April 2016

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” – Marian Wright Edelman

I sincerely hope you got a chance to read last week’s blog, which touched a chord in many of my readers. My guest columnist and fellow coach, Bob Perks, movingly shared his personal experiences with depression – his own and others’ — and offered us sound advice on how to listen to someone suffering with depression, sadness or disappointment in a way that will make a real difference for them.

I am very grateful to those who took the time to send Bob a message of thanks, forward the blog to others, purchase his wonderful book “I Wish You Enough” on Amazon.com or visit his website (www.BobPerks.com) and follow him on Facebook. To those “Earth Angels” who sent him a monetary gift of appreciation at www.PayPal.me/GiftBobPerks, know that Bob is incredibly grateful for your support and validation, as am I. (And if you didn’t take any of these steps to show your gratitude, it’s never too late!)

One of the most memorable lines in Bob’s powerful column was “Don’t be a good listener.  Be a great one.” During our coaching sessions this week, several of my clients who read Bob’s column related their own stories that validate just how powerfully GREAT listening can change a life. Here are two of my favorites:

One client told me about her elderly mother, who several months ago began sharing her home with her adult grandchildren and their two kids, plus their dogs. At first, “Nana” was very happy to have all that youthful energy swirling around her and loved helping with the after-school babysitting, which gave her a renewed sense of purpose.

But recently, my client noticed that her mother seemed uncharacteristically sad and upset. One day, Nana blurted out, “I am so unhappy.  I want to sell the house and move back to Chicago.”  My client was taken aback, but with Bob Perk’s “great listening” advice fresh in her mind, she was able to respond differently than she ordinarily might have.

Resisting the urge to point out that Nana’s idea was unworkable for many reasons, my client chose instead to be a curious, non-judgmental Active Listener. She calmly and gently questioned her mother in order to find out what was really bothering her. Nana admitted that the unaccustomed noise and activity were wearing on her.  My client acknowledged that she would feel the same way, and volunteered to talk to her adult children and remind them of the “house rules” their family had been breaking lately.  Nana seemed to brighten at that, but my client could sense there was something still deeper beneath the surface.

When my client asked what else might be on her mind, Nana confessed that she was afraid she wouldn’t have enough money to continue to live on. My client had recently helped her mother apply for a refinance of her mortgage, which should give her a nice nest egg on which she could live comfortably for many years.  But being 83, Nana didn’t quite understand the ins and outs of today’s long and complicated mortgage process, and thought something must be wrong. My client was able to reassure her that the process was going smoothly and would soon be completed and said she was confident that Nana’s finances would be in good shape for the rest of her life.

Then Nana’s energy completely shifted and my client realized that the stress and worry that she had kept under wraps must have been taking a real toll on her mother. If she had not given Nana the chance to express her fears with active, non-judgmental listening, Nana’s long-term mental and physical health might well have been affected. Today, their multi-generational household is back to normal and Nana eagerly looks forward to her great-grandkids’ return from school each day.

My second client’s story proves that simply giving a little attention and kindness to others can have a lasting impact, even if we don’t realize their true circumstances.

A high school drama teacher, she recently attended an after-party for a successful school production. Unexpectedly, two seniors got up to speak. Both these young men are among the most popular students in the school and both appear quite well-adjusted, successful and confident.

To her shock, in front of their peers, parents and faculty members, each student thanked her for turning their lives around. Both revealed that, as freshmen, they had been badly bullied and felt like outcasts. One confessed to being so despondent, he had even contemplated suicide.

These two well-liked and respected young men told my client that her class had changed their lives by making them feel understood, worthwhile and appreciated.  My client had simply done with them what she strives to do with all her students — she listened, validated and encouraged them to believe in themselves.

She told me in amazement, “Never in a million years would I have guessed what they were going through back then.  It taught me that being kind and positive really makes a difference for others.” Indeed it does!

I’d like to close by adding to Bob Perk’s words of wisdom a few of my own “best practices” for listening in a way that can make a profound difference for others:

  • Stay open: Listen without prejudgment or attachment to how YOU want the conversation to go or the outcome YOU want to see. You might be surprised to discover an EVEN better possible outcome than you imagined — if you can truly listen for it with an open mind.
  • Be an Active Listener – Pay attention. Don’t just wait for the other person to stop talking so YOU can speak. Your Inner Wisdom will give you the perfect words to say in response if you listen carefully to what they are saying all the way through to the end.
  • Ask permission before offering advice – Even a professional coach needs to distinguish whether advice is really what they want from you – or do they just need you to listen with a compassionate heart and help them to feel worthwhile, understood and validated? If you believe you have some helpful advice to impart, first ask, “Are you open to hearing my thoughts?” And then abide by their wishes.
  • Be a Connector – When I actively listen to my clients and friends, I find that I instantly recall the needs and desires they shared with me whenever a resource pops up that I recognize might help them. If you listen actively, you could become the answer to someone’s heartfelt dream by connecting them to the people and resources that can help them achieve it.

