October 2016


“First we make our attitudes.  Then our attitudes make us.” – Denis Waitley

I am a big fan of CBS Sunday Morning.  I have watched the show regularly since it first aired in 1979, then hosted by the “On The Road” journalist, Charles Kuralt. I love the consistently interesting, positive and informative features, objective news updates and beautiful images it presents. After watching, I feel more hopeful about the state of the world as I begin a new week.

Last Sunday’s show included a feature story on “The Placebo Effect” that shed important light on exactly how “positive thinking” works and why it is such a powerful tool for solving our problems and reaching our dreams.  Since teaching them how to create a positive mindset is key to helping my clients reach their Big Goals, I was fascinated by the scientific findings it presented.

First, the reporter talked to a woman who had struggled with excruciating pain from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for two decades. Hoping for help, Linda signed up to participate in a very unusual study sponsored by a Boston medical center.  The study gave her three weeks’ worth of pills. But instead of testing a new medication, every participant in the study was taking placebos – pills that contain no active ingredients whatsoever.  Furthermore, everyone in the study KNEW that they were taking a placebo.

At first, Linda said she thought it was going to be a “waste of time” to take an inactive “sugar pill.”  But after her IBS symptoms began to improve within a week, she thought that “Maybe they just TOLD me it was a placebo, and it’s [really] a new medication they are trying out, and they just didn’t want me to know.” In the end, Linda and 60% of all the study participants reported noticeable relief from their physical symptoms without medication.

Of course, The Placebo Effect, as it is known, of people feeling better without a medical cause, only works in certain cases. You can’t expect to cure cancer or lower cholesterol with a placebo. Psychiatrists explain that where it has an impact is on “any symptom which the brain can modulate by itself.” About 35% of the time, people experience some relief from taking a substance that is not biologically active. Some even feel negative side effects from placebos!

We are such “highly-suggestible creatures,” says one psychiatrist, that his patients have experienced asthma attacks from just looking at pollen in a sealed jar, and showed allergic dermatitis symptoms from viewing a cat on television. Clearly, what you think about, your body can bring about.

What really caught my attention was a doctor stating that The Placebo Effect doesn’t work because we are simply imagining it. MRIs have shown that part of the brain’s “pain matrix” is activated by taking a placebo. In fact, there is a measurable rise in the production of dopamine, which dampens the body’s sensation of pain. Thus, taking a fake pill can prod the human brain to produce its own, very real, healing chemicals.

As further amazing proof that our expectations can help create our reality, one group of patients with Parkinson’s Disease in a study were given a placebo that they were told was a cheap, generic drug, while another group was given a placebo that was supposedly an expensive new medication being tested.

In both groups, a significant percentage saw measurable improvement in their tremors, but the group that was told they were taking the “expensive medicine” improved TWICE as much as the group that thought they were taking a “cheap” drug. Furthermore, the “expensive” placebo did just as well at alleviating Parkinson’s tremors as the current REAL Parkinson’s medication that chemically prods the body to produce more dopamine. One doctor involved in the study concluded, “People believed that if it was expensive, it had to be good.”

Aside from the possible medical (and skyrocketing drug price-related) benefits such studies may lead to, they also provide objective, scientific explanations for what Master Manifesters like the late Dr. Wayne Dyer have been asserting for a long, long time: Our own beliefs and expectations really DO affect what happens to us.

In my 12 years as a professional coach, more than 600 of my clients and I have demonstrated time and again that if you are willing to put the past in the past and release ALL negative expectations for your present situation, you can create a better outcome than you may have ever experienced before in similar circumstances. Positive change can also occur with someone you have habitually clashed with — IF you are willing to let go of expecting more of the same, and instead choose to believe that it is possible for them to change. If YOU can change your thoughts and expectations about them, they can change theirs and behave differently towards you.

I have developed a great tool to help the subconscious mind to accomplish this. It’s a self-coaching affirmation that I teach to all my clients (and regularly use myself) that starts with the words, “I claim, accept and expect The Best…” As The Placebo Effect proves, the essential foundation for creating a good outcome is expecting a good outcome

So it appears that the old saying, What you think about, you bring out is now a proven scientific fact. In  order to create GOOD results, you must stay laser focused on what you WANT to manifest, and not squander your brain’s enormous creative power on visualizing a Worst Case Scenario you fear. You can use the awesome power of your own brain to help you manifest the Life of Your Dreams. So, what are you waiting for?

PLEASE NOTE: It requires approximately four hours each Saturday to write, edit and post A Cup of Caroll. While it is absolutely a labor of love, I feel the need right now to focus on serving my many wonderful clients, organizing my office, and enjoying more time for relaxation and self-care.  Therefore the blog will be taking the next two weeks off and will return on Sunday November 6.  I hope my newer readers will check out the blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com  and enjoy some past editions you may have missed!

P.S. If you would like your own free subscription to receive future editions of A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, just go to the same website and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** 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 to schedule their session.

