November 2019


November 17, 2019

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist of merely words.  Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Fredric Amiel

For many of my clients and me, 2019 has been a challenging year. Our personal challenges may be 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 violent, senseless slaughter of innocents or lives upended by natural disasters.

Fortunately, the season of “gratitude,” “peace” and “goodwill” is now upon us, when most people make an extra effort to be kind 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 several 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 last week.  I noticed a young man sitting across from us, plugging his cell phone charger into the wall socket.  He had a pile of things covered by his jacket on the seat next to him.  His clothes weren’t dirty, but his hair looked like it hadn’t been washed in some time.  Despite his own troubles, when a small child was acting out in a way that undoubtedly annoyed some patrons, he just grinned at her, revealing a number of missing teeth.  I admired his kind understanding toward a young girl having a meltdown over something she wanted her mom to buy her.

When he stepped outside for a smoke, I quickly went to the register and bought my first pack of $5 Starbucks gift cards to kick off my own annual Pay it Forward Challenge. I was able to prop one against his cup and quickly exit before he saw me.  It made me smile to imagine his surprise that a stranger would give him a little day-brightening gift. I felt great for the rest of the 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 most 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 goodwill 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 that says 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 or 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 food, towels, blankets 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.
  • Donate blood! One of my clients recently showed up to donate and the nurse asked if she would stay an extra 2 hours to give plasma, which was desperately needed by three children waiting for it.  It interfered with the plans she had for her day, but it also made her day.

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 grassroots 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, Salvation Army and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or homelessness.

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, we can demonstrate sincere gratitude for our many blessings through small acts of kindness toward others.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life in this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Holiday Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

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

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://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 10, 2019

“There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today.  And tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next. Your life and what you do with it matters forever.” –from The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

This quote struck me as very appropriate for Veterans Day Weekend, because those who serve our country and the sacrifices that they and their loved ones voluntarily make surely have a huge impact on generations to come.  We can never adequately thank them nor repay the debt we owe them, but we must try.

And for the rest of us, this quote also applies.  Maybe you don’t think of the things you do in your daily life as having an impact on generations yet unborn, but each and every one of us makes a difference in the days we spend on this earth.

I recently read two different short excerpts about integrity from Eric Harvey’s “The Leadership Solution” published by WalkTheTalk.com, a great free daily blog you may want to subscribe to if you are interested in leadership and building a cohesive, successful team or organization.

I wanted to share them with you because they remind me of the honor, courage and commitment exemplified by the men and women who serve in uniform.

 “Here is an ETHICAL ACTION TEST for you to use from the bestseller Ethics 4 Everyone: The Handbook for Integrity-Based Business Practices by Eric Harvey and Scott Airitam

  1. Is it legal?
  2. Does it comply with our rules and guidelines?
  3. Is it in-sync with our organizational values?
  4. Will I be comfortable and guilt free if I do it?
  5. Does it match our stated commitments and guarantees?
  6. Would I do it to my family and friends?
  7. Would I be perfectly OK with someone doing it to me?
  8. Would the most ethical person I know do it?

Answering “NO” to one or more of these would suggest the need to develop an alternative strategy or seek counsel and advice from appropriate sources.  Lead well.  Lead right.”

The second excerpt is from the new Start Right…Stay Right employee handbook that you can use to remind your Team members (and yourself) of the importance of keeping their commitments:

“Trustworthy, dependable, reliable.  What do these words describe to you?  Would others say that your word is your bond?  Successful people in life and at work place a premium on keeping their promises and commitments.  If they say they’ll do something, they DO it! They count on the fact that people can count on them.  And, they understand that statements like ‘I was gonna, or I mean to, or I haven’t forgotten’ all translate the same way: I JUST DIDN’T DO IT!  Those are just lame excuses, so they are close to meaningless.

Most of the time, we DO intend to keep ‘our word’ and promises, but good intentions only take you so far. You get no ‘points’ for developing the expectation; you only get ‘points’ when you deliver.

So don’t make promises lightly.  When you do make commitments to your manager, your co-worker, or your customer [or Team members], do what it takes to make good on them. Those people are depending on you. Those people are expecting you to keep your word.  Your reputation is at stake, and your success at work and in life is on the line.” – Eric Harvey

I would add that keeping your word to your family and friends is just as critical as it is in your job or business.  You can’t create lasting success and prosperity in ANY area of life if you do not live with integrity in EVERY area of life – especially with yourself.  If you break your word to yourself (e.g. not going to the gym, breaking your diet, blowing off those prospecting calls), you will soon learn that you cannot trust yourself.  And that is the beginning of the end of your self-esteem and self-confidence.

But if we hold ourselves to living by these clear, simple integrity guidelines, we, too, can aspire to make a positive impact on the world, each of us in our own unique and priceless way.

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at https://www.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 TODAY!