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My Biggest Fear Came True…

I’ve struggled with whether or not I should share this story, but ultimately I know it may be meaningful to someone else. Our testimonies are not our own, but rather for others to know there is another side of through.

2017 was one of the most challenging years of my adult life. In 2016 I moved to Los Angeles without a car, a job and a stable home. I know that sounds crazy right! The good news was I landed on my feet. I secured a job within the first few months and I worked at Nickelodeon in publicity for about 6 months until my contract ended.

From there I was lucky I had several different really good interviews and decided on a small PR agency that provided a good learning lesson, but it wasn’t the most stable. Several months into the role one day after working and successfully pitching several clients I was told I was being let go after one of our clients filed for bankruptcy. I won’t go into too much detail about the company, but I had known spiritually for a while that something was off.

After passing on 3 of the biggest companies in PR and Entertainment for the role I was left searching for a job. This is an LA and creative thing, but that also meant I did not have much of a safety net. For about two months I was left with little or no money. The bad timing of the incident was compounded by the fact that I had agreed to move out of the apartment I was sharing.

*Deep Sigh* so on June 21st I moved out as promised and had to live on friend’s couches and in hotel rooms for the next few months. I was literally homeless. I moved 6 times in about 2.5 months. It was honestly one of the most difficult spiritual experiences of my life. I have never cried so much and I have never been so disappointed in God like I was during those times. If you know anything about LA you know that the housing market and situations are extremely tricky. It is extremely tedious and difficult and you are not moving in without several thousand dollars and employment for at least 3 months so my then current issues were a serious road block. Sure I could have called my family and asked for help and easily had the problem solved, but that would only be a temporary fix.

I contemplated packing up and moving home and leaving LA. By the time June 21st hit I had secured a new job, but that also meant that I had to pay off a lot of debt from not working. Things were extremely difficult. I applied to literally every job possible. I received no offers or received offers that would exacerbate things more than help. I really did not share my story at the time, because I was ashamed and I had not fully processed the experience.

That experience taught me several things:

1. Shift your focus.

From the situation I shifted my focus to the positive things and acknowledged the bad. I just CHOSE not to sit in the bad.

2. Always say thank you!

I began saying thank you every day despite how those days looked. Thanks when it was bad and thanks when it was good. When it was bad I was renting a weekly room in North Hollywood with no a/c during the summer where it’s 100 plus daily. When it was good were my days at work and with my friends at the beach or at game nights. That spiritual shift and choosing to remain positive has stuck and I can tell you that by focusing on the end zone and not the play I have seen how my life keeps manifesting.

3. Good people exist.

On the day I was going to give up and move back home a buddy Geo reached out mid-ugly cry. We talked and he shared his story it definitely gave me hope. Geo and his roommates were kind enough to house me for a few weeks as I recharged and found a permanent place.

4. Strong People ask For Help.

Prior to this experience I rarely if ever asked for help. I thought I was not strong if I asked for help. What I learned through my old room mate Hal, Benecia (my prayer warrior and spiritual homie), Merling & Mike, Marco, Rodney and Geoffery is that help comes when we ask for it. My goal is to one day repay the many kind individuals that opened their homes, wallets and their hearts.

My point in sharing this story is to help someone else going through a tough time. Your tough time may not be mine, but it is still a valid journey as mine may not be representative of your tough time(s). Shift your focus, say thank you,

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I Traded Financial Stability for Mental Peace.

In 2014 I realized I no longer wanted any parts of Corporate America and the hustle and bustle of working a 9-5 where I had to wear a suit and tie regularly. I knew I enjoyed the perks of being able to travel when I wanted, earning a great salary, but I hated working to live. I will not make this about race, but I will say Corporate America is not always the friendliest if you look like I do.

It seemed no matter what I made there was always something coming up that I had to work to pay off, pay down and contribute to. I admit that was me. It was spending habits, social circles and coping (as Solange explains it in Cranes in the Sky).

Like so many years 2016 started with me discussing moving to Los Angeles and quitting a very good paying job, but I did not put a date on paper. In February of 2016 after a weekend trip to New Orleans I discovered that a longtime friend had passed away due to complications during a surgical procedure.

It was literally at his funeral that I became inspired. Seeing a church with standing room only for a 31 year old shook me as if I was in a bounce house with twenty 5 year olds. I walked to my car thinking that my friend who passed, figured it out. He was determined to enjoy life as it is supposed to be enjoyed. Despite his health issues he never stopped pursuing his goals and his dreams. It was that day I looked at my calendar, decided on a date and made a declaration that on this day I would not only leave my comfortable job with a company car, good salary and ridiculous bonus, I would take a leap of faith.

I had applied to jobs in Los Angeles for nearly two years with frequent interviews and no job offers. Every job wanted a candidate to start or to come in to interview the next day. So I decided to trade my financial stability and move to Los Angeles with no job. I tell this story, because despite moving here without a job, a car or a place to call my own I never felt better. There was a huge mental weight lifted off my shoulders and I spiritually I found myself in a place of peace I had not experienced in at least 18 years.

