January 13, 2012

What's Next for Literacy 'n' Poverty Project?

Dear Friends,

In December 2006, I started Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project, aptly known as LnP, from my dorm room at Babson College.  I was a senior who just completed an activist project for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Human Rights course with Professor Elizabeth Goldberg. This was an experience that changed my life!

You have been a supporter of LnP and for that I thank you and am grateful for your company on this journey. It has been almost two years since you’ve received an update from me, and today I’m going to share some intimate remarks about myself, LnP, and where we go from here. Please read on.

Since graduating from Babson in 2007, I have learned so much from my former professors, friends, colleagues, mentors and advisors, and the world. I have observed the habits, actions, and inactions of all types of entrepreneurs in many areas throughout the world. This observation took place mostly online using tools like LinkedIn, SocialEdge, Social Earth, Facebook, Twitter, Ning and other online portals that give us the opportunity to connect and engage with people from various backgrounds, from various parts of the world with different passions, interests and ideas for creating positive and lasting change.

To date, the most important lesson I have learned is that failure is an illusion. An illusion that manifests out of our fears, mistakes, and even our childhood conditioning in order to “keep you safe” which is really a way to prevent you from living a bigger, more fulfilling and gratifying life; the life you dream of.

Dwelling over failures keeps you stuck, and unless you look at failure from a different perspective and see it as a stepping stone rather than ultimate defeat, you will stay in that place for however long you choose.

So let it known, failure does not dictate your future. Failures or lessons learned as I like to think of them are stepping stones in your life journey. They help you see what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, and how you can do better in the future. The only thing that truly can stop you from accomplishing your goals, making dreams a reality and the world a better place is YOU.

Before 2011, I looked at LnP as a failure. I thought I was a failure. Why? Well, there were several things that factored into that conclusion but the recurring theme is that things did not go “according to plan” and the venture was not growing as fast or in the way I had expected. This taught me 5 things:

  1. "Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night." Zig Ziglar
  2. “When you know better, you do better.” ~Maya Angelou
  3. Everything I have done up until now is preparing me for the rest of my life, one day at a time.
  4. Sometimes the expectations I put on myself and others are unrealistic and unnecessary.
  5. I need to breathe more (lol). I need to get into my physical body and BE here in the moment, without doing or thinking, just BEING. Because from the “being” comes the “doing”.
When I look at my lessons learned is this way, I am immediately at peace. I have forgiven myself for any and all mistakes I have made in the past. The past is yesterday. Today is the PRESENT. And as much as I am a visionary and constantly thinking about the future, I have to remember to ground myself and remember that the present truly is all we have now. The NOW is what matters most.

I’m currently reading “The Biology of Belief” by the renowned Bruce H. Lipton and also a book on Quantum Physics (yes, I love math and science and consider myself a “fun, beautiful and fabulous nerd”). In addition to these books, by learning from scientists, psychologists, and entrepreneurs and coaches like David Neagle, Baeth Davis, Fabienne Fredrickson and Ali Brown, what I also have learnt and KNOW WITH ALL MY BEING is that thoughts are energy and thoughts become things.

Our environment shapes our mindset and our mindset (what we believe and don’t believe) controls everything including our perception of what is and what isn’t real. It controls, from whom you ask for donations (if you run a nonprofit), how you ask for help regardless what kind of situation you are in, how much you charge for your services, who you do and do not work with, what you do and do not communicate…I mean everything!

Think about that for a moment. How would your life be different if you changed your mindset? What would your future look like?

Would your relationships be healthier? Would you love yourself more? Would you a kinder, more compassionate boss? Would you continue to see yourself or things you’ve done in the past as failures or stepping stones in your life journey? Would you be a better mom or dad? Would you be more conscious of the impact your actions and inactions have on your life and in the lives of others? Would you get out of your own way and unleash your brilliance, your gifts and desires onto the world?

I'm not saying you have to believe this, I only wish to share with you what I have been learning and how I intend to do things differently in the next phase of my life. Let’s get back to LnP.

The blog I started in 2007, Make Social Change A Reality, was originally designed as a blog that I, personally, would write on to inform, engage, and inspire people to go out and make changes in their own community in their own unique way.  The blog then became a product of Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project and for several months I ran this blog with a team of 5 to 10 volunteer writers.

At the end of 2008, we hosted a December Giving Drive where we posted information about nonprofit organizations that were in need of donations such as food, clothing, medical supplies, and books and other literacy materials. Cabrini Ministries, one of the organizations we promoted during the drive, contacted us some months saying that one of our blog readers was able to help them receive thousands of dollars in medical supplies for hospitals in Swaziland, Africa.

“What?! Hell Yeah!” Those were my exact words when I read the email. :)

What we did [conducting this giving drive] was but a small act of kindness that provided a means for free publicity and created a space for the organization to ask for and receive the support they needed to continue their work.

2009 proved to be the blog’s most productive and eventful year. During this time, however, I lost another 3 relatives – in a tragic car accident and a battle lost with AIDS. Two relatives passed away earlier in 2008. My life and the vision I had for it began to dwindle, not because I no longer had the passion to effectuate change but because my beliefs and priorities were changing and I did not have the know-how or understanding to overcome the challenges I faced in my day to day life.

If my story sounds like your story, full of loss, excitement, passion, joy, confusion, anger, disappointment and hurt, know that you are NOT alone and this time WILL soon pass. We fall down only to get up stronger, wiser and more resilient than before. Let my story set an example for how you can use events like this as a stepping stone in your life journey.

Towards the end of 2009, my life began to change yet again. What’s up with all this change? :) I realized that I loved writing but I was a much better speaker. I love talking and interacting with people in real time. Blogs are awesome and one day I’ll probably start another one but not in the near future, unless I feel it is the right thing to do. Let’s fast forward to the present.

It’s January 2012 and, as of today, Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project is closing its doors for good. Today is the last day I shall post on this site. I’m closing this chapter and starting new.

Once more I'd like to thank YOU for being a part of LnP’s journey and for being a part of MY JOURNEY. I have some exciting things going on in 2012, including an online radio show I’m launching next month where YOU will have the opportunity to express your creativity and share your voice to bring forth personal and global transformation. I would love to keep in touch (contact information is below) so I can share updates about these developments and also to support you in your journey. TOGETHER, we can make social change a reality.

With love and gratitude,
Chanelle

Connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chanellecarver
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Email: chanelle(at)chanellecarver(dot)com