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    Posted August 6, 2015 by
    MzMonaye
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    Carla R. Cannon: A Woman of Standard

     

    Let me see! What can I tell you about a woman who has truly created a name and a platform for herself with her bare hands clasped together? They say an ounce of belief changes things, but for this woman, it created her with a successful movement that has touched millions.

     

    Carla R. Cannon (also known as “The Trailblazer”) is a Woman of Standard who has a trailblazing mentality and a heart of excellence which she uses to motivate, encourage, and inspire daily. Whether it’s working with her team or confessing to a room of guests, she exemplifies what true discovery of one’s self looks like. I first witnessed her movement in the Facebook group, “Act Like a Success”, then I was blessed to meet her during her stay in my hometown of Philadelphia. After we talked, shared, laughed, and spoke life into each other, I knew my decision to highlight her was right on the money. The win in the fight is in the heart of the man fighting and after reading this interview you will see that Ms. Cannon is truly a winner. Be prepared to cry, laugh, and rejoice with Ms. Cannon; her story is one of triumph but a true testimony of what happens when you believe!

     

    What inspired you to use your voice to empower, equip, and motivate others?

     

    My inspiration came from my life experiences because I always knew all I was experiencing was never really about me but more so about those I was called to reach. I have always been a bold individual; even as a child. So once I overcame various trials I found myself naturally encouraging and motivating others whether it was via casual conversations or social media, I always had a positive message to share because I knew what it felt like to have the darkest clouds cover you and feel as though the sun would never shine again. But I weathered every storm and came out on top and now I share my experiences with others which to my surprise is now empowering thousands across this nation; thanks to social media.

     

    What's the backstory to Carla's success?

     

    I grew up having labels placed on me by my elementary school teachers which followed me to middle and high school. I was labeled as being ADHD and Behaviorally Emotionally Handicapped. I was placed on medication which was to calm me down and help me focus. Truth is, sure I had trouble focusing in school as a child but I also had a lot of things going on at home such as seeing my mother be physically and verbally abused by my then stepfather. I too was abused physically by him as well. His idea of punishment was rather extreme. Anytime I would misbehave he would sit on my head and beat (not spank) me until one time my nose bled. His reasoning for doing this was because he says I moved too much and he was tired of chasing me around the room. So as you can see I had a rather interesting childhood. Due to my abusive stepfather my one and only older sister was moved out of our home and went to live with her father because one night she overheard my mother and stepfather fighting and she jumped in it and he picked my sister up and threw her. So my then only friend who I relied on was now taken away from me and I was left to face this monster daily with my sister no longer there to protect me.

     

    Let’s fast forward a bit; I began hanging around the wrong people and my life was spiraling out of control rather quickly all while I am raising my own child (I began pregnant at 17 and gave birth to my daughter at 18.) Now, although my mother practically raised my niece (my sister’s daughter) when I became pregnant I was told, “You laid down and had her so you are going to take care of her.” Little did I know that was going to become the best thing my mother could have ever done for me. In the midst of hanging around the wrong people I got involved with a woman who introduced me to homosexuality. She took me to the gay club and I remember her being very affectionate but the truth was, I was fresh meat and she wanted to show me off to all of her gay friends. That one decision caused me to remain in a homosexual lifestyle for 5 years of my life. I was not bisexual; I dated and only slept with women. During this time I was so broken, still rather angry and had no idea who Carla R. Cannon really was.  My family was very accepting of my new lifestyle. My mother didn’t reject me because of the lifestyle I chose. She would just always tell me, “It’s just a phase.” I remember the day I sat down with my mother and told her I was gay. She simply laughed and said, “Oh shoot girl it’s just a phase. You’ll grow out of it.” So that’s what I began to think that it was a phase and I would grow out of it. But that was the furthest from the truth. The spirit of homosexuality had such a tight grip on me that I literally had to fight my way out. My turning point was the fact that I had grew up in church. The more I began to look at my daughter the more I began to ask myself, “What am I teaching my daughter?” I knew the struggles I had and I did not want her to end up having them as well. I was smoking marijuana, drinking, smoking cigarettes and having sex with women whom I did date for extensive periods of time and even ended up getting their names tattooed on my body. Boy was I stupid! I was so out of it during this time. My altar was built in my bedroom.

