June 2013


June 30, 2013

“Slow down and savor your life.” – Carl Honore

Surprisingly, a client who is known for his speed and efficiency recently emailed me a YouTube link to a TED talk by Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness. I loved it and I invite you to watch it yourself via the link below.

Carl’s call to slow down and savor the little moments of life got me thinking about one important benefit that comes from doing that: connecting with the people who matter most to us.  Isn’t that the point of life, really? What are we all working so hard for, if not to be able to contribute to and share a good life with the people we love?

Years ago, my brother and I had some rare face-time together after my mother passed away and we got to talking about our very different childhood experiences with our parents. He is 10 years older than I and I had no idea how different our memories of our parents were.  My brother was born during WWII, and our dad was away most of that time and then came home to pursue a PhD in English for several years. My brother felt my father’s love, but because they didn’t get to spend much time together during his early years, my brother formed a much tighter bond with my mother.

I was much closer to my father. When I was young, Dad was a middle-aged college professor with a flexible schedule and summers off, while my mother was one of the rare working mothers in our neighborhood.  Dad took time to play with me and encouraged my imagination by teaching me to read and regularly playing with me.  One of my most vivid happy childhood memories is the time he helped me build an “Indian village” in our backyard, complete with a rocking sawhorse and a cardboard “tipi.”

Another vivid, but not-so-happy memory is of my mother.  When I was 6 or 7, I used to walk a short block from the school bus stop, pass our house and go next door to the babysitter’s, to await pick up when my parents got home.  One day, I was amazed to find Mom out in our front yard, dressed in jeans and pulling weeds. The electricity went out at her work so she came home to get some projects done that she rarely had time for.  I ran up to her, threw my arms around her and asked if I could stay home and play with her.  Reluctantly, but firmly, she told me to go to the babysitter’s so she could finish her yard work.  I remember feeling sad and rejected.  Many decades later, Mom didn’t remember the incident at all, but for me, it still stings.

If only she had slowed down to spend a couple of precious hours with me, what a different memory we might both have had and how much more connected to her I might have felt in later life!

I am going to spend the upcoming long Fourth of July weekend with one of my dearest childhood friends who lives in Northern California.  She’s a busy college professor herself, but she volunteered a big part of her precious week between doing final grades and beginning the summer term to spend time with ME.  We have been emailing for weeks, eagerly sharing ideas for movies, outings and anticipating the fun we’ll share together.  We’ve known each other for 50 years and stayed in close touch all that time, not by accident, but by making the effort.  Connection is important to both of us. Our friends are precious and we keep them close, electronically at least.  Once or twice a year, our posse of four girlfriends from elementary and high school days re-convene to laugh and carry on together for a few days in our old stomping grounds.  It’s not what we do, but simply being together that matters.

Who do YOU yearn to connect to — Your parents, your partner or spouse, your kids, your siblings, your friends?  It requires slowing down just a little. Pick up the phone, type a long email, invite them out for a spontaneous date night, meet for a cup of coffee.

Princess Diana, 9/11, the Boston Marathon, James Gandolfini… Tragically, all of them remind us that having time to connect to our loved ones tomorrow is not guaranteed. TODAY is all we have for certain, and spending part of it with someone we love is a precious gift.

Please don’t waste it pulling weeds. (They just grow back, you know.)

I invite you to take 20 minutes to slow down, take a break and enjoy Carl’s great talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhXiHJ8vfuk

******** What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your big dreams and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation! *************

June 23, 2013

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” – Joel Osteen, pastor and author

Today is my birthday. The Big Six-Oh, to be precise.  You may think I’m crazy to reveal my age, but I’m truly proud of it.  I have come by the “wisdom” that’s often attributed to us mature folks honestly.  I think wisdom comes from drawing on one’s extensive personal experience to create a balanced perspective on life’s ups and downs. Having been to this rodeo more than a few times, we don’t worry or get upset as easily as the “novices” do.

