November 2018


November 18, 2018

“Give everything you can, whether it’s time, money, prayer or just a kind word.  So if you want God to satisfy you with every good thing, go out and help somebody in need.” – Joel Osteen

For many of my clients and me, 2018 has been a challenging year. Our personal challenges may have been related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships, the loss of a loved one, or just coping with the helpless feeling from almost-daily news of yet another senseless slaughter of innocents or lives upended by natural disasters.

Fortunately, the season of “comfort and joy” is now upon us, when most people make an extra effort to be kind, grateful and generous toward their fellow humans.  Maybe one day, this season of goodwill will last all year long, but for now, we will take what we can get!

For the past several years, from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I have used this blog to invite my wonderful readers to make life a little brighter, happier and easier for others with a “Pay-It-Forward Challenge.” I hope that YOU will participate this year, too!  I love hearing about the many creative ways my readers find to help someone else, show them that they matter to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face.

I got the idea for this annual Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week a few years ago. A stranger ahead of me paid $5.00 toward my purchase, which turned my frazzled, grumpy day around and put a smile on my face that never went away through the rest of the year.  That simple act of generous kindness inspired me to buy a bunch of $5.00 gift cards and begin giving them out every few days to the baristas at the register to bestow on random people in the line behind me.

I unexpectedly got to repeat that joyful practice again yesterday.  A homeless woman who frequents our Starbucks came in while Rick and I were having breakfast before driving to Disneyland, our favorite place to enjoy the Holidays.  As she sat down at the next table, I moved a chair to make room for her shopping cart that was piled high with all kinds of found “treasures.” I smiled and said good morning and asked her how she was.  “Frustrated.  How are you?” she replied.

That’s when I spontaneously decided to pay forward our many blessings and brighten her day by going to the register and purchasing my first gift card of the season.  On our way out, I laid it on the table in front of her and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  It was so great to see the surprise light up her face!  As lovely a time as we had at Disneyland, I can honestly say that giving that stranger a $10 Starbucks gift card was the highlight of my day.

I plan to purchase more gift cards and give them away randomly at Starbucks through the end of the year, and I trust that each of those surprised strangers will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Last year, the baristas told me that there were a number of customers doing the same thing, creating a big old warm chain of joy and gratitude, one cup at a time!

You can experience the joy of spreading around some “Holiday Spirit” in your own creative ways.  Your kindness and thoughtfulness don’t have to cost anything.  Here are few examples my readers came up with in years past:

  • Let someone who appears to be in a hurry go ahead of you in the checkout line. I promise they will beam at you!
  • Help a harried friend or colleague run an errand, or babysit their kids while they do.
  • Surprise your friends, family and clients with a snail-mailed or emailed Thanksgiving card this year! Few people think to send them, but this gesture says, “I am so grateful for you!” to friends and customers like nothing else can.
  • Or pick a morning as soon as you arrive at work, to send out an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues stating what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them on your team. This will make their day.
  • Use your musical, baking or crafting talents to spread cheer and delight to children, neighbors, elderly folks and the sick.
  • Help an older person or someone who is under the weather put up their holiday decorations, haul home their Christmas tree, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, bringing them dinner or running an errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate money, food or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone who lives alone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them while you enjoy the goodies together.

If you are able, pay your own financial blessings forward by spreading the prosperity around a bit.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Surprise a friend on a tight budget with a supermarket gift card that will make their Holiday feast much brighter.
  • At the gas station, if you notice someone in an old car with kids in the back, surprise her by paying for a full tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them $5 or $10 instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support local animal rescue organizations that are operating on a shoestring. $25 means far more to them than it does to the big animal welfare organizations, although I try to donate as much as I can to those, too.
  • Take the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended from so many back-to-back natural disasters.

It’s easy to fall into despair and think “What difference can I make in the face of all that seems so wrong and tragic in the world?”  But as this week’s quote reminds us, any little thing we do will pay it forward to others in our own ways. And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Christmas Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

Please email me your own Pay It Forward Challenge story!  I will collect them and share them in a future blog to inspire others to do more of the same.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking next Sunday off so I can enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving too!  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday December 2.

