February 14, 2021

“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” – Robert Morley

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Here is a lightly-edited fan-favorite post from last year to remind you that this official “Day of Love” is the perfect time to rev up your self-love.

February 16, 2020

However you spend your Valentine’s Day – with your sweetheart, a four-footed pal, a BFF, or just enjoying your own company – I hope you feel LOVED.  The most important person on the planet for you to love is YOU.

If you are not being loved, appreciated, respected or treated right by someone else (a boss, teacher, romantic partner, friend, upline, downline, co-worker, etc.), The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” Therefore, if you recognize that you are attracting people into your life who do not seem to be honoring and valuing you (especially if you see a pattern among several people), it’s a good idea to honestly assess how YOU are feeling about and treating yourself.

I have always loved two quotes from psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and I often share them with clients who complain about someone who behaves badly toward them:

“No one will ever value you more than you value yourself.”

“We teach other people how to treat us.”

And, if you want to love others more, you first need to love yourself, human imperfections and all.  Remember, God/The Universe couldn’t create junk – therefore, you ARE a masterpiece.

There are two things I believe all successful people have in abundance: Self confidence and Self-esteem.  The former is you believing that you are capable.  The latter is you believing that you are worthy and lovable.

If you were raised by well-meaning parents to believe that loving yourself displeases your Creator because it is “prideful” or “selfish” or “stuck up,” here is a different spiritual outlook from my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen:

 “Love Yourself (By Joel Osteen)

Jesus said that if you don’t love yourself in a healthy way, you will never be able to love others in the way that you should. This is why some people don’t have good relationships. If you don’t get along with yourself, you’ll never get along with others. We all have weaknesses, shortcomings, and things that we wish were different. But if you see yourself as less than, not talented, and not valuable, you will become exactly that. If you feel unattractive on the inside, you will convey feelings of unattractiveness. That’s going to push people away. You carry yourself the way you see yourself.

People see you the way you see yourself. Perhaps if you quit focusing on your flaws and start loving yourself in a healthy way, being proud of who God made you to be, then as you send out these different messages, it’s going to bring new opportunities, new relationships, and new levels of God’s favor.”

Remember, there are only two opinions about YOU that TRULY matter: Yours and your Creator’s. If you steer your life by those, not only will you be happy and successful, you also will be able to radiate your healthy self-love out to the rest of the world and make a positive difference in the lives of many others.  And I can promise you that you will feel loved and valued in return.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off so that I can attend a virtual coaching training.  Your next Cup of Caroll will arrive on Sunday February 28.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://www.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

February 7, 2021

“What seems to be an obstacle can often be an opportunity to go in a better and more rewarding direction.  We only need to stop complaining and start looking at things with fresh eyes.  At the very worst, problems require us to become smarter, more resourceful and more determined.” – From the book How Successful People Think

Indomitable: (adj.) “Brave, determined, and impossible to defeat or frighten.”

Happy Superbowl Sunday!  As two talented football teams take to the field today in their quest to be Number One, we have the opportunity to think about our own Big Goals and what it takes to reach them when we face long odds and obstacles of all kinds.  Sometimes these obstacles can appear impossible to overcome.  But you cannot give up on your Dream!  You must be committed. You must be UN-stoppable.

Here is a lightly-edited fan favorite post from two years ago that reminds us exactly what it takes to be indomitable.

April 27, 2019

A number of my coaching clients recently have faced some very big challenges in their lives: the death of a parent or close loved one, depression, anxiety, cancer, a parent’s stroke, serious financial hardship, a doubled work load when a colleague quit, sexual harassment, an ex-spouse trying to make their life a living hell, debilitating health challenges, an emotionally devastating court case, miscarriage, the serious illness or death of a beloved pet, and trying to find an affordable place to live closer to their work.

And yet, all of them have remained steadfast in their commitment to their personal Big Goals. How do they do it?  How do they remain strong and continue to carry on in the face of such daunting obstacles?

First and foremost, all of them have a strong faith. Whether they call it God, the Universe, Spirit, etc. – they all believe that a force for good that is bigger than themselves wants to help them triumph.  Faith has sustained me in some of the darkest times when I could not see a light at the end of what seemed to be an endless tunnel.  I went to bed praying for strength and guidance and when I got up the next day, exactly what I needed was always there for me….One step at a time.