“If you really want to be happy, the only person that can stop you is you.  Don’t strive to be happy.  Be happy.  Wake up each morning.  Smile.  Look for the good in each day.  Choose to act happy.  Find the good in others.  Work toward something larger than yourself.  Do the best you can in any endeavor.” – Glenn Van Ekeren from the book Love is a Verb

I won’t lie to you.  This Fall has been a challenging one so far.  As I wrote recently, I lost a dear friend to lung cancer and several of my friends are going through tough times with serious financial and health issues.

This past week was especially hard, as I lost my best four-footed friend. She went downhill very quickly in just a couple of weeks, and the vet told us the kindest thing to do for her was to let her go.  My husband Rick and stepson Matthew were by her side as she passed, peacefully taking her last breath.

Samantha was originally their dog.  She turned 16 this month, and joined their household as a tiny ball of fur when Matthew was just 9, as a companion for Rick’s late wife and Matt’s mom.  Marianne wanted a small dog to love and cuddle for comfort while she underwent chemotherapy. Tragically, she ultimately lost her battle with breast cancer and Samantha remained as a devoted companion to her “Men.”

I came into Samantha’s life 10 and a half years ago, when Rick and I met on eHarmony and began dating.  I remember our first time sitting on his couch together watching TV. Samantha insisted on wedging herself between us, and her silent glare said it all: “I saw him first, Lady.  Keep your distance.”

Up until then I had been strictly a “Cat Person” and was unsure of how to relate to a dog. Initially, I felt intimidated and a little resentful of her protective stance toward Rick.  But gradually, we came to accept and understand each other.  By the time Rick and I married a little more than a year later, I was officially the “Queen” and Sammy was the “Princess” of our household. It felt like a major victory when her preferred lounging spot became my footstool on our dual-recliner, stretched out against my leg, snoring peacefully.

In return for ear scratches, belly rubs, on-demand treats and being the first one up in the morning to let her out, I got so much love and so many important life lessons from her.  She became as protective of and devoted to me as she was to her Men.  When Rick and I returned from dinner or a day at Disneyland, she always came running, dropped to her belly and made “motorboat circles” of joy, scooting around us on the rug. I felt truly special when she came to greet me first, on occasion.  Samantha proved that she could accept, adapt to and make the BEST of the changes life presents.

Samantha didn’t like other dogs, so we never took her for walks outside the house.  Instead, she got her exercise chasing an array of squeaky toys we would throw across the room again and again until she was tired of playing.  She would eagerly bound after them, nails skittering on the slick wood floor, bobbing up and down and making us laugh at her eagerness.  Whenever she got the urge to expel some energy, she went directly to her toy basket, pulled out the one she desired at that moment and dropped it at someone’s feet.  Samantha knew exactly how to ask for what she wanted. Who could refuse a straightforward, unapologetic request like that?  

At dinner time, she would stand motionless behind Rick, gazing up at him intently while he prepared her food at the counter – canned dog food, laced with little bits of chicken he regularly sautéed just for her.  Sam never begged or whined for food or treats. She simply looked directly at you with her unblinking big black “bug eyes” and you were helpless to resist.  Sam knew how to maintain laser focus on a goal until she reached it. 

But the Number One Life Lesson Samantha taught me was this: Although dogs live just 20% as long as people do, they never waste a minute of the precious time they’ve been given.  Dogs are completely focused on the NOW – NOW it’s time to eat….Time to sleep….Time to play….Time to cuddle….Time to take a nap and wait patiently for My People to return.  Dogs never let past disappointments or fear about the future spoil their present.  NOW is where the squeaky toys are.  NOW is where the love is.  NOW is where the fun is.

In truth, NOW is where we ALL should live.   We can choose to be fully present in the NOW, or we can waste precious time dwelling on a past we can’t change or fearing a future that may never happen.

Like Samantha, we can CHOOSE to wake up happy and determined to look for the good in each day. If she could talk (and if she spoke Latin), she surely would have affirmed the ancient advice, “Carpe Diem.”  Seize the Day

P.S.  The lives of many thousands of dogs and other innocent animals are, of course, far from rosy. Instead, they suffer neglect, abuse or simply lack of love.  One way to honor your own beloved furry and feathered family members is to help God’s creatures that don’t have the loving homes or ideal treatment they deserve. You have the power to make a positive difference in their lives by contributing a few dollars to an animal welfare organization and/or adopting or fostering a new Best Friend from a shelter or rescue group.  The love you give them will come back to bless you many times over!

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

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

I invite you to give 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 to schedule their session.

