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Let Success Be Your New Life

I'm blessed to have some intelligent friends around me who can hold some truly insightful conversations. The convo I'm talking about this time, though, was short, simple, and sent in the form of a text you see in the feature picture. If you notice the time on that message it's almost 2:00am, so it's like my friend had a sudden epiphany. We've had a few conversations about this in person after his message, and debated the validity of this statement. I mean, is that what "ultimate" success takes? Does it truly take sacrificing your entire life? If you read the end of his message, he actually gives very specific examples of how he's had to change his life if he wants to stay on the path he's currently on.

"Missing family engagement parties and bachelor parties and barbecues. Cuz you gotta focus on basketball or workouts or work or meetings."

For my friend, those other things take precedence in his life right now. More precedence than engagement or bachelor parties or anywhere else he's been invited. I think what get's scary for most people, like the vast majority of people, is that if they sustain that level of focus, that level of discipline, will it all work out the way they want?

That's the struggle, isn't it. You actually don't know everything is going to go your way. You don't know if working overtime is actually going to get you that promotion, or if you quit your job and start your own business that it will actually be successful. And the next question you ask yourself is just how long will you have to put in all this work before you get the payoff?

Oh now we're getting somewhere. We're all willing to put in the work if we knew for sure it will lead to something better. But only the people who are "ultimately" successful put in the work already KNOWING it will lead to something better, and with the understanding that the journey is part of the payoff.

Tough pill to swallow, tough lesson to learn. Hard to move forward without security, right? Without some kind of assurance. But it goes back to the title of this article: Are you willing to let success be your new life?

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Chit Chat Turned Powerful

morning-393623_640How often can you say you've truly been moved by the words of another person. I mean truly moved to action, to change, to commit, to be a better person. I recently had one of those moments with a friend of mine through a relatively brief conversation. After some small talk in which I joked about being jealous of her living in warm weather Vancouver while we Torontonians wait in fear for another brutal Winter fighting through ice storms, we got into a deeper discussion about something that I struggle with mightily, and that's acceptance.

Acceptance really is a big deal for me because I really don't know how to get there. Something about the concept seems conciliatory, like I'm settling for something when I know there's so much more for me to do.

"But Kern, I'm not telling you to give up on any of your aspirations, all I'm saying is accept who you are now and appreciate all that you have accomplished thus far. And not just in your writing career, but look at the person you've become, look at the daughter you've helped raise, look at the life you've carved for yourself despite being a teenage parent and a high school dropout. Once you accept all of those victories, you'll elevate your mind to a different level of understanding that will guide you to the future success that you crave so badly."

Finding My Way

Acceptance...the word suddenly didn't parallel mediocrity or failure, or settling for less than what I hope to achieve. Suddenly acceptance became liberating and freed me from the uncompromising burden of not being happy until I reach some intended point of "success" that would supposedly allow my happiness to kick in. That is no longer the case. Instead, I would accept and celebrate all of my victories and be happy throughout the entire journey.boy-185195_640

I am fortunate in that I am able to wake up every day and do what I love to do. I am able to use my voice through my way with words to share thoughts, stories, points of views and life lessons with people who are connected through similar perspectives. I am not an angry person nor am I ungrateful. But it took that conversation for me to accept that it's OK to be happy without feeling guilty; OK to feel proud of my achievements so far even though I'm nowhere near where I aim to be. That conversation brought a feeling of calm over me I haven't felt since writing the first page of my novel so many years ago.

But I am thankful for those few moments. Sometimes that's all it takes to change your life. And I'm not saying that I am a completely different person today since having that conversation, but I am better than I was yesterday and I will be better tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes I will welcome it not with the fear that days are passing too fast for me to grab hold, instead I will accept that it is another chance for me to do fulfill my calling and inspire others with my words. What more can I really ask for....

Beginnings

Wow it's been such a crazy first two weeks since I launched Thoughts of a Fractured Soul. My mind and my time is completely occupied with doing everything I can to push this book as far as it can go. But I'm loving every moment of it - Every book reading, blog post, tweet, pin, email - all of it has been a blessing and I'm thankful just having the opportunity to live my dream every day. But I said before that this is only the beginning. My goal is and always will be to touch the world.

I saw a picture the other day that really inspired me. It was just a body of water with the imprint of a single drop that caused a set of ripples. Immediately I thought of the journey that lay ahead of me and that I can't take anything for granted. EVERY DROP MAKES A RIPPLE. I'm so ready.....

Why 25 is the New 50

When I turned 25 I remember feeling severely depressed that I hadn't accomplished all of my goals and that my life wasn't exactly how I had imagined it years prior as an eager university graduate. I felt like a failure, like if my time to be successful had almost run out. I thought I was alone in this, but apparently I was wrong. When finally opening up about my depression to other Millennial aged friends and colleagues, they said they had experienced some of the same feelings. At first I was excited to know that I wasn't crazy, but then I thought about how insane I really was for believing that not being financially stable in a career I love by my mid twenties meant that I was a failure.

