March 2021


March 28, 2021

“A balanced life is a lie…. Purpose, meaning, significance – these are what make a successful life.” – from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papsan

It feels fabulous to have the time to write a brand new post again!

Since the late fall of 2020, I have had too many coaching resources to study, video trainings to take, new website/branding content to create and other work projects to attend to simultaneously.  On top of that, since my wonderful husband Rick had back surgery in October, many new duties fell to me at home that he had always attended to.

At first, I felt like I was failing in ALL areas of my life because I couldn’t accomplish EVERYTHING I wanted to do for my business and my home life simultaneously.  What kept me sane was remembering to breathe, having faith that God would give me the strength and direction to do whatever I needed to do in the time I had to do it, and making a short list of my top priorities each day. Soon, I learned to be at peace with just getting the MUSTS done and letting the rest go until tomorrow.

Happily, my career is back on a more manageable pace and Rick is doing great with his full recovery.  But this personal growth experience got me intensely interested in the topic of so-called Life Balance, since my life felt completely “out of balance” in both the personal and professional realms.

Achieving an elusive “life balance” is usually the number one thing my coaching clients mention among their top three Big Goals. Women especially feel pulled in too many directions between work and their family responsibilities, with nothing left for themselves. I couldn’t really empathize with them before my own life went off the rails, but now I get it. Believe me!

One of my real estate/entrepreneur clients recently recommended a fabulous book called The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  Gary is the co-founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which began as a single office in Austin and is now the largest real estate company in the world.

This book, which is meant to help us succeed BIG in our careers and live fulfilling personal lives, has a whole chapter devoted to debunking the myth that “life balance” exists. They write, “The desire for balance makes sense.  Enough time for everything and everything done in time.  It sounds so appealing that just thinking about it makes us feel serene and peaceful. This calm is so real that we just know it’s the way life was meant to be. But it’s not.”

In order to truly “balance” your work life and personal life, you would have to stay in a “middle” zone, like on a teeter totter. However, in your work and passion projects, “magic happens at the extremes.” If you try to take care of all things all the time, everything gets short changed and you never achieve your Big Dreams.  A life lived in the middle creates mediocre success.

But in your personal life, “When we work too long, eventually our personal life suffers. Falling prey to the belief that long hours are virtuous, we unfairly blame work when we say, ‘I have no life.’ Often, it’s just the opposite. Even if our work doesn’t interfere, our personal life itself can be so full of ‘have-tos’ that we again reach the same defeated conclusion: ‘I have no life.’ And sometimes we get hit from both sides. Some of us face so many personal and professional demands that everything suffers. Breakdown imminent, we once again declare, ‘I have no life!’”

Bingo.  That was my experience exactly. What is the solution, then?

The way to achieve a successful, purposeful and happy life in BOTH your work and personal realms is to learn how to COUNTERBALANCE.

“When we say we’re out of balance,” they write, “we’re usually referring to a sense that some priorities – things that matter to us – are being underserved or unmet. The problem is that when you focus on what is truly important, something will always be underserved.  No matter how hard you try, there will always be things left undone at the end of your day, week, month, year and life….Leaving some things undone is a necessary tradeoff for extraordinary results.  But you can’t leave everything undone, and that’s where counterbalancing comes in. The idea of counterbalancing is that you never go so far that you can’t find your way back or stay so long that there’s nothing waiting for you when you return.”

There are two difference types of counterbalancing: The balancing between work and personal life and the balancing within each.  Work and personal life counterbalancing each require a different strategy, so let’s examine them separately. First, let’s look at your Personal Life and in the next blog we’ll look at what you can do to counterbalance your Work Life.

The authors state, “In your personal world, awareness is the essential ingredient.  Awareness of your spirit and body, awareness of your family and friends, awareness of your personal needs – none of these can be sacrificed if you intend to ‘have a life,’ so you can never forsake them for work or one for the other.  You can move back and forth quickly between these and often even combine activities around them, but you can’t neglect any of them for long. Your personal life requires tight counterbalancing.”

