Gratitude


“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success.” – Norman Vincent Peal

I am happily busy preparing more lessons for the Prosperity Summer Camp webinar that kicked off last week.  Therefore, I want to share with you a lightly-edited blog from two years ago that demonstrates just how much influence our expectations and attitude have on what happens to us. That’s a key concept we will soon be covering in the summer manifesting course. I hope you enjoy it (or enjoy it again)!

June 28, 2015

“Your expectations set the limits for your life.  If you never expect anything good, you’re never going to receive anything good.  If you don’t expect things to get better, then nothing will get better.” – Joel Osteen

I just had one of my most memorable and wonderful birthdays.  My heartfelt thanks go out to all my friends, family, readers and clients who sent me your best wishes, cards and gifts!  Rick and I spent the day at our favorite recreational spot, Disneyland, and experienced a number of mini-miracles that made our day extra-special.

We go every month with our Annual Passes, and some visits are more crowded times than others.  This month, not only are all the kids out of school, but it’s also Disneyland’s 60th anniversary and there are lots of “Diamond Jubilee Celebration” attractions and events designed maximize attendance.

Rick is a native New Yorker, so jostling crowds don’t bother him.  I, on the other hand, was raised in the wide-open spaces of the Southern California suburbs, where I never saw a parking meter until I was in my 20’s.  Crowds bother me.  A lot.  I hate to admit it, but hot days, jostling crowds, long lines, crowded restaurants and baby strollers bumping my heels sometimes make me feel pretty cranky.

Anticipating that the day was going to involve crowds, I did my early-morning prayers and preparation to focus my subconscious mind to expect THE BEST from the day, regardless of whether it was hot, the lines were long, and other guests were less than polite.  No matter what outer circumstances would be, I reminded myself that my own ATTITUDE would be the #1 factor determining my experience.

I stated my INTENTION aloud (so God/The Universe and my own subconscious mind would be sure to hear and remember the BEST scenario that I wanted to experience): “Today, we have a great time at Disneyland. My birthday is fun, light, and happy.  People are kind and thoughtful. I am patient, relaxed and grateful. I am Priceless!”

It was Tuesday, but when we arrived at 11:30am, it looked more like a normal summertime Friday. We just waded in with a smile and the crowds parted. We walked right up to the hostess stand just as our favorite restaurant opened and requested the first available reservation at noon. That turned out to be perfectly timed for the arrival of our dear friends, who came all the way to the Park just to have lunch with us and then had to run off to a family function.  How kind and thoughtful!

While we waited for our friends, Rick bought me a cute Minnie T-shirt (yet another in his week-long extravaganza of birthday presents for me). Since there was nobody else in the shop, the two salespeople were relaxed and chatted with us for quite awhile, even giving us the “insider” scoop about the best days and times to avoid crowds in the Summer. How kind and thoughtful!

After lunch, we found one of our favorites rides temporarily closed, so we opted for a spin around the nearby Rivers of America on the S. S. Mark Twain steamship, an authentic replica of the three-story paddle wheelers Samuel Clemens used to pilot on the Mississippi before he became the famous Mark Twain.  I always assumed it was on a track, but on Rick’s birthday a couple of years ago, someone told us that guests can request to steer the boat.

Rick went up to the Pilot on the dock and asked if we could steer on this trip, but she said, “Sorry. We don’t take requests anymore. We just pick people at random now.” We didn’t allow ourselves to feel disappointed.  We just smiled and relaxed on a nearby bench, looking forward to the trip.  I was just hoping there’d be room in the shade on the second deck because it was a warm day.

Just before boarding, the Pilot approached Rick and said, “Nobody has been picked to steer on this trip. So I guess you’re it!”  We had a blast, with Rick steering and me chatting with the Pilot in the wheelhouse, enjoying the best view of the river imaginable. Before we left, she took our picture holding our official “Pilot’s Certificate” dated June 23, 2015, with both our names on it, stating that we are “qualified Pilots of the S.S. Mark Twain.”  It is now proudly displayed in our Disney curio cabinet – a unique Diamond Jubilee keepsake that we couldn’t buy in any store. How kind and thoughtful!