And as the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) and The Bible both remind us, the Good you do for others inevitably will be done unto YOU, too!

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

I invite you to give 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 give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“Some of life’s deepest and darkest problems are routinely covered up with a very convincing smile. If you think they are hurting, dig deeper.” Bob Perks

The topic today is an unusual one for me: Depression.  I have had only a few brief bouts of it in my 62 years, but I know it touches everyone’s life eventually. Many of my clients, friends and family members have had their own encounters.

Feeling depressed doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get out of bed in the morning, are on a prescription antidepressant or have constant thoughts of suicide, although those issues are the daily reality of many people. No matter the level or duration, depression is painful and debilitating and can rob you of  your drive to go after your goals and your ability to enjoy daily life with your loved ones.

I am no expert, but I have a “friend I’ve never met” who I think is.  Like me, Bob Perks is a life coach. But he is much more: an inspiring speaker, workshop leader, professional singer and DJ, and a fabulous writer.  I first became aware of his amazing blogs through my husband, Rick, who sometimes quotes them in his monthly real estate newsletter.

Bob has a unique and special way of addressing both mundane and difficult subjects in a style that is poetic and speaks to your heart, not just your brain.

You should know that Bob openly shares his life experiences with his readers and so I am going to share something about HIM that I want you to know before you read what he wrote about this topic: He has been struggling for some time with his own depression demons, brought on by the sudden loss of loved ones and financial woes that make what Rick and I endured during the Great Recession look like a picnic. His one remaining “family member” and truest friend is his dog, Phil.

Bob doesn’t complain about his situation nor beg anyone for help, but sometimes the truth comes out anyway. About a month ago, after a long absence, he posted a blog in which he apologized for having written it on his phone. I emailed him to ask why and he explained that he had to choose between keeping the electricity on and paying his internet bill.

I thought it was criminal to deprive his readers of his frequent messages of hope and inspiration, so I sent him a small “love offering.”  I have done that several more times, whenever I read something of his that particularly touches me.  Giving is “gratitude in action,” so I hope if Bob’s words similarly touch you and provide some useful advice, you will be generous with your positive feedback and make a small financial contribution if you can.  Regardless, I hope you will visit his website at www.BobPerks.com where you can subscribe to his free blog and follow him on Facebook. He also posts some wonderful videos from time to time and has a book on Amazon.com called “I Wish You Enough.”

Here, with his permission, is Bob’s most recent I Wish You Enough blog on this important topic:

Hello, My friend!

It’s great to see your beauty smile. 

Today’s message

“You made me cry and that’s good”

By Bob Perks

When I first started speaking and writing I did so

with much conviction and passion.


As I still do today, I cannot help but to be open

and honest about my own experiences in life much to

the dismay of close friends.


Early on it bothered me a great deal to have someone

approach me after a speech to tell me, “I cried just now.”

I would begin to apologize and they would stop me.

Often times they would say, “I needed to.”


Over time I realized what an honor and a blessing it

was to be permitted to touch one so deeply that it

would bring about such a response.


Today I shared with a stranger.  She was younger than

I and long story short, as she put it “buried alive in depression.”


This was my moment to tell my story.


This is my personal opinion.  Although you might mean

well, don’t tell someone who is hurting that there are

people in the world who have it a lot worse than they



It is a fact, but at that very moment, that person’s

world is not going to suddenly improve because they

know that other people have it worse than they do.


Depression causes one to close the walls around them

and nothing in the world makes a difference. Depression

narrows your view as all you can see is your life and

all the bad in it.


In my training sessions I taught the “Feel, Felt, Found” approach.


In order to reach someone say, “I know how you feel.

I felt the same way.  This is what I found.”


Then proceed to prove it.


This young woman and I understood depression.


I knew how she felt.


I felt the same way.


Then I told her what I had learned from it, what I found.


There wasn’t much detail that I left out.


I didn’t attempt to make my situation bigger than hers.


There was a pause in our conversation when we simply

sat there.  Then we looked at each other.


Then we cried.


I began to apologize to her like before.


Then she said, “You made me cry and that’s good.”


I understood.


One other thing.  Don’t be a good listener.


Be a great one.


I always closed such sessions with, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”


Simply put, listen more than you speak.  Sometimes all

we want is for someone, anyone to listen.