Second, they have a friend or family or support group they can lean on. It is easy to feel alone and isolated, believing you are the only one going through hell, especially when you spend time on social media reading about your peers, who seem to all be doing fine.  But you have to be willing to open up with someone you trust and ask for support.  The human Ego resists being vulnerable because it thinks showing weakness will get you killed. In truth, pretending to be OK when you are not will NOT help you overcome a challenge. Asking for support from those you can trust WILL.

Third, they take it one day at a time.  The journey to overcoming all obstacles and reaching a Big Goal often lasts longer than you think it should, but you will eventually get there if you don’t give up.  It’s always too soon to quit.

My friend and I are on a mutual-support journey together right now to losing weight and getting fit.  It’s not easy, believe me.  For me, it’s a matter of wanting to look good and have more energy. The stakes are even higher for my friend’s health and physical comfort. We each broke our weight goal down into specific ACTIVITIES we promised to do each day, and we keep track of them and report in to each other each morning about what we did and didn’t do.  Having a daily accountability partner is one of the best forms of support you can use to help you persevere when the going gets tough.

When the scale doesn’t seem to budge after a long time of staying on track, we remind each other not to fixate on the outcome, but to focus on what we can control – our activities.  We know it is inevitable that doing the right activities MUST produce a result.  The timing isn’t in our control, but having the right mindset and doing what we said we would do IS.

Finally, you must expect the BEST.  When you are in the pit and you can’t see the way out, you can turn away from focusing on your problem and re-focus on your Big Goal. Spend time each day closing your eyes and VISUALIZING in vivid detail what life will be like when you reach it.  Remain unattached to the WHO, WHEN and HOW. Allow God/The Universe to do the planning and provide the guidance you need in the form of brainstorms, new insights, suddenly recalled memories, resources and people you encounter at just the right moment.  Your job is to BELIEVE and EXPECT it will happen, even when you have no idea HOW.

My husband and I suffered a huge financial setback in the Great Recession. We lost our clients, our incomes, two homes and a car.  We had to file bankruptcy and focus on just keeping a roof over our heads and simply getting from one end of the month to the other. My daily focus for five solid years was putting one foot in front of the other, talking it out with friends when I felt down, and asking for specific help when I needed it. With a lot of faith and support, we survived the toughest time either of us had ever faced.  There were days I wanted to give up, but that notion never lasted.  I had too much indomitable spirit to allow any outer circumstances to defeat me.  With the support of friends and our unshakable faith that God would direct our steps, little by little, we found our footing.

After five years of steadily-growing inner strength, faith and hanging on, suddenly, everything turned around for us out of the blue.  Rick’s real estate business rebounded into one of the best years of his long career. At the same time, a single referral from a coaching colleague led me to several clients in the same direct sales company, which began a string of hundreds of client referrals and the greatest financial abundance I have known in my 16 years as a Personal Success Coach.

If you have an indomitable mindset, faith that your Higher Power will actively assist you, a willingness to be vulnerable and ask others for help, and the integrity to do everything you know how to do right now, I promise you, no matter how big the obstacles you face, you WILL overcome them and reach your biggest dreams.

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

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

I invite you to give yourself, a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can gift this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (Feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!) Just email caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

 

January 24, 2021

“You are where you are today in part because of what you’ve been saying….Words are like seeds.  When you speak something out, you give life to what you’re saying.  If you continue to say it, eventually that can become a reality.” – Joel Osteen

Well, 2021 certainly has started off with a bang, hasn’t it?  Some things bad, some things good.  Much of it out of our individual control. But there are two very crucial things that affect your own success and quality of life that are always under your direct control: your attitude and your words.  How you think and how you convey those thoughts to others can make all the difference in how your future turns out.

Since many of my readers are either direct sales leaders, entrepreneurs or team leaders at their work, I want to share a simple recipe for success in leading a team. Even if you aren’t a boss or team leader, you are undoubtedly part of a team in some area of life – your class, your family, your social circle, volunteer organization or church.  Rarely do we succeed in life all alone.  We need other people – many other people – to help us and we to help them too, as we all strive to reach our Big Goals.

