March 2014


“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life.  Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” — Mae Jemison

This is the final installment in my series based on an article by Bronnie Ware first published on her website www.inspirationandchai.com

For many years, Bronnie worked in palliative care, nursing people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. In her article, she shares the five most common regrets expressed by her patients on their deathbed, in hopes their wisdom might save us from having similar regrets.

To recap: Big Life Regret #5 was “I wish I’d let myself be happier,” Regret #4 was “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends,” Regret #3 was “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings” and Regret #2 was “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” Now, we’ll examine the Biggest Regret of all among people about to make their transition:

Big Life Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all,” Bronnie reports. “When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

“It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late.  Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

I feel so privileged that my day job is helping others fulfill their Big Dreams!  I can’t imagine any more meaningful work that I could be doing.

One of my favorite professional specialties is True Purpose ™ Coaching. The reason I have spent ten years mastering this methodology and helping hundreds of clients discover their life purpose is that I truly believe the #1 thing we can do to create a fulfilling and joyful life is to consciously live our own Purpose every day.

Your Purpose has three essential elements:

1)     Your Essence: Who you are at the core of your being. It is the unique and special quality you embody in the world. You were born with it and others can often recognize it in you, even when you can’t yourself.

2)     Your Blessing: What you came to this planet to do for the specific “target audience” who need your special gift to enhance their lives.  Your purpose is unique to you – nobody expresses your Essence exactly the way YOU do.  If you weren’t here, the world would be missing your special gift.

3)     Your Mission: One or more projects that you are meant to accomplish using your special Blessing. It may be something really specific and local or it could be something really big and global. If it is something big, like ending world hunger, you are undoubtedly part of group who are all meant to participate in this project.  It may not even be completed in your lifetime, but you will have played a role in its completion and gained great fulfillment from participating.

Whether or not you ever choose to discover exactly what your unique Purpose is, you can still live it.  Living your Purpose is really about spending as much time as possible doing whatever you are passionate about because those pursuits are closely aligned with your Purpose.

You can tell if you are on a purposeful path by these signs: You love getting up and doing your work every day.  You feel fulfilled and joyful when you are pursuing your dreams and passions.  Others are drawn to you regularly for something specific that you can provide to them. You are so naturally good at doing it, you probably don’t even realize how unique and special your gift is; to you, it’s just “what I do.”

As a professional coach, my job is to help my clients spend as much time as they wish pursuing their dreams and passions. But besides the inner joy and satisfaction their passionate pursuits provide them, their Ego needs must be met, too. So I also assist them with resources to create a balanced lifestyle that allows them to pursue their passions — whether in their day job or leisure time — while making sufficient money and having time for their family, wellness and personal needs, as well.

My sincere wish is that you will take ACTION to fulfill your Big Juicy Dreams while you still can. It’s this simple:

1)     Start by identifying your personal “Bucket List” of life goals.

2)     Then rough out a “starter” plan to go after the most important one or two NOW. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even complete for you to start.

3)     Bravely take the FIRST step and trust that the Universe will guide you from there.

4)     Identify the resources and people who can support you in overcoming obstacles and staying on track until you reach your goals.

More than anything, I hope you will avoid the #1 Big Life Regret by pursuing your Bucket List well before you are about to kick that bucket!

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House. 

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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!

 

 

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” — Fredrick Koeing

This is the fourth in my series based on an article by Bronnie Ware first published on her website http://www.inspirationandchai.com

For many years, Bronnie worked in palliative care, nursing people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. In her article, she shares the five most common regrets expressed by her patients on their deathbed, in hopes their wisdom might save us from having similar regrets.

You will recall that Big Life Regret #5 was “I wish I’d let myself be happier,” Regret #4 was “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends,” and Regret #3 was “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”  Now, we’ll examine the second biggest regret expressed by those about to make their transition:

Big Life Regret #2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

“This came from every male patient that I nursed,” says Bronnie. “They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. 

“By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do.  And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.”

I would add to Bronnie’s wisdom that there are other reasons we may work too hard and forgo the purposeful and joyful things we would love to be doing with our time.  This definitely applies to unpaid work, as well.

