September 2018


September 30, 2018

“What you hear repeatedly, you will eventually believe.” – Mike Murdock

This week’s topic is not one I relish dealing with at all.  But it is necessary sometimes to address the dark side of life and how to deal with it,  to enable yourself to reap the rewards of living with integrity, optimism and expectation of good things coming to you.

I often take my cues for blog topics from a pattern I notice throughout the week in my own experiences and the experiences of my clients. This week, the theme was pretty hard to miss.  Not only did several of my clients have to deal with it, I had a jarring personal experience of it, and the whole nation got a ringside seat to it via the televised Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Thursday.  The yelling and finger pointing, vitriol and personal attacks on display among the elected “leaders” who are supposed to represent us were jaw-dropping to behold. But I am not here to talk about politicians.  I want to talk about toxic energy and what we can do to protect ourselves from it in our OWN everyday lives.

What is “toxic energy”?  Your “energy” (or some people call it your “vibration”) is made up of your thoughts PLUS your emotions“Toxic,” according to the dictionary, means something that is “poisonous” and perhaps “infectious” — to the point of “causing serious harm or death.”

At some point, we all cross paths with someone who exudes “toxic energy.”  A specific promise I ask all my clients to state aloud every day is: “I avoid toxic people and surround myself with Winners who inspire me and help me to reach my Dreams.” That is a worthy goal, but as I learned for myself this week, it’s easier said than done.  So I want to share with you some insights and tips I used to help my clients and me to shield ourselves from the toxic energy we encountered from others.

First, my own story: For the past couple of years, I have been a long-distance “friend” to someone I have never met face to face.  We corresponded via email, text and Facebook and at  first, I enjoyed our interactions. He seemed like a truly good person, who talked a lot about the people around him who were lonely and needed something to cheer them up.  He found ways to do that, some of which required money (like throwing modest parties for them). In his own life, he faced serious financial challenges, being older and living on a fixed income, which he supplemented a little bit with a sporadic sideline gig.

I was inspired by the way he seemed to maintain a positive attitude in the face of all the challenges in his own life.  He was (all too) eager to share personal information with me, including that his wife had divorced him several years ago and moved to the other side of the country, and neither of his grown children had seen or spoken to him in years.  In short, he garnered my sympathy with his vulnerable candor and seemingly selfless caring for others.

I began to send him small sums of money from time to time, to help with his parties and his own dire needs (such as car problems and having his internet and cell phone shut off, and at one time, the imminent shut off of his utilities).  Each time, he protested that he had not told me about his problems to solicit money from me, but then he always accepted it with lavish thanks.

Mind you, I am not an easy mark.  I really do have a pretty good sense of when someone is lying to me, and I don’t think he was lying about the facts.  I believe he IS broke. But looking back, I can see that he never seemed to try to change his financial circumstances, other than lament them.  Being a coach, I’m hard-wired to give suggestions to help my clients solve daily problems, but every time I offered him a suggestion, he would deflect it, explaining why that wasn’t feasible. I thought maybe there just weren’t any part-time jobs available for someone his age in his area. I felt growing frustration, but ignored what my gut was telling me for a long time.

Over time, his messages focused more and more on complaints about how others treated him unfairly and “woe is me” tales of all the things that were going wrong for him, one after another.  I was the only person he had to confide in, who could understand, he said. His energy became more toxic so gradually, I didn’t consciously recognize it for a long time.  I just knew that it was beginning to wear on me emotionally, like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.

I think what finally opened my eyes is that last Sunday I watched on YouTube a sermon by my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen, in which he talked about planting our “seeds” in good soil.  He cited a familiar parable from the Bible about how three different farmers sowed their seeds in rocky soil, weedy soil and good soil.  Those seeds planted in the rocky and weedy soil died out, while those planted in the good soil flourished and became a rich harvest.

Joel said the parable means we have to carefully CHOOSE the people we hang out with because they are the “soil” in our lives.  If we plant our own “seeds” – our special gifts and dreams that can blossom with the right nurturing – in a toxic environment filled with poor role models and those who do not support us, we are bound to have a meager harvest.