This recipe for success shows us how to adopt the right attitude and – most importantly – how to convey it to others on our team in a way that will inspire, uplift and encourage them to believe in themselves and to want to be their best.

This simple recipe comes from an entertaining little book one of my coaching clients generously gifted me called The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. It’s the story of how a very unhappy marketing manager named George learns how to become a great team leader from the driver and passengers on a bus he is forced to take to work when his car is in the shop.  George’s family life is a shambles, his kids don’t like him and his wife is threatening divorce. And his department team members don’t much like him either. They do the bare minimum and won’t work cohesively as a team. George has just two weeks to pull his marketing team together to create a successful new product launch for his corporate bosses or he will be fired.

This short book is an easy read, but it contains some very practical ideas for nurturing and improving the happiness and effectiveness of our family, personal and business relationships by getting the important people in our lives to want to ride with us on our “Energy Bus.”

We’re the “bus driver” of our Energy Bus and they are our “passengers.”  We can’t MAKE them ride with us, we can only inspire them to want to get on board with our vision and CHOOSE to ride with us. The idea is that when we are all riding on the same bus, moving in the same direction, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish together.

Here is an excerpt from The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, edited slightly for length:

“Five Ways to Love Your Passengers

“1. Make Time for Them – When you love someone or something, you spend time with them. You nurture your relationship with them. You can’t nurture business relationships sitting at your desk, just as you can’t spend quality time with your spouse if you are watching television. So the key is to come out of your office and get to know your team.  Spend time with them. Get to know them individually. Get to know them as people, not numbers. Just as you would tend to a garden, you need to cultivate your team with love. And while you are with them it is important to be present with them.  Be engaged in the present moment. Don’t be thinking about 10 things you have to do that day or the 10 other people you need to meet with.  Really be with that person and focus your energy on them. They will feel the difference.

“2. Listen to Them – One of the most important factors that determines a high management approval rating is whether the manager listens to the employee.  Does the manager hear what the employee has to say? Does the manager listen to the ideas and needs of the employee?  Your employees and customers just want to be heard, so listen to them and hear them…Empathy is the key….For instance, when you ask someone how they are doing, an easy way to show you are listening is to actually wait for the answer and make eye contact.

“3. Recognize Them – We don’t mean with trophies or some awards dinner.  We want you to make it real personal. Honor them for who they are and what they do. Recognize them as a person as much as a business professional. One leader we know sends each employee a personal birthday card with a handwritten note, not some electronic fake signature but a real note…Another very powerful way to recognize them is to praise them when they are doing things right. The more you recognize them for doing things right, the more they will do things right.

“4. Serve Them – A great leader once said, the higher you get in an organization, the more it is your duty to serve the people below you rather than having the people below serve you. The key is to serve their growth, their future, their career, and their spirits so they enjoy work, life and being on your bus. The more you serve their growth, the more they will help you grow.

“5. Bring Out the Best in Them – We saved this one for last because this is the most important. When you love someone you want the best for them. You want them to be successful and happy. You want to bring out the best in them. Thus the best way any leader can demonstrate their love for their team is to help each person discover their strengths and provide an opportunity for that person to utilize them. When you create a system that provides a way for your people to shine, you not only bring out the best in them, but in the rest of the team and company as well.  If you really want to love your team, help them do what they do best.”

Well, it won’t be much of a spoiler to tell you that George learns to live by this recipe for success and his wife and children begin to feel he loves them and they love him back. And his work team realizes he really cares about them and wants them to succeed and they begin to step up and contribute and shine and create a bang-up marketing presentation and everyone wins!

I believe I generally do follow these precepts with my family and coaching clients, but I know I can always do better. Starting NOW, I am going to re-read these five rules each morning during my personal development time to remind me to make sure they know that I genuinely do love them!

If you will do the same with the team in your life, I can promise that you will see some success miracles unfold for all of you, just like they did for George.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next week off.  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday February 7. 

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

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

Start the year off right and give a friend, colleague or yourself a truly unique gift that can be truly life-changing: a private ONE HOUR “Prosperity Breakthrough” session with me.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no strings attached! To schedule this F*R*E*E* phone coaching session, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com ASAP, as I book up fast!