For women, especially, the “disease to please” guilt that comes from believing (or being told) that we are not “taking care” of others like we should can cause us to do far more for them than we do for ourselves. I had this experience myself years ago when I took on a volunteer position with a personal development training organization.

I loved the work they did and felt that it was only fair to “give back” to the for-profit organization, which relied heavily on unpaid volunteers to help with myriad duties supporting the course leaders and the paid administrative staff so the organization could deliver their courses at affordable prices.

I got a lot of satisfaction and valuable leadership training from volunteering at first, but over time, they came to disproportionately rely on me because I was self-employed and so could be available during the day when most people couldn’t.  Eventually, it dawned on me that I was putting in far more time on volunteering than paid coaching and I was both worn out and financially strapped.

At first, I felt guilty about wanting to reclaim my time, but with the encouragement of a coaching mentor who gone through the same thing with a similar organization, I extricated myself. As he coached me to do, the next time they called, I didn’t make any excuses or try to explain why I wasn’t available; I just said, “No, I’m sorry, I won’t be available for the foreseeable future.” To my amazement, they said, “OK” and (as my mentor had predicted), simply called the next volunteer on their list and I was FREE!

If you are either working more than is strictly necessary at the office or your own business, or volunteering more than you know is good for you, I urge you to focus your priorities where they belong: on YOUR needs and desires, not someone else’s. By all means, give whatever time you truly enjoy to supporting worthwhile projects, but don’t let them take over your life. Allow others the pleasure of taking up the slack, while you balance your giving time with the me time and family time you crave.

Remember, your boss, customers, relatives, minister, and the organizations you support are not going to be lying on YOUR deathbed regretting all that YOU missed out on in your life. So balance your time wisely and make the most of every precious minute!

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.

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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!

 

 

 “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” — Erma Bombeck

This is the third in my series based on an article by Bronnie Ware first published on her website www.inspirationandchai.com

For many years, Bronnie worked in palliative care, nursing people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. In her article, she shares the five most common regrets expressed by her patients on their deathbed, in hopes their wisdom might save us from having similar regrets.

You will recall that Big Life Regret #5 was “I wish I’d let myself be happier” and Regret #4 was “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”  Now, we’ll discover the third biggest regret expressed by those about to pass on:

Big Life Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others,” says Bronnie.  “As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”

As a coach, I have helped many clients let go of trying to live up to what they think is expected of them by others. I encourage them to be brave and express what they REALLY want to those who matter most to them and to just say NO to wasting their precious time and energy on pleasing others.  Once they speak up for themselves, they often are amazed that others readily accept it.

One of my clients recently had a big Ah-Ha Moment about this.  At first, she told me that she “didn’t have time” to pursue the part-time business that brings her great satisfaction and potentially great prosperity because of her many “family obligations.”  Finally, she faced the truth that she was never going to be successful if she didn’t devote more focused time and effort to her business.

So she mustered the courage to tell her family that she needed them to pitch in more with the household chores and errands. To her surprise, they readily agreed. Turns out that they always wanted to be more self-sufficient, but since she never gave them the chance, they thought they were making her happy by letting her do everything for them!

Even if they aren’t actively supportive, you cannot let others’ opinions stop you from pursuing the dreams that will bring you happiness and satisfaction. The nay-sayers aren’t going to be lying on YOUR deathbed at the end of YOUR life.

So be brave, speak up and express your authentic needs, feelings and desires and you are guaranteed to live a life filled with much more satisfaction and much less regret.

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.

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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!

“Let us not be satisfied with  just giving money.  Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them.  So spread your love everywhere you go.” — Mother Teresa 

 This is is the second in my series based on an article by Bronnie Ware first published on her website www.inspirationandchai.com

For many years, Bronnie worked in palliative care, nursing people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. In her article, she shares the five most common regrets expressed by her patients on their deathbed, in hopes their wisdom might save us from having similar regrets.

Last week, we looked at the fifth biggest regret: “I wish I’d let myself be happier” (See Blog 148).  Now we will examine the fourth biggest regret of those about to make their transition:

Big Life Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

Bronnie writes: “Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.  There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved.  Everyone misses their friends when they are dying…It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.”

