Are You Willing to Be Corrected?

I remember saying to a friend a long time ago that if I could continue to go to college indefinitely and earn as many degrees as I could stand, I would definitely do that. I would be, what she called, a forever student. She laughed at the thought and assumed that I was joking but truly if money were not an issue, I don’t think there is enough information out there that I could immerse myself in that I wouldn’t choose to do so. I like to learn, and I am a person who never feels like I know enough of anything. That’s not to say that I’m not smart and I don’t already know a lot, but I’d like to think that we are never really done learning, at least not until we are dead and gone.

Two times last week I was reminded that we have to be willing to be corrected, to admit we have to do something better than we thought we were doing, in order to stay on or get back on track. Not only did my Pastor on Sunday preach about whether we are willing to stop what we think we are doing right in order to learn what we’re doing wrong and remain open to being corrected. Days before that I had sought out a consultant regarding my business and the social media marketing part of it to see what I was doing wrong so I can do it better. The consultant was hesitant to tell me everything I was doing wrong because I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways at times so they weren’t sure I could handle hearing that even the one thing I thought I was actually doing right, I was not. I told him I’m here to learn so whatever it was I wanted to know because I can’t fix it if I don’t know the problem.

How many times are you aware that a problem exists but unwilling to allow anyone who might be willing to help you correct the problem actually do so? Are you unable to be taught when you think you’ve learned all there is to learn? You will never be able to know everything about everything and even if you know a lot, there is always someone out there that will know more and that can help you do more, but only if you are open to learning.

There’s this saying that I love that says you should never be the smartest person in the room. That the moment you become the one in the room who knows the most information then you need to move on to the next room. Not only would that allow you to be in more rooms with a broader spectrum of people. It would also ensure that you are always learning and that you are always correcting what needs to be corrected. You can’t get to where it is you want to go thinking that you know everything, that you’ve somehow learned all there is for you to learn. So be open to the things that you need to be corrected on, and when you’ve learned what you needed to learn then move on to the next room and keep learning.

Until next time… #BeOpen #BeMindful #BeTeachable

Jimmetta Carpenter

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In a World of Leaves and Branches, Make Sure You Know Who Your Roots Are

I saw a social media post this morning that got me thinking about the thought process we have sometimes behind creating our circle of friends and the standards or boundaries we set, or often times don’t set. The post was essentially about not putting too much of our burdens on our friends, particularly if we aren’t reciprocating and allowing them to cast some of theirs on us as well. Now obviously our friendships should never be viewed as a burden but so many friendships are rarely fifty-fifty. There’s always a little lopsidedness going on at different points in the relationship.

I suppose the question lies in how we distinguish between friends and associates. Then the question becomes do we limit what our friends can put on us and to what extent because the shoe can always be placed on the other foot. This brings up that Tyler Perry play that I saw once (can’t remember the exact name at this moment) where he gave advice about knowing people’s place in our lives and comparing it to a tree of life scenario.

There are some people who are just the leaves on our tree of life, those acquaintances that we wouldn’t really classify as friends, but they are not without their added value in our lives. They may have very well come along just to show us something about ourselves that we needed to see through someone else’s eyes. Then there are those branches, those friends who are there for just a season. They are there to get us through something, most likely they are equipped with something that we are lacking just a little of so they can help us get through. They are necessary and they are most certainly a blessing, but they aren’t meant to stay and sometimes it can do more harm than good trying to hold onto the branches of a tree that have long since served their purpose.

Then there are those roots. Those friends who have a firm place in your life and who hold you up when you are collapsing and who, without them, you wouldn’t be who you are. They are the ones who ground you and remind you not only of who you are, but of whose you are even when you sometimes forget. They don’t have to necessarily be friends you’ve known all your life either. Sometimes you can just have met someone who does so much in a short period of time to change your life and your perspective that it can feel like you’ve known them for a lifetime.

In creating your circle of friends don’t get hung up on how many friends you have around you, going for the maximum number possible. It’s not the size of the circle that matters, but rather the quality of the people within that circle. It’s whether you have a whole bunch of leaves that you have not yet swept away. It’s whether you have far too many branches that need to be removed. It’s whether you are watering and nurturing those roots in order to sustain the tree itself.

