It All Depends On How High You Bounce Back

If you never know failure, you will never know success” ~ Sugar Ray Leonard

I haven’t written here in a few weeks, roughly about a month and I just want you to know that it wasn’t because I suddenly ran out of things to say. Aside from the fact that NaNoWriMo is this month and I tend to be more singularly focused on writing a brand-new novel in November, the last few weeks have just been inherently hard. I have been feeling like the Universe has just singled me out and said, ‘nope you can’t get any wins right now because you just don’t deserve to win’.

Now of course I know, logically, that that’s a little ridiculous because everyone deserves a win in life. It’s just not feeling like I’m going to get one anytime soon. It’s kind of like getting a couple of steps ahead for once and then getting knocked fifteen steps backward. It’s hard to feel optimism in that scenario. Yet, I am reminded of the fact that each time I think I’m not going to survive through the week, somehow by the time the end of the week gets here I’m still standing, and I have survived to fight another day, another week, another month, another year.

We’re getting close to the end of this year and that’s about the time where I usually reflect on the things I didn’t get accomplished and the plans that didn’t come to fruition so that I can figure out where I went wrong in my planning and plan effectively for the following year. However, it feels like my best laid plans don’t seem to ever materialize the way that I think they will, if they materialize at all. I thought for a moment that maybe I just shouldn’t plan anything, maybe I should just go with the flow but trust me, if you know anything about me by now, you know that my little planner heart would literally break without having a plan in place. So, what then? If the plans seem to not be working but I can’t just not plan, what do I do with that?

I don’t think I’m the type of person that could just not plan for success. Maybe the key is just to manage my expectations which could then manage my disappointment. Perhaps it’s just as simple as knowing that failure is the very life blood of success because how can you truly succeed without failing a few times (or in my case a few dozen times) because failure is the very proof that you are trying, that you are going for your dreams, and that you are not giving up on them, ever. As much as I may sometimes want to throw in the towel, it’s just not in my nature to give up.

I know that I want to be purposeful in everything I do in this life. I want to inspire others with my gift for words and motivate those who may also be struggling with big dreams and crushing defeats. You can’t do any of that if you’re just going to throw your hands up and say to hell with it, I give up. I’ve never been a quitter, and that’s not to say there haven’t been moments when I tried to quit (both at life and my dreams). It’s also not to say there won’t be moments in the future where I’ll have really hard days and want to quit again but I’m made of stronger stuff than that, and so are you! We’ve got this and no matter how many times life tries to knock us down we will keep getting right back up because that’s what success is truly about. It’s about continuing to get back up no matter what and no matter how long it takes to achieve the dream!

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeTenacious #BeDiligent

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Can There Be Grace In Failure?

Last week I felt like I was failing on multiple levels. I couldn’t seem to get anything to go right or work out right and I wasn’t saying all the right things to the people around me. It was just not my best week. However, when I go back and look at my footage for my writing vlog on my YouTube channel that I filmed all last week I see that while yes, everything didn’t go as I had planned it or wanted it to go, I also didn’t completely fail at everything. And what I did fail in, I learned some lessons from what I didn’t do right. I guess that’s the thing about the way we perceive things and how it may be seen to the outside world.

The thing that I can’t seem to get a handle on is how to have grace with myself. I try and sometimes I think I have a handle on a good self-care routine that allows me to have that grace. But most of the time it’s my own expectations of myself and my abilities that make it hard for me to cut myself any slack. I don’t typically worry about the expectations others have of me and that is because my own bar for myself is so unattainably high that I can’t seem to get over or around it. I want big things out of life. I want to leave a big legacy for my daughter and in this world. I can’t do that playing things small and yet I constantly feel like that is what I’m doing.

It seems that I’m always having to adjust my goals because I simply can’t seem to reach them, at least not in their entirety. It’s like I come close but fall short on so many levels. When I saw the above quote, it made me think about the fact that even in my losses perhaps there are still some wins in the lessons that I am able to take away and apply towards the next attempt that I make. It reminds me that as long as I at least give it a solid try and truly put in the effort to achieve the goals I set out to accomplish then I haven’t really failed because there are so many people who just don’t try at all.