Before the evening finale to our special day, we went to our favorite restaurant adjacent to Disneyland, the Napa Rose.  A full dinner in the four-star restaurant’s lovely dining room was a tad too pricey for this trip, so we decided to splurge on shared appetizers and a couple of glasses of good wine in their comfy lounge.  The servers are first-rate professionals, and ours couldn’t have been nicer or more attentive.  Unfortunately, she misheard our order and brought out the wrong appetizer. She took it back to the kitchen for a replacement while we relaxed and enjoyed our wine. We had plenty of time, so no sweat!

After a leisurely, delicious meal, including two great desserts, the check came.  Without saying a thing, our server had comped our appetizer and my “birthday” dessert. As a result, our tab was about half of what we expected.  How kind and thoughtful!

At the end of the evening, as we waited for the tram to take us back to the parking structure, I felt tired, happy and entirely fulfilled.  This turned out to be one of the happiest, most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had.

I choose to believe that’s because I EXPECTED the Best and I was determined to be MY Best.  And that’s why I GOT the Best in return!

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.

****************** 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 or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.” — Cesare Pavese, Italian Poet 

As I pondered what to write about this week, I realized that what I REALLY wanted to do instead of writing the blog was to play hooky! I guess it’s a case of Spring Fever, but I felt myself daydreaming about what it would be like to have an entire day completely OFF.  I know that a lot of my coaching clients also feel they have to work constantly to make their Big Goals happen. I advise them that they need to relax and recharge for at least ONE day a week, if they are going to have the right attitude and energy to be productive.

So, I decided to take my own advice: I want to share with you a lightly-edited blog from early 2016. It’s a great reminder that we ALL must take it easier, both mentally and physically, if we want the Law of Attraction to work for us.  I’m going outside now to savor life’s little moments. I hope you enjoy your day!

Yesterday, my wonderful husband Rick and I spent our monthly “Big Kids’ Play Day” at the Happiest Place on Earth. The sun was shining, lovely flowers and trees were blooming, birds were chirping and Spring was in the air.  My soul felt a renewed lightness in these joyful surroundings and I felt more grateful than ever that we live so close to Disneyland that we can go whenever we want to “lighten up.”

You don’t have to remind little kids to lighten up. They are all about play, fun and using their imaginations to find adventure everywhere they go.  As we stood in line for the Storybook Land canal boats, Rick chatted with a small boy whose shirt was covered with  buttons proclaiming that he was celebrating both his first visit to Disneyland AND his birthday.  It didn’t take much coaxing for him to excitedly relate all the rides he had been on and the ones he was still looking forward to.  Some of the adults in line looked tired and frazzled, but there was not one iota of resignation, worry or negative energy in the little boy.

This got me thinking about some of my clients who seem to struggle with how to lighten up.  They take their Big Goals very seriously, and sometimes feel frustrated when things don’t seem to be progressing fast enough or according to their own plans.

I understand, believe me.  For five years during the Great Recession and its aftermath, I had to focus every single day on releasing heavy feelings of fear, worry, disappointment and frustration that my coaching practice was just barely surviving and Rick’s real estate business seemed dead in the water.

When I couldn’t see any visible progress being made, what enabled me to face each day in a positive frame of mind was my faith that God/the Universe was on my side and that if I just kept doing my BEST, the solutions would come at the right time and in the perfect way.  Even when we can’t see it with our eyes, we have to keep the faith that there is progress being made  behind the scenes.  I kept reminding myself that the “How” is up to God/the Universe and MY job was simply to stay positive, stay alert  for Divine direction, and feel gratitude for every good thing in my life.

