Forgiveness


September 8, 2019

“Next time someone comes into your life…try accepting them unconditionally, with absolutely no judgment.  Expect nothing from them.  Take 100% responsibility for the relationship.  Act as if your life depends on it.  You’ll give them the gift of acceptance and who knows what you’ll receive in return.” – Found in The 100/0 Principle: The Secrete of Great Relationships

Today’s is not the topic I was planning to write about. This blog is raw and straight from the heart.

It may make you uncomfortable.  I don’t know how you will react.  But it’s been on my mind for a while now, and the message keeps coming up over and over from my clients and friends: PLEASE don’t wait another day to reconnect, to forgive or clear the air and be forgiven by someone you care about.  Say what you need to say to them.  Make amends if it is called for.  Ask them to forgive some transgression of yours or tell them why you need to forgive them and work it out with them until the air is clear.

Do not believe they could never exit your life forever, leaving you with a heavy burden of guilt and sadness. Don’t think you have plenty of time ahead of you to put off the uncomfortable or awkward conversation until tomorrow.  Tomorrow may not be there for them.

Here’s what precipitated this urgent message from me to you: Two people I know recently passed away unexpectedly, leaving some who were once close to them feeling shattered by remorse, regret or the emotional pain of knowing they didn’t reach out to the deceased to have a final reconciliation with them before it was too late.

One of the two who passed away was someone I haven’t seen in probably 15 years.  At one time, he was my brother-in-law.  I had known him as a friend since college. He was cute, smart and funny and I liked him a lot.  When I divorced his brother, I lost touch with him.  We simply became geographically distant and busy with very different lifestyles and there was no reason to stay in touch.

I recently got the word through my ex-husband that his brother passed away after a fairly prolonged illness.  I was shocked and sad, of course.  I remembered a lot of laughter and good times with my former brother-in-law over the years.  But I don’t have any regrets.  There was nothing unsaid between us that keeps me from being at peace.

But the story is much different for another friend from our youth who had been close friends with my former BIL.  He had lost touch with him too, but the fallout from that was much different for him.  He was apparently hurt that my former BIL wasn’t making more of an effort to keep their friendship alive after they moved apart geographically and created much different lifestyles, and so he basically (purposely) gave my former BIL the cold shoulder.

When he heard the shocking news, and realized he hadn’t even known of his friend’s illness, he was filled with guilt and remorse.    He knows that he could have been kinder, more gracious, more understanding and forgiving of any shortcomings his friend had.  Now it’s too late to reconcile and tell him how much he loved him.  He is almost inconsolable about it, even though the two of them hadn’t spoken in a decade.

I also attended a funeral today for a woman who passed very suddenly.  I didn’t know her well personally, but she was the sister of our good friends and we had socialized with her a bit at family gatherings.  Most of what I knew about her was through what they told us about her lifestyle.  It wasn’t usually very complimentary.  In the past decade or so, she led a troubled life in many respects, and her family was often exasperated with her behavior and regular need for their help. They couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just be a functioning adult like them.

But today at the funeral, they were all crying and clearly missing her very much.  With her remains in front of them in an urn, they focused solely on the many good things about her life. They reminisced about the adventurous, talented and amazing things she had accomplished in her youth and how giving and responsible she had been toward them as their older sister.  They were remembering a different person than the one they had been judging harshly in the last years of her life.

I know they would give anything to have her back for just one more day, to kiss and hug her and tell her how much they love her.  I couldn’t help but wish they could have done more of that when she was alive.

I am not trying to judge them either. I know it can feel frustrating when someone just can’t seem to live up to our minimal standards and expectations.  But that’s the problem – they are OUR expectations.

Wouldn’t it be a different, better world if we could ALL love each other for exactly who we ARE (and who we’re NOT)?  Wouldn’t we all be happier if we could strive to accept each other unconditionally and do our best to be kind and compassionate toward each other… and especially to listen, really LISTEN to each other and get to know the REAL souls inside us?

Each and every one of us is talented, amazing, giving and responsible.  And we are also selfish and immature, thoughtless and petty.  If we acknowledge that about ourselves, then we can acknowledge it about others, too.  And maybe, just maybe, we can relate to them and treat them the way we would like to be seen and treated – as PRICELESS.