This attitude comes in really handy for a Coach, believe me!  My clients often tell me they appreciate my calm centeredness and my objectivity, which I believe come from having experienced many times that “this too shall pass” and “don’t sweat the small stuff” are very good advice indeed.

Still, I say with true humility that like everyone else alive on the planet, I must remain vigilant if I am going to maintain the Four Agreements to the best of my ability and make sure that I walk my own coaching talk. We all have to work to maintain a positive attitude in order to minimize the speed bumps that life inevitably places in our path from time to time.  If we want to BE happy, we must consciously CHOOSE to be.

I was reminded of this on a recent trip to The Happiest Place on Earth, which is, happily, situated just 30 minutes north of my house.  My husband Rick and I have annual passes to Disneyland, and we try to go at least once a month for a Big Kid’s Day Out, as we call it.  There’s no place where I feel more carefree and wonder-filled.  I usually come back from a Friday at Disneyland with a great attitude — enthusiastic and rarin’ to get after my goals.

And then there are the times when the Park is very crowded. That sometimes throws me out of my “Happy Place” mood.  Rick grew up in New York, so the word “crowd” has no meaning for him.  I am from the wide-open spaces of suburban Southern California and I can get downright grumpy when I’m standing in long lines for my favorite rides and frazzled when I’m jostled by strollers and wheelchairs on Main Street, USA.

This day turned out to be a very busy one, with thousands of teenagers and their adult chaperones showing up early for the Southern California summer tradition of Grad Night.  Before we had parked, I began grumbling to Rick about having to use a remote open lot instead of the main parking structure and voicing my imagined “worst case scenario” of long lines for our favorite rides and long waits for restaurants and restrooms.

Then a fortunate thing happened.  I remembered that when we had stopped for gas earlier, Rick found seven shiny pennies lying right in front of the pump.  As he handed them to me, he joked, “Here are some pennies from Heaven” for you.  He knows that whenever I see a penny on the street, I always pick it up and say “Thank you” to the Universe for the reminder that all is well in my life and abundance continuously rains down on me daily.  I said to Rick at the time, “This means we’ll have SEVEN times the good luck we usually have!”

And as that thought came back to me, I realized that how my long-anticipated Big Kid’s Day would go was entirely up to ME.  I could choose an attitude of gratitude for being able to take a day off whenever we want to go play, for having the funds to do so, for having the strength to walk the acres and acres of Disneyland and enjoy it with ALL of my fully-functioning senses.  (Many people around us were enjoying the experience far more than I was, even though they were riding in wheelchairs.)

And just like that, I started to FEEL genuinely happy.  Minutes later, a series of delightful little miracles starting happening.  An attendant at The Haunted Mansion motioned us over as we walked up the path to join the long waiting line.  “Have you two had any magical moments yet today?” she asked. Then she unhooked the rope and motioned us to the very front of the line with “Have a magical day!”  I enjoyed that ride like never before!

On two other popular rides, we were quickly called up to the front of the line to fill two empty spaces.  At the end of the day, we were given the VIP treatment at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, our favorite restaurant in Downtown Disney, where we were ushered to “OUR table,” the guys in the house band and several staff members stopped by to welcome us back and the manager secretly comped our drinks and dessert for no special reason.

Our monthly outing turned out to be one of the smoothest and happiest I have yet experienced….All because I consciously chose to perform “attitude alchemy” on myself.  I chose to transform the heavy, negative “base metal” energy I was dragging around into a lighter, positive attitude of pure gratitude.  And that’s when the day turned golden for us.

******** What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your big dreams and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation! *************

June 16, 2013

 “ Just go out there and do what you have to do.” — Martina Navratilova

In her great self-coaching book, Stop Saying You’re Fine, Mel Robbins outlines five specific steps you can take to overcome your brain/Ego’s natural resistance to making the changes you want to make in your life.

The Fifth step ties it all together: Lean into Change.  I love the simple but effective tool that Mel offers us in this final step that makes ALL the steps that came before it work to help you create the life you want for yourself.