Despite our shoestring budget, Rick and I made it a priority during those tough years to keep up the monthly payments on our Annual Passes and take at least one day each month to play at Disneyland and to regularly do other things that made us happy. We knew that by “lightening up” — focusing only on the positive and choosing to be happy, no matter what our circumstances were — we would attract the people and resources we needed to turn our financial situation around. Eventually, that’s just what happened. One friend’s referral led to another and another, and without warning or build-up, both my coaching practice and Rick’s real estate business took off at the same time and haven’t stopped growing since.

If they express frustration that their dreams are not manifesting as fast as they would like, I tell my clients that they must lighten up – let go of all heavy energy produced by worry, frustration and discouragement and rev up the light energy of joy and gratitude.

The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” If you are pursuing your goals with grim determination, attachment and clenched teeth, what kind of people and situations do you think you are going to attract into your life?

If you want to attract what and who you want more quickly and easily, the first step is to express sincere GRATITUDE for all the wonderful things God/the Universe has put in your life thus far.  Expressing gratitude for all the good we have NOW attracts even MORE good things to us.

Next, you must create a genuinely positive, light energy that will be a magnet for the serendipitous people and resources that can help you reach your goals.  One of my former clients recently discovered how well this approach works.

Before our coaching, she struggled with feelings of anxiety, stress and frustration about the pace at which she was building her network marketing business. She didn’t enjoy her business the way she did her day job. I encouraged her to stop pushing to try to make things happen and instead to go with the flow and allow God/the Universe to bring the “How” to her.  I suggested she approach her network marketing business the same way she did her day job – with a feeling of relaxed confidence in her own skills and true joy at being of service to others.

We completed our coaching and I didn’t hear from her for a couple of months. Recently, I got this email, proving to me that she truly has mastered the art of reaching her goals with grace and ease:

“Hi, Caroll:  I’m really excited and had to share.  I feel things are really shifting for me: my attitude is positive and non-attached to the outcome.  I’m getting things done quickly. I’m getting things done with ease.  I’m contacting more people, talking to more people, scheduling more appointments and I’m headed toward month-end without my usual anxiety….

I’m continuing to read my [Daily Success] Script two times daily and listening to The Power [by Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret.]   Is this how it normally goes for your clients? That it just kind of ‘kicks in’? It feels very different this time and I’m feeling momentum in my team, too.”

Here’s one simple but powerful way you can rev up your own positive energy: If you aren’t currently taking at least ONE DAY off from ALL work each week, I highly recommend you begin doing so. Taking regular breaks to engage in self-care, play and activities you enjoy with people you enjoy will actually make you more productive and help you to reach your goals faster.  It’s time to shake off the winter doldrums and lighten up!

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.

****************** 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  or call 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.  

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Spring is around the corner, at last!  I know for many parts of the USA, it may seem like it’s still a long way off.  But the early signs are definitely here in Southern California.

We have had our share of the wettest winter in the state’s history, although my friends in Northern California have been drenched far more than we have.  Our unexpected record rainfall has been a mixed blessing. It pulled California out of a five-year drought, for which we are very grateful.  But, at the same time, it has caused considerable destruction and loss of life, especially up north.

A sign of Spring I always love to see is the tiny green buds on the trees and bushes. New plant life is a reassuring sign that Earth’s cycle of life continues, no matter what.  A few weeks ago, our gardeners pruned all the rose bushes back to what looked like dead stumps — so dry and sad, it was hard to remember the lovely blooms we had enjoyed right through Christmas.  But gardeners know that it is essential to prune rose bushes before Spring comes. The temporary pain of cutting back the branches spurs the plant to put out new green twigs, followed by lush leaves and finally some lovely red and pink buds.

Our lives are full of “pruning times,” too.  We never find them pleasant, and we often resist and struggle against them, but they are just as necessary for our growth and development as for the roses.

