November 22, 2020

“No act of kindness is too small.  The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.” – Kevin Heath

This is one of my favorite blogs I get to write during the year!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my last post (Two Kinds of Gratitude – Blog 387), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

I recently read an article in the Los Angeles Times about a $20-million gift to the University of California at Los Angeles to fund the Bedari Kindness Institute, studying the benefits of doing good for others. The article by Teresa Watanabe said, “A friendly smile. A food pantry donation…such acts of kindness have a self-serving upside, too, as science has conclusively shown they also make you healthier….Among many other topics, [the Bedari Kindness Institute] will explore how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

According to the article, “Researchers agreed on an academic definition of kindness: an act that enhances the welfare of others as an end in itself.  When it comes to kindness, the intention, rather than the outcome is key…Kindness is complimenting someone to make them feel good, not to get what you want.  It’s sending a donation to a charity even if the check gets lost in the mail. It’s contemplating a legitimate reason why a driver who cuts you off might be in a hurry.”

One of the co-founders of the Institute, Matthew Harris, “said his own struggles, through trauma and addiction to eventual self-acceptance, made him realize the importance of cultivating kindness to oneself and others.  He said the current state of partisan politics, environmental challenges and continued violence and war gave him an urgency to help out.

“’My end goal is to have a broad platform to promote empathy and help people think about kindness,” Harris said. ‘It is, in terms of the perpetuation of our species and the ability to live with each other and nature, critically important.’”

I would add that not only does showing kindness, generosity and empathy toward others actively demonstrate your thankfulness for the many blessings in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holiday Season by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one to a barista at the counter every time I visited the store, asking her to bestow it on any customer at random after I left.  (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity can be the MOST fun of all!) This always puts a surprised smile on the barista’s face, too!

Today, I slipped a barista my first $5 gift card of my 2020 giving season and asked him to use it toward the bill of the customer behind me.  She caught up with me outside and thanked me profusely.  “That was so kind of you!” she exclaimed. “God bless you!” I could tell she was just as surprised and delighted by that little gesture by a stranger as I was several years ago.

And, wouldn’t you know it, before another five minutes had passed, the Law of Attraction kicked in and my small act of kindness came back to bless me!  As my wonderful husband Rick and I sat outside eating our lunch, a gentleman took it upon himself to move a heavy umbrella so it would provide shade for us.  We didn’t ask him; he just showed his empathy and kindness toward two strangers by that kind gesture that gave us a more pleasant lunch experience.

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

  • Most of my coaching clients are sending snail mailed Thanksgiving cards to their clients and Teams, letting them know how much they appreciate them.
  • One client spent every night for two weeks at her girlfriend’s home, cooking her dinner and caring for her as she recovered from major surgery. Her friend had no other family to help her, and this was an exceedingly kind personal sacrifice on my client’s part.
  • One reader told me about her family tradition where on one of the eight nights of Hanukkah, each family member asks the others to donate to his or her favorite charity instead of receiving a personal gift. This has taught her children to be kind and generous at an early age!
  • One reader decided to play even BIGGER and get her whole network marketing Team involved in the PIF Challenge. She is going to contact a foster care agency and find out which teenagers will soon be “aging out” of the system at 18 years old. The Team will then purchase suitcases and fill them with supplies and gift cards to give the teens a good start as they begin life on their own.
  • Another client carries on a giving tradition for foster children that was started by her dear friend’s mother, who passed away near Thanksgiving a few years ago. She runs a “pajama drive” for child- and teen-sized warm pajamas to stock nearby “foster family closets,” where foster parents can go to get donated food and supplies for their foster children. She said the drive has grown each year with more and more local business support, and it has donated as many as 100 pairs of PJs to make kids feel extra cozy and cared for at the Holidays.
  • One direct sales Team Leader gives incentive gift cards to her Team from local women-owned businesses that may be struggling right now.
  • A client told me that whenever she sees someone who looks hungry and homeless hanging around outside the grocery store, she goes in and buys them something to eat and drink and brings it out to them. She does this all year round, but knows it is especially needed in the wintertime.
  • One of my clients told me that because of COVID, she discovered one of her neighbors is a 101-year-old woman who lives completely on her own, with no family nearby. “I checked on her all summer. Other neighbors check on her too, and we help her with grocery shopping and other errands.  She is so appreciative.  I am going to take her some homemade pumpkin bread and a little note to lift her spirits this weekend.”

I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a 365-day happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories of kindness and generosity so we can all enjoy another round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes this Holiday Season!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the next two weekends off. Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday December 13.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

November 15, 2020

“There are two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” – Edward Arlington Robinson

It would be a gross understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year and a huge disappointment for most of us. January 2020 started out with high hopes and then disaster struck just when we were getting started on manifesting our Big Goals.

Our personal challenges may be related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships or the loss of a loved one. And then there is the once-in-a-century, ongoing challenge of trying to live inside of a world-wide pandemic that has upended all sense of “normal” during every season of this year. Nevertheless, there have also been many, many inspiring stories of people using their gifts, skills and resources to help friends and strangers cope in ways large and small.

Now, at last, the season of “gratitude,” “peace” and “goodwill” is upon us – the season when most people make an extra effort to be kind and generous toward their fellow humans.  Even though it won’t look like Holiday Seasons past, it can still be a time of rekindled hope, love and reconciliation that we all need so much. Maybe one day, this season of goodwill will last all year long, but for now, we will take what we can get!

For the past several years, from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I have used this blog to invite my wonderful readers to make life a little brighter, happier and easier for others with a “Pay-It-Forward Challenge.” It has never been more needed than right now. So, I hope that YOU will participate this year, too!  I love hearing about the many creative ways my readers find to help someone else, show them that they matter to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face.

I got the idea for this annual Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week several years ago. A stranger ahead of me paid $5.00 toward my purchase, which turned my frazzled, grumpy day around and put a smile on my face that never went away through the rest of the year.  That simple act of generous kindness inspired me to buy a bunch of $5.00 gift cards and begin giving them out every few days to the baristas at the register to bestow on random people in the line behind me.