I suppose the point in all of this is to say if you too struggle to allow yourself grace, if you also beat yourself up for the goals that you don’t get accomplished, that you are not alone in that mental tug of war. Try to remember, as I will also, that it’s not about how many times you get pushed back from the goal line or get knocked down. It’s about getting back up and pushing through towards that goal line. It’s about not giving up and letting the doubts in your mind win. it’s about taking the lessons that you learn from the initial blow and applying them to your next attempt. Make sure that you are taking some mental breaks from the pressure that you put on yourself and remember that taking care of yourself is also a win. It’s a win for your mental health.

If you are looking for some suggestions of some things you can do to show yourself some grace and maybe take better care of yourself, I just did a video last week, mostly for writers, but it applies to anyone really, about ways to better take care of your mental health in high stress periods of time. I hope that you check it out and I hope that you make just as much of an effort to show yourself some grace.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeHopeful #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Lose the Power to Imagine the Endless Possibilities

 

I recently took LeVar Burton’s Master Class on the Power of Storytelling and there was something he said that stuck with me. That we have to keep our imagination in order to visualize and manifest what it is we want out of life. He highlighted the fact that as children we are always so inquisitive and asking what if this were possible and what if that were possible. Somewhere along the way, as we grow older, as we are told to grow up and to be practical and realistic, we lose that part of us that questions everything and that believes that everything we want can be made a reality simply because we believe it to be possible.

He made a powerful statement that nothing can ever happen in our lives unless we first believe it can, unless we can first imagine that it can be a reality. I have never thought of it quite that way. We need our imaginations, and we need to carry them with us throughout our journey in life because you are going to constantly have people telling you what it is that you can’t do. There are going to people at every turn judging you and putting you down and trying to, in their words, keep you grounded in reality, but the reality that they want for you is not the reality that matters. If their reality limits your imagination and the span of what it is, you would be able to do then let them keep their version of reality while you hold onto yours.

We are the Masters of our own fate. I mean yes, overall, I believe that God is the one who navigates our journey, but you have to believe in the gifts that God has instilled you with to change this world. You have to know your value and that the possibilities for you are endless as long as you believe they are. We have to keep that part of us that can imagine what others deem impossible. It’s how we are going to see this journey we are on through and become all that we are destined to be in this life. More than that, it is the best way that we can go beyond what we can even imagine. In order to reach our true potential never lose sight of all of the things that you imagine possible for your reality. We can soar as high as our imaginations will carry us!

Until next time… #BeInquisitive #BeFearless #BeInspired

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Underestimate Your Inner Strength

Someone reminded me the other day when I was feeling frustrated and defeated and just plain weak that there is no way that someone who was weak could have survived everything I’ve been through and still be here. From an abusive childhood to the multiple attempts of suicide that didn’t take, the many bouts of depression, quite a few car accidents that I probably shouldn’t have been able to walk away from, extreme anxiety, and of course the normal knocks that life just hands you on a regular basis. They also reminded me that even though I am not always aware of the difference that I have made in other people’s lives, that I have in fact made a difference.

I tend to think big even in terms of the change I want to affect in this world so when I say I want to change other people’s lives in some meaningful way I immediately think in terms of money and being able to one day give to various charities and organizations that make changes throughout the world. To help people in their times of need the way that people in the past have helped me in mine. I didn’t mean to dismiss the small changes that can be made over time. I neglected to think about the small impressions that one can leave on someone’s life that could change their lives for the long term.

I’m not good at always thinking the best of myself or complementing myself, or apparently receiving complements in regard to myself. I don’t always see in myself what other people see in me and it’s definitely one of those things I need to work on but also a coping mechanism developed over many years that’s a little hard to get rid of. I am quick to dismiss my abilities, sometimes forgetting what I’ve already achieved in my life. I have for far too long underestimated myself and my value in this life.