Facing a major health challenge is a type of radical life pruning.  People suddenly faced with the possibility of death or permanent disability and their loved ones quickly discover what REALLY matters in life.  All the “small stuff” they were sweating on a daily basis suddenly feels ridiculously unimportant.  They become laser-focused on a single goal — recovery.  Although it is certainly a painful lesson to endure, many survivors see their health challenge as a blessing that taught them how strong they really are and what truly matters in life. They are grateful for  their newfound faith, inner peace and strength that can never be taken away.

Severe financial challenges can also be seen as a kind of strengthening pruning. I can tell you from experience that when keeping a roof over your head becomes your primary focus, petty obsessions like keeping up with the Joneses and worrying what others think of you become laughable.  Before the Great Recession took two homes and a car from us, I would have spent $100 on some silly luxury item without a second thought. During that time, having $5.00 left in the checking account at the end of the month was cause for celebration.

But five years of struggle to regain our financial health, while painful, also brought my family many blessings. Now, I am more grateful for every dollar that comes to us than I could have ever imagined.  And I am much more aware of the plight of others around me.  When I see a homeless person, I always give them some money and a blessing.  When we learn that someone is struggling to make ends meet, we share what we have with them.  It is second nature to us now to be Go-Givers, and as a result, more prosperity has flowed to our family in the past three years than ever before.  Most importantly, our faith in God/The Universe as the Source of all our good is unshakable.

I am particularly inspired and gratified when I see one of my coaching clients make a positive mental shift after they have been tested by a life pruning such as a serious illness, job loss, divorce or discouragingly slow progress toward a Big Goal.

At the beginning of this month, one of my newer clients told me that she was feeling distressed about the lack of progress she felt she was making in building her networking marketing business.  She had been working diligently and trying to stay positive, but was getting the door slammed in her face at every turn.  She felt stuck and disappointed that “Nothing is coming to fruition.”  (Interesting choice of words, huh?)

I reminded her to use the mindset tools I had taught her to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work connecting her to the right people who will appreciate the opportunity she has to offer. I reminded her that declaring aloud the specific qualities or attributes she needs to embody in order to give her BEST in a given situation will direct her subconscious mind to help her produce the outcomes she desires.

So she chose to state aloud, “I am a patient, unattached, committed Leader.  I am PRICELESS!” That declaration gave her subconscious mind a blueprint for creating the ideal words and right actions that a patient, unattached, committed and priceless Leader would use. Those ideal words and right actions, in turn, will become a bright beacon of positive energy to attract individuals whose energy and desires are a match for hers.

Does that mean it will happen the minute she declares it, or that she won’t have any further setbacks or disappointments during her quest?  Nope.  “Pruning” was still taking place in her belief system, which was necessary in order for her to blossom into the kind of Leader who will attract the quality people she wants on her Team.

A few weeks later, she told me she had been reading more about the Law of Attraction and was doing mental “experiments” to test it out in small ways. She was amazed at what she felt were clear signs that specific, unusual things she focused her mind on were showing up in her life.  Her belief in her ability to attract to her exactly what she wanted was becoming much stronger.  Instead of skeptical, discouraged energy, she was now giving off excited, positive, expecting-the-Best energy. I could see that her internal Belief Switch was about to be thrown, and once it was, I knew she would start to make real progress toward her Big Goals. That’s how it works – first she must BELIEVE it is going to happen for her, and only then will she SEE it become real.

The following day, she sent me this email:

“Just wanted to share something that happened today! This morning I prayed for a new customer to reach out to ME!  This afternoon, someone did!  She was not exactly new; she was one of my very first customers who felt as if the products were way too expensive and she ended up cancelling her account. 

She called me out of the blue and I have to confess that I didn’t recognize her number….I just kept listening to her speak and finally figured out who she was!

Everything that you said to me yesterday hit me. Today, I started to read The Power [by Rhonda Byrne].  Not even 5 minutes into it [the customer called me].

So my conclusion is, I finally Believe what you are telling me, and I am so incredibly happy that I am recognizing it!”

Looks like the pruning phase of her business development may be nearing completion…. I can’t wait to see the wonderful fruit it is going to produce for her!