I plan to purchase more gift cards this week and give them away randomly at Starbucks through the end of the year.  I trust that most of those surprised strangers will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Last year, the baristas told me that there were a number of customers doing the same thing, creating a big old warm chain of goodwill and gratitude, one cup at a time!

You can experience the joy of spreading around some “Holiday Spirit” in your own creative ways.  Your kindness and thoughtfulness don’t have to cost anything.  Here are few examples my readers came up with in years past:

  • Let someone who appears to be in a hurry go ahead of you in the checkout line. I promise they will beam at you!
  • Help a harried friend or colleague run an errand, or babysit their kids while they do.
  • Surprise your friends, family and clients with a snail-mailed or emailed Thanksgiving card this year! Few people think to send them, but this gesture says, “I am so grateful for you!” to friends and customers like nothing else can.
  • Send an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues that says what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them on your team. This will make their day.
  • Use your musical, baking or crafting talents to spread cheer and delight to children, neighbors, elderly folks and the sick.
  • Help an older person or someone who is under the weather put up their holiday decorations or haul home their Christmas tree, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, buying their groceries for them or running another errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing, school supplies or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate money, food, towels, blankets or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone who lives alone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them (socially distanced, of course) while you enjoy the goodies together.
  • Donate blood! One of my clients recently showed up to donate and the nurse asked if she would stay an extra 2 hours to give plasma, which was desperately needed for three children waiting for it.  It interfered with the plans she had for her day, but it also made her day.

If you are able, pay your own financial blessings forward by spreading the prosperity around a bit.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Surprise a friend on a tight budget with a supermarket gift card that will make their Holiday feast much brighter.
  • At the gas station, if you notice someone in an old car with kids in the back, surprise her by paying for a full tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them a $20 supermarket gift card instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support grassroots animal rescue organizations that are operating on a shoestring. $25 means far more to them than it does to the big animal welfare organizations, although I try to donate as much as I can to those, too.
  • Take the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or homelessness.

It’s easy to fall into despair and think “What difference can I make in the face of all that seems so wrong and tragic in the world?”  But as this week’s quote reminds us, we can demonstrate sincere gratitude for our many blessings through small acts of giving to others.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life in this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Holiday Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

Please email me your own 2020 Pay It Forward Challenge story to caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com!  I will collect them and share them in a future blog to inspire others to do more of the same. 

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. 

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

November 8, 2020

“Blessings can come in a number of ways.  The Lord doesn’t give you what you want; the Lord gives you what you need.” – Eric Davis

In addition to our ongoing worldwide pandemic, concern about the economy, a US election like no other and the passing of my only sibling, I have had one other life-changing challenge to deal with over the past two months or so.  I am only now catching my breath enough to share the story with you.

The reason I want to share my personal trial and transformation with you is that I believe, as with virtually all big life challenges, there are blessings and valuable lessons in them for us.  Whether you have faced my particular type of challenge or not, I am sure you will agree that the take-aways I got apply in your life, too.  And, hopefully, if we remember these lessons, we will grow and prosper from them.

At the beginning of October, my wonderful husband Rick went into the hospital for a back operation to correct spinal stenosis that had been pinching nerves to his legs and making it more and more painful for him to stand and walk.

Alas, due to COVID-19, the surgeon and hospital weren’t taking non-emergency patients for months before and by then he was in a lot of pain, so we were both happy he was going to finally get relief.  The surgeon and his staff told Rick that, while he couldn’t bend over or twist his torso or pick up anything heavy for at least three months, he could likely expect to be back to pretty normal activities like driving and walking within perhaps a couple of weeks.

The operation went smoothly with no complications or infections, for which we were very grateful.  But we were both shocked at how weak he was.  He could barely stand and walk a few steps with the help of the hospital’s physical and occupational therapists that worked with him several times a day for four days.  When he was ready for discharge, instead of taking him home, I had to admit him to a rehab center where he stayed for another 10 days, working to get strong enough to use a walker.

Finally, he was more than ready to come home with his walker and a plethora of gadgets to help him get around, pick up things and put on his socks and shoes without bending over. But  his legs were still pretty weak and I had to help him do just about everything, including personal hygiene and getting into and out of bed several times a night.

I was exhausted within a few days and my own daily routine was completely out the window.  I could barely keep up with the needs of my daily private coaching clients and all the members in an online course I am teaching, let alone reliably get in a daily shower or daily walk.

On top of that, not realizing how much of my time and attention Rick’s recovery was going to require, I had signed up for not one but TWO intensive and expensive online courses, and I was rapidly falling behind at watching the videos and doing the work that was supposed to help me deliver great courses and sign on more wonderful coaching clients.

Never having children nor being a hands-on caregiver for elderly parents, I had never before had to deal with anything like this.  I felt drained, like I was constantly behind, never doing enough for Rick or my clients or myself.  I am used to helping my clients learn to effectively balance their busy lives with family, work, side businesses and self-care and now I was feeling like a complete loser at it myself, letting myself and everyone down who was counting on me.

Fortunately, I have many years of mindset and personal development work under my belt, and a rock-solid faith in God’s daily guidance and help.  My morning practices of inspirational reading, gratitude journaling and then praying and reciting positive affirmations while taking my daily exercise walk provided a foundation of sanity and helped me to eventually recognize this challenge held many blessings, too.

Rick has come a long way in the past three weeks or so. By faithfully doing the strengthening exercises his home PT has given him and walking around the house as much as he can, he has become self-sufficient on his walker and taking care of most of his own self-care needs like dressing himself.  He is back to work at his home desk, serving his real estate clients, with the invaluable help of his colleagues who kindly take them on home tours for him.

I continue to expand my repertoire of skills daily, doing chores and errands that Rick has always done, like fixing three meals a day, grocery shopping, getting the car washed and filled up, and taking care of our two dogs by myself. These responsibilities require many extra hours in my week, but it is satisfying whenever I find a way to get them done “between the cracks” of my daily coaching schedule. I recently stepped WAY out of my comfort zone when I successfully installed grab bars in two bathrooms and put together a new office chair for Rick!