And if we did, I bet we would feel a lot less regret when we get the shocking news that someone we knew (and probably loved) is suddenly gone, and there’s no second chance to put things right between us.

I say, DON’T WAIT for that sad day.  Reach out to them NOW.  I promise that they miss you as much as you miss them.  They’re just waiting to hear your voice.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. 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 to enter your name and email.

****************** 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.

August 18, 2019

“You are valuable because you exist.  Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.” — Max Lucado, author and pastor

Today’s blog topic came to me from a conversation I had this week with a client who was having a mini-meltdown on our call over her perceived shortcomings when it came to being productive. This is the end of her summer, as she is preparing to resume teaching school next week.

She was beating herself up for watching too much TV and spending too much time on social media recently, when she believed she should have used every available minute of her final free time to build her network marketing business.

For most of the summer, she has had to deal with a series of complex family issues, principally, the unexpected serous illness of her parent. Other family members also needed her support with health and financial issues.  Nevertheless, she felt guilty for not doing and being “more” for the past couple of weeks.

I imagine she expected me to agree with her harsh self-assessment and give her an accountability lecture.  Instead, I surprised her by recommending that she lighten the mental and emotional burden she has placed on herself with a big ol’ dollop of grace and self-love.

Of course, I support playing full out for a Big Goal.  If you really, really want something – especially if it has a drop-dead deadline – you need to be willing to work smart every available minute and use every mindset and Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) tool available to help you succeed.  Playing full out demonstrates your commitment to your Big Goal and causes God/The Universe and your own subconscious mind to conspire together to give you a boost with the “How.”

But there’s a hidden danger if you are always running at breakneck speed from one goal to the next.  While reaching important short-term goals can require a full-out sprint for a limited period, achieving long-term success is more like running a marathon.  You have to pace yourself or you risk physical and emotional burnout, as I believe my client was experiencing.

Most importantly, you must always remember that you are not defined by your achievements.  You are valuable and worthy simply for being the unique and special person you are.

As a Personal Success Coach, my job is to help my clients get whatever they want in life.  The Big Goal they choose to pursue is up to them – greater prosperity, a fitter body, a loving relationship or a successful business.  Nobody, including me, can tell them what their heartfelt goals should be.  Nor should they put undue pressure on themselves to reach those goals at the expense of having life balance, fun and fulfillment.  If they become so driven to succeed that pursuing their Big Goal feels like a burden, I recommend taking a step back to examine their true motivation.

Many people have a strong “Why” for pursuing a goal, especially a financial goal.  One of my clients wants to succeed at her business so her mother can retire from her job.  Several want their spouses to be able to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams or spend more time with their family.  Some are motivated to financially support a cause they care deeply about. Those are all great reasons for consistently doing the daily activities that will get them closer to their goals with a sense of joy and enthusiasm.

But I have seen some people approach their daily tasks with a joyless, teeth-gritted, “this is hard, but I MUST do it” mindset and energy. I believe they are actually driven by the idea that they must prove their value through their achievements.  Their sense of self-worth depends on outer successes and the approval of others.

One of my clients recently shared a journaling she had done to explore her Limiting Belief that “If I give it my all and fail, my life has been a waste.”  This was her Ego’s internal worst case scenario about what might happen if she didn’t reach the level of success in her business that she wanted.  In the course of her self-exploration, she had the Ah-Ha Moment that she doesn’t remember her father saying “I love you” very often when she was growing up.  But she does remember him frequently saying, “I am so proud of you.”

Thus, her father’s pride in her accomplishments became her Ego’s path to “earning” the unconditional love she truly craved. She wrote, “I think this has sort of made me think that if I can’t do something that makes a splash, it’s not worth doing and certainly not worth talking about. So I find myself striving for that over-achiever status.  I feel like anything less is pointless and even something to feel shameful about, so I just don’t talk about it.”

Being human, I am sure each of us has felt at some time that we are not good enough. For some, it’s about their appearance:  “I’m not…young enough, pretty enough, thin enough…” to be worthy of receiving unconditional love and acceptance from those I care about.