You can have just three solid root friends and still have the best circle than that of someone who has 20 friends who are leaves and branches. It’s not about accumulating a massive amount of people around you. It’s about having the people around you be the best ones to add value to your life, and you to theirs. The roots are where the value of the tree lies. Get yourself some roots and make sure that you are someone else’s root!

Until next time… #BeMindful #BePatient #BeKind 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are You Willing to Play the Long Game?

 

For any individual who decides to become a creative entrepreneur, the phrase consistency is key will be one you will often hear. That’s because as a creative, unless you get super lucky or you know all of the right people you are most likely playing the long game. It will also not be an easy journey as you make your way along either. There will be a lot of no’s and not nearly enough yeses to balance out the scales. Some days your passion for whatever artistic gift you have decided is going to be what you do with your life is going to be the only thing keeping you going.  Hold on to that passion because you are definitely going to need it.

I don’t say any of that to be discouraging. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I say that because on the really hard days, the days when it just seems like no matter what you do nothing is working, it will be your passion that carries you through and whispers to you to keep going. For me and my writing career it has been a really long road and while it has been fruitful at parts, it hasn’t moved nearly as quickly as I thought it would or would have liked for it to. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my passion for the words themselves, I probably would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

I recently took David Baldacci’s Master Class and one of the things he said was that if you really want to make it as a writer with longevity you can’t just see writing as a hobby or even just a job. Rather you have to see writing as a lifestyle. For me that’s exactly what it’s always been. I’ve known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old (really and truly it was 6 but I started producing actual material at 10) so my heart has always been in this. I have at times wanted to quit because it’s hard seeing the potential outcome and never being able to achieve that reality. However, when passion is the driving force it’s kind of hard to quit because the passion won’t let you.

So, I’ll leave you with this. If you are struggling and you’re having more and more days where you want to just quit, don’t. Anything worth having is never going to be easy to attain and if the life of an artist is the one you want, you’re going to have to be prepared to work really hard for it and stay consistent. Consistency really is the only guarantee that you won’t fail because one thing is for sure, if you don’t keep trying and working at it then you won’t ever get there. If this is something you are passionate about, something that is really in your heart to do for the rest of your career and your life, then you can’t give up now.

Until next time… #BeConsistent #BePassionate #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

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It’s Not in How You Failed, It’s in the Way You Keep Trying

“My greatest concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

~Abraham Lincoln

Feeling like a failure is inevitable. At some stage in your life, depending on how ambitious your goals truly are, you will repeatedly try new things and while some of them will work out brilliantly, some of them won’t. Trial and error is a very normal part of life but sometimes those errors just seem like they keep coming, one after another, after another. To put it plain and simple, failure can be, at times, relentless and exhausting. Last week I felt like I was failing at life in general but specifically in the area of my writing business.

However, I was reminded last night when I was watching the History Channel’s Documentary on Abraham Lincoln just how much failure is ultimately a part of eventual success. After all, Abraham Lincoln had a lot of losses and he suffered from severe depression after a lot of those losses. But what he never did was give up. He never gave in to those losses and he kept trying.  In the end he still won the ultimate goal he was going after, being the office of the Presidency.

I suppose I keep thinking about failure in the wrong manner. I tend to think of failure as this immovable boulder that just abruptly landed right on my path to my goals and me not being strong enough to lift it out of my way or to even work around it.  Therefore, it leaves me stuck right where I am, most likely feeling weak and incapable. Of course, that’s not the way that failure should be looked at.

What failure really amounts to are mistakes that can and should be used as lessons to navigate us through the rest of the journey forward so that we, provided we actually learn from those particular failures, can avoid making the same mistakes again. Failures allow us to know what we are doing wrong so that we can course correct and get things right. I know I’ve written this before and perhaps I repeat it because I need to keep reminding myself as well (because on the really hard days I tend to forget) but if you are failing it generally means that you at the very least, tried to do something in the first place and as long as you are trying you are not failing.