As I learned to release the negative emotions of overwhelm, fear, guilt, resentment and self-pity that have confronted me over these past weeks, I became much more aware of the GOOD things that have emerged from this experience. Here are the most important Life Lessons I have learned so far:

1) We must have empathy for others.  I know first-hand now what life must be like for my clients and friends who are struggling daily to do right by their children, day jobs, side-jobs, ill or elderly family members, etc. All of my judgment of others has evaporated. I can see it’s not always possible to “just do it,” even when you have good planning skills and a strong work ethic.

2) Accept your limits.  I really had to come to terms with the fact that there was no way I could get EVERYTHING done that I wanted to do. I learned to prioritize what was MOST important for Rick and me each day, even if work or other things had to be postponed or done to less than perfectionist standards.  We cannot do it ALL, but we can commit to do the BEST we can at the tasks we truly MUST do, within the time limits we have to work with, and be OK with it.

3) We are all stronger than we know. Before Rick’s operation side-lined him, I had not been grocery shopping or cooked a family dinner in YEARS, let alone assembled furniture! On days when I thought, “I just cannot do this,” I reminded myself that it was not MY strength alone that would carry me.  I leaned on my faith and somehow, whatever I had to do got done.

4) Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Many health care professionals, friends, clients and family members have graciously assisted Rick and me every step of the way.  They have been happy to do things I couldn’t or help in ways I wasn’t qualified to. All we had to do was ASK.

5) Take it one day, one hour at a time.  I have learned not to worry about next week, let alone next month.  I just focus on today and maybe what I will need to do tomorrow, and everything just falls into place, minute by minute, hour by hour.  Worrying about the future wastes precious time and energy that could be put to better use getting things done TODAY.  And I now take time to celebrate the small victories like cooking a good dinner or getting caught up on my studies or reviewing my clients’ assignments. Giving yourself regular pats on the back keeps you motivated!

Finally, I would say my BIGGEST personal blessing and lesson that has come out of this difficult time is a deeper appreciation for my wonderful husband’s contributions to our life together.  I have always been grateful for what he does (especially his daily meal planning, shopping and gourmet cooking!)

But I now truly realize how MANY big and little things Rick does quietly behind the scenes every day to make life better for me and our four-footed “kids,” without ever demanding praise or gratitude.  Now that I truly understand how MUCH he does, it makes me want to do even more to show my love and gratitude to him. This experience has brought us closer than ever and made us both more grateful for all of God’s blessings in our lives, not the least of which are our supportive clients, friends and family.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

October 25, 2020

This week has been one of those.  I have scrambled hourly to help my wonderful husband acclimate to being home after his back surgery three weeks ago, followed by 10 days in a skilled nursing facility to help him regain the strength to walk on his own.  He finally was strong enough to come home with a walker on Friday the 16th.

Since then, every day has been a whirlwind of activity for me, as now I am not only looking after his needs, but also doing all the chores he used to happily do, including grocery shopping and cooking. (Yes, lucky me, Rick has fixed every dinner I have had for the past 13 years of our married life!) I am doing OK at it, with my “kitchen coach” sitting a few feet away in the family room.  But it’s a task I am not used to, and therefore stressful.

I am pleased to report that Rick has made HUGE progress since coming home and faithfully doing the many exercises his physical therapist has given him.  He now scoots around the house with his walker, leaving me more time to get my own work done and serve my clients.

I will write about the very important life lessons I have gleaned from this experience in a future blog, but for now, I am busy catching up with a lot of accountabilities. So I want to share with you the following “fan favorite” blog I originally wrote in 2016 that holds an important reminder for all of us, especially in these contentious and stressful times.  I hope you enjoy it (again)!

July 31, 2016

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo F. Buscaglia

One of my favorite free daily quote services is WalkTheTalk.com. I highly recommend subscribing to this F*R*E*E daily dose of good news and inspiration. Today’s post contained a link to a beautiful, inspiring short video about the power of acknowledgment, which I provided at the end of the blog.

A startling statistic is that 25% of good employees who voluntarily leave their jobs cite lack of appreciation as the reason they quit.  Can you imagine? What were their bosses thinking?!

I learned the secret a long time ago, which this video reinforces, that every human being craves appreciation. We all want to be seen, known and validated for who we are.  If you want to experience the great feeling of rapport, affinity and harmony with another human being – a Team member, boss, spouse, co-worker, in-law, etc. — give them a sincere acknowledgment, expressing appreciation for what they have done or simply who they are being.  You will make an instant friend.

Today, I got a lovely acknowledgment from someone who told me exactly how my coaching had made a difference for her and it touched me deeply.  I had done a complimentary coaching session with her over a year ago.  Now, even the greatest coach can’t turn someone’s life around in just one hour, but ALL of us can listen closely to someone, validate them, encourage them, and leave them loving themselves and believing in themselves just a little bit more.

During our long-ago hour together, I listened closely to what she shared about her difficult circumstances, and acknowledged her for her will to triumph in the face of the adversity she had been through – for never giving up. I also suggested she read The Power by Rhonda Byrne and check out professional therapy to help her begin to turn around a bad situation and create the life she deserved.  Lastly, I told her the door was always open to call me again anytime.

I didn’t hear from her for another year and a half.  Today, we had a follow-up session and to my absolute delight, I discovered that her life has completely transformed since we last spoke.  She is now ready to take her life to another level, and we are going to partner in coaching to do just that.

While I am thrilled to have her as a client, that wasn’t the best part of the call for me.  The best part was at the end, when she said, “I want to acknowledge YOU, Caroll.  My life has come so far since our session over a year ago.  What you recommended worked great for me.  My new career, my health, strength and my happy family all have come out of that!  Things are really falling into place for me and I know I’m on my way.  You are a blessing in my life!”

Do you think that made my day?  Heck it made my MONTH!  It was amazing to think that I had made such a big difference for another human being, simply by listening to her, acknowledging her, and telling her I believed in her. That’s what we coaches live for!  

And that’s why at the start of every coaching call, I always ask my clients to tell me what they are most proud of and want to be acknowledged for at that moment.  At first, it can be embarrassing, even painful, for some people to claim their worth out loud.  But, after a few more sessions, if we ever get too far into the call before I ask, even those who always squirm the most will interrupt me with, “Hey, aren’t you going to ask me what I want to be acknowledged for?”