For me and others, it’s about our performance: “I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t get an A.  I didn’t win the competition.  I didn’t put on the perfect birthday party for my child.”  Therefore, I suck.

The truth is, your inherent value doesn’t increase or decrease with age, beauty, fitness level, accomplishments, job productivity or salary.

As minister Joel Osteen, puts it, “You are the apple of God’s eye” simply because you exist. If you are alive on planet earth, you are enough.  In fact, you are PRICELESS.  Otherwise, you are claiming that only the pretty, thin, A Students, celebrities and sports stars are worthy of God’s love, their own self-love and the approval of people whose opinion matters. What about the rest of us, then?

As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, we should not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.  He didn’t say we should be judged by our achievements either!

So if you long to take a little break from your pursuit of success to just float in the pool from time to time, do what your heart calls you to do.  When you are working, give it your 100% BEST…. And when you occasionally need to relax and recharge, allow yourself to REALLY enjoy and be fully present to it, without guilt or shame.  Schedule adequate time for both work and play and you CAN have it all.

I urge you to make this your daily mantra: I am not my job title or accomplishments.  I am whole, complete and perfect, just as I am. I am the apple of God’s eye and I am ENOUGH.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be on vacation for the next two weekends while Rick and I relax and recharge ourselves with a little stay-cation.  A Cup of Caroll will return after Labor Day with a brand new post on Sunday, September 8.   I hope YOU enjoy the last sweet moments of summer with your loved ones too!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. 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 to enter your name and email.

****************** 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.

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. 

“Live for something.  Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy.  Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten.  Your name and your good deeds will shine as stars in heaven.” – Thomas Chalmers

I was gratified by the positive response to my last blog (A Special Gift – Blog 309).  It seems the story of my friend Bob Perk’s relentless kindness and patience toward a difficult neighbor touched your hearts. Most importantly, many readers told me it made them more resolved to be kind to others they come in contact with daily, too. One said, “I want to be Bob!”

I hadn’t anticipated writing a post-script to that blog, but Bob sent me two.  I’d like to share them both with you, to provide a complete picture of what it takes to be truly committed to being kind.

You will recall that one of the residents of Bob’s new senior living community seemed determined to be cynical and sour toward his attempts to make life happy and cheerful for the other residents.  A typical example of his kindness and thoughtfulness was Bob’s decision to put on a picnic of hot dogs, sodas and sides for any residents who had nowhere to go to celebrate the Fourth of July. Bob generously paid for everything out of his own small income.

Most of his neighbors adore Bob for such acts, but this one woman seemed impervious to his good will, constantly belittling his efforts with cynical and sarcastic remarks. Although he was initially taken aback, Bob wisely made a conscious choice not to take it personally.  Each time they met, he continued to greet her pleasantly (even when she wouldn’t make eye contact or even return his “Hello”) and prayed for her daily.

One day he found himself in the elevator with her and he decided to speak up. He told me he asked her “why she found pleasure in mocking my efforts, yet showed up for the hot dog meal on the Fourth…Before she responded, I said, ‘Because I want you to be my friend.’” 

She was startled by his bold declaration, but Bob observed, “I believe my directness stunned her and my sincerity confused her stone cold spirit.  Even though I broke the wall she has built, she will most likely rebuild it in order to protect her narrow-minded assumptions and not appear at fault.  Still, I have removed a part of the wall with the only tool I know best.  Love.  Love is the answer.”

I made an observation in the blog that if you follow Bob’s shining example and spread kindness to others, most people will show deep gratitude.  But some may appear to resist.  We don’t know what their personal background is or what they have been through in life that has made them think and behave the way they do.

A few days later, Bob sent me this surprising update:

“I happened to look outside and saw C. sitting there by herself.  I opened the door and said hello.  She called me over and we had this incredible conversation.  Very open and friendly.

She then revealed that yesterday she found out that she has cancer…again.  Breast.  One removed years ago.  I carefully, gently placed my hand on her shoulder and told her that ‘I will see you in my prayers.’ 