Later that day, I saw a Facebook post by Mr. Woe is Me with a big photo of his sad-eyed four-footed friend who, he said, clearly needed to go to the vet.  He said he was calculating how to get the money and whether cutting himself back to one meal a day would help. Soon, he began to get comments from several of his many Facebook friends offering to send a donation.  He replied, “Thank you, but I’ll be all right.”

I commented, “What if these kind offers are God’s HOW to help you get your dog taken care of?”  He replied “What if they aren’t?”  Then he immediately switched to private messaging, saying “I love you” and anxiously asking if I was mad at him or something was wrong.

I wrote back that he seemed to be acting like a “professional victim” by telling everyone about his dog’s plight and then refusing offers of help. I suspected some of his friends were planning to send him money anyway, despite his protestations, as I would have done in the past. He said that he hadn’t intended for his post to come across as a plea for money and immediately took it down. Then he messaged me again, saying, “Why are you doing this to me – making me feel like crap?”

In that instant, I knew it was time to permanently disengage from his toxic energy that was now on full display, so I wrote back, “I am done. Please don’t write me anymore.  I truly wish you and your dog the best.  I won’t read your posts or comment ever again. Goodbye.”

Afterward, I felt somewhat shaken at the unexpected abruptness of my recognition of and disengagement from his specific form of toxic energy (emotional manipulation masquerading as selflessness suffering). At the same time, I recognized that I instantly felt happier and lighter to be free of it.

Just before I blocked him, he sent me a long, vitriolic diatribe about everything he felt was wrong with me, including that I was trying to “control” him with my money.  The nicest thing he said was “You are NOT a godly woman.”  (I don’t remember every claiming to be one.)  His final salvo was this: “You will now answer to god for this.  I’m sure. I’m wealthy hear me roar.  I’m praying to god I never become you.  I’d really kill myself…If you don’t cause it tonight.”

Well, I am glad I climbed off that crazy train.  I am grateful that my God-given inner wisdom was right and that I instinctively followed it. Because I had blinded myself to the truth over a long period, I now realize how easy it is to do with the people in our own lives. And I see that someone’s toxic energy involves more than just chronic complaining, negativity, damaging gossip or constantly undermining your self-worth. Toxic energy comes in many forms and some of them are well-disguised as something positive.

OK, so Rule Number One in protecting yourself from toxic energy is to always remember Maya Angelou’s wonderful quote, “People will show you who they are and you’d best believe them.” Give everyone a chance to prove themselves to you, but as soon as your intuition starts to notice red flags about someone, don’t ignore those warning signs!

Rule Number Two: Don’t hang out with people whose energy provides “poor soil” for your gifts, character, habits and dreams.  If you hang out with them long enough, your own Seeds of Greatness will die and you will become like them.  Instead, seek out friends and mentors who will support you, nurture you and inspire you – people you want to emulate. Joel Osteen recommends disengaging from the poor soil gradually by just spending less and less time with them over a period of time.  If they notice, you can just say that you are busy with lots of good stuff and you don’t have as much time to hang out as you used to.

NEXT WEEK: Unfortunately, with some people who exude toxic energy, you do not have the option to just walk away. They are your boss, Team member, close relative — maybe even your spouse (or the co-parent of your children). Next time, we will discuss how to deal with others’ toxic energy when you can’t leave. Stay tuned!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like receiving a gift and not opening it.” – William Arthur Ward

Welcome back!  I have missed you.  I missed writing the blog, but it was good to have a bit of time to myself, after a very busy summer. Over the past two weeks, while my coaching load was considerably lighter, with many of my networking marketing clients away at their annual convention in New Orleans, I got a chance to enjoy some good food, fun times and friendship with my dear friends Lisa and Peggy and of course, with my wonderful husband Rick.