I urge you to make at least one other human being’s day EVERY day by acknowledging and appreciating them. It will make them – and you — feel wonderful! (For extra credit, try it on someone who is usually negative or grumpy and see what happens!)

I will leave you with this wonderful post from my favorite positive-thought preacher, Joel Osteen, who is known for encouraging people to believe that more GOOD is on its way to them and their BEST days are still ahead:

“When you see someone who is struggling, a coworker who is discouraged, a friend who is not up to par, how do you respond?  Our words can be what keep a person going; our compliments can put a spring back in their step.  Now more than ever, we need to automatically let the encouragement flow.  We need to tell others how much we love them, how we value them, and tell them that they are talented and creative.  Always remember, with your words you carry life-giving water.  You carry hope, healing, encouragement and new beginnings, and you can pour it out everywhere you go.  Today, choose to speak encouragement.  Choose to speak victory and faith into others’ lives.  Instead of telling people what they’re doing wrong, instead of pointing out all their faults, find what they are doing right.  Focus on the good.  There are already enough critical, judgmental people in the world.  Let’s be people who lift others up and restore them.”

P.S. Watch this four-minute video on the importance of acknowledging and appreciating others. Copy and paste it into your browser, turn the sound up and I hope it makes YOUR day, too: http://www.flickspire.com/m/WalkTheTalk/WhileYouCan

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking next weekend off so I can catch up further!  Enjoy a Happy Halloween and look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday, November 8, 2020.  

If you would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.  Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any other purpose.

****************** Fulfill Your Dreams! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

October 11, 2020

I haven’t had time to write a new blog for today, due to a very busy week keeping our household running, serving my coaching clients and especially looking after my wonderful husband Rick’s needs as he navigates today’s complex medical system.

Rick had successful back surgery on Friday the 2nd and is now in a facility to receive physical therapy to help him once again stand strong and tall and walk with confidence. He is making great progress and we are very grateful for the wonderful care he has been receiving every step of the way!

This is the perfect opportunity for me to share a great article I found online, which provides scientific validation for the power of the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) in our daily lives.  Studies show that your emotions spread further than you think.

I give the author, Brad Stulberg, full credit for this great article. Enjoy!

From Outside by Brad Stulberg

“Researchers from Yale University closely monitored just under 5,000 people living in the small town of Framingham, Massachusetts, for more than three decades. They found that when someone became happy or sad, that emotion rippled throughout the entire town. Another study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, showed that even below-the-surface emotions, such as motivation, are contagious. If someone is working in the same room with people who are internally driven, their attitude also improves. If, however, someone is working in the same room with those who aren’t too excited about their work, then their motivation decreases. A 2017 study out of Northwestern University found that sitting within 25 feet of a high performer at work improved an employee’s performance by 15 percent. But sitting within 25 feet of a low performer hurt their performance by 30 percent. That’s an enormous effect!

Emotions even spread virtually. Another study, aptly titled “I’m Sad, You’re Sad,” found that if you are in a negative mood when you text your partner, they are likely to pick up on it and experience a lower mood state themselves. The same is true of Facebook posts, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger spread like wildfire on the platform. (Not that you needed a study to prove this.)

This science all points toward the same basic truth: we are mirrors reflecting onto each other. The people we surround ourselves with shape us, and we shape those around us, too. The implications of this truth are important and actionable.

For starters, you’d be wise to associate with people you admire and aspire to be like. It’s not so much rote skill that is contagious as it is the motivation and emotions that lead to skill development. In other words, it is much better to work with the scrappy but less-talented performer than the all-star who phones it in. This is every bit as true on the playing field as it is in the office.

What’s more, just being aware of how easily emotions spread allows you to change yourself and, in turn, change those around you. For example, if you receive a text message that suddenly makes you sad, or if you read a social-media post that makes you angry, rather than immediately reacting, you can pause for a moment and then respond thoughtfully. Instead of meeting sadness with sadness, you can meet it with compassion and support. Instead of meeting anger with anger, you can try to meet it with understanding (or just ignore it altogether). The flip side is also true. When you are feeling good you’re liable to spread it—though my hunch is that this happens naturally, without trying.

None of this is new, of course. Over a decade ago in the foothills of the Himalayas, before much of the above science unfolded, I asked a Nepali Sherpa named Indra about the prayer flags that were all over. ‘It’s simple,’ he told me. ‘When you are feeling a strong emotion, you plant a flag. Since the beginning of time, my culture believes the wind will spread that energy and the universe will receive it.’”

So if you are (or aspire to be) a good Team Leader, parent, teacher, boss, mentor, coach or any type of role model, it’s important to remember that your energy vibration (your thoughts plus your emotions) affects everyone around you, for good or for bad.  It’s up to us to consciously make our influence something positive!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking next weekend off to give me more time to spend with my husband.  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday October 25!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

September 27, 2020

This weekend, I am happily busy with doing homework assignments for an online course that I am taking about creating online courses, while at the same time teaching an online course of my own! So here is a lightly-edited post from two years ago that is just as relevant today.  I hope you enjoy it (again).

August 18, 2018

“What this power is, I cannot say.  All I know is that it exists….and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Have you ever wanted something so badly you just ached for it — and then you let your fear stop you from getting it?

You hesitated just a few moments before taking the first step toward your Big Goal and then watched helplessly as the “magic moment” that could have catapulted you forward passed. You didn’t cross the room to ask that special someone to dance, you didn’t ask your boss for a raise, you didn’t apply for your dream job, you didn’t take your friend up on the opportunity to join her business, you didn’t sign up for the audition….You never did get your heart’s desire and you have regretted it ever since.

Of course you have done that!  I know because I have done that. Everybody who ever walked this planet has done it. That’s because whenever we have a strong urge to go after something, our Ego’s default mode is to hesitate. We pause before leaping into action just long enough to listen to the little Fear Voice in our head, which is determined to stop you from taking that action. This is the cause of what we call “self-sabotage.”  We KNOW we really, really want something and we KNOW exactly what we have to do to get it, but we just cannot seem to MAKE ourselves take that first step.