I asked that if she felt comfortable doing so, I’d like updates.  She said, ‘You’re the only one who offered.’ …..Before I left, she thanked me again and told me I was very kind and caring. 

I see it this way: I just continued to include her rather than reject her.  God knew of her cancer and knows how alienating she was.  [God] asked me to break through so others will be there for her too.”

I wish that was the storybook ending we would all love — That Bob’s relentless kindness and love permanently tore down the walls she had put up between herself and others.  Unfortunately, reality is often a bit less than perfect.

After that wonderful heart-to-heart encounter with his troubled neighbor, Bob went about putting the finishing touches on a fabulous party he was preparing. It was to be held on his birthday, but Bob was not the guest of honor. He was the host and any of the 200 residents in his community were welcome to attend as honored guests.

He spent weeks preparing a lavish menu (including 80 pounds of pulled pork), and lots of yummy sides and deserts, a variety of games for them to play, raffle prizes, and music.  Bob’s music is his passion and a special gift he likes to share with others. He is a professional DJ and singer, so he put on a 45 minute show for them as well.  Arching over the party, he stretched a tent that made the guests feel like they were at the circus.

What an amazing time everyone had!

All except one.

When I emailed Bob and asked how his new friend C. had liked the party, he replied, “ Sadly, she did not attend.  In fact, she told one of my friends that day that ‘He is a liar.  He did not decorate by himself!’ 

Bob continued, “I have now come to believe and accept that the few recent kind words are a rarity….I believe this is a mental challenge she is facing….Still, I don’t feel that my efforts were lost.  A gift from God?  Indeed.  He permitted me to break through and bring out the person she should/could be.  I will continue to pray and treat her with the respect she deserves.” 

I acknowledged Bob for the incredible effort and personal expense he kindly undertook to give his neighbors a fabulous evening. I am sure they will remember it forever.  And I was especially proud of him for his attitude toward C’s retreat back into her bitter little emotional shell.  Instead of getting angry at her, he recognized it as an opportunity for him to grow as a person and to be God’s instrument to show her what’s possible for her life, if she chooses.

So what’s the payoff for being kind and loving to everyone you come in contact with — including the few difficult ones who seem to rebuff your good intentions and even try to punish you for being kind?

I believe the payoff is that, as the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”  Therefore, if you keep on being positive, generous, kind and caring, you will inevitably attract more and more people and circumstances that reflect YOUR positive energy.  Being positive won’t insulate you from all negative people and situations, but it will help you grow into someone who is 100% sure of her own values and consciously embodies them everywhere, with everyone.  If our values and convictions are never tested, how can we know what we are truly committed to?

I am convinced that there are still more chapters to be written in Bob and C’s fascinating friendship saga.  She may act as though she doesn’t believe it, but deep down, she cannot deny that at least one person on this earth truly CARES about her, no matter what.

And that is why when you “write your name in kindness, love and mercy” it will forever bless you, the giver, along with the thousands of hearts who are the recipients.

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E 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 to enter your name and email.

****************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 you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today. 

April 15, 2018

“It’s very freeing when you realize you don’t have to fight every battle.  You don’t have to straighten people out.  You don’t have to pay somebody back.  Instead, focus on what matters: Focus on God and His Word so you can live in peace and happiness every day of your life.” – Joel Osteen

Wow! This is my 300th blog post.  When I began writing A Cup of Caroll 10 years ago, I never imagined I would end up writing three blogs a month for 10 years (and counting) with the intention of helping my clients and cherished readers live more fulfilling, successful and prosperous lives.

And, after almost 14 years as a full-time professional coach, I never imagined I would be writing today’s topic because, frankly, I thought I was “cured” by now of the self-punishing practice of judging others.  LOL.

Today, I am 100% clear that, because we are human beings, we are NEVER cured of judging.  Judging is part of our Ego’s critical survival mechanism.  It keeps us safe by trying to size up people and situations and making a split-second decision: “Is this person friend or foe?” “Is this situation good or bad for you?”

Unfortunately, your Ego often gets it wrong because it judges people and situations only externally — according to what it can quickly observe about their outer appearance and behavior.  We all know that “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” yet your Ego just can’t help but try to judge people and situations based on these very limited, superficial clues.

