Giving


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.

November 18, 2018

“Give everything you can, whether it’s time, money, prayer or just a kind word.  So if you want God to satisfy you with every good thing, go out and help somebody in need.” – Joel Osteen

For many of my clients and me, 2018 has been a challenging year. Our personal challenges may have been 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 senseless slaughter of innocents or lives upended by natural disasters.

Fortunately, the season of “comfort and joy” is now upon us, when most people make an extra effort to be kind, grateful 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 a few 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 yesterday.  A homeless woman who frequents our Starbucks came in while Rick and I were having breakfast before driving to Disneyland, our favorite place to enjoy the Holidays.  As she sat down at the next table, I moved a chair to make room for her shopping cart that was piled high with all kinds of found “treasures.” I smiled and said good morning and asked her how she was.  “Frustrated.  How are you?” she replied.

That’s when I spontaneously decided to pay forward our many blessings and brighten her day by going to the register and purchasing my first gift card of the season.  On our way out, I laid it on the table in front of her and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  It was so great to see the surprise light up her face!  As lovely a time as we had at Disneyland, I can honestly say that giving that stranger a $10 Starbucks gift card was the highlight of my 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 each 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 joy 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 stating 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, 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 money, food 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.

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 local 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 and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended from so many back-to-back natural disasters.

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, any little thing we do will pay it forward to others in our own ways. And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Christmas Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

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

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking next Sunday off so I can enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving too!  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday December 2.

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.

“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. 

July 8, 2018

“No act of kindness is too small.  The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.” – Kevin Heath

My friend, DJ, singer and fellow coach, Bob Perks, is one of those special people. You know someone like this too.  They seem to have an innate ability to spot overlooked people who need a little lift and give them just what they need. As a result, they attract many friends and fans who have been touched by their acts of generosity and kindness.

Bob’s innate gift – the gift of kindness – is something we all have the power to cultivate in ourselves.  If we do, we will inevitably have a positive impact on the people around us. Kindness is the #1 antidote to the apparent selfishness and meanness that seem to pervade much of social media, politics, and other elements of society today.  But you can believe this: positive energy is ALWAYS stronger than negative energy. That’s not just “woo woo” mumbo jumbo; it’s physics, folks.  But it’s up to us to USE our own positive energy to counteract any negativity we face.

Because I teach all of my clients how to use the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to bring them what they want more quickly and easily than hard work by itself can, I am very aware of how positive energy affects us and the people around us.  I have witnessed and personally experienced many, many examples of how making the effort to do one small kindness not only blesses the recipient, but always blesses the giver, too, usually many times over!

After living alone for many years, Bob recently moved into an apartment building for seniors.  He and his four-footed BFF, Phil, have made many friends quickly because Bob is someone who cannot suppress a smile, a cheerful “Hello” or an act of kindness like helping someone carry a heavy bag of groceries.

Recently, though, he emailed me that there is ONE person who seems impervious to his overtures of kindness. I share his words with his kind permission:

“There are approximately 200 people in this building. I haven’t met them all.  I say hello to everyone and stop to listen.  But as they world goes, there will always be one.  This woman insults my efforts.  Mocks and laughs at my intentions.  I have tried avoiding her.  I tried not speaking to her.  Neither of those gives me any pleasure.  My new plan is simply to pray for her.  In what I call ‘Disneyland in my Mind,’ I see one day winning her over.”

The next day was the Fourth of July and Bob, in his typically kind fashion, decided to create a fun event for his neighbors, after discovering that many of them had no place to go and no friends to celebrate with.  Even though his funds are limited, Bob shared with everyone who wanted to attend an all-American picnic of hot dogs, chips, soda and his homemade Mac and Cheese, at no cost to them.

Late that night, he wrote:

“This afternoon I was setting up for my hot dog extravaganza. LOL.  I looked outside and she was sitting there all alone.  I stood there and said, ‘God, I’m not asking you to change her, but please change my attitude toward her.’ 

