December 2015


“Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices and everything is possible.” – Cherie Carter Scott from the book One Choice

I hope you and yours had a great Christmas!   Now that it is behind us, our thoughts naturally turn to what lies ahead of us.

Each January presents you with a precious opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a fresh start for your life! Whatever happened this year — for good and for bad – will not define your NEW year. Your beliefs, expectations and the actions you take today will determine how your TOMORROW goes.

In my 11+ years as a professional Coach, I have been blessed to help over 550 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than this one did. Creating your 2016 YOUR way requires a two-step process and this week that bridges the old year and the new one is the ideal time to do it:

Step One: Complete the Old Year. You can’t create something NEW in a space that is full of old stuff. So, if you want 2016 to be more than just a replay of the same things you experienced this 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.

At the end of every year, my coaching colleague, Sue Koch, and I give our clients a thought-provoking list of 30 questions we call the Reflections Exercise to answer.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do which 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 next year is going to bring you more of the same.

Here are a few of the thought-provoking “completion” questions we include:

Part 1 – Questions to Complete the Year

  • What promises did I break to myself and others in 2015?
  • What did I do that did not work out?
  • What do I wish I hadn’t wasted my time and energy on?
  • What do I wish I HAD expended my energy and time on but didn’t?

Part 2 – Questions for Acknowledgment and Acceptance

  • What promises did I keep to myself and others in 2015?
  • What accomplishments and milestones am I celebrating?
  • What is the biggest lesson I learned? What’s important about the lesson?
  • What am I thankful for regarding this year?

Once you have completed the 20 questions in these first two sections, you are ready to take on Part 3 – Questions for Creating Your New Year, including:

  • What do I intend to do differently in 2016?
  • What new skills or practices do I intend to put into place next year? How would that make me feel?
  • What would I most like to learn or master?  How would that make me feel?
  • What do I intend to accomplish next year that will matter most five years from now?

NOTE: This not the COMPLETE list of questions. Done right, the entire Reflections Exercise takes most people about two hours, but it can be broken up into several sessions – one sitting per section works great. You do not have to answer every question, but do focus on the ones that are most relevant to you and take an honest look, so your next year can be even better!

Click here or copy this into your browser to get the entire Reflections Exercise for powerfully completing your old year: http://wp.me/pttZj-j4

NEXT WEEK I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your NEW year with God/the Universe exactly as you would like it to be. It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself at the start of every January for the past 11 years and I know you will too!

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

I invite you to offer 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 and no strings attached! And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

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 or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

 

“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.” – Wayne Dyer

When I read my favorite Los Angeles Times column this morning, I got a huge shock. Chris Erskine writes humorously about his adventures as the dad to a family of four kids. Today, he announced that the youngest — “the little guy” –just turned 13.

I can distinctly remember when he announced that his wife had just told him a “surprise” baby was on the way — 11 years after their youngest child was born. I could not believe I have been reading that same column for almost 14 years now, since moving back to Orange County after living in Northern California for 15 years!

It took me back to the time when I was hit by a car while riding my bike to school. As I flew through the air in what seemed like endless slow motion, major events from my life flashed through my mind in rapid succession. While I was not seriously hurt, I learned that day that highlights from your life really do “flash before your eyes” when you are in physical danger. Only I had a lot LESS life to flash at age 13 than I do now.

But as Erskine’s column brought back to me in vivid flashes, my most recent 13 years of life have been filled with many ups and downs in some very important areas, notably love, career and finances. Where I was 13 years ago and where I am today could not be more different.

Then, newly single, having amicably split from my second husband the year before, I decided to move back to the area where I grew up. My closest friends at the time lived elsewhere, so it was uncharted territory for me to be completely on my own for the first time in my life.

I took a job I thought I would love in fundraising for a therapeutic horseback riding organization that served people of all ages with a wide spectrum of emotional, mental and physical challenges. I love horses and I love helping others, so it seemed that my Dream Job had been delivered at last! But one year into it, I got the rug pulled out from under me, so I decided to go back to community college to enhance my skills and try for a career in my second love, writing and editing.

I learned a lot from my wonderful professor, who helped me get a job as a magazine editor right after I completed the class. I thought that was going to be bliss. But my daily scenic commute to the office in San Diego was 100 miles a day and my bosses were difficult to work for, so I quit after another year, feeling I had really lost my way. What in the heck was I supposed to be doing with my life? What was my purpose?

Ask and ye shall receive! I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do and very soon I was guided into coaching. I won’t go into the many twists and turns of how that came about, but suffice to say that while my Ego thought I was doing one thing, my Higher Self was actually listening to Divine direction and I was being guided to exactly where I belonged.