Today, I was blessed to receive what I hope will remain an unforgettable Life Lesson about just how much anxiety, turmoil, frustration and unhappiness we bring upon ourselves and others when we judge them.  It’s not easy to catch ourselves judging, but we can if we know the signs to look for.  From now on, the trigger thought I will notice myself having is “How DARE they?”

That self-righteous, judging rhetorical question always comes to me whenever someone cuts me off in traffic, doesn’t pick up after their dog, allows their front yard to go to seed and spoil the neighborhood’s appearance, doesn’t return my messages, promises to and then forgets to pay their invoice, etc. etc. etc.! “How DARE they not live up to MY standards of proper behavior and right values?” is what my Ego whines inside my head.

Today my Life Lesson came, as many of them do, during my morning stop at Starbucks.  It is often crowded on weekend mornings so, spotting an open table, my wonderful husband Rick and I put our sunglasses down on it to save it and then got in line.  Then I went to get some napkins and returned to “our” table, only to find someone’s big purse and other items sitting on a chair at the same table.  Our glasses were still clearly visible, but the woman who was walking away from the table, dressed in business clothes and talking on her cell phone, had just put her stuff down there anyway.  “How DARE she?!”

I called out to her, waving the glasses in my hand and asking if this was her stuff?  She looked at me and pointed to her cell phone, as if to say, “Can’t you see how busy and important I am? I can’t listen to you and talk on the phone at the same time!”  At least, that’s what my EGO told me she was saying.

I shot her a stern look of annoyance and disapproval and then picked up our glasses and moved to the next table. Rick sat down and began to eat his breakfast, and when I came back with mine, the woman was standing next to our table, saying to him, “Your wife is unhappy with me.  I could see it on her face.” 

Then she crouched down, looked us both in the eye and babbled a steady stream of explanation for her unintentional faux pas of “stealing” our table.  She said she has been a nurse for 30 years and she can read people’s demeanor instantly, which is how HER Ego drew the conclusion from my facial expression that I was “angry” with her.  (I was annoyed and perplexed, but I would not go so far as to say I was angry.)

She said my inexplicable anger had at first upset her and she was tempted to curse me under her breath, but then she noticed my Disney cap and said, “I thought you MUST be a fun person, if you were wearing Mickey Mouse!”  That made us smile and proved that she is someone who knows how to recognize and calm down her own Ego’s “How DARE she?” reactions.

Her voice choked with emotion, she rapidly spilled out more information about her state of mind this morning — that she had recently lost two loved ones, one of whom was 94 years old.  She was talking so fast and with such emotion, it was hard to catch her exact words, but the meaning was clear: She was distraught and distracted.  She apologized for taking our table and said she hadn’t even noticed our glasses on it.  She didn’t know what I was saying to her as she walked toward the counter because she was on the phone and couldn’t hear me.  But she could tell I was upset with her.

I consider it Divine Intervention that she bravely chose to come over and talk to us.  She could have just sat down and pretended to ignore us.  Instead, she chose to be the bigger person and address the issue head on.  She apologized AND did me a huge favor by describing clearly how MY negative energy toward her had made her feel. In truth, my Ego’s judgment that this woman was entitled and uncaring couldn’t have been more wrong!  She is a compassionate, sensitive, and dedicated caregiver who courageously took responsibility when she unintentionally wronged someone.

I felt instant sympathy toward her and instant shame toward myself for making such a harsh (and inaccurate) judgment of her. I was reminded of the iconic story I’m sure you’ve heard about a man who was riding the New York subway and found himself suddenly surrounded by a number of loud, boisterous young children whose father sat slumped in his seat, looking distracted and dejected, and seemingly ignoring their behavior.  The man was annoyed and berated the father for not controlling his children, who were bothering the other riders.  The distracted father looked up and quietly apologized, explaining they had just come from the hospital where his wife passed away.

We never know what is really going on behind the scenes in someone’s life and what is causing them to behave the way they are.  Sometimes their behavior IS patently unacceptable or hurtful and if that is the case, we should speak up about how it impacts us, just as the nurse did when she told me in a forthright but inoffensive manner how my behavior had made her feel.

