January 2018

January 21, 2018

“Today is unique!  It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated.  At midnight, it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever.  But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” – Charles R. Swindoll

 I hope you have had a chance to complete your 2017 and create a vision for the brand new year that lies before you. If not, there is still time!  Go to my blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and use the past two blogs to guide you in these important steps to lay the foundation for a happy and successful New Year.

If you have completed these two steps, there is one remaining step for you to get your year off to a successful start and maintain order and ease throughout the year ahead – getting organized. If you practice using the plan I am about to share with you, I can promise your 2018 will be filled with more internal peace and ease and more external efficiency and productivity.

(What follows is a lightly-edited post I published in June, 2015 that is definitely worth reviewing to get your year off to a great start!)

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago.  I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table.  Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit.  Looking at the four containers separately, it seemed unlikely that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could ALL fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would IF they were put in the right order.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top.  Yes, all four items DID fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of your most important tasks (the “Big Rocks”) FIRST, all your other tasks can be managed with ease.  But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff” – or worse, spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to tackle first — you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us.  These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher, Team members or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.  You will put out these annoying little fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at one time, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day?  Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) AND must be done or worked on TODAY.  If it can be delegated, ask for help!  If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control?  Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar open to the coming week. Study your To-Do list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a conference call with a potential business partner at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc. Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that you must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be blocking out times on your appointment calendar that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the current appointment OR negotiate a time change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • After scheduling the three Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble Tasks.” These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • Next, come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them amongst the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day.  TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.  Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or improving your skills via a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS: In order for this system to work:

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.)


  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. on the SAME planner/calendar.  If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will inevitably double-book yourself for something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works!  They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress and guilt from double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of they day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered to them, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

Is setting aside time each weekend to plan your week ahead worth the sacrifice of 30 minutes of precious me time or family time? I promise that, in return, you will gain a greater sense of personal control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weekends off for taxes (Ugh!) and Super Bowl Sunday (Yay!).  A brand new Cup of Caroll will appear in your in-box on Sunday, February 11th.

****************** 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 and request a complimentary session.

January 14, 2018

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. – Edith Lovejoy Pierce, poet

 “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be there.” – Joseph Campbell

In the last blog, we discussed the importance of completing your old year before you attempt to create your new year the way you want it to be.  Once you have released any disappointments, lingering resentments, incompletions and regrets over what did or didn’t happen for you last year, you are ready to create an even better new year for yourself.

I have been doing a New Year Creation exercise every year since 2004. I can’t say every year turned out exactly the way I had envisioned in every area of my life. Still, as I re-read each New Year’s Eve what I had set out to create that year, I was consistently amazed to find that much of what I truly wanted did come true.

By the way, if you haven’t yet completed the “Reflections Exercise” from last week’s blog (“Put the Past in Perspective” #291) to help you powerfully complete 2017, identify your Big Lessons from it, and create the mental and emotional space for a year of new manifestations, please take all the time you need to finish it before you begin this next step. You can find it in the blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com.


Once you have completed the old, you are ready for a brand new year of creating your life to be how YOU want it to be!  Every January, my coaching clients use this very effective technique for creating their year on their own terms, rather than passively waiting to see how it all “turns out.” As hundreds of them have proven, you CAN ask for what you want – and get it!

STEP ONE: Create a “theme” for the year. How you would like this year show to up in your life?  Make it catchy so you can remember it on a daily basis. Last year, my theme was “2017: The Year of Doing What I Love” and I am happy to say that it turned out exactly like that! My coaching practice grew to capacity and my husband’s real estate business did well too. We went to Hawaii on a 10th Anniversary Dream Trip and I created a new webinar for the summer that brought me increased prosperity and helped many clients break through the last barriers to their success.

My theme for this new year is “2018: The Year of Peace, Prosperity and Progress” because I want to share the prosperity principles that have helped me so much with even more of the right clients for me. Over the past year, I came to define my “Ideal Client” — exactly who I wanted to work with, how much time I wanted to devote to working and how much value I deserved to place on my services. As a result, I was happier and more prosperous in my career than ever before. This year, I will also allow myself more personal PEACE in the process, even as I conquer new territory and make more progress in my career.

STEP TWO: Create a list of attributes to describe how YOU want to show up in the world this year. State it in the present tense, as though it’s already a fact. Here’s mine: “In 2018, I am a richly-rewarded Messenger of Limitless Peace, Prosperity and Progress: Irresistible, Confident, Peaceful, Joyous, Patient, Empowering, Loving and Giving. I attract effortlessly WHO I AM and EVERYTHING I desire.”

 By declaring who you are in writing, you will automatically begin to become this person. The qualities and attributes you begin to embody will then attract the right people and resources to manifest your Big Dreams with ease.  As the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”  So whatever qualities you cultivate in yourself will show up in those who will be attracted to you – in business, friendship, relationship – everywhere!

STEP THREE: List the main areas of life that are important to you.  Then simply state what you intend to have show up in each area this year.  Remember, you do not have to know HOW you are going to get those outcomes!  Each dream you list is simply a declaration to God/the Universe that this is what you desire – stated in the present tense, as though it’s already happened.  It’s up to God/the Universe to figure out the HOW. It’s your job to quietly listen for Divine Direction and then take ACTION.