If you want to reach your Big Goals and stop this maddening cycle of self-sabotage, you couldn’t find a better instruction manual than motivational speaker and life coach Mel Robbins’ book “The 5 Second Rule.”  I have shared her TEDx talk about the 5 Second Rule with hundreds of people, and many of my coaching clients have read her book because Mel was one of the keynote speakers at their direct sales company’s convention.

The way she developed her simple but effective trademark tool for circumventing the hesitation urge that stops you from getting your dreams is a compelling story. Years ago, this former attorney’s financial world suddenly collapsed when her husband’s over-extended restaurant business started to fail and her own fledgling media career tanked at the same time. Rapidly, this successful power couple became heavily-in-debt “failures.” Blindsided, she felt numb and hopeless and no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t seem to motivate herself to get out of bed each morning to handle her many daunting life challenges.

That posed a serious problem for her family because her children were not getting ready for school on time and were missing the bus day after day.  Her marriage was in jeopardy too. Her husband resented that he was working around the clock to try to save his business while she was sleeping in and avoiding looking for a job that could bring in some much-needed income.

Then one morning when her alarm rang, Mel spontaneously created a simple but very effective tool to push her brain past the paralyzing fear that was making her hit the snooze alarm again and again.  She counted down aloud like the rocket launch she had recently watched on television “Five. Four. Three. Two. One. GO!” When she got to “Go,” that word triggered her subconscious mind to automatically throw back the covers, and she stood up and started her day, which led her to starting a new life.

Her book explains in fascinating detail exactly WHY that little Fear Voice in your head stops you from pursuing your Big Goals. It is part of your normal, healthy Ego’s survival mechanism to try to keep you “safe” by keeping you on the couch instead of allowing you to make any changes in your life that could possibly turn out to be a physical or emotion “risk.”

Mel also explains exactly how you can use the 5 Second Rule countdown to leverage yourself into taking the critical first step toward creating a new career, stopping yourself from giving in to your negative urges like smoking, alcohol or overeating, finding your perfect mate, getting a raise, expressing yourself artistically – ANY Big Goal you have in life.

She says, “Are you waiting for someone to ask you, drag you, pick you or catapult you into the spotlight, or are you willing to find the courage to push yourself?  Are you waiting to feel ready?  Waiting for the right time. Waiting to gain confidence.  Waiting to feel like it.  Waiting to feel worthy.  Waiting until you have more experience.

“Sometimes there is no next time, no second chance, or no time out.  Stop waiting.  It’s now or never.  When you wait, you aren’t procrastinating.  You are doing something more dangerous.  You are deliberately convincing yourself ‘now is not the time.’  You are actively working against your dreams.”

Mel’s book is filled with messages from people who have used the 5 Second Rule to overcome their Ego’s self-sabotaging fears and JUST DO IT.  And their results have been phenomenal.

Mel says, The difference between people who make their dreams come true and those of us who don’t is just one thing: the courage to start and the discipline to keep going.  The Rule is a game-changer because it 5-4-3-2-1 forces you to get out of your head and start and it’ll 5-4-3-2-1 help you keep going…..When you 5-4-3-2-1 push yourself forward you’ll discover the magic in your life and open yourself up to the world, to opportunity, and to possibility.  You might not get the girl, the part, or the response you wanted but that’s not the point.  In the end, you’ll get something way cooler – you’ll discover the power inside of you.”

I invite you to watch (or re-watch) Mel Robbin’s 20-minute TEDx talk from several years ago.  Here’s the You Tube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc

And I very much encourage you to read The 5 Second Rule and USE what it teaches you. The life of your dreams is waiting for you — and the start of it is just FIVE SECONDS away!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday October 11 with a fresh Cup of Caroll!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

September 20, 2020

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I am so sorry to have had to skip the blog last week. My deepest thanks to you who took the time to extend your kind condolences and emotional support about the passing of my brother.

I had some serious topic options planned for my next blog, but at this moment, when the world of politics seems to be going a little extra crazy and we are all just trying to cope as best we can with our daily “new normal” routines, I decided to write instead about something fun, an escape from reality — but an escape with useful lessons and a purpose.  Let me explain.

This summer, without Disneyland or our favorite “dinner and a movie” date nights to entertain us, Rick and I enjoyed our own film and television festival at home.  My ultimate escape show is Survivor and all 40 seasons are available for streaming on CBS! Over the years, I’ve seen about half of the 13-episode seasons, but it was a whole NEW experience consuming a whole season every couple of weeks.

I enjoyed the mental and emotional escape of living (virtually) on a literal “desert island” with some of my fan favorite “Castaways,” (Boston Rob, Tyson, Rupert, John Cochran and Queen Sandra, to name but a few). But I was surprised to discover that by watching a whole season unfold quickly, and then watching some of the same players compete in multiple seasons, I could discern patterns in the game that taught me some valuable lessons about what makes someone a “Winner” in pursuing any Big Goal. (The goal of the show contestants, of course, is to be voted the Sole Survivor and awarded $1 million dollars at the end by those who had been their opponents, acknowledging that they were the BEST at “Outwitting, Outplaying and Outlasting” 19 other competitors.)

Here are five major Success Lessons I gleaned from watching Survivor. I think you, too, will find them useful to remember as you pursue any Big Goal in business, finance, relationship, health, sports – whatever you REALLY want to achieve — particularly if your goal seems daunting or far-fetched.

LESSON #1: Do You.

Be yourself.  Don’t play someone else’s game.  Use your own unique strengths and passions to excel.  The challenges that all 20 Survivors must compete in are purposely varied, so that nobody has an advantage in every one.  Some challenges call for physical strength, some call for persistence and physical endurance. Some require balance and dexterity. And some involve mental acuity (like solving puzzles – NOT my strength!) In some seasons, smaller, less coordinated and downright “geeky” players have triumphed, both through the challenges and through playing a great “Social Game.”  You don’t have to match someone else’s strengths to win; you just have to play to your own.

LESSON #2: Build Alliances

The game of Survivor mirrors real life in the sense that nobody wins the game all by themselves.  The only way to make it to the end is to team up with other players in “alliances,” supporting and protecting each other and banding together to vote other people off.  Survivor proves that multiple heads ARE better than one and someone needs to have your back if you want to reach the top.  Winners in the game and in life seek out people they trust and nurture those relationships built on mutual respect and reward. In Survivor “trust” is never absolute, but that also highlights the fact that you can’t get what you really want without taking some RISKS.  You have to go out on a limb and trust others and your own gut in order to succeed.