I was in the middle of the picnic when she walked in.  This is the woman who mocked and ridiculed me and laughed at me.  She would not make eye contact, but helped herself to the food.  I was in charge of the hot dogs.  So, I stepped up and offered her one.  She took it without eye contact, of course.

I sang a few songs and people surrounded me with praise.  Someone asked me about my big show on the 18th and why I was doing it.” [Bob is throwing a much bigger party for his neighbors –complete with games, him singing their favorite music and great food — on his own birthday.]

“I stood where that woman was seated and explained, ‘Everyone here has been so welcoming, I just wanted to say thanks by using the gifts that God has given me.’

One woman said, ‘We all love you and are lucky to have you here.’ The lady would not look up at me.

Later, in the lobby after I cleaned up from the party, she was seated with a friend.  She actually said, ‘I liked that one song you played.  I should have gotten up and danced.’

I smiled and stepped into the elevator and said, ‘Thanks, God.’ 

Mind you, she is such that tomorrow she may go back to her ways. 

But today?  Today she was surrounded by love.”

It would be a storybook happy ending if Bob’s act of kindness toward this woman were instantly rewarded, she came out of her shell and they became fast friends.  But Bob knows that the “Disneyland in your mind” doesn’t always mirror real life. Today, he sent me another update:

“Yesterday, I got in the elevator.  I said, ‘Hello’ and she didn’t.  So I looked right at her and said, ‘Hello’ again.  Without looking at me, she responded. 

Something inside me boldly said, ‘When we get to the lobby may I speak with you?’ She said, ‘Will it cost me anything?’ I responded, ‘Just a few minutes of your time.’

In our conversation, I asked why she found pleasure in mocking my efforts, yet showed up for the hot dog meal on the 4th. I did not speak firmly or down to her.  I asked with a tone of concern.  Before she responded, I said, ‘Because I want you to be my friend.’

Then she looked at me.  I believe my directness stunned her and my sincerity confused her stone cold spirit.  

Turns out it was my background!  All she knew was that I had a radio show at one time.  She saw me listed as a DJ.  Apparently, she doesn’t like DJs….. 

I predict that 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 always the answer.”

That’s how it may go with a few of the people you are kind to.  Most will respond to your positive energy with positive energy.  Some will appear to resist.  You may never know exactly what is going on inside of them – what their background is and what they have been through in life that has made them think and behave the way they do.

But it is my firm belief that if you resolutely continue to live your life according to YOUR values, as Bob does, you will be happy giving kindness and love to all, regardless of their response  — and eventually your kindness WILL be returned to you.  Perhaps it will come back directly from that person because your positivity will finally overcome their negativity, but it’s possible you will never get to see your kindness bear fruit in them.

We can’t control what others choose to say or do to us. But we have 100% control over how we RESPOND.  And how we respond determines who and what gets attracted to us NEXT. The Law of Attraction dictates that you can’t give love and kindness without attracting love and kindness in return.  Trust that your good thoughts, prayers and acts will create a ripple effect that will bless many others and you, as well.

Bob is certainly bathed in love, appreciation and kindness from the vast majority of his neighbors.  And I believe both Bob and I know in our hearts that eventually, “the difficult lady” will have no choice but to join them.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will take a break next weekend, while I enjoy some fun times with my girlfriends. Hope you are having fun in the sun this summer, too! A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday July 22.

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. 

 

 

December 17, 2017

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” – Sally Koch

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan

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

At last, Christmas is nigh!  You will recall that in early November, I was really feeling the need for a little “Christmas Spirit” right away, so I kicked off the blog’s annual Pay It Forward Challenge early.  The challenge is to demonstrate our true, heartfelt gratitude for all the good in our lives by spreading it to others in the form of kind, generous, hospitable deeds and uplifting, encouraging and loving words.

In ways big and small, local and far-flung, my wonderful readers responded with an outpouring of healing energy and love, which our world has never needed more than now.

