We Learn From the Mistakes We Own Up To

There have been quite a few stories in the news over the past week regarding the issue of accountability. Some people who no longer have to be held accountable for their actions, and some who are being held accountable but the overwhelming public thinks they should not have to face any accountability at all.

Now I am someone who tries to the best of their ability to follow the rules and I’m not perfect so I’m not going to sit here and say that I’ve never broken any rules. However, those times that I have broken the rules I had to deal with the consequences of my actions. It is because of those times, and those consequences that I have become stricter about trying to hold myself to following the rules for any given situation, because I understand that there are consequences that will follow if I don’t.

I think that if we let people off the hook for breaking the rules we only send them the signal that it’s okay to continue breaking any rules they want and then they never learn anything from the experience. We don’t always like the rules set by other people and their organizations but just because we may not like them or agree with them doesn’t make any one person more special than the next who has to follow them.

People make mistakes because they are human and obviously we’re never going to get everything right. The thing about making mistakes is that if we don’t face them, own up to them, and be forced to deal with the consequences from making those mistakes then we don’t learn from them and we don’t grow. Life is about a series of experiences and choices and about learning that our actions, whatever they may be, good or bad, have consequences.

Until next time… #BeAccountable #BePersistent #BeBrave

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Laying the Groundwork

So I’m about to have another birthday on Thursday and I’ll be turning 41 and thinking about really crossing further into the forties has me thinking about whether or not I’m satisfied with the direction that my life is going. I mean of course I had plans when I was younger of what my forty year old self would be doing in life and where I would be in my career and on the ladder of success.

However, when I was younger I was naïve to the reality of adulthood and what having all of those things that I want would take in terms of effort and sheer willpower after getting repeatedly knocked down and having to pry myself off the ground to get back up and keep pushing forward. Honestly if you had asked me when I was younger if I thought I had the tenacity and strength to have to keep pushing through all of the obstacles that have been thrown at me I would have said no, I can’t do it, I’m just not that strong. I’m glad to say that I would have been wrong because you never truly know how strong you are until you have to be.

So what have I learned in these 41 years of living? I suppose I would say the biggest thing that I’ve learned about myself, and that I continue to learn as I move forward in my career goals, is that I have never lost my passion for what it is I know I am supposed to do with my life. Even though I’m not sure how I knew writing was my purpose back when I was just six years old (at six I wouldn’t have known anything about the use of the word purpose lol) I have never wavered from that dream.  Sure I thought I would be where I desired to be by now but again, that was the naiveté of a child dreaming that just assumed if you’re talented and wanted it bad enough it would happen easily.

I know a lot of people who think writing is nothing special and that it’s an easy thing to do. I often get those that think I don’t do anything at all because I’m “just a writer” they say and that’s “not that hard to do” which is infuriating because this is not a career for the feint of heart.  I have literally dedicated my entire life to this craft and it is who I am, not just what I do. At 41 I’m not on any New York Time’s Bestsellers list (as I hoped I would be at this point) and frankly I am just now in the process of re-releasing my first novel and a couple of poetry books this year but I have put in years of article writing and blogging here on this blog, creating a newsletter first, and then magazine, to make sure that I do my part to highlight other authors to the best of my ability, and now I even have a YouTube channel in which I talk about my writing life and that is not nothing.

A couple of years ago, in the mindset I was in then, I would have been sulking and further depressed about where I wasn’t in my life, only focused on what I haven’t been able to accomplish.  Today, because I have been working on my spiritual journey, my mindset has drastically shifted to where I don’t see it quite that way anymore. I see all that I have been able to accomplish as me laying the groundwork for all of the victorious things that I know are to come. I have been getting prepared for my dreams to come to fruition and I think I needed that preparation.

Just because things don’t happen on the timetable that we want them to, doesn’t mean they won’t happen. In fact it may be better for them not to happen when we want them because I find that oftentimes when we think we are ready for things, more than likely we aren’t ready at all. If you haven’t gotten to where you want in life just yet, don’t let that get you down. Just think of it as you laying the groundwork for all that is to come and keep pushing, keep working, and you will get there. God wouldn’t give you the vision and the dream if He hadn’t prepared a way for you to have it when He’s ready for you to.

Until next time #BePatient #BePersistent #BeReady

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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It’s All In How You Respond

“You can’t control everything that happens to you but you can control how you respond to everything because in how you respond is your power.” ~Anonymous

It is instinct to react to things that upset us in an emotional, sometimes irrational manner. It is human nature but it doesn’t always make for the best outcome and it most certainly doesn’t act as a solution to your problem or whatever has disappointed you. Oftentimes we get disappointed about the doors that won’t open for us or the rejections that we get, particularly if you are a writer or pursue a creative career in general. It takes the wind out of your sails and when you get knocked down there’s that one moment where you just want to stay down. You find yourself telling someone trying to help you up that you just need a moment to lay there and get yourself together.