We should never sell ourselves short, both in terms of the strength that we have to face difficult things that come our way as well as in regard to the change that you make in other people’s lives. Sometimes we never even see the impact that we have on those around us until someone else points it out. We all matter to someone, most likely to a lot of someone’s, and even if you aren’t the owner of some major corporation that donates millions to charities on a continual basis, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change the life of the person you come in contact with simply by going to the store. Just because you aren’t sure how you’ve managed to survive the obstacles that have been tossed your way doesn’t change the fact that you did in fact survive them. On those days when you are feeling weak and discouraged just remember the strength you have inside you and the impact your life has on others.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Troubles Don’t Last Always

I try not to get too overly hopeful anymore about how a year is going to go for me. I swear every time I move a couple of steps forward in my goals, life comes along and says ‘nope, not so fast, need to knock you back a few steps more, you’re not quite ready yet’ and then I get discouraged. Not discouraged enough to ever give up on my dreams and goals because come on, if I haven’t given up on them at this point why would I suddenly give up now. It just gets extremely frustrating when I feel like I just might be getting somewhere, that for once I might be getting to a place where I can just not have to worry so much. That place where I can be comfortable (not in the complacent kind of way) and just not have to stress over every single little thing for fear that the walls around me will come tumbling down. It just sometimes feels like I can get close enough to touch the dream but never quite close enough to actually have it.

Keep in mind when I say the dream, I don’t mean being rich and famous or overly wealthy (not that I would deny myself that opportunity if it should so happen), just to make a living from my creative abilities and not have to worry if I’m going to have a roof over my head from one month to another. I mean to be able to have my daughter tell me she needs something and to not have to weigh helping her with what she wants or needs against providing food and shelter for the both of us, or even just myself. I just want to be able to survive and thrive a little with my art and then if there was a bonus that I would add to that, I would say to be able to reach out and help other people who are also struggling without hesitation.

I know that being a creative is not an easy thing and I’ve never thought that it was supposed to be, but I just never anticipated constantly getting knocked back every time I manage to get somewhere, and I mean every single time. Having said all of that, and being the spiritual person that I am, I am reminded from several church sermons and biblical scriptures that troubles do not lasts always. That whatever struggles I have gone through, or that I will inevitably go through, that God will always bring me through anything, and it may not be in the way that I think, but it will always be in the way He feels is best for me to be able to grow.

I am so highly resistant to change that I sometimes think that the knocks that life keeps giving me is its way of telling me that I need to stop being so afraid of change and to stop shying away from risks and opportunities that could make me grow. Could that be the lesson here? That troubles don’t last always but they do always persist until you learn the lesson that you were meant to get from the journey. Perhaps that is the piece of the puzzle that I am missing. Being brave enough to go for anything without thinking of what could go wrong.

Whatever your struggles are in your journey to get to the dreams and goals you are trying to reach don’t let the times that life will knock you down discourage you. You have to get back up and keep pushing through. There is light on that other side, even if it only looks like you can see tiny cracks of it right now. Let those tiny cracks of light be enough for the moment. Imagine how much more there is to see if you just stay vigilant and keep moving forward. I won’t lie and say that you won’t get discouraged ever again. That’s a part of life, a part of the journey. But just keep in mind that troubles don’t last always and that you can only get what you’re striving for if you keep going.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are We Going To Just Stare At the Wall or Find A Way To Climb Over It?

I’ve been staring at a wall lately and that wall has time written all over it. Time is not my friend. There is never enough of it and yet it feels like the time I do have can’t be adequately balanced in a satisfactory manner. I’ve been struggling lately with this balancing time thing with taking on something non-creative in order to pay the bills and having the creative side of me, that being writing which is like air to me, suffer drastically.

I mean I won’t say that I’m not able to write ever, but it’s a far cry from the amount of time I was once able to put into my writing and as I said, writing is like air to me so right now I quite literally feel like I am not able to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating and all I can think about is writing but it’s the one thing I’m unable to do as freely as I need to. But I think that I’m looking at this the wrong way.

I’m staring at the wall and instead of figuring out a way over or around that wall I am just stuck, looking up at this massive road block, and wondering what the hell am I going to do. I’m not going to pretend I have the answer for this problem at this exact moment but I do know that giving up is not an option. We spend so much time staring at the wall rather than climbing over that wall and that is tantamount to giving up. I say we because I can’t be the only one who gets stuck at the road blocks that you come across.

Your wall may not be writing. It could be whatever you’re most passionate about and have been struggling to weave it into your schedule. If you are struggling too then I want you to know that you’re not alone and that we are going to climb this wall together because quitting is never an option when your dreams are waiting for you beyond that wall. We may need some time to assess the wall, to make a plan of action on how we are going to get over or around that wall, but one way or another, we will overcome the wall that is blocking our way.