January 10, 2021

Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it.  Make your mental blueprint and begin.” – Robert Collier 

I think it’s safe to say we ALL want 2021 to be better than 2020 was! Here’s your chance to help God/The Universe make it so!

In the last blog, we discussed the importance of completing your old year before you attempt to create your new year the way you want it to be.  Once you have released any disappointments, lingering resentments, incompletions and regrets over what did or didn’t happen for you last year, you are ready to CO-create (with God/The Universe) an even BETTER new year for yourself.  

I have been doing a New Year Creation exercise every year since 2004. I can’t say every year turned out exactly the way I had envisioned in every area of my life. (2020 least of all!) Still, as I re-read each New Year’s Eve what I had set out to create that year, I was consistently amazed to find that much of what I truly wanted did come true.

By the way, if you haven’t yet completed the “Reflections Exercise” from last week’s blog (Ready to Move On! – Blog 391) to help you powerfully complete 2020, identify your main lessons from it, and create the mental and emotional space for a year of new manifestations, please take all the time you need to finish it before you begin this next step. You can find it in the blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com.

CREATING YOUR NEW YEAR

Once you have completed the old, you are ready and receptive to a brand NEW year of co-creating your life to be how YOU want it to be! We know that life can definitely throw us some curve balls from time to time, but this is a very effective technique for creating your year intentionally, rather than passively waiting to see how it all “turns out.”

I was so pleased to receive an email today from one of my longtime clients about the outcome of her New Year Creation exercise: “In re-reading my Year Creation, I see that what I put down for what I wanted in a new home manifested exactly how I specified – the realtor, house location, everything!” As hundreds of my clients have proven, year in and year out, you CAN ask for what you want – and get it!

And NO, I am not suggesting that the Divine Plan for your life doesn’t matter!  I personally believe that in order to manifest our highest good, we must first ASK God/The Universe clearly and specifically for what we want, and then know that if it is good for us and doesn’t harm anyone else, we will be shown HOW to get it.  You can trust that if God/The Universe has different plans for you, you will be guided to fulfill them and they will be EVEN better than the ones you suggested!

STEP ONE: Create a THEME for the year. How you would like this year show to up for your life?  Make it catchy so you can remember it on a daily basis. This year, my theme is “2021: The Year of Fully and Abundantly Living my Purpose” because I want to expand my avenues for sharing Law of Attraction prosperity principles in new and bigger ways. 

STEP TWO: Create a list of personal qualities to describe how YOU want to show up in the world this year. State it in the present tense, as though it’s already a fact. Here’s mine: “In 2021, I am God’s richly-rewarded Prosperity Messenger: Inspiring, Confident, Peaceful, Joyous, Patient, Empowering, Faith-Filled, Loving and Giving. I attract effortlessly WHO I AM and what I desire.” 

By declaring who you are in writing, you will automatically begin to become this person. The qualities and attributes you begin to embody will then attract the right people and resources to manifest your Big Dreams with ease.  As the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”  So whatever qualities you cultivate in yourself will show up in those who will be attracted to you – in business, friendship, romantic relationship – everywhere!

STEP THREE: List the main areas of life that are important to you.  Then simply state what you desire to have in each area this year.  Remember, you do not have to know HOW you are going to get those desires fulfilled!  Each dream you describe is simply a declaration to God/the Universe that this is what you desire – stated in the present tense, with GRATITIDE, as though it’s already happened(NOTE: This “gratitude in advance” wording is a really important part of the format!)

Declaring “I am so grateful that…” above the first one and then describing what you desire in each area of life that is important to you tells your own subconscious mind that you believe 100% that it is going to happen – in fact, it’s ALREADY a done deal, as far as you are concerned.  You BELIEVE that God/the Universe will figure out the HOW and convey it to you by whatever means He/It chooses. It’s your job to quietly listen for Divine Direction and then take ACTION when you get those Divine “leads.”  Visualizing, Declaring and Believing in your dreams being fulfilled before you see any tangible evidence is key to making them a reality.

EXAMPLE YEAR CREATION

A couple of years ago, one of my clients created an outstandingly simple, clear, graceful and powerful Year Creation – all on a single page, which is much shorter than my own!  I share it as an example of what the format looks like when complete.