Of the five regrets, this is the one that I can say with 100% certainty will NOT be one of mine!  I cannot imagine where I would be in life – or even if I would be alive right now – without the ongoing love and support and laughter-sharing by my oldest and dearest friends.

My closest ongoing friendships are with Lisa, Mallory and Peggy.  The first two and I met in Girl Scouts in elementary school and we’ve been inseparable ever since.  Peggy is the “newcomer” to our circle of friends because we connected with her at our 20th High School Reunion, so we’ve known her for “only” 22 years!

Even though Mallory and Lisa have moved away, we have all made it a priority to stay up on each others’ lives via phone calls, emails and forwarding the occasional rude joke or pet video with a funny remark.  It sure doesn’t feel like making an “effort” to stay in touch, because we can’t wait to get together at least once a year. We coordinate our visits during the summer or winter Holidays when Mal and Lisa are on breaks from their teaching gigs. We usually gather in Southern California, where Peggy and I still live close our old stomping grounds of Newport Harbor High.

Does this take some pre-planning and coordination?  You bet.  But is it worth it? Absolutely.  And as a result, we have been there for each others’ weddings, helped each other over life’s rough patches with relationship, financial, and physical challenges and shared too many laughs to count through the past 50 years.

Even our spouses don’t know us like we know each other by being there as we made our youthful mistakes and stumbled our way into the adult world.  My childhood friends know my deepest secrets, where I came from, and who I am at my core.

I agree that what REALLY matters in life are love and relationships. And I think this is the easiest of the five regrets to avoid!  Even if you haven’t been in touch for a long, long time, you can track down anyone via social media these days.  Surprise an old friend with a Facebook message and see what happens!

It’s NEVER too late to re-ignite a friendship that once mattered to you.  Trust me, your old friend will be SO happy to reconnect with you and they will return the love!

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.

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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!

“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive.  Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.”—Maurice Chevalier

One of my Facebook Friends recently shared an excerpt from an article by Bronnie Ware, which was first published on her website www.inspirationandchai.com.  I found it so profound that I am devoting the next five blogs to the wisdom it contains.

For many years, Bronnie worked in palliative care, nursing people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. “People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality,” she observes.

In her article, Bronnie shares the five most common regrets expressed by her patients on their deathbed, in hopes their wisdom might save us from having similar regrets. I share them here in reverse order, beginning with the final one and working our way up to #1:

Big Life Regret #5: I wish I’d let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one,” Bronnie states. “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.  The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.  Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind.  How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 

Life is a choice.  It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

One of my coaching clients recently had the epiphany that her happiness is completely up to her.  She spent an anguished childhood, shunned by her parents who reminded her every day that she was not wanted and was a chronic disappointment to them.

Despite a long and successful career, filled with artistic self-expression, and a long-time loving relationship, she still finds it hard to believe that she deserves to be happy.  The opinions of the two people whom she could never please as a child still haunt her decades later in what should be the most satisfying time of her life.

Fortunately, she is aware that her happiness is now up to HER alone. She is actively working to allow herself to do and feel what she wants and is making steady progress.

Remember, nobody else has the power to make you feel anything.  They can do things to you that you don’t like, but they cannot control how it makes you feel about yourself or what you do in response.

Your happiness is 100% up to you. If you don’t allow yourself that ultimate pleasure in life, nobody will regret it except you.

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.

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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!

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement.  When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise have never crossed on your own.” – John O’Donohue

In blog 145 I wrote about the role of the “Little Voice” in your head that some call the “Protector” part of the human psyche.  Even when things are going well as you pursue a Big Goal, your Protector is afraid of what will happen to you if you fail, and so it constantly warns you to stay on high alert, because things are bound to go wrong.

Ironically, by making you doubt that you will succeed, your Protector Voice creates the opposite result that it intended.  Instead of saving you from failing, it creates a tug of war inside you that distracts you from taking the right actions and thus prevents you from reaching your Big Goal.

Another motive of The Little Voice

Now, I want to share with you a personal experience I had this week that demonstrates another insidious method of the Little Voice that can sabotage your success.