Until next time… #BePatient #BePersistent #BeDetermined

Jimmetta Carpenter

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I Want To Learn To Love Dancing In The Rain

There’s this saying (pictured above) that life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, but rather it’s about learning to dance in the rain. I absolutely love this saying, but I think I’ve only recently realized that I am the person who waits. I am that person that will stand on the curb and wait for dozens of cars to pass before just taking the chance and running across to the other side of the street. I am the person that once the sky opens up and the rain begins to fall, I immediately run indoors to keep from getting wet. I am that person who is scared of what’s coming if I don’t already know what’s going to happen.

I would like to think that if I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime that I would just take that opportunity without over analyzing every single aspect of what could go wrong but I know myself a bit better than that. I just turned another year older last Friday and it got me to thinking of, not just the things I wished I had gotten to do by now (as most people did, I had a 30 by 30 list of sorts), but also, I thought about the things I would put on a bucket list today as I inch closer to 45. I thought of all of the places I have yet to go and the things I want to try, things I would do if money were not an obstacle. Things I want to just throw caution to the wind for and just take the leap and jump. I stopped short of compiling yet another list for fear that once again the items on it will go unchecked.

On the flip side, if I keep waiting for all the money I need to do these things, or for the right time to do them, essentially for all of the stars to align, so to speak, then I could be waiting forever, and it’s possible that it would never happen. I don’t want to let another decade of my life go by without having done something, anything, that wasn’t completely mapped out and analyzed to death. I have yet to ever get on a plane and travel anywhere and I don’t want to have never left the country. I’ve never even been to New York, which is sad considering it is the one state that I have always dreamed of living in. So what do I do with all of these desires and so many real or imagined obstacles standing in my way?

That is when learning to dance in the rain comes into play. Now I can’t say I will never over analyze a decision ever again because, as I said before, I know myself a bit better than that. But I think taking chances and risks in life, particularly for someone as analytical as myself, requires a conscious effort. It will require me to get out of my own head every time an opportunity arises for me to do something that I want to do. It will require for me to just live a little and stop worrying about all of the unknowns. Most importantly, it will require me to remember to bring my umbrella with me even if the forecast doesn’t call for rain because I never know when the sky will open up and give me the opportunity to dance. If you should have the opportunity to dance in the rain or run indoors for cover, I sure hope that you decide to dance!

Until next time… #BeAdventurous #BeOpen #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Struggle to Find the Balance

What is balance these days? I’d like to think that I know how to balance things pretty well but then I have to remind myself that multi-tasking is not really the same thing as balance. Then again, I guess that depends on what I mean by balance. I don’t mean balance in the sense of juggling all of the many tasks that you have to do on any given day. I mean knowing when you’ve taken on too much and you need to just sit out a few rounds and pick up where you left off later. That is the type of balancing act that I struggle to conquer.

I am an all or nothing type of person most of the time. I don’t like to do anything half-way, it’s either I throw my whole self into whatever task it is, or I would just rather not do it at all and wait until I can give it my full effort. The problem with that way of thinking sometimes is that you can very easily end up with a lot of things not getting done or burning the candle at both ends trying to make sure that everything does get done.

Last week I got really lazy (at least it was lazy in my mind) and while I didn’t just throw all of my projects and work to the side, I certainly was not nearly as productive as I know that I could have, or should have been, if I were giving it my full effort. I was just tired. I was mentally tired. I was definitely physically tired (given quite a few physical issues that have been aggravated over the last few weeks) and quite honestly, I was emotionally tired.

I’ve been stressed about a couple of different things, not just creatively (or should I say writing business wise) but financially as well. I hadn’t even realized just how stressed the financial thing had me until it looked like there was finally going to be some resolution on that front last week and I just breathed a heavy sigh of relief and the realization of just how stressed that had me hit. I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything last week and I allowed myself to lean into that feeling.

Now going into this week, I know that I can’t be the same amount of unproductive as I was last week and frankly, I feel a little more refreshed, so I am ready to get back to the creating of things. But I think that having that balance of allowing myself to lean into the “lazy” feeling last week helped. I think every once in a while, it would be okay to just not put quite as much pressure on myself to get everything done. It was just far too much.

