December 8, 2019

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schulz

(First, I have to say “Happy Birthday” to my brother, Harbison Parker.  Big Bro, I hope this is a great one for you and your family!  — Love, Your Lil’ Sis)

In case you didn’t read the last two blogs, I started the Pay it Forward Challenge spontaneously several years ago around Thanksgiving because a gentleman in line ahead of me at Starbucks surprised me by paying for my drink. When I tried to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”

My day had not been going too well up to that point, but this stranger’s thoughtful gesture turned my frown upside down and I wanted to pass along that warm feeling to others.  So, I bought a packet of $5.00 Starbucks gift cards and gave one to the barista at the counter whenever I stopped in throughout the Holidays, asking her to bestow it on whomever she wanted. This made me happier than any of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received!

Gratitude is thankfulness in ACTION, so I challenged my coaching clients and cherished readers to do some kind and generous act for someone else during the Holidays to show their sincere gratitude for all the many blessings in their lives. Year in and year out, they have come through in many creative ways.

Now, to finish off our “Pay it Forward Challenge 2019 results stories, I am happy to share more of their great ideas with you, in hopes they will inspire you to do a nice deed for someone else and keep our chain of “comfort and joy” going.

  • One reader recently baked 10 pies to share with the residents of the assisted living home where she regularly visits her dad.
  • Another reader emailed, “I live in a rural town. Many of my friends and I are giving $100 each to our local police department.  The plan is that the officers will randomly give $20 to folks they come across that need it.  It helps our police department, too, by giving them a positive influence in our community.”
  • A teacher spends about 20 minutes of class time on “Gratitude Fridays.” First, she shows her 6th graders a short video about some aspect of gratitude. (She says there are LOTS of these videos on YouTube and TED talks.) Then she gives them a different assignment each week designed to expand their understanding of the importance of being grateful. This past week, she had them list 10 things they were grateful for in their lives right now and say WHY they felt thankful for each thing. For example, “I am grateful for my Mom because she fixes me breakfast and makes sure I get to school on time every day.”
  • One reader told me her church has a tradition of asking each family in the congregation to purchase a warm sleeping bag on Amazon.com and have it shipped directly to the church, which then takes all the sleeping bags to the streets and distributes them to the homeless.
  • Local grassroots organizations give us great opportunities to pay our blessings forward in many ways. One reader in Colorado has her kids fill backpacks with books and school supplies and drop them off to Kinsey’s Kids, which serves underprivileged children.
  • Similarly, the local Rodan + Fields direct sales community supports Hope House of Colorado, whose mission is to provide local teen moms with encouragement, education and empowerment. This is the third year the community is coming together to do the Christmas Stocking and Stuffers Drive. The consultants can personally shop for toys or much-needed supplies for the moms and their precious kids, or simply make donations online that are then turned into purchases by other volunteers.

Here is a recent Pay It Forward story that I loved in the online good news feed:

Adrianna Edwards used to have to walk four and a half long hours in order to get to work every day at a Denny’s restaurant in Galveston, Texas. She had been scrimping and saving to buy herself a car so she would no longer have to make the 14-mile trek to and from her job.

An anonymous couple who Edwards had been serving at her restaurant learned about her grueling commute. Hours after they paid their bill, they returned to the restaurant with a 2011 Nissan Sentra and handed the keys to a dumbfounded Edwards. Their only condition for the gift was that Edwards simply pay the good deed forward.

Now that she is freed from having to buy a car, Edwards says that she will be able to put herself through college much sooner than she expected—and she is already planning on using her good fortune to help others.

“I still feel like I’m dreaming. Every two hours, I come look out my window to see if there’s still a car there,” Edwards said. “When I see somebody in need, I’ll probably be more likely to help them out (and) to do everything that I can to help them out.”

But of ALL the many wonderful stories my cherished readers have submitted so far, one is my very favorite.  It proves that one simple act of kindness that “someone will never be able to repay” can create miracles for them – and YOU:

“I got into a minor car accident last spring and the young man at fault told me that his car had been broken into earlier that day and his license and wallet had been stolen. I could see the broken window, and I believed him.  Clearly, he was having a REALLY bad day. He asked me if he could pay for the damage himself, because he didn’t want his insurance rates to skyrocket. 

I agreed and took his information. My local garage gave me an estimate of $1400 for the body work. He didn’t have that much in a lump sum, but asked to send me what he could every month, and I agreed to hold the payments until $1400 had been accumulated.  He was faithful to his word, sending me a few hundred each month until it reached $1400.

By that time, the lease was up on my car, and I turned it in and got a new one, without ever fixing the damage.  Of course, I expected to hear from the dealer about charging me for the repairs, but weeks went by and I was amazed that they never contacted me.

I didn’t want to keep the young man’s $1400, since it was no longer needed for repairs, so I called him. He sounded groggy, like he had been asleep.  I reminded him who I was and said, ‘I have some good news for you!  I am going to Venmo you your $1400 back.’ 

He was completely flabbergasted!  He blurted out, ‘I lost my job and it’s been really tough.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent this month.  You are an ANGEL!’ He even called me back to thank me a second time and make sure he hadn’t been dreaming!  I just told him to pay it forward and wished him a great Holiday.”

3 Steps to Becoming More Grateful from DailyHealthPost.com

“In times of hardship, or stress, it might seem difficult to be grateful.  But if you really think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. If you engage in only one prayer, let it simply be a heartfelt ‘thank you.’  Here are three easy ways to put yourself in the mindfulness of gratitude.

  • Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for – list at least three. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning before your day begins or at night before sleep.
  • Make it a point to tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
  • When you look in the mirror, give yourself a moment to think about a quality you like about yourself or something you have recently accomplished.

Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

Let’s keep the gratitude goodness flowing through the rest of the Holidays!  If we all continue to do random small good deeds for others and ask them to Pay it Forward, this truly will be a Season of Comfort and Joy for the many lives that your kindness will touch.

PLEASE NOTE: Next week will be the final Cup of Caroll for 2019.  In it, I will share my own Gratitude Miracle with you and give you a preview of some exciting things I have planned for the New Year!

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************ Give Yourself or Someone Else 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.  You can offer this to a friend as well!