December 2018


December 9, 2018

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” – Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Besides decorating my Christmas tree, my favorite holiday tradition is to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, my wonderful husband Rick and our beloved four-footed “daughter” Diamond to watch Christmas movies.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we watch the same dozen or so every year. 

Among my favorites are A Christmas Story, Elf, The Nightmare before Christmas, Fred Claus, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Love Actually and my ALL-TIME favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life.  I always save that one for Christmas Eve because, to me, it has the most heartfelt and special message.

Ironically, when IAWL first debuted in 1946, it was panned by critics and largely ignored by audiences as being “too dark” for a holiday movie.  But with time, its important message came to be appreciated, and now it is beloved by just about everyone. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings” has become part of the American lexicon and two of the first Sesame Street Muppets were named after a couple of characters in it, Bert and Ernie.

The story’s hero, George Bailey (played to perfection by Jimmy Stewart), is a decent, caring man who has spent his whole life doing the right thing to help others, often sacrificing his own dreams in the process.  One Christmas Eve, facing scandal and prison for a financial crime he didn’t commit, George plans to jump off a bridge, hoping his life insurance policy will help his family survive after he’s gone.

Clarence, George’s naive, slightly dim, but unstoppably optimistic Guardian Angel, is dispatched by God to help George see that his life is priceless and should not be thrown away.  Clarence prevents George from committing suicide and then proceeds to show the despairing man just how much worse the lives of his loved ones and neighbors — and even the town itself — would be if George had never been born.  The core message of It’s A Wonderful Life is this: Each of us makes a difference.  We bless more lives than we realize, and the world would not be the same if we had never been born. 

Since this is the time of year when most of us take stock of our current failures and successes, it’s a great time to ponder this question: What difference did I make for others this year?  As George Bailey learns, that’s what REALLY makes life meaningful and fulfilling.

You can ask yourself that question as you review each of these key areas of life, to assess how you did in 2018:

  • What difference did I make in my career or business?  What customers are happier because you helped them solve a problem?  What colleagues did you help to get what they want?  Who did you teach or mentor or give support to?  Where would all these people be if you had not been there for them? I get a warm, satisfied feeling every time one of my coaching clients acknowledges that the tools I taught her have helped her to succeed and made her value and love herself more.
  • What difference did I make for my partner or spouse? How did you support him or her with their dreams? How did you help them strengthen their belief in themselves by acknowledging them and telling them you believe in them?  How did you show them gratitude for all they do and who they are for you? How did you make them feel GREAT about themselves?  On top of working hard at his real estate business each day, my incredible husband Rick does ALL the shopping and cooking and helps with many chores around the house. He always treats me like a Queen, and I make sure to regularly thank him for his contributions because I want to be sure he knows he is my King! 
  • What difference did I make for my friends and loved ones? How did you support your friends, kids, parents, siblings, extended family?  Some of my clients took in relatives who needed help, looked after a grandchild or ailing parent, reunited with their estranged siblings, showed their kids many kinds of unconditional love that boosted their self-confidence and happiness. This summer, Rick and I took a long driving vacation to visit his son in Portland, my brother in Seattle, and my nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews, who all live in the Pacific Northwest. The trip took a lot of time to plan and we are still paying off the credit cards, but reconnecting with them all in person was priceless!
  • What did I do for the planet and other living creatures?  Some of us contributed to charities and organizations that are actively working to save the planet and help people and animals to survive and thrive.  Some of us went a step further by giving of our time and talents to help through volunteering, recycling, participating in the political process, adopting a shelter pet, going on a mission, tutoring, turning vegan, etc. etc. etc.

This last category of making a difference is something we can ALL do more of into the New Year and beyond.  That’s what the Pay It Forward Challenge I put out to my blog readers just before Thanksgiving is all about.  I hope if you haven’t yet gone out of your way to demonstrate sincere gratitude for YOUR many blessings by blessing someone else – a friend, neighbor, family member or random stranger – that you will do so before the month is over. 

This universal Season of Giving gives us the opportunity to wrap up our old year and begin our new year with the very positive energy of love, kindness and generosity. And as you know, the Law of Attraction dictates that energy attracts like energy.”  Therefore, whatever you do for others will inevitably come back to bless YOU many times over.

INVITATION: If you have done some Pay it Forward good deed during the Holidays to help someone else, please email me the details ASAP at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  Many more readers have shared their inspiring PIF stories with me since the last blog, and I will compile them and publish them next Sunday, for our final blog of 2018.  I hope yours will be one of them!

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.

Your Inspiring Kindness – Blog 322

December 2, 2018

This is one of the favorite blogs I get to write all year long!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays. 

If you didn’t read my last post (Time to Pay Up – Blog 321), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

Not only does paying it forward make you feel good, but it’s also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work for YOU.  Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret and The Power, asserts that gratitude is the most powerful positive emotion we can feel to attract MORE good things to us.  And nothing can make us feel as grateful for the many blessings and privileges of our lives than doing something good for someone else. 

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge several years ago when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holidays by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one every time I visited to the baristas at the counter, asking them to bestow it on any customer at random, after I left the store. (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity are the MOST fun of all!)