A good example of this principle was uncovered by one of my prospective coaching clients during our complimentary first session.  She felt her job’s time demands were interfering with her family’s happiness.  She longed to bond with her two young children in a special way by spending time at bedtime with each individually, reading to her, listening to her say her prayers and kissing her goodnight.

But her job required her to log into a couple of evening Zoom meetings each week, while other nights, she chose to work in her home office for a couple of hours, seeing it as an opportunity to catch up on work projects. As a result, she felt guilty that her husband often put their kids to bed and read to them most weeknights, while she felt cheated out of having special “Mommy and Me” time with them. Still, she pushed herself to accomplish more work tasks.

This conundrum gave her the opportunity to learn to “counterbalance” between her work and home life!  I reminded her that her kids wouldn’t be little for long and that she couldn’t put off this special bonding opportunity with them and expect it to be waiting for her when she had more time.  In fact, the authors of The One Thing made the same point: “Do you really think you can ever get back a child’s bedtime story or a birthday?…Do you think you can cut a deal with God that time stands still for you, holding off on anything important until you are ready to participate again?”

So we came up with a simple plan: Each weekend, she would look at her next week’s work schedule and PLAN which nights she had to be on a Zoom conference and which nights she had discretion about how she spent her time.  She was able to prioritize several nights each week that she could have precious bedtime bonding with her girls, and the other nights, her husband was happy to cover for her. The next time we spoke she was so happy and the whole family was grateful that they weren’t letting this precious time disappear.

Keller and Papasan say the secret to creating a counterbalanced personal life you love is this: “In your personal life, go SHORT and avoid long periods where you’re out of balance.  Going short lets you stay connected to all the things that matter most and move them along together. In your professional life, go LONG and make peace with the idea that the pursuit of extraordinary results may require you to be out of balance for long periods.  Going long allows you to focus on what matters most, even at the expense of other, lesser priorities.  In your personal life, nothing gets left behind. At work, it’s required.

“Acknowledge that your life actually has multiple areas and that each requires a minimum of attention for you to feel that you ‘have a life.’ Drop any one and you will feel the effects. This requires constant awareness. You must never go too long or too far without counterbalancing them so that they are ALL active areas of your life. Your personal life requires it.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog is taking next Easter Weekend off (for counterbalance!) and will return on Sunday April 11 to examine what it takes to SUCCEED BIG by focusing on your One Thing and “going long” in your career and passion projects. 

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

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

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation one-hour Success Breakthrough Session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

March 21, 2021

I had fully intended to write a brand new blog this weekend, but life had other plans. My website is coming along nicely, but there is still content I must get to my ace web designer ASAP and some important errands also came up unexpectedly that just couldn’t wait.

So, with my available time being very short, I decided to go with the flow and repost a lightly-edited blog from last year on a topic that really resonates with me right now.  I’ll bet it does with you, too: How to fully live in the present, experiencing each precious moment with ease and joy, while still getting stuff done! 

April 25, 2020

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall

The message that came to me over and over this week is one that most of us need to be constantly reminded of: Stay present and live each moment of life as it comes.

As I thought about the word “present,” it dawned on me that this one word has at least three main meanings which, while different, are all related.  First, as a noun, it means “gift,” like a Christmas present. It also means “now,” as in this present moment in time.  As a verb, “present” also means “to offer something” (as one might offer a gift).

In all these interconnected meanings, being present IS a gift because it enables us to fully experience and appreciate every precious moment of life.  Now, more than ever, the whole world is keenly aware of the precious fragility of life — that we could be here today and gone tomorrow.

A recent daily thought from Joel Osteen also reminded me of what a special gift each moment of life is, especially all the little simple things we often overlook or take for granted. This is especially true now, when the pandemic has forced us to slow down and re-arrange our usual daily routines:

Enjoy the Simple Thingsby Joel Osteen

“Don’t miss a great season in your life wishing you had more, complaining about what you don’t have.  The real joy in life is in the simple things – making memories with your family, riding your bikes together, watching the sunset with your spouse, or staring up at the stars at night.  You don’t have to have big vacations or lots of money to have fun.  Learn to enjoy the simple things in life.