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

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

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

November 11, 2018

“How often do you tell the people in your life how much you appreciate them? God wants you to be joyful and enlighten others with His joy by being kind and patient and showing your appreciation and love.  Make a list of your loved ones and make a commitment to let them know how much you care.  When you tell someone how much they mean to you, you receive an unexpected boost of love and joy yourself!” – Guideposts magazine’s 60 Days of Prayer

What a week.  I am feeling somewhat emotionally wrung out amidst a jumble of tough news: Flooding and severe weather in the Midwest and East, deadly firestorms and yet another senseless mass shooting here in California. Oh, and a divisive mid-term election that refuses to end, with continuing recounts and threatened lawsuits in several states.

With Christmas and Hanukkah still weeks away, where can we turn for some comfort and joy? I say we need to “Make Thanksgiving Great Again” — Not that Thanksgiving (or America for that matter), ever really stopped being GREAT.  It’s just that we have taken both of them too much for granted lately.

Instead of allowing this unique holiday to become simply a day to watch football, stuff ourselves, suffer through annoying dinner conversations with relatives who get on our nerves, while anxiously awaiting the opening bell to buy more stuff we don’t really  need, what if we truly put the THANKS back into Thanksgiving by showing our GRATITUDE to the people we too often take for granted?

Here are some ways my clients have done it this year. I hope they may inspire you to do it, too:

  • Send someone a heartfelt message of thanks. This year, instead of getting lost amidst the avalanche of Holiday greeting cards and annual newsletters from friends, relatives and vendors, my coaching clients are sending out Thanksgiving cards. Their purpose is simply to express heartfelt gratitude to the customers and Team members who have supported them throughout the year.  There is no motive except to say “Thank You. You are special and I am grateful to have you in my life.”  You can do this with your friends and family too. I promise you they will be surprised and delighted to be acknowledged at Thanksgiving.
  • Apologize, even if you don’t believe you are wrong. After a long-distance argument, one of my clients sent a loving apology text to her husband, who is working on an extended job assignment in another state. She gave up being “right” and simply thanked him for the sacrifice she knew he was making by being away from his family to help build a great future for them. In response, he surprised her by getting his boss to pay for renting them a beach house, so they can all be together as a family at the Holidays.
  • Extend an olive branch to heal a rift. One of my clients hadn’t spoken to her sister for several years. After hearing a reconciliation message in church, she spontaneously called her sister and simply told her that she missed her. A few days later, she drove several hours for an afternoon visit, where they laughed and enjoyed each other’s company, just as they used to. Now, my client plans to invite her sister to spend Thanksgiving with their family, who are all relieved that their estrangement is over.
  • Change a relationship by upgrading your own mindset. One of my clients  dreads her family’s Thanksgiving gathering because one of her in-laws is always cold and rude to her, for no apparent reason. We discussed what she could do to improve their relationship through changing her own energy and expectations.  Now, she is mentally prepping by expecting The Best and focusing on bringing only positive, healing energy to the gathering, so that everyone there (including herself) will feel loved and appreciated.
  • Another client was dreading attending a business function where she must interact with a talented, but insecure, colleague who is prone to creating drama-filled confrontations. Instead of fearing her worst behavior, my client created a whole new mindset for herself. She vows to proactively express her sincere gratitude for the colleague’s contributions and speak only kind, acknowledging and empowering words when they meet. And she is truly expecting the BEST from her colleague in return.

The Law of Attraction, which states that “energy attracts like energy,” dictates that our own thoughts, words and emotions will inevitably attract to us people and circumstances that match our energy.  Gratitude, which is a form of love, is one of the most powerful positive emotions we can send out into the world to attract back to us MORE good things to be grateful for.

So let’s do our part to spread kindness and express love and gratitude to others, especially in this month that focuses on giving thanks.  What more precious gift could we possibly be thankful for than all the wonderful people God has brought into our lives?

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.