As 2017 draws to a close, many of us will heave a sigh of relief that we survived the non-stop floods, fires, hurricanes, mass shootings, online cruelty and governmental incompetence. But now we can also let out a little sigh of happiness and fulfillment, knowing we did OUR part to make life a little bit easier, happier and brighter for our fellow human beings.

Here are just a few of the creative ways you and others have found to Pay It Forward and make a difference:

In the News:

  • As they have for the past 10 years, an anonymous donor and his wife in Fort Collins, Colorado bought out the local Goodwill store’s supplies of children’s books, toys and stuffed animals. Whenever a child entered the store, they were told to pick out a free gift for themselves.  The couple briefly stayed to watch some of their joyous reactions before slipping out the front door, unnoticed.
  • The wildfires in Southern California (which are still raging) closed many schools, causing low-income children to also lose the breakfast, lunches and even dinners the schools provide to combat hunger and help them focus on their schoolwork. So one school district left a school cafeteria open and volunteer staff continued to serve kids nutritious daily meals, which took a huge weight off of families who were already worried about losing their homes. One family even used the district food trays to put together a 10-year-old’s birthday party on school grounds.
  • Over 100 retired nuns, some in their late 80s, had to evacuate their nursing home during one of the L.A. fires. Some went to medical facilities, but staff members took most of them into their own homes and cared for them like family. (Now THAT is practicing “Radical Hospitality”!)
  • While a mother was struggling to handle a screaming toddler and a fussy baby in the parking lot at a Walmart, a police officer got out of his patrol car, took the toddler’s hand, fetched a cart for the mom and walked them all into the store. Later, when the toddler was crying because his mother couldn’t afford to get him a toy, the same officer appeared again to pay for the toy AND the mom’s entire shopping cart full of food.

Our Own Stories:

  • One reader and her family “adopted” a family of six who are temporarily living in a local shelter and bought Christmas presents for each of them. She also told the shelter’s staff to let her know about future fundraisers or other needs and promised that her networking marketing Team would pitch in to support their work.
  • Another reader donated part of her monthly sales commission to a local women’s shelter where “they need a fresh start.” Several others also donated part of their commissions to local causes in both November and December. (I especially love donating to local charities and grassroots organizations that support your local community. A few dollars mean so much more to them than to the big national charities, although those are certainly worthy too.)
  • I also received an eCard from one of my clients stating that in lieu of cards and gifts this year, she and her husband are donating to a number of worthy causes and hoping that her friends will choose to do the same.
  • One thoughtful reader sent a “comfort package” containing a warm blanket and cute bunny slippers to a friend who is battling cancer and feeling cold.
  • As they do every year, a network marketing Team decorated a Catholic Charities shelter with Christmas trees, festive decorations and wrapped gifts for the parents and children who are spending Christmas there.
  • A reader eating at a local restaurant noticed a waitress sitting at a nearby table, patiently studying the menu with an elderly gentleman. Overhearing that he was searching for items with a senior discount, she quietly slipped the waitress $20 to pay for his lunch and told her to give him the change.
  • A reader’s friend loves her skin care regimen for adult acne, but her husband said they had to cut the family’s budget, so my reader surprised her with the regimen as an early Christmas gift.
  • One of my readers connected a friend who was looking for a job with someone else she knows who had an opening. The job seeker got the job and is thrilled to have a temp assignment over the Holidays that could become a full time gig later on.
  • One reader took my $5 Starbucks gift card random distribution idea out into the streets and passed them out to Vets who were watching a Veterans Day parade.
  • Another reader took the Starbucks gift card idea one step further: She surprised her dentist’s office with a gift card big enough to buy every member of the staff a treat.
  • At the beginning of November, an elementary school teacher had her class create their own Daily Gratitude Journals from construction paper and lined notebook paper. Every school day, they took time in class to list THREE things they were grateful for. They had to be different things each day. At the end of the month, she assigned a short essay on what they learned from seeing the wide variety of things they each had to be grateful for in their lives.  The kids absolutely loved it and many want to keep up the daily practice.
  • The same teacher told me that at the student talent show, a girl who was supposed to play the ukulele and sing instead froze on stage. The other performers came out of the wings and surrounded her with their kind support until she began to sing.
  • One reader told me she unexpectedly ran into a friend who had just had a suspicious mammogram and now needed a biopsy. My reader spontaneously gave her a warm hug and assured her it would be OK. The friend later told her the small tumor was benign and that her hug and caring had made a world of difference for her.
  • I bought two Christmas trees that did double-duty in Paying it Forward: My gift helped a friend’s son support his school baseball program AND I donated the trees to the school to give away, which turned out to be to the families of California Highway Patrol officers who had either been killed in the line of duty or were unable to work.