I wondered what could have lead to this thinking and didn't have to look past the current culture that has been created; the NOW culture where news is instantaneous and stories of millionaire and billionaire tech start ups gives the illusion of normalcy. A culture where impatience is a virtue and if you're not up to date with the new social media trend then you're not up to date.

I had to seriously look at myself, analyze where I was in my personal life and my career; then strategize where I wanted to be. I had to rid myself of the notion that 25 is the new middle age and push past the culture that engulfed my thoughts.

When I did this, I was able to focus on all that I had already accomplished. I told myself that although I still had a lot to do, I should be proud of what I had already done. My mind became clear and I let the culture motivate me instead of intimidate me. I knew how I would impact the world and set out on a mission to do just that.

Maybe 25 is the new 50 in this wild world. But my journey isn't defined by age, it's defined by impact. And I plan to continue impacting the world one day at a time until I'm one with the earth.

Acknowledgements

This is the actual acknowledgements from my book Thoughts of a Fractured Soul:

I am merely an observer. The tale I covey is simply a collection of these observations translated through my mind and onto the coming pages.

For this, there are many people that deserve to be acknowledged as part of my journey. First, to you Mrs. Selvaggi, who in 11thgrade put “The Alchemist” in my hands with a hand written note in part saying that you have complete faith that I would one day “be lifted above the crowds.” I keep that book with your words as one of my treasures.
To my older brother Kerry for reading the first ever chapter that I wrote and telling me that “it sounds like a story.” That motivated me to continue writing more than you know.
The next thank you is for Dr. Simpson. How can I put into words my gratitude for reading 181 pages of my first draft at the end of a semester, and for including comments on almost every page. Remembering that copy, I think of how excruciating that must have been for you. But you went even further and sat me down in your office to tell me that you believe in me. You were my first critic and helped me move passed my fear of making my work public.
To you, mother, for being a constant source of support even as six years went by before I finally held that manuscript in my hand. You put faith in front of your personal logic and trusted in my gift as a writer.

The final thank you has to go to Kevin Crouch. It took seeing only a few words of my manuscript for you to financially back my journey. You are my first fan and your investment in my ambition to be the greatest writer of this generation is felt through our conversations. You did what most wouldn't do, and for that I am eternally grateful.   
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"Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" is available now in print or e-book format at www.kerncarter.com.

Teaser

So since my first book "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" is due out any day now, I decided to give everyone a short excerpt. Let me know what you think....

I’ve been here before. Though I can’t remember exactly when or for how long, I know I’ve been here. My mother carried me in her womb hundreds of miles to this very place. And as I exited the airplane for the second time, I acted as if this wasn’t anything new. I watched curiously as my older brother got excited blowing cold air out of his mouth, though most of my attention was centred somewhat in the distance where a group of tall trees stood, their branches left bare, illuminated by the melted snow. The branch that kept me still, however, had kept all of its leaves. And as I looked at this fire red tree blaze in the midst of the cold weather I realized, even at that time, there was something odd about the entire scene. My daze was interrupted seconds later when my brother blew his frosty breath in my face. I chased him through the tunnel that led inside the airport. I remember looking back outside for that tree and not being able to see it through the window. Today I debate with myself whether it was there in the first place. If you knew me, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think I imagined the entire thing.

Tightrope

The other day I was riding around with my close friend John Amoah and he asked me about my book. "Isn't your book coming out soon?" I kind of nodded my head and proceeded to change the subject. He stopped the conversation and said something like "hold on, you have a book coming out and all you can do is nod your head? I would be going crazy right now."

I told John that I am excited, but will be more excited when the books starts selling. He still looked at me like I was crazy and reminded me that last year at this time, all I wanted was my book to be published. Now I'm a couple weeks away from release and I'm worried about book sales.

"Yeah" I told him. "I really want the book to do well." He shook his head. "Make sure you enjoy this," John told me. "This is already a huge accomplishment."

I thought about what John said, and thought about how I am always looking towards the future, always planning that next step. But I've already been on such an incredible journey and its gone by so fast that I often haven't taken the time to enjoy it. I've been completely caught up in the goal and haven't enjoyed the milestones along the way.

I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with me being focused on accomplishing my dreams, but there's also nothing wrong with stepping back and being proud of what I've already accomplished. I need to do a better job walking that tightrope, of finding the balance between ambition and living in the present.  Luckily I have great people around me to help me out from time to time, and as I continue on this journey to success, I'll depend more on more on these people to help keep me on that tightrope.

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