    It was a process overcoming all of the pain, fear, anxiety and embarrassment but by his grace I made it out. I make a decision every day of my life to never return back to the life I once lived. A place of pain that was filled with so much dysfunction that it became my normal. I remember living a quiet life and to me it was boring because nothing was happening. There was no drama, no fighting, no lying, no men or women going in and out of my home. But it was in that place that I got to know Carla. I began to turn the pain I was feeling into motivational texts and sent them to everyone in my phone in an effort to encourage them. Then, I began to blog and I remember when I hit my first 100 faithful readers mark. I was like wow! After the newsletter which was entitled, Women of Standard that I released monthly for 12 months and shared all over social media and email; I then started my own magazine in which I ran and operated for 2 years.

    Through the magazine I was able to interview renowned speakers, preachers and singers of our time such as Les Brown, Dr. Stacia Pierce, Tasha Cobbs, Stormie Omartian, Dr. Jamal Bryant and many more! Because of my personal struggles I became interested in the backend or struggles of others because I knew there was no way they could have arrived to where they are without having a fight. So when I interviewed people such as Yolanda Adams, I didn’t talk about her music because the world already knew about her music so we talked about her previous struggles and how she overcame. I felt that is what others really needed to hear.

     

    Writing for my own publication led to me releasing my first book, The Power in Waiting, which was a memoir where I revealed my struggle with homosexuality and shared how others could overcome their addictions as well. I went on to release three more books after that: A Single Woman’s Focus, Write the Book Already and A Trailblazer State of Mind. All have done really well and I have earned the title, National Best Selling Author for I came in top three categories for black Christian authors. That was a huge success.

    I have now successfully ran and operated my organization and businesses for 4 and ½ years all while working in corporate America. But on October 15, 2014 I was able to walk away and pursue my dreams full time. I also have my own radio show entitled, The Carla Cannon Show where my voice is now being heard internationally to over 10,000+ listeners on a daily basis from the U.S. to the Bahamas; etc. I have recently been asked to be a guest on The Jewel Tankard Show alongside David and Tamala Mann and many other successful individuals whom I am honored to share a platform with. I have had the honor of having prominent speakers such as Tera C. Hodges speak at my annual conferences and they continue to grow bigger and better every year. My passion is to empower and uplift others and I am grateful God has allowed me to do so via the above outlets. My core message is always the same no matter what platform I am on and that is: No matter what you are in, you can come out! You are unstoppable and have the power to transform your storm into a story and your mess into a message! And why not get paid in the process? In the past 4 years I have been blessed to share platforms with individuals I admire and have much respect for such as: Real Talk Kim, Dr. T.L. Penny, Dr. Jamal Bryant, Jekalyn Carr, Ben & Jewel Tankard, Dr. Yvonne Capehart and many more!

     

    My story isn’t a cute one but it’s real, raw and relevant which is exactly what our world needs because life is worth living and with our suicide rate being at an all-time high people are seeking hope and my goal is to spread the word everywhere I go that Jesus is the answer and solution to every problem they’ll ever encounter. I’m not talking religion but relationship. Having a God that hears me and knows me and brought me through all of the pain in my right mind is truly a blessing. There were so many times I thought about checking into a mental facility because I literally felt as though all of the pain was overtaking my life and that I would never recover. But as I would lie in a fetal position in the center of my bed it’s as if God and His angels literally wrapped their arms around me and protected me through the night and kept me from drowning in my own tears. Now that is a God who is worthy and worth praising and spreading His name across the nations.

     

    P.S. Today my daughter, Patience is 12 years old, a rising eighth grader and is blooming into a beautiful young lady who is indeed my “WHY?” to keep standing and pushing through every form of adversity that comes my way.

     

    Now you are an Author, Mentor/Coach, and Publisher, which facet would you like to be remembered for, and why?