But most of the time, we should take Joel Osteen’s advice and just LET IT GO.  It’s not our job to school everyone else on how to live according to our own values and standards.  And it certainly does not benefit US to harbor negative feelings about all the ways someone has wronged us and maybe even plot how to pay them back.  Leave the judgment department to God. It’s above our pay grade.

Instead, our job is simply to be the BEST we can be, and to strive each day to live up to our own standards, beliefs and values.  If we “lead from the front” by doing and being our BEST (which includes showing kindness, support and compassion to others), we are setting a good example for our children, loved ones and business colleagues and doing more to help them be happy and successful than any tongue lashing ever could.

Here’s the happy ending of my own story: After breakfast, I was about to walk out of Starbucks, when I noticed the nurse still sitting at the table, writing intently. I went up to the counter and bought a $5 Starbucks gift card that said, “Thank You. The next one’s on me.”

I took it to her table, where she was totally absorbed in writing in her journal, and laid it gently in front of her.  She looked at it and me with surprise and delight and asked my name.  Then she stood up, thanked me by name and asked if she could hug me.  We embraced and when she sat down again, there were tears in both our eyes.  She said, “You made my day.  You have no idea how much this means to me.”

I put my hand on her shoulder, smiled at her and just said, “Ditto.”

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

I invite you to give a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.   

February 18, 2018

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.  The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” – Viktor Frankl

It has been cleverly stated that “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”  Yet, from time to time, all of us have been hurt, annoyed or even angry with someone important in our lives.  It might be a boss, spouse, child, client, colleague or Team member.

Unpleasant and unfair circumstances and people are a part of life, no matter how hard you try to do your best and keep a positive outlook. But you can certainly mitigate the damage they do to you by controlling your own mindset and not allowing yourself to go negative in return.

It can feel temporarily satisfying to nurse your wounded feelings by harboring resentment and enumerating to others all the ways someone has treated you poorly.  But as tempting as it can be to play the martyr, your negative thoughts and words will not help heal the situation and will eventually come back to bite you.  The Law of Attraction (energy attracts like energy) will cause the wounded, angry, complaining energy that you are spreading around to attract MORE bad breaks and people to mistreat, disappoint and upset you.

One of my coaching clients recently found herself in the unhappy position of being relentlessly hounded by a parent of one of her special-needs students.

The mother felt my client hadn’t been giving her son enough attention, support and help, even though my client said the child was one of the most difficult in her classroom, a handful in every way.  No matter how hard she tried to patiently help him, the boy’s mother seemed to blame all his learning and behavior problems on her. My client had to sit through several uncomfortable meetings, feeling “attacked” by the parent, while her principal didn’t support her strongly enough.

We talked about how the mother’s combative approach to helping her son was beginning to take a toll on my client’s energy and enthusiasm for her teaching, as well as for her own family and her network marketing business.  By allowing the negative attitude of one person to affect her, she was actually punishing herself and her loved ones in many ways.

I reminded her that I had given her some powerful mindset tools she could use to take back her power and she vowed to work on maintaining a positive outlook.  One of those tools, which I have found to be very helpful in shifting one’s mindset quickly, is gratitude.

Acknowledging and expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of a person or a situation you are having problems with can calm you down, put things in perspective and help you to re-focus on what you WANT, instead of what you don’t want. Rather than complain about the mother and the principal, I encouraged my client to feel GRATEFUL for her job and her students and to focus all her energy on creating the best possible outcome for everyone involved. After all, she and the mother were actually on the same side – both wanting only what is BEST for the student.

A few days later, my client emailed me that she had spoken to a colleague about how parents had been treating her this year and the other teacher suggested making a bigger effort to reach out to them about positive and neutral things, “so that they don’t only hear from me when something is wrong.” She followed through on that good advice by emailing the parents some neutral class updates and the next day, she said her students “all did amazingly on their Science quiz (a class all but one failed first semester.) So I texted their parents the good news and I got a great response from the mom who’s been awful to me all year.” 