 

 

“If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.” – Norman Vincent Peale

First, I want to thank my readers who sent me their heartfelt condolences after reading my last blog about the passing of my former husband and dear friend, Jerry Tagami.  I have many mixed, bittersweet feelings of missing a wonderful person who won’t be around anymore, while simultaneously feeling relieved for him and his lovely widow, Diane, that he is out of pain and at peace at last.  I am grateful that I was able to recognize and name the blessings this special person left behind and the huge influence he had on all our lives. His friends and family know that we are all better ourselves for having witnessed Jerry’s zest for life, unfailing caring, devilish sense of humor and dedication to making a difference in the lives of his beloved students.

I believe that Jerry’s passing has given me another gift, as well.  More clearly than ever before, I see that “life is too short” to allow ourselves to sweat the small stuff.  In my September 11 blog, (See #246 in the blog archives on my website), I recalled the old saying that “You can be right or you can be happy.” Most of the time, I choose to be happy.  But I still have to make that a conscious choice each day. That’s because the human Ego appears to be hard-wired to choose right over happy most of the time.

In my youth, I felt the need to try to right every wrong, fight every injustice and set everyone “straight” about what I saw as truth, justice and “the right thing to do.”  I argued with my loved ones, teachers, authority figures and employers, trying to convince them that I alone knew what was “right.”  Many of them undoubtedly rolled their eyes and put up with me because they were much more emotionally mature than I was.

One of the (few) benefits of growing older is that you gain a bigger perspective on life’s problems.  You realize you have to pick your battles and that it’s just not possible to right every wrong.  The issues that truly matter in your life and the lives of people you care about are the ones to focus on. Unfortunately, we often waste a lot of time and energy battling just for the right to proclaim, “I was right and you were wrong!”  (Yes, it does sound a lot like the current Presidential race, doesn’t it?)

I’m witnessing this first-hand right now with two of my coaching clients.  They are both smart, lovely, accomplished, good-hearted, hardworking young women.  Both are determined to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They are sisters, currently living under the same roof.

The older sister saw her marriage and financial support collapse unexpectedly and responded heroically by treating it as an opportunity to create a great new life on her own terms for herself and her two young children.  She applied to an in-demand school in another state to pursue a career that will make her financially independent and give her children everything they need to thrive. Her plan requires long hours of study and hard work, with little money to live on until she graduates in several years.

Her younger sister already has a successful career and is in the process of creating her own side business that promises more emotional fulfillment and greater income to help her pursue her own Big Dreams.  She has responded to her older sister’s current need in an equally heroic way by offering to share living quarters and to help with child care duties while her sister is in class. She willingly gave up much of her free time and her own space to share a four-person household and make some significant lifestyle adjustments in order to help her sister. That is true love.

That is the kind of support I would hope family members everywhere would be willing to give each other. I know the older sister is grateful.  I know she loves and admires her younger sister and wants to see her reach her own dreams, as well. That is why she referred her to me for coaching help. That is true love too.

And yet….They both seem to spend much of their precious few hours on this earth blaming and resenting each other over one petty, inconsequential issue after another.

Each has fallen into the trap of following her Ego’s desire to be right at all costs.  They bring up childhood slights about how each was treated in the family pecking order and have reverted to bickering like teenagers over who deserves the most attention from their mutual friends, best bedroom, more time to herself, etc.  One (so I’m told) insisted that the other “unfriend” some of their mutual friends on Facebook, so the other sister retaliated by demanding that her sister stop “liking” her own friends’ posts.

Really? I have a hard time re-reading that without laughing, and yet it is causing both of them absolute anguish.

When I talk to them separately, each shows up as mature, calm, smart, open and determined.  But when one complains to me about the other, each appears childish, petty, defensive, and completely attached to being declared “right,” no matter the emotional cost.

The truth is, both women have made some significant, admirable sacrifices in their lives and really deserve each other’s support. In addition, I am trying to get each one to recognize that her negative attitude and behavior toward her sister will eventually produce some negative consequences for herself too. The Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy,” which means that whatever you do unto others will inevitably be done unto you – for good OR for bad.

I don’t want to see either of them attract negative consequences as a result of her own negative thoughts, words and actions. Each of them deserves success, happiness and a smooth path forward in pursuing her dreams.  Therefore, each of them must decide for herself if she’d rather be “right” or “happy.”

I know they both read this blog. It is my fervent hope that this post will help each to see herself through objective eyes and recognize that whatever she focuses her energy on WILL attract similar energy, people and circumstances back to herself. Each could be actively pursuing her individual dreams and feeling great happiness for her sister’s success, instead of attracting unnecessary technical and emotional roadblocks and distractions to herself.

It is also my hope that you will view their story as an opportunity to make better choices in your own relationships with your spouse, boss, business partners, children, parents, relatives, students or teachers. We must recognize in ourselves the same Ego pull to risk our success and happiness simply for the cold satisfaction of proving ourselves “right.”

It is said that we rarely regret the words we don’t say, but we often regret the ones we do. I hope you will join me in striving each day to make the one truly right choice: to be kind, loving, forgiving and to simply bite your tongue whenever necessary!

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

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

I invite you to give 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 to schedule their session.