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me YOUR gestures of Paying it Forward so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  I also have been collecting some wonderful ones from my favorite online POSITIVE news blog, called GoodNewsNetwork.org. Here are some of my favorites so far:

In the News

  • At a Walmart in Vermont, an anonymous man secretly paid for every single item on layaway. Walmart was not allowed to disclose how much money the man spent or how many people he helped that day, but judging by the number of gifts that were stacked on the store’s layaway shelves, it was a lot. When asked who could afford to pay for so many items, the man simply said: “Santa Claus can.”
  • A team of nurses pooled their money and purchased a winning lottery ticket that paid them $7,200 after taxes. But instead of divvying up the cash, the group decided to give all of the winnings to two nurses going through heartbreak: One has been grieving the loss of her 17-year-old son after he committed suicide on the night of the lotto drawing. The check that she received from her co-workers ended up paying for his funeral. The second check they donated went to a nurse who has been struggling to make ends meet since her husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year. “When I got that phone call [about the lottery winnings], it was a day I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications,” she said. “It just touches your heart.”
  • A compassionate airline passenger ensured that a 20-year-old man was reunited with his lost wallet – along with a little extra something to make up for their time apart. Hunter Shamatt lost his wallet on the way to attend his sister’s wedding in Las Vegas. Since the wallet contained his ID, a signed paycheck, his debit card, and $60 in cash, he “feared the worst”. Shortly after the flight, however, Hunter was stunned to receive a package in the mail from an anonymous sender. Inside was his wallet – along with an additional $40 in cash. There was a note enclosed that read, “Found this on a Frontier flight from Omaha to Denver-row 12, seat F wedged between the seat and wall and thought you might want it back. All the best. PS: I rounded your cash up to an even $100 so you could celebrate getting your wallet back. Have fun!!!”

But, of course, my favorite PIF stories of thoughtfulness and generosity have come from my readers.  Here are a few that I have received so far from you:

  • After I sent a young friend who is working hard at two jobs a surprise check, he soon texted me this message: “Pay it Forward Challenge accepted! I used part of the money to buy coffee.  On my way out, I saw a couple with car problems and called them a tow using my Auto Club membership card.”
  • One of my clients and her two young daughters bought a big load of supplies at Target and stuffed 20 little gift bags with all the necessities of life like toothpaste, soap, nutrition bars, hand warmers and other goodies.  They keep them I the car and whenever they spot a homeless person, the girls jump out and surprise them with a “Blessing Bag.”
  • In the Starbucks drive through, a reader was delighted to learn that the person ahead of her had already paid for her order. The barista told her that there had been an unbroken streak of 33 customers that morning, all paying for the order in the car behind them. Naturally, my reader kept the kindness streak going herself!
  • After spending the week before Thanksgiving volunteering at a local food bank,assembling food in boxes for underprivileged families to have for their holiday meals, one of my readers asked her son, who was home on break from his first semester of college, what he wanted to do for Thanksgiving dinner.  He requested that they dine at an upscale restaurant with his father.  Although she and her ex-husband had a contentious divorce and often didn’t see eye to eye about raising their son, she agreed.  The three of them ended up having a pleasant holiday meal together — their first since their son’s childhood. 
  • Lots of my readers and I participated in some of the many Giving Tuesday opportunities to contribute to our favorite charities.  By giving through PayPal and Facebook, our donations were often doubled by generous matching donors.
  • A client went a step further by starting her own Giving Tuesday fundraiser on Facebook so that the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary could have the benefit of doubled donations. She wrote, “They provide care and love for elderly dogs that are without a home…. Senior dogs are more likely to be euthanized in the shelter system and less likely to be adopted.  This breaks my heart.  I have a soft spot for all animals, and especially dogs.”  Way to do something that makes a difference for them!
  • A reader’s family sponsored her town’s local “Little Free Pantry” – an alternative to big food drives and pantries (which are also wonderful, of course).  Volunteers take turns stocking the cabinet, which is built in the shape of a little house and placed in front of the town’s Safety Office.  Anyone in need can come and discreetly withdraw any food items they want out of the little pantry.
  • One of my readers who is a new mom, and thus sleep deprived, posted on Facebook, “Where are all my tired moms?” To every mom who responded, she sent a surprise $5 Starbucks gift card.  One delighted recipient messaged her, “It’s the nicest thing another mom has ever done for me!”
  • One of my clients has participated in her town’s annual “Shop with a Cop” event for the past 13 years.  The Sheriff’s Office, where her husband is a deputy, underwrites the whole thing – taking underprivileged kids to shop for Christmas gifts with the help of “Santa and Mrs. Claus.” These kids ordinarily would not have the funds to buy presents for their own families, but the peace officers and their spouses help them pick out whatever they want for their parents and siblings, then wrap up their gifts and bus them back home.
  • My own spontaneous Pay it Forward act was to send a little gift to one of my dearest girlfriends (since 6th grade), which arrived the day after Thanksgiving.  I was a little annoyed with myself for not thinking of it soon enough to get there before the holiday–  until I got this text from her: “What an amazing gift for ‘nothing in particular’!  I opened it at the perfect time.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving,but was going through a bit of a rough patch upon arriving home.  Thank you!”

I hope these stories will inspire you to take your own ACTION! Rest assured that whatever big or small acts of kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness — or just a big beaming smile — you bestow on someone over these coming weeks, it will arrive at the perfect time for them! That’s the Law of Attraction in ACTION – putting your gratitude to work making a difference for others!

P.S. If you haven’t yet done so, please email me your own wonderful PIF Challenge story and I will post one more inspiring compilation before Christmas. 

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.