Well, there you have it!  We did a GREAT job of spreading some comfort and cheer around in 2017, a year that surely needed all it could muster!  I hope you will look for even MORE ways to spread a little extra before the year is over….And then ramp up to continue Paying it Forward throughout the New Year.  Let’s BE the change we want to see in the world!

My Christmas Wish is that 2018 will bring all of us an overflowing abundance of peace, love, health and prosperity.  If we keep on showing our sincere gratitude to God/The Universe for our many blessings by spreading love and kindness to others, I am quite sure that The Best is already on its way to us!

PLEASE NOTE: This is the final blog for 2017.  A Cup of Caroll will return to your in-box on Sunday, January 7 with a proven way to get your New Year off to a successful start!

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

December 3, 2017

“Letting people know that you care does more than you imagine.  You have the power to cause them to pursue their dreams.” – Joel Osteen

The theme of my last several Holiday-season blogs has been doing good for others because that is how we demonstrate our sincere gratitude to God/The Universe for the many blessings we have been given in our lives AND because the world certainly needs more love and kindness and generosity right now.

We kicked off our annual Pay It Forward Challenge, where my readers strive to become a Messenger of Happiness by doing a kind deed for another, whether it involves a little financial generosity or support with an errand or listening ear that someone needs right now.  Your wonderful stories have been pouring in and I am going to share them in my final blog of 2017 on December 17, in hopes they will inspire even MORE kind, generous and hospitable deeds to create an atmosphere of love all around us.  Please send me your PIF stories ASAP so I can include them!

I want to share with you another specific type of kindness and paying it forward that was beautifully explained in a televised sermon by my favorite positive thought minister, Joel Osteen.  His message was about how we can make a profound difference for others simply through our words.  Words don’t cost a thing, and often take only seconds to express, but their impact can change a life and last a lifetime.

Joel said, “We don’t know what people are going through.  They’re smiling on the outside, but on the inside, they’re hurting, they’re lonely, they’re discouraged…Just a simple word of encouragement, a simple compliment is helping to heal their wounds, lifting their spirits and causing them to believe in themselves.”

He went on to explain that “Our words have the power to lift people, to help them get through a challenge, to push them into their destinies. When you tell someone ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you,’ you’re not just being kind; those are healing words.”

He listed some great specific examples about how, in just a few minutes or even seconds out of our daily lives, we can be healers and supporters by encouraging a co-worker who is down, lifting the spirits of a friend who is sick or calling a relative just to say you miss them. The clerk in the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, a friend at the gym – all of them need your encouragement and to know that you believe in them.

And he points out that a blessing isn’t a blessing unless it’s SPOKEN: “You can think nice things about them all day long, but until you tell them, they’ll never know… God put the idea in your head – now you need to SPEAK in order to heal with it.”

You don’t know what they are going through and how much it might mean to them and encourage them if you just take a moment to have a friendly interaction or give them a small compliment.  It’s amazing what a sincere, kind word can do for someone.