LESSON #3: Maintain Your Integrity

Even though some deception is required to win Survivor (like keeping your Hidden Immunity Idol to yourself), those players who regularly backstab and betray the trust of their alliances almost never win the game.  They may get to the “final three,” but the jury of their peers who became collateral damage along the way invariably award the $1 Million prize to a competitor who played smart, but with a decent amount of integrity and no personal vindictiveness.  Fans may find evil-doers entertaining, but they rarely win the game of Survivor or life. (Just ask Russell Hantz, one of the Survivor “Villains” who played three times, each time, lying, conniving and betraying others — and lost each time. He ended up angry, divorced and with a mess of personal problems later, too.)  Win-At-All-Costs is not a formula for success in life OR showbusiness.

LESSON #4: Be flexible

As you begin pursuing your Big Goal, you will rarely know the “How” that will eventually lead you to success. Life takes twists and turns along the way and you must be flexible and always ready to seize serendipitous opportunities when they appear.  Survivor winners are all great at pivoting. Sometimes they must switch alliances in mid-stream when their allies are voted off.  They don’t fight reality; they go with the flow and deal with what’s so, not what they WISH were true.  You can’t be attached to your Ego’s plan when God/The Universe suddenly presents you with a “Hidden Immunity Idol” or chance to make a “Big Move.”  You have to just grab a bat and swing for the fences.

LESSON #5: Believe in yourself and commit to your dream

I think this is far and away the MOST important attribute for anyone competing on Survivor or pursuing a Big Goal in life, especially if the odds seem stacked against them. After spending a grueling 39 days with little food, lots of physical challenges and exposure to the elements, you would expect everyone to be mentally, emotionally and physically depleted and ready to quit. But the winners NEVER give in to fatigue or give up when the odds seem stacked against them.

At that point, their competition realizes they are a threat and are looking for an opportunity to vote them out. The future winners know that, but they don’t let it rattle them.  They focus on the final Immunity Challenge like it is the ONLY thing that matters, and they usually win it. They dig down deep, believe in themselves and never, ever consider quitting.  When you have obstacles in your path and not a lot of support from the outside world, you have to decide if you are going to stay 100% committed to your Big Goal or are going to fold.  Winners play to the very end.

P.S. Don’t think that failure never happens to Survivor winners. It absolutely does…just like it does to all of us in real life.  Many of the Fan Favorites have to play the grueling game two or three different seasons, often years apart, before they ultimately win. But they learn something about themselves and how to play the game each time. Then they regroup and start fresh, applying that hard-won knowledge until they reach their ultimate goal of becoming the Sole Survivor.  And how super-sweet that triumph is!

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today.

 

August 30, 2020

“It’s not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

If you have read a few of my blogs, I am sure you are quite familiar with the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) and how it works in our lives. 

Your “energy vibration” that you constantly emanate, can be felt by everyone you come in contact with. Your energy is a product of your thoughts plus the emotions you feel as a result of your thoughts.  But it also results from your WORDS and your ACTIONS.  Those are also part of what attract to you the people, circumstances and resources that are a match for YOUR vibration.

I think it’s fair to say that most people (myself included) study how to harness the power of the Law of Attraction in order to create a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. We want to learn how to use this powerful magnetic universal force to attract the ideal clients, business partners, friends, romantic relationships, delightful material things, “lucky breaks” and financial prosperity we desire. And there is nothing wrong with that!

But I wonder how often we realize that doing something kind or generous for someone else from a purely unselfish motive also plays a big role in the Law of Attraction.  What you DO and SAY to others without thought for your own reward inevitably ends up rewarding you in big and small ways you could not have foreseen.

In The Power, which is my all-time favorite book about how to put the Law of Attraction to work for you in your daily life, Rhonda Byrne says simply, “Remember that the law of attraction says whatever you give, you receive.”

In his new book The Abundance Mind-Set, positive-thought pastor Joel Osteen says, “We don’t realize what we carry.  We have the most powerful force in the universe inside us. What may seem ordinary to us, no big deal, …. can be life-giving.  A simple act of kindness.  A simple hug. Words of encouragement.  Letting someone know that you care.  That can be the spark that brings them back to life….It’s great to receive a miracle, but there’s no greater feeling than to become a miracle.  Who are you carrying?  Who are you lifting up?  Who are you helping across the finish line?  Your destiny is connected to helping others.”

I have seen this in my own life more times than I can possibly count or remember.  Whenever I have gone out of my way to lend a helping hand, or just give another person some verbal encouragement, someone else has always been there to do the same for me, just when I needed it most.

I wrote in a recent blog about how one of my friends and former clients sent me a gift of $1,000 out of the blue. When I had to pay my taxes a couple of weeks later, the bill came to exactly $1,000.  Amazing, but then, I have seen such perfect serendipity happen time and again.

It doesn’t work if you are trying to get something in return, but if you do a good deed for unselfish reasons, your pure vibration is going to attract to you some form of self-less gift – often, when you have a pressing need and no idea HOW it is going to be met.

What I didn’t explain in detail in that blog was that years before, I had loaned my friend several thousand dollars.  She was a single mom of four, who was struggling financially, trying to stand on her own two feet after a painful divorce.  Despite having a fulfilling and important job, she was constantly “running behind the bus,” trying to cover bills and debts her husband had created. Her only option was to take out payday loans at high interest rates, which inevitably caused her to take out another loan to make it to the next payday, keeping her trapped in a vicious debt cycle, through no fault of her own.

Having recently emerged from the Great Recession, my husband and I were flush from a hot real estate market and a full coaching practice, so we offered to lend her the money to catch up on all her bills and give her a fresh start.  She reluctantly agreed and was very conscientious about paying us back each month over a couple of years.

For her family’s birthday and holidays, I voluntarily waived the monthly payments, knowing that the extra cash would make her family’s celebrations brighter.  Her happiness and gratitude made me far happier than any amount of money could have.

When she made the final payment, I considered us square and felt so fulfilled, knowing that we had played a role in helping her and her family to thrive. Then I forgot all about it… until the day years later, when I went to get the mail and found her surprise $1,000 check.

