Let’s Not Play the Comparison Game

Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I try extra hard not to compare things happening in my life to the things that happen in the lives of those around me and in my circle. I would say that out of all of the days in a month, over half of them I succeed in that mission because I know that we can never see what someone else does in their everyday life to achieve whatever level of success they’re having at the moment. In reality the truth is that most of the time, if you are not succeeding at whatever dream you are chasing the problem isn’t someone else’s efforts on their journey but perhaps your lack of effort in your own, or it could just simply not be your time. Most days I remember that. Most.

There are some days, maybe a little over a handful, where you truly feel like you are doing absolutely everything that you possibly can, and you see someone on a similar path as you and everything seems to be working out in amazing fashion for them. Frankly in those few days the shit just feels unfair. You’re working your ass off, pouring everything you’ve got into this dream and vision you have, and sometimes pouring things you don’t have in the emotional tank and still…nothing. You think, how much damn adversity is one person supposed to go through before they just break. That whole notion where it’s just not your time and your time will come just seems like utter bullshit on those days and you’re just mad at anyone who is on the adjacent path and are just traveling along with no bumps or obstacles that YOU can see. Does any of this sound like feelings you’ve dealt with? No! Just me?

Well, I have had a few of those days already for the month of January and I’m telling you, sometimes it just makes me want to throw in the towel and give up on everything. But then I look at my vision board and see this quote I put on there for this very eventual moment. It says, “You didn’t come this far, to ONLY come this far”. I need the constant reminder that I’ve come so much farther than I have to go (at least I hope so because truthfully, I can’t see the entire road ahead of me) and that if I quit now, it will have all been for nothing. Honestly if I didn’t believe in my dream and my vision so emphatically, I probably would have given up on it a very long time ago, but I believe in this and I know this is what I was put here to do.

This is what I need to remind myself of when I start comparing my journey to the road that other people are on because the only thing that accomplishes is it makes me resentful of that person (and that’s not who I am) and it plants seeds of doubt in my own mind about my journey. I have different abilities and limits than the next person and I can’t map out my journey according to someone else’s level of effort and ability because, once again, their journey and mine won’t be the same.

So, when you have those bad days where everyone’s road starts to look so much easier to you than your own, just remember that while it’s natural to have those feelings, you have to put into perspective that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. As the quote says at the top of the post, comparison is the biggest thief of joy and I for one want more joy in my life, I don’t want to be the one stealing joy away from myself. Don’t you allow yourself to be the thief of your own joy. Just make sure to keep watering the grass on your own side of the fence.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeBold #BeMindful

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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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 You the Tortoise or the Hare?

I was on a live stream yesterday with a lot of my fellow writer family and we have this thing we do during streams where we pose questions on each sprint and they can be questions that are silly and allow us to just think fun thoughts, but they can also be deep prophetic questions that make you really think long and hard about what determines your answer. Oftentimes they’re a mixture of both. So yesterday on my friend Gwynna’s stream (watch the replay if you would like) she asked the chat are you more of a tortoise or a hare and why? The answer could be literal or metaphorical.

Now I don’t think my answer will shock anyone, I said I was a tortoise through and through. The funny thing is about a decade ago I probably would have said metaphorically a hare but physically a tortoise. I mean I’ve been overweight since I was in the 5th grade so speed has never really been my thing on a physical level but there was a time where I wanted everything to happen quickly.

I had goals and visions and I wanted to achieve them right then and there. I didn’t want to allow for any growth or learning curves, I just wanted things to magically happen for me. I would see people around me with not nearly as much drive or ambition have opportunities just present themselves to them and they took those opportunities for granted. It’s funny what living a bit of life and raising a child and hitting many (many) brick walls can actually teach you.

I’ve always read the story of the tortoise and the hare and would choose to be the hare in that scenario if I could because he was quick and confident. Now I see that story a little differently. He was quick and confident, but he was also cocky and didn’t think things through or prepare well enough which meant he didn’t have a good game plan for how to win, he just relied on his speed and his cockiness. There is a reason why slow and steady wins out. I said that I was a tortoise through and through because I have grown more methodical and analytical. I have learned to think things through (one could argue I might think them through a bit too much) and I don’t go into things on a whim. Sometimes this can be a flaw because there’s no spontaneity in being methodical and some think there is no fun in being cautious.