Could it be that you’re at the right place for the season that you’re in, but you’re not enjoying it?  Maybe if you would step back and see it from a new perspective, you would realize that God has you in the palms of His hands.  He knows where you are, what you like, and what you don’t like.  Instead of living discontented, frustrated, always wishing you were somewhere else, embrace the place where you are.  See the good. Be grateful for what you have.”

My job is to help my coaching clients get what they want.  Each individual has a Big Goal, and I help them with the mindset tools, strategy and accountability that will enable them to reach that Big Goal, even if it seems far-fetched to someone else.

In my 16-plus years as a Personal Success Coach ™, I have learned that there are TWO fundamental keys to reaching any Big Goal:

1) Focus on what you WANT (not on what you don’t want). Keep your eye on the prize and use mindset tools daily to strengthen your BELIEF that you will get it.

2) Take ONE step at a time toward that outcome you want. Don’t try to figure out the whole HOW for getting there.  You can count on God/The Universe to help you with that, rolling the plan out for you one step at a time.  YOUR job is to take the step that is in front of you right NOW.  Looking too far ahead will only distract you from taking the right action today and make you doubt that it is possible to reach your Big Goal.  If you just stay in the NOW, focusing on carrying out today’s action step, the next perfect step will come to you when the time is right.

A week ago, on a coaching call, one of my clients seemed close to having a panic attack.  She was feeling totally overwhelmed by all the tasks she felt must be done simultaneously – caring for her family, staying mostly inside when she wanted to be outside, trying to come up with an entirely new distance learning curriculum for her students, while trying to consistently work her direct sales side business.  I understood why she wanted to stay in bed with the covers pulled over her head rather than try to organize ALL the many steps she needed to take!

During our call, I got her to take a calm look at things and focus on what small steps she could take NOW to begin to make progress on her many tasks.  As we talked, she thought of some specific resources available to her that she hadn’t been utilizing, and she promised to take just ONE action as soon as we hung up — to call her mentor teacher for lessons plan suggestions and emotional support.

She also came up with a brilliant plan for shaking off her paralyzing sense of overwhelm. She vowed to complete just ONE to THREE action items per day — no more, no less.  That number was emotionally and mentally manageable to her, and she knew that she could prioritize those specific few actions per day and get them done.  Completing them each day would give her a sense of control and accomplishment, which in turn would restore her self-confidence and expectation of success.

When we talked a week later, she sounded like her old can-do self again. She had been carrying out her daily “three things” action plan and was feeling much better. She was getting up early and enjoying her daily walks with her dog again, and grateful to be able to spend more precious time with her family because she wasn’t away all day in the classroom.  She is “embracing where she is” and “being grateful for what she has” in the PRESENT moment, just as Joel Osteen suggests.

We can all emulate my client’s simple approach to creating greater productivity and happiness:  Accept calmly whatever is going on right NOW in your life, do what you can right NOW, and let tomorrow’s steps unfold in God’s perfect time and way.  When we allow ourselves to be fully present in each moment, we will find joy in recognizing the many precious gifts that surround us right NOW.

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

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

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation, one-hour Prosperity Breakthrough Coaching session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

 

March 7, 2021 

I recently completed a series of advanced coaching trainings (live via Zoom), each of which took up the better part of three or four days. And for the past several weeks, I have been working on producing new content for my wonderful web designer to turn into a complete re-branding of my website and social media. It’s all very exciting and fulfilling…. AND tiring! While I am very grateful to be doing this fulfilling work for a living, I must admit to feeling a bit depleted physically and mentally right now.

Next weekend begins Daylight Savings Time for most of us, when it is recommended to change the batteries in home smoke detectors. My thought just now was “My inner battery could really use some re-charging!”  

Many of my clients are solopreneurs and direct sales professionals who are tempted to work 24/7 to grow their businesses and achieve the success they desire and deserve – not to mention handling “bonus” duties like homeschooling that have been thrust upon many of them courtesy of the pandemic.

So, I am sure that most of my cherished readers can relate to this topic right now, too.  Here is a lightly-edited past blog with some great tips to give you greater ease and balance:

August 3, 2019

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman in Stress is a Choice 

You may recall that one of my suggestions for “How to Beat Burnout(see blog #188 if you missed it) was to take at least one full day off each week and one entire weekend off each month.