The thing is that you can only take a minute because while you’re laying there collecting your thoughts on what went wrong, someone else is trying out their own attempts at that same door.  When you respond to rejection by giving it up and quitting because it gets too hard, well there is power in your response. It’s just power that you are giving to the next person who won’t give up quite so easily. I don’t say any of this as a person who hasn’t wanted to just lay in my rejection and wallow for a while before making another attempt at something.

I don’t react well to rejection. It’s one of the main reasons that I had decided about two years ago to completely give up seeking traditional publication and to self publish instead. Now I am rethinking that decision. I mean there is a few books that I would choose to self-publish more so because they are poetry books which don’t typically get traditional publication unless you’re in the spotlight for something else. However, I have a few books that I really would like to see get the traditional publication treatment. I am not a marketer, I am not a graphic designer, and while I can be a persuasive person I can’t say that my negotiation skills are that of a publicist, or an agent even.

Now I just have to wonder was my response to all the rejection (albeit great rejection because they were not form letters) I received the right response. Did I throw in the towel too soon, and more importantly, is it too late. Did I give away some of my power by staying down for too long? I guess that is to be determined but I wanted to write this today to say to a that person out there who thinks that they have all the time in the world to stay down for just a few moments and to respond with only a little bit of wallow, you don’t.  It’s time to get up and respond to that moment of rejection with even more action.

Until next time…#BeBold #BeProductive #BeMotivated

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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Honoring the Legacy and the Purpose

honoring the legacy

So on this day, a day in which we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who was the very definition of courage and living fearlessly, it makes me think about the things that we take for granted. I’m not talking about just being grateful for our health and our family and the luxuries we’ve been able to afford for ourselves. I mean those things are definitely nothing to dismiss in any way. But there are other things that we sometimes don’t appreciate the way that we should like our gifts and our purpose.

Everyone has a gift to be used to fulfill their purpose in this world. I don’t believe that there is any one person that doesn’t have a reason for being on this earth that is not solely specific to just them.  When we waste so much of our time resisting those gifts, questioning that purpose, and second guessing whether or not we are properly equipped to carry out the mission that we were given in this life, we are taking for granted our opportunities to make this world a much better place.

Just think of what it would be like if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had resisted the gifts that God gave him, or questioned the purpose that God gave him at every turn. Imagine if he allowed any fears that he might have had, not just for himself but for his family, do the deciding for him in whether or not he took on the fight that he did. What if he had allowed his doubts to win and let the purpose he was given go unmet. I would hate to think of what this world would be like had Dr. King not honored his gifts and his purpose.

What Dr. King managed to achieve in his short time here on this earth is more than most people accomplish in a lifespan of a hundred years. If we just stop doubting ourselves, our gifts, our purpose, and be appreciative for the opportunity to fulfill that purpose then what kind of change could we continue to make for this world. How many lives could we possibly affect if we just let go of the second-guessing and be grateful that we were equipped with the gifts necessary to make a change in this ever so crazy world. So when honoring Dr. King today remember that he was a man about taking action and go act with purpose!

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Journey Doesn’t End at a Closed Door

on the other side of the door

As I started this year with all of the excitement and anticipation of anyone dead set on taking their dreams to the next level I sat and thought about something that my pastor preached about a few weeks ago. He talked about not just asking God for what it is that you want out of your life but believing and knowing that God will do for you all that he promised he would do. The important part of his message that he spoke about was how sometimes we allow our impatience and our discouragement hold us back from getting all of the things that we’ve been asking God for. We want what we want right at that moment and somehow we think that if it doesn’t happen on the time table that we had in our mind that it means that it’s never going to happen at all.

I think that that’s what I have been doing, unknowingly of course, but I’ve been so impatient. It sounds funny saying that when I think about the fact that I’ve been at this for over a decade now but if I think back there have been so many moments where I felt like a breakthrough might have been coming but then an obstacle presented itself. Instead of holding steady and pushing through that door which was simply stuck, I turned and went backwards trying to trace my missteps to figure out what I missed that would have made the door open easier and quicker. The truth is, in those moments where I turned and tried to see where I went wrong my energy would have been better spent trying to push through that door that was just stuck, not locked, simply hard to open.

There isn’t a set time where everything is just supposed to magically come together. Just because the results aren’t immediate or as fast paced as you think they should be doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Everything that is worth having has been won in a struggle. We have to stop putting a time table on our dreams and making it as if they’re not worth striving for if they don’t happen at the precise moment we want them to.

There will always be a different door at the turning point of any moment in your journey and what’s on the other side of it won’t always be easy to access but we can’t give up and we can’t turn back trying to create our own do-over. Now it’s true that there are some doors that were meant to be closed in order for others to open but we can’t confuse what’s not meant for us to open with what just appears to be too hard to open. We have to just push through, no matter how hard we have to push, until we knock that door down. Don’t walk away before you finally get everything that it is you’ve been waiting for. The journey isn’t over just because you have to stay in the same place for a little while longer than you initially planned. Keep pushing through those doors because the next level is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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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

My Write 2 Be is…

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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

My Write 2 Be is…

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Divine Delays

Divine Delays

There are a lot of things that have been holding me back from taking my writing career to that next level but the biggest thing has been fear. I hadn’t even realized until recently some of the things that I was failing to go after because I was scared that I wouldn’t get it or I wouldn’t accomplish it. It’s funny because without the opportunity falling through that I spoke of the other day I may not have been pushed to begin to do some of these things for the betterment of my writing career that I had been failing to achieve. The reason that I hadn’t achieved them wasn’t due to me being incapable but just me being fearful.