You have done some great work up to now with the first four steps: You finally FACED THE  TRUTH about the state of your life (that it’s NOT “fine”), then you identified WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, you TOLD OTHERS about your goal and you MADE A MAP of all the creative ways you could go after it.

But all your efforts to prepare for change will have been wasted, unless you TAKE ACTION.  “To create a new habit of action,” says Mel, “the amount of force [called activation energy] required in you is enormous.  The longer you wait, the more you think and the faster you lessen the impulse to take action.”

“You must remember,” she warns, “there is no right move to make.  You can pick anything on your map to do right now, and it will be a step forward.  There is no risk….So when you find yourself overanalyzing your choices, stop yourself, pick anything on your map, and push through.”

And here is her simple tip to help you push through the efforts that your brain’s “Chicken” or “Jerk” mind-set will make to derail your best-laid plans if it can.  Mel calls it the Five Second Rule: “Pick any circle on your map and begin in five seconds or less.  Wait any longer, and your habitual thinking will kick in and you’ll do nothing.”

When the idea comes into your head to take a specific step toward your goal – call a friend for brainstorming, register for a community college class, sign up for a dating site, read an expert blog, etc. — you have just FIVE SECONDS to spring into action and DO IT or your brain/Ego will talk you out of it.

When you lay out your gym bag, sneakers and workout clothes next to your car keys before bed Sunday night, the Powerful You has created the intention of bounding out of bed and hitting the gym before work. This was your chosen first step on the path to creating the fit, energized body you’ve dreamed of having for years.

Then the alarm goes off at O-Dark-30 and guess what?  You have exactly FIVE SECONDS to put your feet on the floor or it’s over.  Hit the snooze button for “just five more minutes” of sleep and you give your Chicken or Jerk mind-set plenty of time to come up with a dozen convincing reasons why today is NOT a good day for this.  And having succeeded today, your crafty brain/Ego will make it even harder for you to summon up the activation energy to get moving tomorrow.

The Five Second Rule is one of the simplest methods you can use to “lean in” to change. According to Mel, “Leaning in is a philosophy about change that will change your life.  To get an object that is standing still to move in a new direction and start rolling – that first bit of motion is just the most subtle shift in weight.  It’s not a jump.  It’s not a leap.  It’s simply a small motion.  When you lean toward the thing you want, gravity takes over, momentum builds, and you begin to become a more powerful you.”

So just put your feet on the floor and lean in.  Take one small step and watch the life you have dreamed of become a reality before your very eyes!

To watch a very entertaining short presentation of The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins at a TED conference in San Francisco, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc&sns=fb&fb_source=message

********** SPECIAL INVITATION for you and your friends!  I invite you to listen to a wonderful web radio coaching show called “What Do You Want?” hosted every Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm Pacific by life and business coach and actor Michael Tatlock at www.blogtalkradio.com/what-do-you-want. I especially hope you will tune in THIS Wednesday —  June 19 — when I will be Michael’s special guest to discuss how YOU can use the principles Dr. Wayne Dyer teaches in his amazing book, “Wishes Fulfilled” to make your biggest dreams a reality!  If you can’t join us live by phone or web chat to ask your questions, you can hear a replay at your convenience by clicking on the June 19 show in the archives.  (I was also Michael’s guest once before – check out the audio for Show #13 if you want to listen to our prior chat!)

What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your big dreams and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation! *************

June 9, 2013

“As you fill out your map, remember that lots of little circles beats one giant circle….these are rocks in a river – if you try to make a huge jump, chances are you’ll slip and fall.  Taking lots of little steps might not be as dramatic, but it has a much better chance of getting you across.” – Mel Robbins

In her great self-coaching book, Stop Saying You’re Fine, Mel Robbins outlines five specific steps you can take to overcome your brain/Ego’s natural resistance to making the changes you want to make in your life. Step One was to Face the Truth. Step Two was to Admit What You Want. Step Three was Go Public with What You Want. 

