Heart & Soul

Lisa M. Bennett Author of Just Keep Living

By Staff

In such a competitive market, what inspired you to write your book, “Just Keep Living”… Conversations with Granny?

My decision to write the book had nothing to do with the market, statistics or data.  I never had an intention of writing a book.  I was in therapy–trying to find the “will” to live–the desire to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other without feeling conflicted on every level.  I was hurting so bad I didn’t want to be here all while feeling obligated to be here.  Here meaning “alive”.  Periodically, I would pen the exchanges between my granny and I. I would post them on social media for kicks.  She always had a different view of events than I did…often getting me to see a side of an issue that I hadn’t considered.  I found our exchanges (well most of them) to be funny.  She knew how much I was grieving the loss of my mother.  She made it her purpose to help me through a really dark time using love, laughter, and wisdom.

After she passed I was slipping backwards, because she had turned our daily conversations into therapy.  I sought professional therapy.   Trying to reconcile grief in a healthy way led to my writing the book.  What I learned in therapy was to lean into good things when life feels like it’s coming off the rails.  As I spoke with my therapist, journaled, and read old entries from my previous post…I started to laugh again.  When I reposted a few of the stories, people immediately started to respond.  They were also grieving her loss.  I had no idea. People started sharing their favorite story and interaction with her.   Others said they looked forward to seeing how she would react to the news reports or headlines of the week.  It was at that time the demand for a book was ignited. I still resisted for a while.  I just didn’t think it was of value to anyone but me.  Then my inner circle assigned one of my younger cousins (Kori)  the task of “pestering” me until I wrote it.  I got tired of her asking me everyday and finally gave in…hence here we are. 

Share the most difficult experience you had in writing your book.

The most difficult challenge in writing the book was getting past my own doubts about its value to other people.  It wasn’t hard to compile once I started.  I had been writing down her advice for years. I’d never thought of it as a book, nor did I have all the content in one place with the intention of writing a book.  But once I started writing ,  it was harder to determine when this book was finished.    

Tell us what platforms your book can be purchased.

An autographed copy can be purchased directly through the book’s website https://www.justkeeplivingthebook.com.  It is also available at Bookbaby, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Baker & Taylor, Wal-mart, Gardners, BAM & Powells City of Books.  We are currently trying to make it available through  Hudson Newsstands and other news outlets.

Why do you feel that the African American community is behind on getting the proper medical support for mental health?

Wow. This is purely conjecture on my part, as the African American community is as diverse as a box of Crayolas and I have not looked at any data.  However, I think it stems from a few underlying cultural beliefs.

We culturally rely on the church to help us deal with domestic issues.  Which by default means the “Pastor” becomes our therapist.  While the Pastor may have good intentions, seminary and pastoral care training is not mental health support.  

Another factor is (again I say it with caution) we have this covenant “what goes on in our house, stays in our house”.  I think this position has caused us to be collectively more victimized and experience more traumas.  Fear then also becomes a factor.

Either way, you slice it– it means collectively and culturally we still don’t trust outsiders, especially those who may not look like us to empathize or understand.  

All of this makes getting help, asking for help or navigating harder.  

Tell us about some of your feedback that your book has had on someone who read it.

The first feedback I received was from Angela Ahrendts DBE, a prominent businesswoman best known for her position as CEO of Burberry and then as a retail executive at Apple.  She said, “I love Lisa’s authentic stories of the impact her Granny had on her life. She shares firsthand the importance and impact family has in shaping us all. A great gift for all generations.” 

The latest review (a few days ago) was posted on Amazon.  It said “Reading this book felt like home! I immediately fell in love with Granny. Lisa is a natural storyteller and she perfectly captures the spirit and the essence of her grandmother in these pages. I picked up the book and couldn’t put it down (and no… I’m not 369- read the book to know what I mean)! 😉 I found myself highlighting so many parts in this book but the piece of wisdom that was most gripping was about missing her daughter (Lisa’s mom who passed away). She didn’t cry because she said she talks to her all the time. That freed me. My father passed away over a year and a half ago and when I miss him I talk to him too.”

When I see reviews like these…it lets me know that Granny is not only helping me, but other people.  It also said, anybody of any color, race, gender or age could find something in this book.  My job was to get it out into the world. 

What advice would you give someone who seeks to become an author?

The thing I wish I’d understood from the start is there are no rules to writing a book per se.  Sure do your due diligence with mechanics of copyright, ISBN registrations etc.  However, when it comes to the content and maybe even the structure, nobody else can interpret the “vision, inspired thought or assignment”  that was given to you.  So, don’t get psychologically hindered or caught up in asking others to see it clearly. Just do it, however it makes sense to you and “let God do the heavy lifting”.

What does success look like for you with your book project?

I am here. I am alive and in my right mind taking better care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally better than any other time in my life.  This was about my survival and my mental health.  My story has not only achieved, but exceeded that goal. The feedback has shown me that I also helped someone else.  Someone I didn’t know.

Read an excerpt from the book

About Lisa

Lisa M. Bennett is a business and life coach. She says, “creating a culture of balance, inclusion and productivity for people helps them bring the best versions of themselves to everything they do, everyday.” Formerly a business consultant, with a high-powered consulting firm, Lisa’s clients range across industries in wealth management, banking, healthcare, pharma, manufacturing, education, utilities, supply chain and DOD. Her speciality was Organizational Change Management.

As a speaker, serial entrepreneur, Youtube personality and author she helps average people gain the confidence to leverage their skills, turn their ideas into income and faith into action. Lisa wanted to focus her talent on developing people to find and follow their own purpose. She helps everyday dreamers seeking to find their path and maximize their potential.

Lisa serves her community as the Vice-Chairman of the board for The Gary Alumni Pathway to Students (G.A.P.S), Member of the Board for Liquid Arts and Production in Long Beach, CA, and a member of the Northwestern Indiana Creative Investors Association (N.I.C.I.A).  She also previously served as an Associate Minister at Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary, IN, Choir Director for Lake Ave Baptist Church, Choir Director & Trustee for Unity Fellowship Church in Rochester, NY as well as Co-Director of Music for the American Baptist Church Youth Conference.

Lisa has been with her love, Rasheida, for 20 years. They have 4 children, 12 godchildren, and 9 grandchildren who are her world.  Faith, family and community are the most important elements in her life. 

Links to Lisa 

https://justkeeplivingthebook.com

https://iamihaveican.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-m-bennett-ab44638/

Additional information:  https://linktr.ee/lmbwml

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