A couple of years ago, one of my clients created the clearest, most powerful and graceful Year Creation I have ever read – all on a single page, which is much shorter than my own!  (And most of her Big Dreams came true as well!) With her permission, I share it as an example of what the format looks like when complete.

Remember, the areas of life she wrote about are the most important to HER; your Big Dreams may be in different areas, which is perfectly fine. If you see something in hers that you would like too, feel free to “borrow” it for your own!

2015 – My Year of Gentle Strength

I am a strong athlete, tender and caring friend, and open-hearted leader. I am creative, expressive and joyful. I feel and speak my truth. I am grateful, resilient and committed to my well-being. 

 Health and Well-being:

I am strong and healthy.  I revel in the joy of moving and challenging my body.  I run, swim, cycle, lift weights and do yoga with passion, as these things make me fully alive. I treat myself with gentle love, accepting what my body needs and can do on any given day. I eat whole, real foods that nourish me and provide me with optimal health. I give thanks for my healthy body.


I have a comforting spiritual practice that allows me to build a beautiful connection with God.  Through regular prayer, gratitude and reflection, I allow God’s will to be my guide.


I am grateful for a fulfilling marriage and friendship with my husband.  We appreciate our time spent together, especially when we are separated geographically. We love, honor and respect one another and the gift of building our marriage and sharing experiences together.


I have a fulfilling and rewarding job that allows me to use my leadership skills.  I have a steady income that continues to grow.  I maintain a healthy balance between challenging work and my personal life, allowing me to nurture myself on many levels for overall health. As part of my self-care journey I balance time for work and time for home.


I comfortably attract abundance into my life.  I earn enough steady income to feel a sense of peace about our life.  I ask for what I want and need with confidence and a strong sense of self-worth.


I live a life that seeks and celebrates balance.  I nurture many parts of myself so that I may flourish. I pray and meditate daily, I capture my profound gratitude in my journal and I connect with my inner wisdom to live each day at the pace and intensity that is right for me.  I treat myself with kindness, compassion, and unconditional love. I feel lightness in my every day being.


I am surrounded by a small circle of loving friends who accept me for who I am, support me, and teach me what I need to learn.  We want only the best for each other. I see them for socializing regularly.


Our home is filled with nourishing sunlight and love.  It is open, warm and welcoming.  It comforts and sustains me and is where I find peace and love. It provides beauty and safety for our family.

 What matters most to YOU right now? 

In this creation exercise, all you have to do is ASK God/the Universe for it and BELIEVE it will show up for you at the perfect time and in the perfect way. Some of my clients like to read their Year Creation weekly or even daily. I read mine just a few times during the year, to stay connected to it. But you could put yours away in a drawer and not take it out until next New Years — and you will be amazed that your own subconscious mind has been conspiring with the Divine Mind throughout the year to create opportunities for you to make your Big Dreams real. That’s the Law of Attraction in action! So don’t delay — The BEST year of your life thus far is just waiting for you to create it.

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

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

For the New Year, 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 awhile, 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 for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.  



January 7, 2018

“Change always starts in your mind.  The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.” – Rick Warren

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah!  Now that the Holidays are behind us, we can pause, take a breath and examine what lies ahead.

I don’t have to tell you that last year was one of the most tumultuous in the USA and across the globe in a generation.  Thousands lost their homes and many lost their lives from a series of natural disasters and unfathomable man-made tragedies.  Ugly rancor in partisan politics came to the forefront in the USA and across the world as viewpoints clashed on just about every important topic and even issues thought long-settled were re-litigated in the courts and in the streets. Frequently, our elected leaders seemed to have lost their collective way (and maybe their minds).

One outstanding bright spot was a few brave women who found their voice and began speaking their shocking truth about the sexual harassment and economic unfairness they had endured silently for years. This triggered a tsunami of truth-telling in all walks of life from politics to the arts to business and beyond by women and men alike.  Collectively, individuals stood up for their own dignity and worth and proclaimed, “We don’t care how powerful our oppressors are. We matter and we are no longer going to allow you to treat us with anything less than fairness and respect.”

With so much loss, rancor and division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2017 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important life lessons that will help you create your next year to be all that you want it to be.

In my 13+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 650 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than the last one did. Creating your 2018 YOUR way requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin:

Step One: Complete the Old Year.  You can’t create something NEW in a space that is cluttered with old stuff. So, if you want this next year to be more than just a replay of whatever you experienced last 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.

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

This year, I am using a revised list of questions that includes some old favorites and some great new ones.  The new ones were passed along to me by my dear friend, direct sales industry trainer and motivational speaker extraordinaire, Leslie Zann, who got them from her friend Robin Blanc Mascari (rbmascari@mac.com).  I have bolded the ones that came from Robin. 

Here are 14 KEY questions to help you complete your 2017 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2018. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30-60 minutes to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 — Questions to Complete the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • What was the biggest surprise in your year?
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on but didn’t?
  • What are you most thankful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2018?
  • What would you be most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instill this year?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you do/have more of that in 2018?

NEXT WEEK is going to be fun! 

We will do Step Two: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 13 years and I know you will too!

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

****************** 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.