Remember, the areas of life she wrote about are the most important to HER; your Big Dreams may be in different areas, which is perfectly fine. If you see something in hers that you would like too, feel free to “borrow” it for your own!

2019: The year of Growth, Grace and Grit 

In 2019, I am a vehicle for dreams to be achieved and goals to be attained: Joyful, Confident, Determined, Enthusiastic, Graceful, insightful, Loving and Unstoppable. I attract effortlessly WHO I AM and what I love.

I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT…. 

Love and Family: I love spending time with my husband and daughters learning about the world. We vacation often and have incredible trips where we learn, enjoy and explore amazingness. We have time to enjoy each other and be fully present, but we also take time for ourselves. We love each other deeply, have thoughtful conversations, celebrate our success and help each other thru the failures.

Business:  I am so grateful for the excitement, challenges and rewards that my Rodan + Fields business gives to me every day. I am the leader of an amazing team and have very loyal customers who feel appreciated. I get time every day to work and inspire the men and women on my team.  It will be a source of joy that radiates into every aspect of my life including my primary career. At convention, I am wearing my blue, blingy lanyard and I am so thrilled to be a part of the leadership summit!!

Friendship: My friends are so very important for me. I have time every day to check in on everyone – a phone call or a series of texts. I’m so very grateful for their love and humor!  We find time at least once a month to all go out together for dinner or movies and drinks! We are there to support each other through hard times and celebrations!

Health: I am eating healthier and feeling great. My morning walks are a time for ME. Sometimes it is for reflection, listening to a podcast or an early morning phone call with a friend on the east coast. I wake up every morning excited to go out and hit the road. My husband is cooking fantastic meals!

Self-Care: My mental state is clear and focused; my stress levels are low. I am able to attend my monthly meetings with other women entrepreneurs where we can help each other with whatever we need in life and in our businesses. I take time to read 30 minutes every day in peace and quiet. I have conversations with friends who feel similarly to me about what we learn, feel and think.  The laws of attraction are so present in my life that it is a natural part of my time – all of the time. 

What matters most to YOU right now? 

Think of your New Year Creation exercise like a Vision Board that uses words instead of pictures. Nothing is required of you. You don’t have to make an action plan or a to-do list from the heartfelt intentions you wrote! All you have to do is EXPRESS GRATITUDE IN ADVANCE to God/the Universe for it and BELIEVE it will show up for you at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

Some of my clients like to read their New Year Creation at the beginning of each week or the first of a new month, just to stay connected to it. But you could put yours away in a drawer and not take it out until next New Years — and you will be amazed that your own subconscious mind has been conspiring with your Divine Co-Creator throughout the year to create opportunities for you to make your Big Dreams a reality.

That’s the Law of Attraction in action! So don’t delay — The BEST year of your life (so far) is just waiting for you to create it!  And I believe we ALL want that for our 2021!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next week off.  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday January 24.  Until then, happy year creating!

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

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

BRAND NEW! This New Year, give a friend, colleague or yourself a unique gift that can be truly life-changing: A ONE HOUR “Prosperity Attraction Breakthrough” session. This private phone coaching session is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no strings attached! To schedule this F*R*E*E* session, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com ASAP, as I book up fast!

 

 

January 3, 2021

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli

Happy New Year and WELCOME 2021!  We couldn’t WAIT for 2020 to be over! I think it’s safe to say that 2020 didn’t go the way ANY of us planned or predicted.

Certainly, the world’s problems haven’t magically disappeared with the calendar change. But a new year offers us new hope and a fresh perspective – a chance to reboot our personal goals and ask what we can do to help others reach theirs.

The biggest reason for hope is that we have not one but three new vaccines that should help kick the pandemic’s butt worldwide. And we have a new administration to shake things up in Washington.  Whatever your political bent, I am sure you are rooting for the new administration and Congress to work TOGETHER, to get something substantial done to protect our health and our environment and put our economy back on track!

With so much change and political division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2020 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important insights and lessons that you can carry into this new year to help you create it to be all that you wish for.

In my 16+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help nearly 1,000 individual clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year a success. Creating your personal goals and manifesting them requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin.