The mother responded that her son had voluntarily done his homework early, which was unheard of, giving her time to review it with him and help him better prepare for the test.  As a result, he got an exceptionally good grade and both mother and son were thrilled.

The next time you find yourself seething over what someone has done (or failed to do) and want to change your mindset so that YOU can be happy and successful, instead of attracting MORE strife to yourself, here’s a tried and true little exercise that is guaranteed to shift your energy toward the positive.  In my more than 13 years as a Personal Success Coach, I have never seen it fail:

Sit down with a blank sheet of lined paper and list 25 things you appreciate or are grateful for about the person who is causing you grief.  You aren’t allowed to get up until you have listed at least 25 positive things about the person, no matter how long it takes.

Many of the unhappy clients I have had do this began by saying, “I can’t think of 25 good things about him!”  Yet, soon I invariably receive a message from them stating that, “By the time I did 25, I was so in love with my husband again, I didn’t want to stop …. I wrote 50!”

Whatever we focus on and send our energy to will grow stronger.  If you focus on someone’s bad behavior or shortcomings, those negative traits are only going to get stronger.  But when you focus on what you love, appreciate and are grateful for, that energy will draw out more of their best – and more of yours, too.

So the next time you are annoyed or upset, just sit down and make a 25 Gratitudes List about the person or situation.  I promise that you will go from grumbling to grateful in no time!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to 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.

January 7, 2018

“Change always starts in your mind.  The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.” – Rick Warren

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah!  Now that the Holidays are behind us, we can pause, take a breath and examine what lies ahead.

I don’t have to tell you that last year was one of the most tumultuous in the USA and across the globe in a generation.  Thousands lost their homes and many lost their lives from a series of natural disasters and unfathomable man-made tragedies.  Ugly rancor in partisan politics came to the forefront in the USA and across the world as viewpoints clashed on just about every important topic and even issues thought long-settled were re-litigated in the courts and in the streets. Frequently, our elected leaders seemed to have lost their collective way (and maybe their minds).

One outstanding bright spot was a few brave women who found their voice and began speaking their shocking truth about the sexual harassment and economic unfairness they had endured silently for years. This triggered a tsunami of truth-telling in all walks of life from politics to the arts to business and beyond by women and men alike.  Collectively, individuals stood up for their own dignity and worth and proclaimed, “We don’t care how powerful our oppressors are. We matter and we are no longer going to allow you to treat us with anything less than fairness and respect.”

With so much loss, rancor and division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2017 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important life lessons that will help you create your next year to be all that you want it to be.

In my 13+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 650 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than the last one did. Creating your 2018 YOUR way requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin:

Step One: Complete the Old Year.  You can’t create something NEW in a space that is cluttered with old stuff. So, if you want this next year to be more than just a replay of whatever you experienced last year, you must first complete your old year to make space for your new intentions.

The Reflections Exercise

A great completion process is simply to sit quietly and answer a series questions that make you think deeply about the outcomes of your past year – the good, the bad and the ugly. Answering them honestly will clarify your underlying beliefs, expectations, attitudes and actions that influenced the results you got.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do that influenced what happened for you last year. Determining accurately what caused your past outcomes helps you to identify new ways of thinking and being that will cause you to take NEW actions.  Taking new actions will bring you new results, while continuing on “auto-pilot” inside of the same thought and behavior patterns pretty much guarantees that this year is going to bring you more of the same.

This year, I am using a revised list of questions that includes some old favorites and some great new ones.  The new ones were passed along to me by my dear friend, direct sales industry trainer and motivational speaker extraordinaire, Leslie Zann, who got them from her friend Robin Blanc Mascari (rbmascari@mac.com).  I have bolded the ones that came from Robin. 

Here are 14 KEY questions to help you complete your 2017 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2018. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30-60 minutes to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 — Questions to Complete the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • What was the biggest surprise in your year?
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on but didn’t?
  • What are you most thankful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2018?
  • What would you be most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instill this year?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you do/have more of that in 2018?

NEXT WEEK is going to be fun! 

We will do Step Two: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 13 years and I know you will too!

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

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

 To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

Next Page »