It’s all about mindset and the ability we have to change ours. Instead of seeing the obstacle on the road, we need to see the multiple paths that lead us around that obstacle. They are detours from what you originally had planned but they are alternate paths that still can lead you to where you want to go with knowledge you didn’t have before. You will still have that lesson that you learned to carry with you into the next stage of the journey and with each mistake you may make, you will pick up even more knowledge. The key is seeing the mini failures along the way as opportunities and not necessarily as obstacles that need to be dodged. Just remember, when you are feeling like everything is going wrong and you aren’t getting anywhere, that you are not alone and that trying is what matters most.

Until next time… #BePersistent #BeResilient #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Pride Can Derail the Journey

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but He who does not ask remains a fool forever”

~Chinese Proverb

I was having a conversation last week with a friend of mine in which I opened up about some personal issues I’m having and their first question to me was why haven’t I asked for help? The only response I had (which admittedly is not a very good one) was that I am too embarrassed to ask for the help that I know I need. They returned with the question of what I could possibly have to be embarrassed about and I took a moment because I knew what I was going to say sounded silly. My answer: That I’m not exactly where I should be in life at my age, and I shouldn’t have to need any help at all.

You know what’s telling. When you can hear the answer, you’re about to give someone and in your head, it made sense but logically when the words actually leave your mouth you realize it makes absolutely no sense. Now I’m not going to get into what my situation is in this post, except to say that it does boil down to financial setbacks, but I am a person who hates having to ask for help. I am typically the one who likes to figure out ways that I can help other people so to turn that around and have to admit needing the help myself is a bit touchy for me.

Nevertheless, my friend was absolutely correct in saying that having a setback of any kind in life is not and should not be embarrassing. Life comes with all kinds of roadblocks and things that just knock the wind out of you, both physically and emotionally. It shouldn’t be something that we are afraid to talk about or seek help about. Pride is not a bad thing when you’re talking about having pride in your job or career path, or something your child or family member does. However, pride that just keeps you stuck in a bad position, or even worse, makes your bad situation that much worse, is not something to cling to.

If you are having a hard time and going through a setback, you are not alone. If you need help to get through your setback then please don’t be afraid to ask for it. Don’t be so strong and proud that you end up putting yourself in an even worse position. There is nothing wrong with experiencing setbacks in life. In actuality, setbacks can very often become the set up and the building blocks for the next level that you are on your way to. Don’t let your pride be the hill that your dreams die on.

Until next time… #BeCourageous #BePatient #BeResilient

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Give Yourself Some Grace

The mind is a funny thing. Sometimes you can find yourself slip back into old habits and old ways of thinking without even realizing it. I try to maintain optimistic because my spirituality has been a way for me to be assured that everything is going to work out the way that it is supposed to in the end. However, lately I have heard myself sink back into my old ways of thinking and have found myself saying things like ‘I know that the other shoe is going to drop soon’, or ‘when it rains, it pours, or just yesterday I said ‘the Universe is working against me’.

Now instinctively I know and believe deep in my heart that God is going to make sure that I’m okay, even if things don’t go as I planned them to, or even remotely the way that I want them to. But my old anxiety and self doubt creep in and I realize I still have some work to do to get rid of that self-sabotaging nature. Without realizing it, I have been, once again, giving power to fear and doubt about what I am capable of achieving.

I think that it gets lost on some, those who don’t struggle with mental health issues or constant anxiety and overwhelming and crippling fear, just how hard it can be to stay in a positive mindset. I constantly get from people how positive I am and I don’t mind that at all but make no mistake, it is work to try and keep a positive frame of mind. Some days are astronomically harder than others and the good days can start to feel like they don’t happen often enough.

I’m writing this post today because I want people to give themselves grace, as I am trying to give myself some. Grace when you’re not feeling at your best. Grace to make the mistakes you need to make so that you can do it better the next time. Give yourselves grace to let yourself cry when you feel like it. Allow yourself some grace to just be honest when you’re not doing okay to be able to say so without any feelings of guilt. Give yourself grace to, on those days when things are just too overwhelming, simply do nothing but be.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeCourageous #BeKindToYourself

Jimmetta Carpenter

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When Life Hands You Obstacles…

It’s always the moments when you think you’ve got a handle on everything and that you are just getting back on track when those curveballs get thrown at you. Sometimes it seems as if life can throw so many obstacles at you that it leaves your head spinning. By now you would think that I would be used to knowing that when things are going well the other shoe is probably about to drop.