Step One: Complete the Old Year.  You can’t create something NEW in a space that is cluttered with old stuff. You have to truly be finished with the past. So, if you want this next year to be more than just a replay of whatever you experienced last year, you must first complete your old year to make space for your new intentions.

The Reflections Exercise

A great completion process is simply to sit quietly and answer a series questions that make you think deeply about the outcomes of your past year – the good, the bad and the ugly. Answering them honestly will clarify your underlying beliefs, expectations, attitudes and actions that influenced the results you got.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do that influenced what happened for you last year. Determining accurately what caused your past outcomes helps you to identify NEW ways of thinking and being that will cause you to take NEW actions.  Taking new actions will bring you new results, while continuing on “auto-pilot” inside of the same thought and behavior patterns pretty much guarantees that this year is going to bring you more of the same.

Here are 14 KEY questions to complete your 2020 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2021. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30 minutes or so to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 — Questions for Completing the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?
  • What was your greatest failure or disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • Who did you make a difference for and how?
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on?
  • What are you most grateful for regarding last year?

Part 2 — Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What ONE WORD would you like to have as your theme in 2021?
  • What would you feel most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What new skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instilling this year?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you make room for more of that in 2021?

NEXT WEEK We will do STEP TWO: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 16 years and I know you will too!

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

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to give yourself (or someone you care about) a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation!  

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.  I have a limited number of free session slots available, so don’t delay!

December 20, 2020

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

The global pandemic and all the political strife that has grown up around it have been the spark for rekindling our awareness of how interconnected we all truly are.  One of the most unexpected blessings of this very challenging year has been my increased awareness of how MANY people regularly go out of their way to be kind, generous and helpful….not just to their friends and neighbors, but also to complete strangers.

My annual Pay It Forward Challenge, where I ask my clients and blog readers to do at least one random act of kindness for someone during the Holiday Season, as a way of demonstrating our gratitude for our own blessings, has taken on special meaning for me this year.  I notice little acts of kindness every day by people all around me, in the grocery store, my neighborhood and Starbucks – everywhere I go.

The past several blogs have detailed many Pay It Forward acts of Gratitude-in-Action that my readers have shared with me so I can pass them along to you, in hopes they will inspire you to come up with your own personal ideas for “the kind of difference you want to make.”

As we wrap up the 2020 Pay It Forward Challenge with this blog, I wanted to share a few more stories, as well as the divine timing of an article I read just today in the Los Angeles Times about a Facebook Group that is dedicated to doing random acts of kindness (usually anonymously) year-round.  The group is called “Sparks of Kindness” and you can join it, as I just did.  The readers share their acts of kindness in the forum, giving each other ideas of small, fun, inexpensive ways they can make a difference in the world around them.

Since it was launched several years ago, Sparks of Kindness has grown to over 5,000 online members in about 40 countries, according to the founder, Debbie McFarland.  She is a photographer from Georgia who founded the group because she “found that there’s so many people that want to do good – they just don’t really know how to start.Sparks of Kindness has lists of ideas for “sparks,” or small acts people can do to brighten someone’s day and spread hope, love and joy around any time of the year.

Debbie launched the group several years ago, but interest has picked up a lot this year. “During this pandemic,” she says, “I think people are starting to realize that…every person you come into contact with is fighting some kind of battle, whether it’s appointments or unmet expectations of others or health or bullying….Everyone’s facing a battle, and if you can get one tiny spark to ignite hope within them, then it does something within them.”

Some ideas the Sparks of Kindness group members have shared are similar to what my blog readers have done, such as taking soup and biscuits to a sick mother, giving someone ahead in line $20 when his debit card didn’t go through and taking flowers to someone who could use cheering up.  Some very creative ones from other members that I particularly love include:

  • Leaving a ziplock bag of pennies next to a fountain with a note that said, “Take a penny. Make a wish! Hope your dreams come true!” 
  • Leaving a tin of cookies on the running board of an ambulance outside a nursing home with a note to the EMTs that said, “You’re AMAZING! Yes, You!”
  • Leaving snacks and water on the porch for the mail carrier and delivery drivers who are running around so fast right now, they rarely have time for a break.
  • Leaving notes in stores for others to find, such as “You’re beautiful just the way you are” in the cosmetics aisle or “This too, shall pass, hang in there” in the cold and flu remedy aisle.
  • My personal favorite listed in the L.A. Times article was someone who left a ziplock bag of quarters at the laundromat for anyone who needed change. It was a godsend for a young mother who put her toddler’s comforter in the washer, only to discover she didn’t have any money for the dryer.  After she went on the Sparks of Kindness Facebook page to post her thanks, a member bought her a new dryer.