If you find it challenging to imagine creating that much “recharging” time for yourself, I understand.  It’s challenging for me too.  There always seems to be plenty of paperwork, errands and projects to tackle on the two days a week I don’t have coaching clients. But I am striving to walk my talk and take regular time off to rest and re-charge my mind, body and spirit so I can be a more effective Personal Success Coach for my clients, a more attentive and loving wife to my husband, and a happier, more fulfilled ME to myself.

No matter how diligently we try to keep up, the chores will always be there. Trust me, the world will keep spinning if you unplug from them for a few hours a week. Isn’t it more important to nurture yourself and your personal relationships than to have a spotless house or completely orderly office?

I’ve learned to prioritize and do the weekly “musts” like writing this blog first, and then if I also manage to knock off a couple of the “would be nice” chores each week, that’s a plus that makes me feel EVEN better.

What really makes me feel happy and balanced is spending a few hours each week reading, relaxing, enjoying good meals with my husband and watching good television.

Here are four specific suggestions that I know for certain will have a very positive effect on your personal relationships and your mental, emotional and physical well-being IF you follow them:

  • Be fully present. “Haste makes waste,” is accurate. If you focus 100% of your attention on what you are doing, you will do a better job in less time. You may think regular multi-tasking is a time-saver, but it actually makes you chronically half-present in your life. You half-understand what you hear and read, and are emotionally half-present with the people you are with. If you aren’t giving your projects, conversations and reading your full attention, you will eventually miss something critical that will lead to misunderstanding and/or having to completely re-do a task.

One of my clients was dismayed when her five-year-old child recently asked her, “Mommy, why are you always in a hurry?” It’s not the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of your undivided attention, that makes your loved ones feel that you care about them.

  • Be mindful in your health habits. Obesity studies show that people who eat slowly and savor their food, instead of shoveling it in mindlessly while watching television or working at their desk, consistently consume fewer calories. Taking time to prepare dinner and eat it with your loved ones most evenings will benefit your family relationships, as well as your waistline. Similarly, in your exercise routine, if you do your running, Pilates, yoga poses or weight lifting mindfully with proper form, your muscles will respond faster and avoid injury.
  • Get enough sleep. The late evening hours when the kids are in bed may seem like your ONLY chance to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  But the price of sleep deprivation is very high, including stubborn weight gain, emotional and mental stress and a compromised immune system. Falling asleep at the wheel or a tired driver’s slowed response time are now said to cause as many deadly accidents as drunk drivers.

If you discipline yourself to go to bed even 30 minutes earlier on weeknights, it will pay off in greater mental acuity, emotional control, and physical health. Back-lit screens like TV, computers and e-readers have been shown to interfere with your brain’s ability to wind down and let you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake too. Make the last 30-60 minutes of your evening a quiet time to meditate, converse with your partner or read an enjoyable paper book.

  • Unplug from your devices as often as possible. 84% of smart phone owners use their device while watching TV. Many people are tethered to electronics 24/7. “If you’re with your children and checking your phone all the time, the message to them is ‘Anyone in the world is more important than you,’” says Tanya Shevitz, a spokesperson for Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating Jewish culture for a modern world.

Orthodox Jews refrain from business transactions, writing, driving, gardening, shopping, laundry and other tasks from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, spending time focused on God and their loved ones. But you don’t have to unplug from the internet and your phone just for religious reasons. “Embracing the sensual pleasures of life – having a special meal, lighting candles, having conversations where we really listen to others and listen to what our souls are trying to say to us…is rejuvenating when we give ourselves a day of rest once a week,” Shevitz suggests.

If you commit to making even one small change in one or more of these areas and stick with it, you will begin to create a more balanced, healthy, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and those you love. And don’t you deserve that delight?

IMPORTANT NOTE: In keeping with the message of this blog, A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday March 21!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com  and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any purpose. 

****************** You Can Fulfill Your Big Dreams! ******************** 

To schedule a complimentary Prosperity Breakthrough Session 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