Since 2004, I have never regretted one single minute of my time spent as a professional coach. I can’t wait to get up each day and help others reach their Big Goals. It is both financially rewarding and emotionally fulfilling AND I absolutely love being my own boss. At last, my Higher Self and my Ego were BOTH happy.

As I slowly built my client base, I didn’t yet make enough to pay all my expenses, but I still felt the need to invest in and travel to workshops that would further enhance my coaching skills. Thankfully, this was during the real estate boom, which enabled me to take money out of my house, or else I would have been forced to go back to work for someone else. (Perhaps my BIGGEST life lesson learned during the past 13 years is that when you truly are on a purposeful path, God/The Universe always provides whatever you need to continue the journey.)

Then, as if by magic, I met and fell in love with Rick, a handsome widower, who was also a happy and successful Realtor. I was part of a two-income family again and I imagined that, having survived the greatest financial challenge of my life, it finally looked like smooth sailing into Dreams-Come-True Land for us!

Not quite. Soon after we married and bought our big new Dream Home in 2007, the real estate market tanked and Rick’s income evaporated overnight. We held on for dear life as my coaching career and Rick’s temporary part-time job at Home Depot put food on the table and gas in the tank, but couldn’t cover the mortgage. We ran up considerable debt trying desperately to hang onto our home, thinking the Great Recession would surely be over “soon.”

I wasn’t. In 2010, we filed for bankruptcy and lost both our Dream Home and Rick’s original home that we had kept for rental income. As the final blow, Rick’s car was repossessed just a few months before being paid off.

Talk about ups and downs, huh? Over a five-year period, as we miraculously found ways to pay our rent and bare-bones expenses, every dollar that came to us was deeply appreciated. Before this financial trial, I used to think anything less than $20 was not “real” money. Now, if I find a penny on the sidewalk, I pick it up, smile and say, “Thank you, God, for this Penny from Heaven You sent as a reminder of all the abundance You rain down on us daily.”

I vividly remember two Christmases when there was literally NOTHING under the tree. Nevertheless, we grew more and more intensely grateful for our greatest blessing — a loving, healthy family (including my now 24-year-old stepson Matthew and our little dog Samantha, who just turned 15).

Two years ago, our story shifted dramatically yet again. The California real estate market finally made a comeback and Rick was very busy again. At almost the same time, my dear friend, Leslie Zann, a fabulous trainer and motivational speaker, introduced me to a few independent consultants in a direct sales company who soon became my wonderful coaching clients. They, in turn, began a non-stop flow of enthusiastic referrals to others in the same company. My client base quickly tripled and today, almost every coaching slot I have is full. Where we are in our careers and finances today would have been unimaginable to me just three years ago.

But I don’t credit just the end of the Great Recession or generous referrals for our dramatic turnaround. I know that the outward changes that have happened for us reflect the shift that occurred internally — a shift we might never have made if adversity had not forced us to.

First, we became much more truly, profoundly aware of and GRATEFUL for all the good in our lives, even the not-so-good challenges that honed our faith in God’s help and our own strength.

Secondly, with a strong attitude of gratitude, we made the same inner shift that Wayne Dyer so beautifully describes: When we stopped worrying about chasing money, and instead focused solely on what we could GIVE to others, avalanches of abundance began to flow to us. Realizing we could never have survived without the help of many kind and generous people, we became intent on paying it forward by helping othersregardless of any apparent return.

By God’s grace, via the Law of Attraction, the giving energy that we put out returned to bless us 100-fold. This Holiday Season, we are so grateful for the many financial and emotional gifts that have been bestowed on us. We are especially grateful for all the wonderful clients and friends we have been blessed to assist with our time, treasure and talents.

My special wish is that, if YOU haven’t already done so, you will be able to make your own internal shift in a much easier way than we had to. I hope you will use your special and unique time, treasure and talents to help as many people as you can, without worrying about “What’s in it for ME?” If you do, I promise there will be far MORE in it for you than you can now imagine!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will take the next weekend off so I can enjoy my annual Girls’ Weekend in San Diego with two of my dearest friends. Then, right after Christmas, we will begin the two-step process of first completing 2015 and then beginning to create all the GOOD that you desire to come to you in 2016! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************
I invite you to offer 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 and no strings attached! And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

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 or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

“Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness – both the ones you have received and the ones you have given – you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter.” – Dawn Markova

 In the last two blogs, we discussed gratitude and I gave a “Pay it Forward” Challenge to my readers to put the giving in their Thanksgiving by taking one specific action to bless someone else. I asked those participating to let me know what random act of kindness or generosity they performed before Thanksgiving, so we could share some creative ideas.