I had been praying for some direction about how God intended for us to pay our remaining taxes, given the recent downturn in our businesses due to COVID. And there was the answer in my mailbox!

Even BETTER, there was a heartfelt note enclosed, explaining that she had always intended to pay us back the “forgiven” payments as soon as she could.  When she got a BIG windfall bonus from her work (which had come at a perfect time for her needs, too) she knew she had to give part of it to us.

She and I firmly believe that these perfect solutions for BOTH of us all started with me noticing she could use some help, having the resources, and deciding to do it just because it was the right thing to do. She paid it forward again by doing the same.

Not all forms of help we can offer people are monetary, of course.  We can give someone who needs it a real or virtual hug, lend an ear, speak an encouraging word, offer to run an errand, do a chore, babysit their kids, cook them a meal, etc. There are an infinite number of gifts that don’t cost much money or take much effort on our part, yet certainly can make a world of difference to someone else.

In his book, Joel Osteen relates how, years ago, he was leaving a local cafe with his toddler son, when he noticed a man dressed in a business suit, sitting in a booth by himself.  The gentleman didn’t look down and out by any means, but Joel just had a strong feeling, “I knew I was supposed to encourage him in some way.”

So, on his way out, Joel made a point of walking by his booth, smiling at the stranger and offering him a friendly, “Hello.  How’s it going?” The man kind of laughed and answered, “Not very well. Things are kind of rough.”

“I didn’t think much about it,” Joel says. “I just smiled and said, ‘Well, I know this. It’s going to get better.’  He thanked me and I left.”

“A few months later, I received a letter…He told me how he was at the lowest point in his life at that time.  He was going through a divorce, and his whole world had fallen apart. For months, he had been in depression. But he said, ‘When you made that statement that it’s going to get better, it was like something reignited on the inside.’ That day was a turning point in his life.  He came out of the depression.  He got his fire back. Today, he is moving forward.”

You can be sure that whenever you take time to do or say something kind, generous or encouraging for someone, it absolutely WILL come back to bless you. The one you help may not be the one to repay you directly, like my friend did. But thanks to The Law of Attraction, you can be confident that God/The Universe has created the perfect mechanism for making sure that “whatever you give, you receive.” And life doesn’t get much richer than that!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking Labor Day Weekend off.  I hope you enjoy yours!  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday September 13.

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today.

 

August 23, 2020

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Dennis Kimbro

“A young man told me: ‘I don’t want to expect too much.  That way if it doesn’t happen, I won’t go to bed all disappointed.’ That’s no way to live.  If you’re not expecting increase, promotion or good breaks, you’re not releasing your faith….If you expect a break and it doesn’t happen, don’t go to bed disappointed.  Go to bed knowing you’re one day closer to seeing it come to pass. Get up the next morning and do it again.” – Joel Osteen

We all face challenges every single day.  Right now, we’re facing more personal and societal challenges all at once than most of us have seen in a whole lifetime.  All our normal routines and plans have been upended.

Reading the newspaper each morning, I can feel pretty overwhelmed and disheartened about the state of the world. That’s why I always balance my “getting informed” time with spending 30 to 60 minutes reading inspiring books, praying and gratitude journaling. I make sure all my coaching clients do this morning practice, too. It helps us re-focus on our GOALS, not our FEARS, and set our expectations to POSITIVE.

I have come to believe that the number one trait of successful people is FAITH and the number two trait is PERSISTENCE. You can’t really have one without the other.  You can’t persevere in the face of seemingly hopeless adversity unless you have faith that a Higher Power is on your side and working on leading you to a good outcome. And you can’t give up when things look hopeless if you truly have faith in a Higher Power who wants you to succeed.

Since COVID-19 took hold in March, my husband and I have faced our share of financial challenges.  We have been fortunate that I still have a fair income from coaching (although not at the level I was used to), and he was able to get enhanced unemployment benefits for a few months when real estate temporarily ground to a halt.  Each day, we had to get up and persevere, without having a clue what lay ahead.

I know that God/The Universe has been our ally before and will be now.  I had a chance to prove it to myself in a big way recently, which showed me that if one door slams in my face, I can follow my Divine guidance to the open one that will get me where I need to go.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you will remember that I had to have a LOT of patience and determination in dealing with Experian, one of the big three credit reporting agencies.

As I wrote in “Stand Still – Blog 374,” for several days in June, I spent hours patiently and persistently navigating a maze of recorded phone messages and “call this other person” hand-offs. I was referred by a collections agency to a childcare provider, who then referred me to Experian (where I had originally started my dispute), in order to convince them that an $800 unpaid childcare bill “derogatory” that popped up on my otherwise pristine credit report wasn’t really MINE. I am well past childcare age, and I don’t live in Minnesota, where the collection originated, but as I learned, facts and logic mean nothing in the world of credit reporting.

At the time, I knew I needed a clean credit report because we had applied for a Small Business Administration loan that could greatly help us with our business expenses during the months to come, especially knowing the enhanced unemployment benefits Rick was receiving would soon run out.

It took a LOT of faith, persistence and positive expectation on my part to unwind that tangle.  I cannot tell you how sweet the moment was when I FINALLY reached a real, live person at Experian who said to me, “I am looking at your report right now and the name on this collection isn’t YOURS.  I am going to make sure this gets deleted from your credit report immediately!” The next day, my Experian credit score had increased by 25 points!

But once the report was clear, that was just the start of my long, winding journey into an even greater tangle of bureaucracy at the SBA.  After not hearing a peep from them for two full months after we applied, I got a “first step” email out of the blue, asking for a few more details from us.  Two hours after I typed my answers into the online template, I got a great big “APPLICATION DENIED” message back from the SBA, with no explanation.  It said I could submit an online request to be reconsidered, but without knowing why I was denied, that wasn’t a viable option.

I have to be honest, that was my lowest point emotionally.  I was running out of patience and emotional stamina and my faith was getting a little shaky too.

The next morning, I had a heart-to-heart Gratitude Formula Journaling session with God, asking Him to PLEASE make it crystal clear if I was supposed to pursue the SBA loan or if I was being directed to some better option — because this particular door seemed to be nailed shut.