The blog re-post before my hiatus (Back to School—Blog 314) was a fan favorite about showing appreciation for the people in our lives who serve as our teachers, mentors, role models and encouragers.  If you missed it, I hope you will look it up in the blog archives on my website.

I wanted to pass along to you some of the wonderful stories my readers shared with me about what happened when they took action and put their gratitude for the supporters in their lives into words of thanks and appreciation:

  • One client told me that when she returned from the convention, she sent a message to each of her Team members who had attended, acknowledging them for some specific special gift they have that blesses the whole Team. One is tech savvy and teaches others how to rock social media, one builds up and encourages others, one shares her knowledge and know-how with everyone, etc. It meant a lot to each of them, I’m sure, to be seen, acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions.
  • Another said she makes a point of telling her kids each day how proud she is of them for what they accomplished and who they were being. She also makes one short phone call each day to a member of her Team and acknowledges them for their special qualities and/or accomplishments.
  • One of the participants in my Prosperity Summer Camp 2018 webinar sent me a follow up note telling me that when she and her family were on vacation, she made it a point to thank her husband for making dinner and telling him sincerely, “I am so grateful for you.” It surprised him, and his first embarrassed reaction was “What’s up with that?” And her puzzled children chimed in, “Yeah, what’s up with that?” When she told them that she was learning about the power of expressing gratitude from the course, they thought it was a great idea.  “Before you knew it, the kids were saying, ‘Dad, thank you for dinner and I’m so grateful.’ It became part of our vacation and it felt so good!”
  • One of my clients told me how she got a real surprise when she asked her ex-husband if he would be willing to forego attending his wife’s family reunion to stay with their special needs son so my client could attend her company’s convention in New Orleans. In the past, he has not always stepped up to do his share with helping their children, so she was amazed and delighted when he readily agreed. Then I asked her if she had FULLY expressed her gratitude to him for making that sacrifice.

She took it to heart and texted him a heart-felt thank you note:  “Hi, B, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and I’m so grateful to you that you are willing to forego your trip so you could help out with our son when I am in New Orleans.”

Her Ex’s response to her text surprised and delighted her: “You’re welcome. My wife and I both thought it was the right thing to do without hesitation….I am coming over this morning to watch the game with him.  Bringing donuts.  Do you want some?”

  • That same client is a grade school teacher and she says that noticing and complimenting her students always makes them visibly happy to be seen and appreciated. Because of that, she went out of her way to acknowledge a fellow participant at Weight Watchers. She knew the woman had been struggling for awhile to reach her goal weight. When she finally did, my client asked the whole group to applaud her achievement. Later, the woman posted on Facebook, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today.”

In the last post, I quoted my favorite positive-thought preacher, Joel Osteen, who frequently reminds us how our words can build others up and make all the difference in helping them succeed in life.  Here is another great passage from his daily inspirational note:

Be a People Builder by Joel Osteen

“God designed us to live in relationship with others.  He wants us to help each other grow.  None of us will reach our highest potential by ourselves.  We need people in our lives to encourage us, and we need to encourage the people in our lives and help them reach their potential.  The word ‘encourage’ means to ‘urge forward.’  Many times, you can see things in other people that they don’t see in themselves.  You can see their strengths and talents.  You can see that God has a special plan for them, even though they may be going through a difficult time.  Don’t assume that people see what you see in them.

“Take a moment and encourage them, either with a kind word or simple note.  There might be a special gift you can give them that will remind them of their goal or dream.  In whatever way you can, urge the people in your life to keep moving forward.  If you’ll be a people builder and help others fulfill their dreams, God will fulfill your dreams, and you’ll live in blessing all the days of your life.” 

He’s absolutely right.  None of us got where we are alone.  We all had one or more special parents, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors or role models who took the time to encourage us and build up our belief in ourselves and our ability to reach our dreams.  If you pay it forward by doing the same for someone else, you will have the incomparable satisfaction of knowing that you made the same kind of impact on another life.