 Now, it’s time for Step Four: Zoom Out and Make a Map.  This is my personal favorite of her five steps.  Although the guidance I give my clients for creating a workable Action Plan for going after their dreams is similar to hers in many ways, Mel’s approach has a unique and powerful feature that I have now adopted myself: A Map.

Before reading her book, the method that I used to teach for plotting out an Action Plan that will help my clients reach a goal is to write down ALL the ideas that come to them in any random order and then re-arrange them in a “logical” chronological order for the steps to be completed in.

Mel disagrees.  She recommends creating a non-linear MAP instead of a set of logically ordered action steps (directions, as she calls them), for two very good reasons:

A Map offers FLEXIBILITY:

“Your map is not a step-by-step set of directions.  It is a tool for giving you the perspective you need to start getting creative about getting what you want…The problem with directions is that they are too rigid….Your map is much more useful than that. With a map, if you miss a turn or can’t take a path you’d planned on, you can just glance down and figure out another way to go.  A rigid set of directions give you one way to get where you’re going – but a map offers a huge array of options and the perspective to help you choose which one is right for you.”

 Mel says NOT to arrange the many random creative ideas you thought up, brainstormed with others, researched online, etc. into a static 1-2-3 ordered list. Instead, Mel’s Map Template invites you to write each possible idea on any one of dozens of rows of little circles on a piece of paper, in no particular order. She says, “You must expand your thinking, not shrink it….To make your map, just list the things you need to do.  Everything that comes to mind that you ‘should’ do goes on the map. Anything that is remotely related to this thing you desire (or even that you just think might be), put it on the map.”

Her Map reminds me of one of those old Arthur Murray Learn-to-Dance templates, with the footprints on the floor showing you how to move your feet left, then right, then back, then front, then over here, then over there, etc.  With ALL your possible action steps displayed in random order, you might decide try the idea you wrote in the first circle on the top row, or you might be in the mood to try the one you wrote in at the end of the third row on the right side of the page first.  From there, you might decide to side-step into another row and grab another action step to take next. The point is it DOESN’T MATTER what order you follow because ANY of these action steps will move you closer to your ultimate goal.

Which brings me to the second advantage of using Mel’s Map instead of an ordered LIST of action steps:

A Map keeps you constantly IN ACTION:

With a map, if any particular action step doesn’t work well, you are not stopped in your tracks.  You can simply pick another idea to try and come at it from a different angle. The important thing is that you stay IN ACTION on your goal.

Mel says, “Your map has one purpose: to help guide you to what you want in life.  It will show you all the landmarks, the milestones, and the possible paths you can take and give you the limitless options on how to keep moving forward.  It is also completely expandable as you start off, learn new things, and want to change direction slightly. How you decide to navigate it is up to you.”

Using Mel’s Map allows you to pivot, to make adjustments as you go, and to take quantum leaps forward if one of the ideas should serendipitously present you with a shortcut to your end goal.  A non-linear Map doesn’t require you to follow EVERY individual step to reach the goal. If you simply stay IN ACTION and remain unattached to which of the many possible action steps might turn out to be the easiest, quickest answer, you could save yourself lots of time and effort in reaching your goal.

For a downloadable template of a Mel Robbins Map, go to www.melrobbins.com/map.

Next week, we will explore Mel’s fifth and final step for getting into action on your dreams: Lean In to Change.

 ********** SPECIAL INVITATION for you and your friends!  I invite you to listen to a wonderful web radio coaching show called “What Do You Want?” hosted every Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm Pacific by life and business coach and actor Michael Tatlock at www.blogtalkradio.com/what-do-you-want. I especially hope you will tune in on June 19 when I will be Michael’s special guest to discuss how YOU can use the principles Dr. Wayne Dyer teaches in his amazing book, “Wishes Fulfilled” to make your biggest dreams a reality!  If you can’t join us live by phone or web chat to ask your questions, you can hear a replay at your convenience by clicking on the June 19 show in the archives.  (I was also Michael’s guest once before – check out the audio for Show #13 if you want to listen to our prior chat!)

What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your big dreams and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation! *************