I didn’t get any immediate clear urges, intuition or other “signs” as May McCarthy calls them in her wonderful Gratitude Formula book.  But I am proud to say that I didn’t panic or throw in the towel.  I just “got up the next morning and did it again,” just as Joel Osteen advises.

About a week later, my accountant emailed to ask if I had heard any more on the SBA loan denial because the final deadline for applications was fast approaching.  For some reason, her question lit a fire down in me that rekindled my persistence and determination!

I had a phone number for the SBA and right then, I picked up the phone and called it.  I was only on hold for about 15 minutes when a real, live agent answered.  While I was waiting, I had been visualizing who I wanted to answer:  Someone understanding, smart, knowledgeable, on my side, who could tell me exactly what to do to get the ball rolling again.

And that’s exactly who I got! She said there must have been a glitch in the system because there was no reason for denial at that stage.  She was going to send my application back into the system and promised that I should be hearing from someone soon.

Two days later, I got a personal email from a very nice loan processing subcontractor who was going to personally handle our application. It was so easy from there!

In four days, we were funded for FAR more than the amount I planned to ask for. (The SBA never asked how much we wanted; they just approved us for an amazingly large sum.)  We received the money at the absolute perfect time to meet our needs. All our business taxes and bills have been covered, and we still have most of the money sitting in the bank, in case we need it.  We have six months to decide whether to use more of it or send back the unused portion.  Whatever we do use, we can repay at 3% interest for up to 30 years!

Lately, we have seen a stream of wonderful new clients coming to both Rick and me, and we no longer have any stress or worry about how we will survive this challenging time.  I give ALL credit to God’s unfailing guidance and to myself for having faith AND for persisting, no matter what.

It is said that “dreams delayed are not dreams denied.”  I know this to be true. We just have to get up tomorrow morning and pursue them for one more day, and have faith that they will be fulfilled when the time is right.

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today.

August 16, 2020

I am attending a virtual convention all this weekend, so I hope you will enjoy this lightly-edited blog from one year ago that my readers found very useful. It outlines some great communication practices that are guaranteed to foster success in your career or business.

“Think of one person in your world you’ve been meaning to connect with: to get to know better or to actually make time for.  Surprise them: write them a note, find time to talk, or tell them about something that made you think of them.  Ask them about something they enjoy, and find out why they like it….” – From the book The Happiness Hack

Honest, thoughtful, effective communication creates the foundation for fulfilling, lasting personal and business relationships.  Those bonds, in turn, become the foundation for our success in life. And whether you realize it or not, people really DO notice how you behave when you communicate (or don’t) and judge you by your actions.

Over my sixteen years of Personal Success Coaching, I have witnessed a number of less-than-optimal communication “manners” among my clients that I know can limit their success. So want to share with you, too, a few practical tips for making your own communication habits more effective and enjoyable:

  • Give them your undivided attention. When I coach, I sit at my desk, listening intently and taking notes about what my clients are saying, occasionally taking a sip of water (as quietly as possible) when my throat gets dry. Most of them give me their undivided attention, too.  But over the years, I have heard some clients banging pots and pans, running water, dragging furniture, chewing gum (or food) and slurping beverages. I often wonder if they do the same things while talking to their customers, colleagues and loved ones. The message this sends to your conversation partner is that “You are not important enough to me to give you my undivided attention.”  So please don’t multi-task while you are on the phone. (And PLEASE don’t be looking at or on your phone in the presence of someone you are supposed to be paying attention to – including your kids!)
  • Don’t avoid a conversation. Many of my clients are used to texting or messaging their friends, customers and prospects. Rarely do they pick up the phone, even if the conversation is likely to have extended back and forth question and answers. If you want to speak to someone, CALL them and leave a voice mail if they don’t pick up.  In this text-happy world, leaving a voice message conveys to your listener that they matter SO much to you that you actually wanted to have a real conversation them! One of my clients who took my advice to CALL her prospects reported that the ratio of replies she got was triple what her texts had always garnered.  REMINDER: texting is to be avoided at all costs when you have a complicated or difficult situation to work through with someone.  One of my clients had a minor issue blow up into a huge dramatic to-do because she tried to handle it via text instead of talking it out with the other party.  Your positive energy rubs off on others when you use your VOICE, not typed words on a screen.
  • Answer messages promptly. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. If you want your teammates, customers, prospects and loved ones to return YOUR messages, ask yourself how promptly YOU respond to emails, texts and voice mails. Many of my clients complain about lack of response from others, but when I send them an urgent or critical email, I have learned to put PLEASE RESPOND in capital letters in the subject line – and some of them still never answer. Causing other people to wonder and worry about whether you got their message or something is wrong between you will not make them enjoy communicating with you.  Is your voice mailbox full?  Do you have a week’s worth of emails or 20 texts you haven’t looked at?  If you don’t respond to others in a timely manner, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) dictates that others won’t respond to YOU.
  • Keep your word. This is the #1 MUST for effective communication.  If you made an appointment to meet someone at Starbucks and then just didn’t show up, you can imagine how they will react!  Is it any less of an affront if you stand them up for a phone appointment they planned on and made time for?  As soon as you realize that you are running late or can’t make it, CALL or at least text them.  They will forgive you if you apologize and give a BRIEF explanation (not a rambling, self-serving excuse). But if they call and you are just not there, they will get the message loud and clear that they don’t matter much to you.
  • Be clear and concise. Don’t beat around the bush with long preambles or let yourself wander off on tangents containing lots of details that are not important to your central message.  Trying to follow your meandering thoughts while waiting for you to get to the point, wears out your listener and assures they will tune you out and just pretend to be listening.  A tell-tale sign that you are inserting too many inconsequential details into your speaking is if you regularly interrupt yourself with “Well, anyway….” Or “Long story short….”  My favorite reminder to stick to the point comes from my friend and mentor Leslie Zann, a talented speaker and ace trainer for the direct sales industry.  Leslie always teaches, “If it’s not necessary to say, it’s necessary NOT to say it.”

I hope these communication tips will help you to create relationships built on mutual trust, honesty and respect. Those are bonds that last and will bring you rich rewards!

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