     

    Honestly none of the above. With all that is going on, I’d rather be known as a REAL woman of Christ. With so many pastors, preachers and prophets getting caught up in schemes; etc. I’d rather the world look at me and say, “Now that Carla R. Cannon is the real deal.” That is why I am so open about where I have been and what I have done because too many people even in clergy are pretending and are not telling the REAL story. I remember having a conversation with someone who told me they were afraid of fully sharing their story because they didn’t want to be known as the “Ex-Lesbian” I was completely taken back because I don’t care about that title. Whatever is going to win souls for Jesus people can call me an “Ex-Lesbian” an “Ex-Alcohol Abuser,” an “Ex-Sinner” (laughs).

     

    How has your failures contributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?

     

    Simply put, I pen my pain and I make the adversary pay me for all I went through. I became a National Best Selling Author for my first book, The Power in Waiting I believe it was because I was not afraid to tell the truth. So many out here now are watering down the truth! Instead of being honest and saying, “Yes, I was gay. I was addicted to drugs (marijuana) and alcohol.” So many are dressing up their testimonies instead of telling the hard core truth so that loose woman or that person struggling with their identity will see how someone else overcame which in turn gives them hope of knowing they can come out too!

     

    Tell us a little about what it means to be a Woman of Standard and about your network? Is it open to the public or just women who are interested in serving your company?

     

    Women of Standard is simply an organization where we equip, build and strengthen women from the pulpit to the marketplace on how to operate authentically and un-apologetically in their divine calling with a spirit of excellence. Our CORE values are integrity, faithfulness, spiritual maturity, dedication and sisterhood. Our ultimate mission is to build women and to help them become more confident in their calling whether it is behind the pulpit or to the marketplace. We host monthly events in the community where I’m from that is free for women and we entitle it the Women of Standard Experience because women come into that room and we laugh together and we cry as well as share and the leave better and much stronger than they were when they came. Anyone who is interested in learning more about our organization and what we do can email me directly at Carla@womenofstandard.org.

     

    So we all know that everyone wants to publish books, what are some tips you can give individuals on publishing their book?

     

    If I could I would like to share tips in regards to the preparation process of writing a book:

     

    Tip 1: Make sure you have something to say. Oftentimes people want to write a book to share something from their perspective without considering their readers number one question they ask before purchasing your book, “What is this book going to do for me?” Before writing be sure that you can answer that question.

     

    Tip 2: Embrace the uniqueness of your own voice: Often times I read clients’ books and I notice they have yet to either find their own voice or become comfortable in their own voice. I am the kind of writer where I like to share the emotion and slang of my words so that my reader feels as if we are sitting down having a heart to heart or “girl talk” because I am not afraid to write in the same manner as I speak. The same way I don’t speak and try to sound like anyone else, I don’t write and try to sound like anyone else. 

     

    Tip 3: Do your research. Writing a book is about more than just opening up a Word document and beginning to type but it is about getting your message out to the masses. It is about providing your reader with quality information. Before you write your book be sure to research what’s already out there and be sure to bring something new and fresh to the table especially as it relates to a particular genre.

     

    Tip 4: Stand behind your work. Once you release your book it is released. Do not second guess yourself. Don’t worry about what others are going to think of you. Your story is your story and no one can tell it quite like you. Pray, believe and release it and then be proud of the work you have accomplished.

     

    Tip 5: Search Out New People: Many times new authors expect their family members to support them and purchase their book but sadly those are the individuals who expect you to give them a copy of your book for free. Your true support will usually come from complete strangers. Now this doesn’t mean your family won’t support you, I’m just saying stepping out of the box and launching your business as an author and then a speaker is not normal. When you begin to step out and do things and pursue dreams that are out of the norm expect some kickback, especially from the ones you love.

     

    BONUS: As it relates to publishing I recommend you do it yourself. Self-publishing has become so popular and easy to do. You want to be sure you are able to (1) maintain all rights to your book and (2) tell your story the way you want to tell your story.

    I self-published all four of my books which had led to me launching my own publishing company, Cannon Publishing which is a self-publishing company that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish and market their book. We take individuals through the entire process.

     

    For more information visit www.CarlaCannon.com or email me directly at Carla@CarlaCannon.com.

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