I’m more geared to being optimistic these last several years and trying to find the positive in everything. I’ll be honest and say that it is a lot easier said than done at times to be positive when things feel so negative, but I always try to remember that it could always be worse (for so many others it is worse) and that it will get better as long as I don’t dwell in the messy, hurdles and keep moving forward.

The thing is that if you aren’t being hit with obstacles, odds are that you might be in that overly comfortable place where you will be content with what you weren’t able to get done. The thing about that place is that you won’t really be growing in your purpose and your gift. That’s the place that you don’t really want to be because the magic can never truly happen if you aren’t growing.

Growth is messy. Growth is uncomfortable. Growth is hard and grueling. When you’re in that growth period, I mean really in it, it doesn’t feel rewarding, it just feels challenging. Growth can be a constant test to see if you’re really ready to fulfill your dreams and your purpose. The question is are you going to remain in a place of simply being content or are you going to push yourself to grow further than even you thought was possible?

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeUncomfortable

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Whatever Will Be Will Be

I am an extremely anxious person. I worry about the little things about as much as I worry about the big things. Even when there is nothing to worry about, I still worry that I should be worrying. It’s something I’m working on and believe it or not I have actually gotten better about it over the years, and I have my spiritual growth journey that I’ve been on these last several years to credit for that. As anxious as I can sometimes still get, I do now understand and enjoy the peace that I feel when I just accept things as they are and don’t stress over everything that a situation is not.

At some point we have to accept things, not just as they are, but also as they come. Life is hard and if it were easy would it really be worth living. I think that it’s ingrained in us from when we are young to always be worried about something. If you think about it, unless you have been fortunate enough to have lived the ultimate privileged life where everything is just made easy for you, then you have seen your parents struggle and worry about nearly everything. Your parents more than likely saw their parents do the same. It is instilled in us that somehow if you’re not worried about it then you must not be concerned with whether things will work out okay or not. 

We have to train ourselves to not over think every single little thing because it’s not something that we inherently do. We are not accustomed to just letting things be whatever they are and trusting that however they work out is the way that it is intended. I mean sure if you grew up in church then yes you have that faith but you still worried. You’re human and you don’t have a crystal ball and clearly, you’re not God, so you still worried. However, when we let our worries consume us to the point where we make ourselves sick (which I used to do) that is not a habit that we should maintain.

We have to learn, even in slight worry (emphasis on slight), to let our Faith comfort us and provide us with the knowledge that things will be okay, in whatever way they turn out. What is meant to happen is going to happen, with or without our worry, so why waste the energy and time that we put into worrying when we could be using that time and energy to buckle down and push through those rough times and move toward the goal. We may not get to the goal line on a straight road. There may be curves and detours, and even some U-turns along the journey, but ultimately you will get there. There’s a saying that says it will all be okay in the end and that if it is not okay then it is not the end.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeFearless #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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A Reminder of the Dream, In Case You Forgot

Today we remember the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had all of those years ago when he gave that I Have a Dream speech. While I don’t normally repost old blog posts, I couldn’t get past the fact that what I wrote last year to commemorate this day STILL applies, even more so, today. I want to leave you with those same words today and remind you that we are not finished yet, not until we can see his vision for the dream that he had all the way through. We cannot give up on a fight in which he literally gave his life for. I hope that something in this post inspires you today to keep striving towards the goal of making his dream of a better and more equal America come true.

Is There Still Hope for The Dream?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say today but I knew that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was going to be the subject of this post. So, I went to pull up the full “I have a Dream” speech on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs) because it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the speech in its entirety. As I sat there listening, it was mind blowing just how relevant and powerful his words still are to this very day.

