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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On the Other Side of Time

So often we find ourselves in a place in our lives where we just know that we should be somewhere that we just aren’t yet. We have the trajectory planned out and feel that if we are truly doing everything right then of course our plans would fall into place. It would be really nice if the plans we make could be seen through without any bumps along the road. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way that we planned.

However, maybe it’s not unfortunate because there are times when beautiful things happen along the way to the plans that we originally made. Sometimes we find things that make us grow as a person and people that help us become better than who we were before we headed out on our journey. There are moments that we sometimes miss looking for what was supposed to be.

Life is about growing and becoming better versions of ourselves with every passing day. Staying true to a plan that has outgrown us isn’t necessarily beneficial to you or the people whose lives you are meant to touch and impact. We can’t always fit in to a place in which we no longer belong and trying to continue to do so just hinders our growth. Growth isn’t always going to be as beautiful of a transition as is one from a caterpillar to a butterfly but if we keep in mind that the uneasy and uncomfortable parts of change make for beautiful results in the end then it makes all of it worthwhile.

The beautiful things that we are expecting out of life, they aren’t just going to magically appear. They aren’t always going to have some alluring transition into this masterpiece of a result without some twists, turns, and uneasiness. There is a process we must grow through in order to get the life that we truly want, the life we know we deserve. What we truly want for our lives comes on the other side of time.

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeMotivated #BePatient

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 Give Up On You

In case you missed the talk of the Emmy’s last week, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy at 65 years old for supporting actress in a comedy series. Only the second black woman, with the first black woman having won 35 years ago. Now the fact that she finally won an award that she is overqualified for and should have won a long time ago isn’t the takeaway of the night for me. Her acceptance speech, in which she sang a song about being an endangered species and knowing where her voice belongs as an artist, and then went on to tell the audience that that moment was what believing looked like and that if you ever have a dream, you should never give up on yourself. I think I replayed that speech about a dozen times that night and probably another two dozen since then. It was something that I didn’t even realize I needed to hear.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling quite defeated and a bit kicked around by the universe. It’s been making me question my talent and my abilities, and even someone with as much faith as I have can get bogged down by self-doubt. I’ve been wondering with all the hard work that I put into writing and being a creative individual why success seems to continually elude me. Now my definition of success is not the typical fame or fortune, which I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want just a little bit. Rather what success looks like to me is accomplishing what I set out to do in this world, fulfilling the purpose I truly believe I’m here for, and taking care of people who need to be cared for. Success to me would be having an impact on others in some meaningful way.

I have never had an easy road on this journey we call life. Things have definitely been rough at some points, damn near unbearable at others, with a few bright spots along the way. Sometimes I forget that just because things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to, or think they should, doesn’t mean that they are forever out of reach. I also tend to forget that what I do does matter to some and acknowledgment can come from even the most surprising places.

I don’t think that I have ever quit at anything in my life. Not anything that meant anything to me anyway. I may have had moments where I took a break, had to recharge my drive for just a bit, get my bearings together after a big letdown, but never have I quit. I’m just not made that way. When I heard that acceptance speech from Sheryl Lee Ralph, it just reinvigorated me and reminded me of what I already knew deep down inside. That I can never, ever give up on me. So, if you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to rest and recharge but don’t stay down. If you need someone to remind you of what you’re working towards and to keep pushing through. Then let me tell you, get up and look in the mirror and say to yourself “Never give up on you.”

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeRelentless #BeFearless

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 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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Find the Joy in the Simple Things

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday and he pointed out something that I was doing and hadn’t even realized I was doing it. In being so focused and frustrated by the place that I was not at in my life, at the age that I thought I should be there, I was not showing my gratitude for how far I have come and for the accomplishments that I have achieved and the battles that I was fighting that I have made it through. I want to be clear; I am very aware that I was in a much rougher place when this year started, I mean to the point where I didn’t even know if I would still have a roof over my head come the midway point of the year. My situation has changed dramatically and that hopelessness that (even though I was trying not to show it) was starting to set in is gone now. If I didn’t have a whole carload of other things to be grateful for (because I do) that alone would be enough.

It’s really good to have a circle (however big or small) of friends around you that will check you and tell you hard truths when you need to hear them. Or those that will tell you when you need to take stock in what you have instead of focusing on the things that you haven’t attained just yet. My friend (who is amazingly awesome) made me sit back and really think about how I sounded and more importantly made me realize just how much I’ve overcome in this year alone (we won’t even get into what I’ve overcome in my whole life—that could take forever) and I am so thankful.

There was a time, not that long ago that, although I tried my best to have complete and total faith that things were going to work out for the best, I was truly starting to get worried. For the first time in my life, I didn’t really know how they were going to turn out okay and that scared the shit out of me.

All of this is to say that I know times get hard, that times have been hard, especially in these last couple of years, but you have to make sure that you celebrate the little and simple things. Find the joy in the small things that make you smile and things that get you through the day. Also make sure that you have friends around you that won’t let you sit in “what if” land and will make you aware of all you have to be thankful for. The battles we are all facing, even if they are just in our mind, don’t have to make us lose sight of the moments of joy we experience along the way. We win those battles by not allowing them to hold us back and by not forgetting to conquer one thing at a time.

Until next time #BeCourageous #BeMindful #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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