At the start of the week, I embarked on a plan to get back to my ideal weight. I was feeling “OK” about my weight up until the Holidays last year. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.  It wasn’t just the usual seasonal temptations and merrymaking that did the damage.  I was stressed about simultaneously trying to resolve a tax issue before the end of the year and (happily) managing more new clients coming on board during the Holidays than ever before.  As a result, I found too much “comfort” in food and voila: 10 extra pounds joined me in welcoming the New Year.

To motivate myself to get back on track quickly, I made a game of playing to lose five pounds in the first seven days of my weight-loss program. After that, I plan to loosen the eating plan a little so I can stick with it long-term and average losing a pound a week before my vacation in early April. To create the accountability I knew I would need, I committed to my best friend Lisa (who is not prone to letting me B.S. my way out of commitments) that I would maintain a balanced low-carb, no-sugar diet with controlled portions and a daily exercise program for seven consecutive days with NO cheating. I committed to check in regularly with her during the first week to report my progress.

For the first four days, I did great:  I lost two pounds the first day, one pound the next and half a pound each of the next two days.  I emailed Lisa my daily reports, gloating that I hadn’t cheated even once. She gave me Atta Girl encouragement and helpful tips to keep me on track.  I was feeling great energy and enjoying the progress in how my clothes fit.

A rational argument for failure

Then late on day five, the Little Voice piped up.  But instead of warning me that I would FAIL and be humiliated (which wasn’t likely, since I was within a pound of my goal with two days to go), my inner Protector took a different tack: It told me I was doing SO WELL that I could afford to loosen up the diet even before I reached the end of my seven-day commitment.

“It’s been a long week and you are hungry,” the Little Voice said. “An apple isn’t adequate reward for all your efforts.  You have been SO good, you deserve a couple of cookies or a handful of chips. You have gone five days without them; you can handle a little treat without overdoing it. Try it and see!”

 It sounded like such a “rational” argument, I actually debated this with myself.  Yeah, wouldn’t it be a good idea to prove to myself NOW that I can add back some of my favorite foods in MODERATION and still be a healthy weight?  There’s no way I am going to backslide at this point. I can handle it!

Although I knew I would be breaking my word to myself AND a trusted friend, I was seriously considering opening the cupboard. Fortunately, at the last minute, I recognized that the debate inside my head was actually the Little Voice trying to seduce me, so I snapped out of it, stuck with my plan and kept my word.

A new threat to your survival

You see, the Little Voice isn’t  just afraid that you might fail to reach the finish line and be punished or humiliated for it.  It is equally afraid that you WILL reach your Big Goal. That’s because ANY significant change you try to make in your normal routine – even one that is clearly good for you – is viewed by the Protector as a threat because change might upset the delicate balance of your life and so threaten your survival.

My Protector could be worrying about things that could happen to me like:

What if she gets obsessed with losing weight and becomes bulimic or anorexic?

What if she becomes vain and obsessed with her looks?

What if she loses weight and squanders a lot of money on a new wardrobe?

What if her marriage is threatened by other men hitting on her?

What if she can no longer enjoy her husband’s great cooking and he feels rejected?

What if her friends get jealous and reject her?

Such fears sound absurd in black and white, don’t they?  Yet, however far-fetched, these potentially negative outcomes of achieving an ideal weight all seem REAL to my Protector because each one has happened to someone I know or have heard about – so it COULD happen to me. The Little Voice believes it is “protecting” me by whispering its “rational” arguments designed to make sure I don’t reach my goal weight because that MIGHT lead to one of these bad outcomes.

How can you prevent self-sabotage?

What can you do to prevent your inner Protector from sabotaging your efforts to reach your goals?

First, just BE AWARE of its M.O.!  By becoming conscious of what it was doing, I didn’t succumb to the Little Voice’s “convincing” arguments designed to sabotage my success.

Second, recruit an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER to support you in staying on track. I make my living by being this support structure for my clients.  Even if you don’t hire a coach, you can call on a willing friend or colleague to play this role for you.  Just knowing I would have to confess to Lisa that I was out of integrity was enough to stop me from opening the cupboard.  Whomever you choose should be balanced at giving you encouragement AND holding you accountable because both are important motivators.

Once you reach your Big Goal, your Little Voice will see that you are NOT in trouble after all.  In fact, it will say, “Great Job! I always knew you could do it.”

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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!