Here are the final ones from our own Cup of Caroll readers, that are equally heartfelt gestures of generosity, love and kindness:

  • One of my clients who has really taken on the Pay It Forward Challenge in a big way just sent me this text: “I’m getting ready to deliver a homemade Mexican dinner with homemade Mexican chocolate sugar cookies to a friend and her family who’ve been quarantined;  Christmas Gifts for 2 Angel Tree kids who wouldn’t get presents otherwise; 3 products that a client wasn’t able to order due to them being out of stock (I had 3 extra for sample packets…he’s getting them at a discount!), and stopping by another friend’s place of business for his Christmas Customer Appreciation get-together. I feel very happy that I am making a difference in at least four families’ lives.  Oh, and one of the Angel Tree gifts I picked up, wrapped, and am delivering is for another friend who is totally swamped with her own business and family stuff going on.  It feels sooooo good to give!!”
  • A client told me about a kind deed she did for a long stretch of time after her direct sales upline leader’s loved one passed away. My client wrote her a short snail-mail note once a week for three months, simply expressing love and support and assuring her that she was not forgotten in her grief. The leader just recently replied with a note that said, “You will never know how much it meant to me.”
  • The teacher I wrote about in the last blog who taught her students about complete sentences by having them write three a day in their Gratitude Journals that start with “I am grateful for…” also had them write about “One thing I want to STOP doing after 2020 is…” and “One thing I want to START doing in 2021 is….”
  • Although we have plenty of money to buy presents, my wonderful husband Rick and I decided that this special Christmas, we will put that money toward worthy causes instead of stuff. We wrote Christmas cards to all our friends and family members, asking them to designate a charity they would like us to donate to in their name. They all loved the idea. In fact, I have never gotten such enthusiastic thanks for any gifts I have given them before!

As I said in the blog, a nice side benefit to the warmth you feel when you help someone else is that the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) dictates that YOU will also be blessed whenever you do good for others.  True to form, I just received surprise gift card for our favorite supermarket from a friend and former client. The amount was exactly what I will be spending for our family’s Christmas feast that I recently ordered from there.

I send you and your loved ones heartfelt wishes for joy, health and prosperity for the rest of the Holidays and on into the New Year!  Next time, we will lay the groundwork for what needs to be emotionally and mentally completed for 2020 and begin to create a MUCH better 2021 for all of us!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the next week end off.  Merry Christmas and look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday January 3, 2021. 

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* “Jumpstart Your Success” 60 minute phone coaching session that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

December 13, 2020

“A person struggles.  You help.  A door needs to be open. You open it.  A piece of trash is in your path.  You pick it up and throw it away.  A child needs extra attention.  You give it. A job needs to be completed. You do it.  One more act of kindness a week will add 52 moments of inspiration to your year.  Push it to two a week and you add more than one hundred.  Imagine the possibilities.” – From 212 The Extra Degree

It’s time to celebrate more inspiring acts of paying your gratitude forward, as many of my cherished readers have shared with me what they are doing to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my November 14 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 for our own blessings into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

A client sent me an article from DailyHealthPost.com titled “Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier.”  Psychologists from the University of California Davis and the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude.  Among the randomly-selected study subjects, one third kept a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.  Another third recorded daily irritations or events that had displeased them.  The last third of the study group wrote down daily situations and events that occurred, with no special emphasis on either positive or negative emotional reactions as to what had happened.

The randomly-assigned group that wrote daily about things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other two groups.  In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The article concluded, “Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

I would add that not only does paying it forward to others demonstrate your thankfulness for the blessing 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!