Now there is nothing wrong with being a hare (metaphorically or literally) and being that spontaneous and throw caution to the wind kind of person. There are times where that, throwing caution to the wind attitude, is necessary. I wish that I was that person but personally that doesn’t work for me. I think slow and steady really is the way to go. It may not get me to my destination as fast as I would like to get there and there will most definitely be stumbles and people to trip me up along the way but if I don’t give up, if I take my time, and if I remain confident but not too cocky, I will get there and what’s more important, I will be able to sustain myself once I do.

Whether you are more of a hare or more of a tortoise in life, I think the truly important thing is to know who you are and what method works for you to get to your end goal and to make it through this life. Even if you are a hare there is still some preparation that has to be involved or else, you’ll end up like the hare in the story who didn’t properly prepare for the race that he had to run and who also underestimated the person he was running the race alongside. However, you get to the finish line make sure you are focused on the lane that you are in and that you’ve given the race your all. Winning is nice but being the first to cross the finish line isn’t what matters most. What matters most is that you eventually cross that finish line.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BeConfident #BeAmbitious


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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Our Limitations Cannot Limit Us

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about the things that limit me, whether it be in my writing career or my personal everyday life in general. Then I was listening to a motivational message this past Saturday and something they said struck a chord. They said we may be limited in a lot of ways whether it be physical limitations or mental limitations, but our limitations cannot limit us. That sparked something in me. They went on to expand on that point saying to think of all of the limitations that you have and the fact that just because those limitations exist does not actually stop us unless we allow them to. In essence, if we don’t allow them to those things may slow us down but they cannot stop us.

I thought about that, especially as it pertains to my physical limitations that have gotten worse over the course of the last few years. They are a pain (literally) and they slow me down for sure but nothing that I absolutely need to get done is going to be left undone just because those physical limitations exist. They might take longer to get done but they will get completed.

I suppose that I should approach that way of thinking in terms of my writing career as well. I may be limited whether it’s financially or even just lack of energy one day or another but that does not mean that my goals cannot be accomplished. They just won’t get achieved at the pace that I would’ve originally liked them to. With self-publishing there are a lot of limitations when it comes to having the monetary needs to do what needs to get done but it just means the pace has to be slower. It doesn’t mean that I stop. It doesn’t mean that I give up.

We get hung up sometimes on the things that we are limited by and it’s human nature. It’s natural to focus on what obstacle is being thrown in our way. But we can’t let that stop us in our tracks. They are tests to see if we really want what it is we say we want. We don’t give up. We don’t have to allow our limitations to limit us and limit the achievements that we are destined to make. Keep moving forward. Your progress may be slow because of the limitations that you have been dealt with but don’t count yourself out.

Until next time… #BeBold #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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We Can’t Always Be In Bloom

It is impossible to be continually productive, every single minute, of every single day, in every single year. With that knowledge, I’m wondering why I keep beating myself up when a few minutes go by without me being productive on something. I haven’t been doing so great with my writing these last few weeks, mostly because my schedule changed due to taking on things to better provide financially for me and my daughter who has just entered college. The problem with doing things you have to do to survive is that the things that feed your soul (in my case, writing) fall by the wayside and that is literally killing me.

I’ve said it here many times before, but writing is like breathing for me. If I can’t write, then I am not a very happy person and probably not pleasant to be around. Writing makes me happy; it helps me think, it allows me to expel emotions that I would otherwise hold onto, and it just centers me. I have not found the balance yet and it is making me depressed and anxious and extremely overwhelmed and unhappy.

I shared some more about these struggles in a video I posted on my YouTube channel last week for Mental Health Awareness Month and I go more in detail about what I’ve been struggling with and just how much it’s been affecting me. It did make me realize (along with a really good friend of mine) that I am not a machine, and I cannot always be in the doing phase. Sometimes I just have to be in the phase of simply being and I have to be okay with that. It’s hard for me because so much of my identity is tied into my writing. I mean I’ve been writing since I was little (like 8 or 9) to get all of the emotions I could never verbalize out so to not be able to find the balance to do what I love is hurting.

I am going to try and work out a schedule to see if I can figure out a way to balance it all out without losing sleep (which was my initial plan) and have even crafted a schedule that I am crossing my fingers and praying it works but even in saying that I know that to protect my mental health I am going to have to be okay even if I don’t figure it out. It’s okay if everything I want doesn’t happen all at once.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeReflective #BePatient

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

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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

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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