Bob Perks

A way to help

I removed this link a few weeks ago. Since then a few wrote to ask me to include

it one more time. I am forever grateful. Here it is:


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Steven Covey

When one of my clients didn’t call at our appointed time this week, I texted her, thinking she might be absorbed in some task and had lost track of the time. Instead, her reply confessed that she was sitting in the doctor’s office and had completely forgotten our appointment.

Just the day before, to my chagrin, I had double-booked a coaching slot.  Fortunately, I discovered my mistake well in advance and one of the two clients was gracious enough to switch times. Nevertheless, I was quite annoyed because I take pride in being well-organized and detail-oriented.  (My husband and friends probably have less-flattering terms for this tendency!)

Living an “abundant” life doesn’t depend on how much money you have in the bank, although money is certainly a good resource to have.  Abundant living depends on how much you are enjoying your life.

All of my clients are very busy people.  Some run a full-time business from home while juggling a full-time family life.  Many have a day job AND are working hard to build a thriving business on the side, often with families to look after, as well. It’s understandable that they sometimes feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I share tips and techniques I have learned to help them take control of their schedules.

Here are five keys to mastering your own busy schedule and living a more abundant, enjoyable life:

#1 Write it down. The only way you can remember all of the “To Dos” that come up daily is to write them down in ONE place. You can break the list into categories if you like, under the headings “Work” “Family” and “Personal.”  Keep ONE list you carry with you everywhere and review it at least weekly. Trying to keep To Dos in your head over taxes your brain and creates stress.  Once you write it down, your mind can relax and focus on what needs doing NOW

#2 Schedule it. The items on your To Do list are not going to get done unless you transfer them onto your scheduling calendar. You must keep ONE scheduling calendar that has EVERY appointment and action item from all categories on it – work, family and personal. If you keep multiple calendars for your work and family events, you are inevitably going to double-book yourself or miss some important meeting.  The reason I double-booked my two clients was that I noted the appointment change in one client’s file, but must have gotten distracted and forgot to change it on my actual appointment calendar.  You MUST write appointments on your calendar the minute you make them.  Don’t rely on scraps of paper or sticky notes to remind you.

I recommend taking a quiet 30 minutes each weekend to sit with your To Do list and appointment calendar and plan the upcoming week. Schedule up to three of your To Dos each day AROUND the appointments you already have.  Recurring appointments include your morning personal development time, exercise time, kids’ sports schedules, etc.  If you don’t write all of these down, you will think you have time for the three To Dos, but will quickly discover that your day actually is already full of unwritten items that you overlook until you have to do them. If you have blocked time in advance for them, you will accomplish at least 15 important To Dos each week.

#3 Plan ahead. Years ago, one of my dear friends had to wait by the side of the road for AAA to rescue him when his car ran out of gas on several occasions. When I asked him why this kept happening, he said, “I was late for work and didn’t have time to stop at the gas station. I thought I could make it.”

Haste truly does make waste, so instead of flying by the seat of your pants, practice looking ahead 24 hours on your calendar to see what you are going to be doing TOMORROW. Make sure you have everything you will need: Gas in the car, clean clothes, cash, meeting supplies, etc. This habit will de-stress your life tremendously.

#4 Focus. Men’s brains are designed to be single-focused, while women are born multi-taskers.  I know how easy it is to go into a room for one thing and end up doing three other things while I’m there.  Many of my clients use social media as a vital tool to market their business and make new connections. Most of them confess that they plan to spend just 10 minutes posting something,but end up being mesmerized by others’ posts for hours.

If you have your schedule blocked out in detail each week, you should know how much time you plan to spend on a particular task.  Set a timer for doing the task and when it goes off, STOP and proceed to the next item on your schedule, even if you didn’t finish the first task.  That “stick” will teach your brain to FOCUS next time so you can have the “carrot” of proudly accomplishing everything you planned for the day.

#5 Do it NOW. Most of us are born procrastinators.  If we don’t want to do something we must do, we often postpone it until the last minute. But more often than not, our well-laid plans for tomorrow get interrupted by unexpected “fires” to put out that may cause us to miss the deadline.  A client declared her New Year’s Resolution to be “Don’t delay; do it NOW.”  She has stuck with it and it has made her much more calm and productive.  One of my favorite quotes from life coach Mel Robbins’ great book, Stop Saying You’re Fine is “If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.”   

Here’s a final piece of hard-won wisdom from this recovering People-Pleaser: If you can easily fulfill another’s request, by all means, do so. But if it will suck up your time or resources so that your OWN dreams, family or personal well-being are likely to suffer, just say “NO!”  Many things we are invited to attend, join, buy or facilitate aren’t things we truly want and keep us from our own purposeful pursuits. If you firmly, respectfully decline, the requester will appreciate your honesty and will then ask someone for whom it will be a purposeful opportunity.