We have to know when to stop juggling all of the things in the air and to just let a few of those tasks fall by the wayside. It’s not as if putting off one or two things is going to completely throw everything off course (and if it would then those are the tasks you absolutely should not drop) and you won’t be able to get back to them the next day. We have to find the balance between being able to do it all and not draining ourselves physically and mentally actually trying to do it all. You’re not alone in trying to manage everything because I haven’t got it all figured out just yet either. We can learn how to balance together.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeMindful #BeKindtoYourself

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Note to Self

I saw this picture this morning when I was trying to figure out exactly what words of inspiration I was going to bring you today. This made me think about all of the days (which to be honest is almost every day) when I feel like I’m just not doing enough. I hear people tell me a lot that I’m doing so many things or they will comment on my writing vlogs (on my YouTube channel, you should go check it out lol) that they don’t know how I manage to do so much and I swear sometimes I think they’re just being nice because I constantly struggle with feeling that I’m not doing enough. I can’t multi-task as well as I was once able to so that definitely makes me feel like my pace has slowed down when there is still so much I need to get done.

However, when I go back and look at the vlogs or look at my checked off to-do lists I can see, in physical form, that I have in fact done a lot. So why, I wonder, is it that it seems most days like I’m just not accomplishing anything at all? It’s on those days where messages like the one pictured above come in handy because it reminds me that even if I’m not doing everything that I think I should be doing, that even if I’m not moving fast enough (according to the internal time table that I set for myself), that even if I never accomplish everything that’s on my life goals list, that I’m doing the very best that I can and that’s just going to have to be enough.

I am an overachiever that continuously feels like I am underachieving. I haven’t mastered how to be okay with not completing tasks on my to-do lists yet. I can’t seem to stop beating myself up over not being a person with the ability to do about twelve things all at once. Even though I know that I would tell someone else to go easy on themselves and to have grace with themselves and to celebrate every single little (or big) thing that they have been able to accomplish I can’t seem to heed my own advice. It’s a problem I wish I could fix with the snap of a finger, but I know I can’t.

I think it’s a thing with people who want a lot out of life and not just simple things either but rather, very complex things. If the dreams were smaller I suppose they would be more manageable and attainable even. I don’t dream small though, and there in lies my desire to get so much done in what I consider to be a reasonable time frame. I have to start remembering to have joy in what I do achieve. There are some moments that I need to just take the time to celebrate and revel in instead of completely dismissing them as not being productive enough. Productivity isn’t all that matters. Sometimes doing the best you can, putting forth your best version of yourself, is truly all that matters. I’ll try and remember that the next time I’m feeling like I’m not doing enough if you will.

Until next time… #BeMindful BeFocused #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are You Watering Your Past or Your Future?

I saw a post on social media that posed this very question and it made me really think and start to mentally check off some boxes in my head. I spent a good portion of the beginning of my adult years (really into my early thirties) regretting things I didn’t get right as I grew into my adulthood. There were so many things that I would’ve gone back and changed and done again if only I could have. At the time I didn’t see anything wrong with playing the “what if” game, but now I think I was really doing myself a disservice.

Now I can see, that while I will admit that I have made some mistakes and some moves in my life that took me off track a lot and some decisions that changed the entire trajectory of my journey, they have also made me who I am today. I’m not perfect but I think that I’m a pretty good person who has done some good things with my life and those things from my past helped me get here. Now I have a lot more good things I would like to do in this world for lots of people as I’m sure we all do which is precisely why we can’t keep reaching back in our past for the things we didn’t get right. Our past is the history that made us but definitely not where we should live in.

We have to remain focused on the here and now so that we can steadily move forward towards the future we are making for ourselves. I know that it’s easier said than done to not live in regret and constantly wonder but to do so would be watering the seeds of the past and not the seeds of the future that we are journeying towards. Yesterday has already happened so today and the future, are really all that we have.

As we are going forward on our own paths to the purpose that we are striving to fulfill we have to be careful that we don’t start to nurture resentment for things that have already taken place. It’s true that those are the things that shaped us into the versions of ourselves that we are now. However watering the seeds of the future is going to shape and mold us into the versions of ourselves that we have yet to become, most likely the best versions of ourselves. In a garden it would be meaningless to continue watering dead plants, dead things don’t grow. We water the seeds that have yet to sprout because that is where new life breathes. Don’t keep watering the dead things in your life when there are new seeds just waiting for you to tend to them so that they can grow.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BePresent #BeFocused

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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