, equips us with lessons and oftentimes harsh realities that prepare us for the purpose that we are placed on this earth to fulfill.  What we go through in our childhood, in our teenage years, in our early adulthood, they give us tools that we need to be able to deal with the long and at times tiring journey to our destination.  Particularly if our past experiences are not so ideal.

There’s a saying that you can’t have a testimony without any tests, so maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to completely forget our pasts experiences.  I will be the first to admit that I am an extremely emotional person and that I have allowed certain instances in my past to affect my present way too much, which inevitably affects my future.  While I know that I can’t exactly forget everything that happened, I’m not even sure I can totally forgive (just yet), I do know that I need to let go a little.

I would say that I need to let go completely but those things are what makes me the person that I am and what will give me the strength to continue my journey into being who it is I am truly meant to be.  Without the past I don’t know that I would be fully ready for the future that God has planned for me.  So with that said, I tell you, that while you shouldn’t keep a firm grip on your past experiences, maybe you shouldn’t completely let them go because they are what is building you up to take on whatever is coming your way as you travel to your destination.  Our pasts can only hinder us if we allow it to and if we allow ourselves to only remember the hurt and not the lessons that came from that hurt.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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