That move not only, blessed my spirit it made me a better at managing my finances, my time and protecting my peace. I have become more clear on who I am, who I do and do not fit with and I have been able to grow.

Though my bank account is not as large, I may not be able to go out as much (on my dollar); I may not be able to eat out as much I have everything I need. If I never knew before I know now what faith looks like and what stepping out on it yields.

Though I know this may not work for everyone, I encourage anyone reading this to find out what it is you need to do to get mental and spiritual peace and go after it.

#iamjoecarnell

PRESS RESET

PRESS RESET!
Today I am pressing reset on life. My move is not just a move it is literally the pursuit of happiness. 

Over the past few years I have been comfortable. Comfortable with my jobs, comfortable with my circles yet something inside of me was unfulfilled. I made a decent amount of money in a city that’s fairly inexpensive to live in. 

Though I have been promoted at every job I have ever had it has not been enough. 
Several years back I got clear on my purpose in life. I knew my move was imminent I just needed to press the button.

I encourage anyone reading this who is feeling unfulfilled, maybe feeling like there is more you want to do. Take time to look at what you love/ enjoy what you are good at and find a way to marry the two. Do not let life’s circumstances constrain and restrain you. You may even see an opportunity to develop to get to where you belong.

Once you determine what it is you love/ enjoy and/ or were destined for, set a date, then work in reverse to think through how you can make it happen.

Though I know my next chapter will not be easy. I have no doubt that I will learn and truly LIVE.

This is not goodbye forever, but rather see you later. To the city that groomed me, the people who prepared me and experiences that shaped me. 

So don’t be afraid to press RESET on your life. It may not be a move. Maybe it is a new job. Maybe it is pursuit of an education. Maybe it is even a business venture. Set a date. Make a plan and Go! God will provide the thugs you need for you!

🙏🏾 PRESS RESET!

3 Things to Help you Move Cities

Moving to a new city can be stressful and filled with anxiety. No matter the distance, it could be a three hour drive from your current city or a 5 hour flight from your current city, it still is a time of nervousness and excitement. 

Recently I made the jump and it has honestly been one of the best things I have done. There have been a few hiccups, but I started writing this blog to assist someone else in their journey.

3. Research the housing market.

I recently moved from Houston, TX to Los Angeles. I knew that I would be downsizing the square footage in my lifestyle unless I wanted to spend over $2k a month for a 1 bedroom with nice upgrades. It is also important to know if large deposits are normal in your city. In Houston you can get in an apartment with little ($300) to no deposit with good credit. For example in LA no matter how good your credit is, you are paying at least a $600 deposit and then paying for the first months rent. Understand what you get for your money in your current city may not be the same in the new city.

2. Be prepared to ask for help. 

Asking for help may not be financial. It may just be getting help finding a religious house. It may be help asking for local grocery chains, but you will need it adjusting to a new culture in what could be a new part of the country. I have had countless times where I have had to ask friends for restaurant ideas, bars, grocery stores and yes even financial help. 

1. Lastly do not over think it. 

Pull the trigger. Moving was the best thing I could have done. I miss my family and close friends oh and my guilty pleasure restaurants, but I have had so many once in a lifetime opportunities. Though my lifestyle is different I could not be happier and the sooner you do it, the better. Besides if you do not like it or the reason you move falls through (job, relationship, or family) you can always go back to what you know. If savings is your worry there is no right or wrong. More money saved does not equal an easier transition.

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The Walk

I have been in LA exactly one week as of today. Many people may not know this, but I got rid of my car in 2015 in order to save for the move I knew I would make.

One of my goals was to get a bike and really live a less is more lifestyle (we will see how long that lasts). Well I decided to uber to the gym, about 1.5 miles, from where I am currently staying.
About 10:30pm on Wednesday I finished working out and playing basketball. I did what I have done for several days now, I proceeded to walk home from the gym for extra cardio and in that space I also talk to God and clear my head. 

While walking I see a young Hispanic woman who is homeless and settling in for the night, in her car on Santa Monica Boulevard. She is reading a book with, what looks like a comforter and she is no older than 25. This seemed like a routine to her. She was not crying and she did not look upset, she looked fairly well kept.

That image did something to me, it jared me and I really felt overwhelming compassion in seeing someone so young in that position. Surely I am not too much better than she is, nor do I currently have a place to call my own. Though I did not know her story I could only imagine what brought her to that place. 

It made me think about what my journey may look like in LA. Part of me would like to think I would never be homeless, but the other part of me the part that has survived and lived despite many obstacles says, “Keep living”.

The other thing that seeing this young lady sparked was a refocused energy and an initiative I would eventually like to start. One day my hope is create programs to help transition people who are homeless into financially stable working Americans. Homelessness is not all about the want or drive to find a job, but often times the circumstances that lead many there.

I know some of us pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and made our own way, but for someone like myself I’m cognizant of the opportunities I both worked for and the ones that were provided to me. 

I shared this story, because it is a reality for so many and secondly to encourage everyone to find a way to help someone. Whether that be forwarding job/career information or referring someone you know is a good fit for a job (even if they are better qualified than you). 

Be a light and be a blessing to someone else.