And who knows?  You just might get a surprise “Thank you” note one of these days, like I did recently.  One of my past clients sent me a greeting card out of the blue.  The printed part said, “I am so thankful for your mentorship.”  Then she added by hand, “You were the first to come to my mind….Thank you for what you taught me.  You are truly amazing.  You are an Everyday Mentor, and that’s something to be grateful for.”

I can tell you that, even though I have I have been a Personal Success Coach for 14 years this month and had the privilege of helping over 700 individuals reach their Big Goals, their acknowledgment never gets old!

And I have to admit that it gave me goose bumps because it arrived the very next day after my last blog was published, so it had to have already been on its way to me before I ever mentioned the idea of sending a message of gratitude to someone who has been a teacher, mentor or role model for you!  If that isn’t an example of listening to Divine Direction, I don’t know what is!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

September 2, 2018

 “In the end, a person is only known by the impact he or she has on others.” – Jim Stovall

Like many of my readers in the USA, I am spending the long Labor Day weekend getting some personal projects done, relaxing a bit with my family, and lamenting the unofficial end of summer.  That’s why I am playing hooky from writing a new blog this week.  Instead, I am sharing a lightly-edited post from three years ago that remains quite relevant for this time of year.

August 9, 2015

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

It’s that time — Back to School Time!  Many of my clients are parents as well as business professionals and entrepreneurs, and they are still adjusting to their kids’ new school schedules and new teachers.

One of the most important things a good teacher does is to encourage students to strive for excellence and to believe in themselves.  Even if you don’t have school-age children, Back to School is a great time to remember that teachers play a vitally important role in all our lives and we are actually ALL teachers. If you are a parent, you teach and encourage your own children their values, manners and sense of self-esteem – among other critical life skills – every day.

Recently, my favorite televised minister, Joel Osteen, talked about the special role fathers play in bringing out the BEST in their children by giving them approval, encouragement and validation.  I loved his message, and I believe it applies to every adult, not just fathers. If you are a parent, teacher, boss, mentor, sponsor, aunt, uncle, older sibling, trusted friend, life or athletic coach, you are an encourager.

Sharing your approval, validation and encouragement with your employees, children, spouse, partner, friends and teammates gives them the courage to step out of their comfort zone to risk and achieve more than they ever thought possible. Even when they fail – especially when they fail – telling them you are proud of them for giving it their all and that you believe in them will give them the courage and belief to try again.

In his sermon, Joel Osteen said, “The people in your lives can’t read your thoughts – you have to speak them.  They need your love, guidance, support and mentorship.  They need you to teach them what you have learned, and to model excellence and integrity….All they need to excel is your blessing, your encouragement.  Give them an extra boost to excel, to rise higher, to go further, to accomplish things they never knew they were capable of.” 

And they, in turn, will duplicate all that with the important people in their lives – their families, friends, colleagues and teammates.  Encouragement, approval and validation are some of the most impactful things you could possibly pass along to the lives you touch on a regular basis.  That’s what professional teachers do for a living and that’s what each of us can do as well.

So here’s a simple but profound encouragement you can give your fellow teachers: Thank them!  If your child has one or more good teachers this year, go out of your way to write those professional encouragers a personal note stating how much your child loves their class and how grateful you are to have them in your child’s life.  You don’t have to wait for Back to School Night!  You can do this the second week of school.

And even if they are not perfect, if you make the effort to acknowledge and validate a teacher for his or her hard work and dedication, guess what?  It will make them want to be an EVEN better teacher and role model for your child.  We all thrive on encouragement and acknowledgement.

If you don’t have a child with a teacher, I urge you write a similar heartfelt “Thank You” note this week to someone who has been a mentor, role model, teacher or encourager in YOUR life.  Tell them how grateful you are for their belief in you and their encouragement.  Tell them the difference they have made in your life and I promise you they will keep that note for the rest of their lives.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two Sundays off to let me spend some precious time with my family, friends and my BFF Lisa, who will be visiting from out of town.  A brand new Cup of Caroll will come to you on Sunday, September 23.  In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day! 

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone. 

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.