I had just such a Pay it Forward interaction in Starbucks recently.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always purchase a bunch of $5 gift cards and distribute them at random times to the baristas at the cash register to pay for the drinks of other customers, as my way of spreading around some Holiday Cheer.

Usually, I like to make a clean getaway, so the recipient of my little “Secret Santa” gift doesn’t know where it came from.  But on that particular mid-afternoon, nobody was in line behind me when I gave a $5 gift card to the barista and told her to give it to the next person who stepped up to the register. Then I went over to wait for my drink to be prepared.

At that moment, a woman walked in all by herself.  She wasn’t unkempt, not homeless, I’m sure.  But she looked somehow a little sad and definitely very quiet.  She carefully counted out her dollar bills and change for her drink, and then as I watched, the barista surprised her with, “No, you only owe $1.” She stood there frozen, puzzled as the barista pointed to me and said, “That lady paid for the rest of your order.”

She didn’t turn around to look at me, but eventually came over and stood next to me. Finally she said in a whisper of emotion, “Thank you SO much!”  I smiled at her, feeling a little awkward myself at being caught in the act.  All I could think to say was, “You are MOST welcome!  I wanted to spread a little joy around today.”  She smiled shyly at me and then we stood there quietly side by side for another couple of minutes until my drink arrived.

As I turned to leave, she touched me gently on the shoulder, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Thank you again. This means so much.”

I smiled at her, this time looking her in the eye too and replied, “YOU are so welcome! Have a great afternoon!”

It was such a small, brief interaction with a total stranger, but somehow, I could tell it meant the world to her. Maybe she was lonely or worried about something or grieving for someone….I will never know.  But that was by far the most emotional reaction I have ever gotten to this little gesture of camaraderie and kindness.  All I could think was, I know that God put me here today just for her and I am so glad I followed my inner urge to go to Starbucks and to bestow that gift card exactly when I did.

Joel also said, “When you are taking care of others, you are sowing seeds that will grow to fruition and come back to bless you.” As a post-script, I had an amazing example of that within 48 hours after blessing that shy stranger with my small gesture of human connection.

With some extra bills hitting in November, it had been a pretty tight month for us. I realized as I was preparing to pay our December rent that we were quite a bit short. I could have taken what I needed out of savings, but that would feel like a defeat, after working so hard to keep our “rainy day fund” sacrosanct, since experiencing the constant worry about having zero savings all during the Great Recession.

I didn’t know where the rest was going to come from, since all my client billings were done, but one thing I knew for sure, God/The Universe was the one who had the answer. MY job was simply to calm my fears, stay in belief, and keep my eyes wide open for the “How” to appear.

Within 48 hours of my caring interaction with the stranger at Starbucks, a new client came out of nowhere to sign up for coaching and another texted out of the blue that she wanted to pay for upcoming coaching well in advance!  Those two unexpected windfalls were exactly the balance needed for our December rent!

Remember this: Someone today is thirsty for your healing words, and a sign that they matter.  You can use your kind, empathetic words to encourage them and make them feel loved and valuable in life-changing ways you may never know. One type of Paying it Forward that we often overlook is PRAISE and ACKNOWLEDGMENT, especially with our own loved ones.

Joel Osteen says, “Don’t let a stranger, a coach, a teacher or a friend compliment your loved ones more than you do.  Verbalize your feelings and speak positive, healing, encouraging words to them.  And when you compliment someone in front of others, it carries extra weight.  Acknowledge them in public whenever you have the chance.”

Are you speaking words of praise, encouragement and confidence to your kids, your friends, your spouse and your business associates?  You can change the atmosphere and bring healing to a relationship or provide the confidence boost someone needs to pursue their dreams — simply through your words!  So Pay it Forward in kind words and deeds and reap the good that you sow!

PLEASE NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will take next weekend off for Disneyland and other Holiday fun! Join me on Sunday December 17 to share all your Pay it Forward Challenge results stories for our final blog of 2017.  Please email me yours ASAP so I can include 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.

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