If you implement one or more of these tips, I am confident that you will soon experience more ease, productivity, joy and success in your life!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll is taking the next week off and will return on Sunday, April 24.

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

I invite you to give 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 give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“If you want to see change, if you want to see God open up new doors, the key is to bloom right where you’re planted.” – Joel Osteen

If you live east of the Mississippi, please forgive me for gloating, but Spring has officially sprung here in Southern California.  The sky is blue, the sun is warm and both my back and front yards are awash in the vivid colors of roses, azaleas, camellias and many other beautiful flowering plants.  But the plants aren’t the only things blooming now.

On April 1 (no fooling), my phone blew up with text after text from my coaching clients who had achieved their Big Goals at the end of March.  Most of them are independent consultants in the same fast-growing network marketing company.  After several months of “planting seeds” of opportunity, one was excited to have sponsored two new business partners.  Another far surpassed her personal organization’s sales volume target. And several others reached “Level 5 Leader” status — the first major step toward building a large Team of serious, successful business partners.  For one, March became the first of three consecutive months that she needs to maintain Level 5 status for her company to lease a brand new Lexus for her.

My clients didn’t achieve any of these milestones overnight or by themselves.  They had the support of their “upline” Leaders who sponsored them into the business and the consultants they personally sponsored. Everyone pulled together to make it possible, knowing the achievement of one Team member was the achievement of ALL.

Having coached them for the past several months, I knew their exciting and fulfilling accomplishments took dedication, belief and work, which reminded me of a recent daily message from Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen:

“If you want to see change, if you want to see God open up new doors, the key is to bloom right where you’re planted. You can’t wait until everything gets better before you decide to have a good attitude.  You have to be the best that you can be right where you are.  When you bloom where you’re planted, you’re allowing God to work in you, and He will be faithful to complete what He’s started in you!”

Each of my clients came into coaching because they had Big Goals that didn’t seem to be moving forward very quickly.  Most of them were feeling stuck, stymied  and even resentful about their inability to find people to join them in the business who were as motivated to succeed as they were.  Most of the Team members they had seemed content to just plod along, showing little ambition.

One of these clients achieved Level 5 Leader status last month , meaning she had sponsored eight serious business partners into the business and supported them in successfully selling the company’s high-end skin care products. When we began our coaching last year, she had just two partners on her Team.

Outwardly, she seemed positive and confident. But on our first coaching call, she confessed her true  feelings with surprising candor: “I am so annoyed with my Team.  Everything has rested on me.  I wish they would do more to help themselves succeed.  It’s invigorating to see my upline Leader’s Team rallying to help her win her Lexus.  I can’t see my own Team doing that for me. I don’t feel grateful for them. I want to learn to feel gratitude for my Team and for my life.”

During our first months together, I gave her a number of coaching tools to engage the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to help her attract business partners who were as enthusiastic and hungry for success as she is. Imagine which tool was her favorite –the Daily Gratitude Journal! Every day, she faithfully wrote in it 10 things that she was grateful for in her life right NOW.

It didn’t take long before she declared, “I am really feeling GRATEFUL!  I am so grateful for the Team I have right now – each and every one of them, no matter how hard they are working.”

That’s when things really began to shift for her. When she learned to bloom right where she was planted, her newly-positive attitude attracted those who wanted to bloom alongside her. When she stopped wishing she were living in a different garden, the garden she found herself in began to bloom more beautifully than ever before.

What kind of garden do YOU find yourself planted in right now?  Imagine what your life would be like without all the wonderful things and people you often take for granted each day:

  • Are you grateful for your job, or do you wish you had a different boss or bigger paycheck?
  • Do you feel blessed to have your partner or spouse, or do you wish he or she were more loving?
  • Are you happy with your home, or do you wish it were bigger or in a better neighborhood?
  • Do you appreciate your car that gets you where you need to go, or do you wish it were newer or flashier?
  • Are you proud of your children, or do you wish they got better grades or helped with the chores more willingly?

As Joel says, if you want your opportunities to improve, you have to be the best that you can be right where you are. Start by expressing your sincere GRATITUDE for all that you have been blessed with already.  Be grateful that you have the unlimited opportunity to better yourself and your circumstances. And then strive to do your very BEST with the resources you have been given in the garden where you are planted now.

If you want more and better, believe that you have the power to attract the right people and resources to help you.  Give your very best at the job you have each day.  Be as loving and thoughtful toward your loved ones, friends, colleagues and strangers as you would like them to be toward you.  Acknowledge the young people in your life every chance you get and watch them become their best selves.

It’s a beautiful garden you live in.  Keep planting more seeds of opportunity and watch them grow!

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

I invite you to give 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 give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.