It’s hard to look at a crushing blow as something that may be able to help you in the long run but perhaps that is exactly what that missed opportunity was able to do for me. Perhaps missing out on that one thing helped me open my eyes to the other things that I have been failing to do because of that damaging thing called fear. So perhaps this was a divine delay from God. Not one to hinder me and break me down completely (although that could still be in his plan) but rather to open my eyes to what I was failing to allow myself to achieve.

I suppose that there are some delays in life that are necessary and have to take place in order for you to continue to progress and to grow. We get stagnant sometimes when things are working out well and when things always turn the corner at just the right times. I guess every now and then God has to give us a jolt and a mountain of struggle to remind us that the journey is not over yet and that while we are to enjoy every moment of achievement, we can’t let ourselves get comfortable in the moment we are in because in comfortableness there is no growth. When you get comfortable you don’t want to move, you want to revel in the stage that you are in.

Being uncomfortable makes us move forward, it makes us grow stronger. It makes us press on to our destination instead of standing still. While it is easier said than done to be thankful for the hardships I am in a sense blessed for these divine delays. In some ways they protected me and in others they made me move forward even when all I wanted to do was stand still. So if you are being delayed in your blessing take a good look at whether you are really being delayed or are you actually being propelled forward. Stay uncomfortable and keep moving!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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I Was This Close To Just Giving Up

Was going to give up 2

I want to give up. I want to just throw my hands up as I am knocked down by life yet again and admit that I’m just plain tired and that I don’t have any fight left in me anymore. I want to just succumb to being average and stop trying to fulfill this extraordinary shit that I thought was my damn purpose in this world. I want to just stop having faith in the future that I can’t see ahead of me because how do I even know that any of that shit is going to happen anyway, just because I believe that is what is meant for me. I want to just say my mother was right and I am never going to amount to anything. I want to just say the hell with everything because I just can’t keep trying anymore and keep continually being disappointed every time I think everything is about to turn the corner and it doesn’t.

But I was reminded by a friend yesterday (we’ll just call him Mr. J) that I can’t think that way. I can’t have a defeatist mind set. I have to just accept what has happened, or the changes that are occurring, especially the changes that aren’t good, determine the solution, and then fix the problem the best way that I can, the best way that I know how. He reminded me that you can’t just let life knock you down and then lay there and not get back up. If I were to do that, then the devil wins and he is smiling because he knows that he overpowered my will to serve out my purpose.

The devil has been extremely busy with me these past few weeks, hell months, and I’ve been told that when the devil is really busy with you, that not only means that you are doing something right but that you have a hell of a victory coming your way. If that is in fact true then my victory is going to be unbelievably sweet. It’s hard when you fall to not just want to stay down because getting back up is hard, particularly when you keep getting knocked back down before you can even catch your breath and get all the way back up.

I couldn’t have wrote this post yesterday because I felt completely defeated and everything in the first paragraph of this post was what I was feeling and what I was going to accept. However I reminded myself this morning that I am not average, nor am I meant to live anything but an extraordinary life. I am not a quitter, I am a fighter by nature and I could never look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give this absolutely everything that I’ve got and nothing less. My mother is most certainly not right about me because I will amount to everything that God has predestined for me. And I may not have complete and total faith in mankind and the man-made obstacles that are going to fall in my path but I do have absolute faith in God and his power to remove those obstacles when he sees fit.

I would say that I picked a profession that lends nothing but struggle and rejection (at least in the beginning) to it but it was what I truly believe I was placed on this earth to do. It picked me, or should I say God picked it for me. I just had an opportunity that I felt would’ve been changed a lot of things for me, for the better, pretty much snatched away from me. It was made even worse by the fact that the friend who came to me with the project (admittedly because she knew it could possibly be a game changer for me) didn’t fight for me to stay on the project, as I felt she should have. Everyone wants to say that perhaps that was God’s way of saying that opportunity wasn’t meant for me and I’m still very far off from believing that this opportunity wasn’t meant for me but I will say that I am not going to let this new fall keep me down. It is their loss, not mine.

So if you too have been thinking about giving up this week, or this month, I am here to say I understand exactly how you feel. I also know that if you do, you will never forgive yourself and you will always be left with this feeling of what if. The wondering will end up crippling you because you will forever live in the past trying to guess what would’ve happened if you had just hung in there a little longer. Just don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep fighting because it won’t always be this hard (I have to believe that) and on the day when everything starts to fall in place you will look back on this time period where you had the crazy notion to give up and be thankful that you didn’t. So just hang in there, the victory is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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