I was happy to share all the wonderful ways you came up with to bless and delight others (see Blog #214). But some great examples came to my attention after I had already published and I didn’t want them to be overlooked. So here is the final batch of my recent favorites:

  • I sometimes avoid taking calls from one of my relatives because we usually talk for quite awhile and I am always feeling “I’m too busy to chat right now.” But when she called me on Thanksgiving, I sat in the parking lot of a store and listened to her for an hour. She needed that and it felt so great to give her my undivided time and attention.
  • I was driving with my daughter on a cold and rainy day and saw a man standing by the side of the road with a sign that said “Need help. I am a painter. I will paint for money.” I don’t usually do this, but I asked my daughter to hand him $10. He was so grateful! And it was a blessing in another way because it gave me the opportunity to tell my daughter why I did it. Now she is excited, looking for a chance to pay it forward to someone herself.
  • I have a friend who is going through a rough time financially. I bought her a gift card for groceries. She was so grateful and told me it will really help her out.
  • My mom and I were eating when an older couple came into the diner. The wife shuffled in and the man caught my eye because he wore slippers and rings on every finger. He was really stylin’! When we left, I bought a gift card at the register and asked the manager to give it to them. He said, “That’s really nice – an act of kindness!” It gave me a warmer feeling inside than I’ve ever had before.
  • While I was in line at the grocery store this week, a somewhat frazzled man with groceries in each hand came up to the line just after me. I let him go in front of me and his whole demeanor relaxed. He said he was in a rush to make it back during half-time.   I got a chuckle out of that.
  • I noticed a man behind me in the quick check line a few days ago. He was kind of disheveled, but kind enough. He was buying a drink and it was silly for him to wait behind us. I casually said, “Sir, why don’t you go ahead of us?” He was really surprised and a great big smile spread across his face. When he got to the clerk, he shook his head and said, “She called me SIR!” He was beaming from ear to ear.

That last one puts a lump in my throat every time I think about it. It cost her absolutely nothing and I’m sure it lifted that man’s self esteem in a way that cannot be measured.

Those who pay it forward are inevitably blessed in return when someone else unexpectedly pays it forward to THEM. The woman who let the frantic football fan go ahead of her had this experience while waiting in the same checkout line:

  • The woman behind me was piling apples on the conveyor belt – “herding apples,” she said, smiling at us. My daughter said, “I love apples too!” and the woman asked if we had tried the kind called “Envy.” We hadn’t. She said, “Here, this is on me. Try it and you’ll love it.” And she told the clerk to weigh one of her apples twice to pay for the one she gave us. I’ve thought about that for a week now.

I’ll end with an article that caught my eye in the Los Angeles Times about a small but amazingly powerful act of kindness from a member of one group that often seems to be at odds with the members of another group. I quote here from the beautiful article by staff writer Veronica Rocha:

“The searing pavement was too much for the barefoot homeless woman, so she hopped around the mall parking lot, looking for spots of shade.

That drew the attention of some shoppers who thought she intended to break into parked cars. The Sheriff’s Department was called.

Deputy Bruce Pierson arrived and met ‘Franki,’ an 18-year-old who said she’d been homeless since she was 12. She had been barefoot and shoeless for two months.

‘Her feet were blacker than my boots,’ Pierson said.

That’s when he offered to buy her shoes. Franki, he said, was skeptical, but followed him into a Payless store…

Pierson said Franki was overcome with emotion as she opened several boxes of shoes.

Shopper Joshua Rounds noticed and chipped in $10 toward the purchase. At the same time, he took photographs of Pierson buying Franki shoes and posted them on Facebook. The pictures went viral.

Rounds said he was ‘thankful our city is filled with helpful police officers.’

Another shopper also offered to buy Franki shoes. In the end, she got a scarf, socks and two pairs of shoes.

The next day, Pierson found Franki with the help of fellow deputies and gave her some supplies that his wife had gathered: a sack of clothing and two bags of dog food.

Franki, her boyfriend and two large dogs had been sleeping in a bush under a tarp – living on the streets for about a year since losing their baby to sudden infant death syndrome, Pierson said.

With El Nino on the way, an area homeless group has offered to find housing or a tent for the couple, the deputy said.

Pierson, 46, said he didn’t expect the attention he has gotten because of the encounter.

‘I was raised to do the right thing,’ he said. ‘Law enforcement as a whole does this every day.   This is something that goes unnoticed.’”

This story is a reminder that there are Earth Angels among us everywhere, every day, quietly going about their business of making life better for their fellow human beings in ways big and small.

Thank you for being one of them. Never doubt that who you are and what you do matters.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************* (more…)