Now I don’t know if that is telling to the staying power of his words or to the sadness that they still ring true. In essence, we may have come far but within these last few years we seemed to have taken several steps backwards.  I guess you would have to listen for yourself to determine which one it is for you. For me it’s a bit of both. Yes of course those words he spoke that day still matter, even more so now, because before the last four years we were starting to see some of those dreams manifested and brought to fruition. Or were we?

We thought that we had started to see some change with President Obama because he was someone who truly took those words of Dr. King’s to heart and he embodied them and strived, with much opposition, to make those dreams a reality. We thought we had come farther, but within the last four years we have seen certain strides that were taken being walked back immensely. It makes you wonder, had we really even made any change? Was it all surface accomplishments but underneath, the roots, were still very present and had not yet been weeded out enough to allow sustainable growth?

That day on August 28th of 1963, Dr. King said that America needed to pull itself out of the quicksand of racial injustice in where people of color lived on an island of poverty amongst a vast ocean of material prosperity. He points out that America had not kept its promise to us and that it was in for a rude awakening if it expected things to go back to business as usual.  I think that he would be disheartened to see all of his words continually quoted by people who clearly have no deep understanding of what they actually mean because if they did then they would see that we only seek “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

I think if he were still alive that he would find himself having to repeat those same words he spoke to those gathered around the Lincoln Memorial that day. I think he would feel obligated to remind the entitled groups of people who think the rules don’t apply to them that equality is not wrong, it is not unreasonable, and it is not unattainable.

I think he would also turn to those who have grown weary and tired, and yes complacent amongst those who would like to revert back to a time that our ancestors struggled so hard to lead us out of and tell them to keep moving forward. I think he would tell them that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo, and we most certainly cannot leave this country in the fragmented state that we find ourselves in today. I think that he would remind people who are angry because we’re still explaining that we just want equality that they have to continue to strive for freedom but not by “drinking from a cup of bitterness and hatred”.

The song that plays at the very beginning of the recording of his speech is “We Shall Overcome” and as I listened to the words in that song, and replayed the words of his speech, I have to say that even in the current state of this country, I still have hope that we will be okay. I still think that Dr. King’s Dream is going to come true, someday, but we can’t give up, and we have to keep moving forward, until we are all Free At Last. 

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBrave #BeRelentless

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Plans Change and We Must Adapt

 

Okay so I had every intention of starting the year off strong last week. That was the plan anyway. However, that is not how things went. I think that it is becoming a tradition with me that the year starts off with nothing but good intentions but almost always the slowest ever start. I was not feeling well last week at all. It was a really bad pain week (I have chronic pain- some days are good and some, not so good) and I had a cold that I thought (in a panic) could have possibly been COVID for a few days (thankfully it wasn’t) so the combination of being sick with a cold and in a lot of pain made for a disaster of a start to the New Year.

Nevertheless, I still managed to complete a few of my scheduled tasks last week and am trying not to kick myself too much for the things that I didn’t get accomplished. There’s nothing more that makes me feel inadequate then when I plan things to go a certain way and they don’t even come close. Logically I know that almost nothing ever goes according to the way we plan them but with so many things that are out of our control, our plans are essentially one of the few things that we can actually feel like we have some sense of control over.

I think a part of what makes it so hard to learn from lessons of our past is the fact that we keep repeating the same mistakes and the same misguided ways of thinking. We instinctively know the things that we shouldn’t do and that the plans that we make for ourselves could fall by the wayside at any moment because, well God’s plans and our plans might not line up with one another, and yet we continue to plan and to make the same misguided mistakes anyway.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, mind you.  After all, we do need a plan for things (even in the Bible God had his chosen few make plans). We just have to make sure that we are not so dead set on OUR plan that we somehow miss the instructions that God gives us a long the way for how HE wants us to change the plan.

There are going to be curves in the road and almost certainly some sharp turns that come out of the blue and we have to be ready, and we have to be prepared to make the right decision on the which direction to go. And since we can’t always count on there being a U-turn in the road for us to course correct, the best way is to take things a little slower and a little steadier so that we don’t miss those curves and those sharp turns. Don’t be so upset at your plan not coming to fruition that you miss the joy of knowing that God’s plan is still working.

Until next time…#BeVigilant #BePatient #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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