I asked my coaching clients and other blog subscribers 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 new favorites:

  • Our mobile dog groomer, Janet, has a large email list which she regularly uses to send out requests to her contacts for things like helping a local animal rescue with their donation drive, matching individuals who are looking for local work with employers seeking helpers, as well as putting out the word whenever one of her friends or clients has a pet go missing. In this way, she is our local matchmaker who helps many others.
  • One of my clients who teaches Language Arts to sixth graders is teaching them how to write complete sentences that start with “I am grateful for…” The students have to write three of those gratitude sentences a day in their handmade Gratitude Journals. She is teaching the next generation about grammar and gratitude at the same time!
  • My compassionate client delivered a homemade dinner to a friend who broke her foot on top of having to care for her husband who had COVID at the same time.
  • One of my clients who thought she was “too busy” signed up to work a shift at her local food bank around Thanksgiving and liked it so much, she is now volunteering on a regular basis.
  • One of my clients had to step out of line at a busy checkout register at Walmart to run back and retrieve an item she forgot. When she returned, she bought a $20 Walmart gift card and bestowed it on the woman behind her with heartfelt thanks for waiting patiently for her return.
  • A reader wrote, “On a daily basis, I make it a point to give a compliment to a total stranger about their hair, an article of clothing, shade of lipstick or something like that.”
  • One client makes personalized greeting cards and sends them to elderly folks who are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries, along with a personal note of congratulations.
  • She also belongs to the Blue Star Mothers of America. “One of our mail projects is sending hand decorated Christmas stockings (about 450) to the troops overseas or away from home at Christmas time. We collect donations like individual packets of chips or crackers, playing cards, gum, wet wipes, etc. to fill the stockings.  In past years, we also baked homemade cookies and each stocking got a dozen.  This year they have to be pre-packaged.”
  • Another client does something similar with her church congregation, which puts together boxes of goodies for sailors who are in port over Christmas, with a “Thank you for your service” message inside each one.
  • A reader’s young daughter came up with the idea for the whole family to participate in helping stock a “pop up” food bank pantry in their area.
  • After sending a handwritten gratitude card to each of her customers at Thanksgiving, a client who is an interior designer went a step further for the Holidays, putting together lovely gift bags with small decorative items like dishtowels and candles for their homes and enclosed a note that says, “I am so grateful you chose me to work with you. It has been such a pleasure.”
  • That same client always gives an extra $2 to the toll booth attendants each time she passes through, telling them to use it for anyone who is caught unawares on the interstate without cash for the toll.
  • A client who is a horse lover always shops online at AmazonSmile.com, where a small portion of what she spends is donated to a Therapeutic Horseback Riding facility that helps people with a wide variety of special needs.
  • One of my clients took the Pay it Forward Challenge to her book club around Thanksgiving and reported back to me what they decided to do. The women gave eight classrooms of first and second graders a total of 285 Scholastic Reader books for Christmas. “The teachers were not able to purchase these books this year due to the book fair being online and not enough purchases were made to get credits the teachers usually use to pay for them.  We each donated money to purchase a book for each student to take home and keep!”
  • My longtime client’s young teen son seems to notice people in need wherever he goes and often persuades her to assist them. Recently, they were in a take-out line when he overheard a girl ask her mother, “Is there enough money left for dessert?”  He immediately asked my client if she could buy dessert for them. Out of the goodness of his big heart, he was going to pay her back with his own savings when they got home, but she gladly covered his act of generosity and compassion herself.

In case you doubt that small gestures of kindness and generosity can make a BIG impression on the recipient, I can attest that they DO.  The night before Thanksgiving, I was absorbed with preparing my first Thanksgiving feast in 14 years (because my live-in chef/husband Rick is recovering from back surgery). I had not even stopped to think about what I could do for a centerpiece to decorate the table, which is usually my main Thanksgiving responsibility. The doorbell rang about 6pm and when I opened it, I found the most beautiful bouquet of fall colors arranged inside of a Thanksgiving-themed cornucopia basket. The enclosed note from one of my coaching clients who lives on the East Coast, expressed her gratitude to me for helping her with her business and personal growth.  That gift and note were the highlight of my Thanksgiving this year.

The Holidays are far from over! So, 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 year-round happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories so I can publish a final round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes before the end of 2020!

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 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.