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 a while 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 or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Early Nightingale

As the whole world knows, we just inaugurated our 45th President of the United States.  Whether that thought makes you happy or makes you cringe, it’s a fact.

While I have very little positive to say about Donald J. Trump the man, I do have a high regard for America, for our democratic process and for the American People’s right to choose our Leaders.  So I am consciously choosing to give President Trump my respect and support, as long as he does his sworn duty to serve and protect our country.

And although I can feel disheartened when I read about some of the policies the Trump Administration and Congress seem ardent to pursue, I choose to take the long view recently expressed by departing President Barack Obama: “We’re going to be OK.”

In fact, I think President Obama’s is a great philosophy for life in general – you can expect that you are going to be OK.  Even better, you can expect that you are going to continue to be or become GREAT and that your life is going to remain or become GREAT.

“Optimists don’t always present as cheerful,” says Eric Kim, a research fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. “…but they have the general expectation on the inside that things will be better [in the future].”

In a Los Angeles Times article (12/24/16) containing the quote from Dr. Kim, I read this startling statistic published in the American Journal of Epidemiology: “Researchers at Harvard University found that among a group of 70,000 female nurses, the 25% who were most optimistic had a 31% reduced risk of mortality while they were being tracked compared with the 25% who were least optimistic….[T]his work was one of the first to show that optimism is also associated with reduced risk of death from infection, respiratory disease and cancer,” the authors said.

The article went on to say, “Kim said it is unlikely that simply thinking positive thoughts about the future is behind the effect he observed.” According to Dr. Kim, “People who are more optimistic generally get better sleep, exercise more, and have healthier coping habits to reduce stress….These could be some of the pathways that optimism is working through.”

The Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) would also explain that optimists are more likely to attract other positive, optimistic folks into their sphere, while habitual Debbie Downers tend to repel positive people who don’t want to be bombarded by their constant complaints and dire predictions.  And as we all know, positive, empathetic friends can be a GREAT source of stress relief and support in trying times.

My personal favorite strategies for reducing stress are to watch a funny TV show or movie with my perpetually-optimistic husband, Rick, or laugh on the phone with my BFF, Lisa.  Lisa and I certainly don’t always express a positive view of everything, but as we trade our ironic observations and sarcastic quips like a couple of late night talk show hosts, our shared laughter releases tension. Throughout our lives, having a good sense of humor has helped us keep everything in perspective, no matter how dire the personal challenge or world problem we face.

“The good news,” according to the L.A. Times article, “is that optimism can be taught. Twin studies suggest that having an optimistic point of view is inherited 25% of the time, but there is also evidence that it can be learned.” (I believe I got my humorous, outgoing and optimistic tendencies from my Dad, while my dear Mom’s shy, more worrying nature seems to have been inherited by my brother.)

According to the Harvard study, keeping a daily Gratitude Journal is one of the simplest strategies for learning and increasing a sense of positivity and optimism, which is why I assign it to ALL my coaching clients.  Also, “keeping a list of the times you have been kind to others and  practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis also have been shown to improve optimism, as have various types of cognitive behavioral therapy,” according to Dr. Kim.

So, you don’t have to be a yippy, skippy, always-happy Pollyanna about everything that comes your way in order to live a healthier, happier and potentially longer life.  You just have to have a solid belief – I prefer the word FAITH  – that things are eventually going to get better, just as long as you expect The Best, take steps to actively work toward your goals with everything you’ve got, and consistently strive to live up to your own ideals, values and integrity.

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 your BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us.  In all likelihood, it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed, other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another’s life had been made better.” – Stephan M. Wolf

‘Tis the Season to show heartfelt GRATITUDE for all the good in our lives by doing something to pay that grace forward to those who are less fortunate or who simply need a reason to smile right now.

This past week, my readers told me even MORE great stories about their Pay-it-Forward Challenge results, and I just had to share a few of them with you.  Here is the final installment of your joyful acts of kindness, generosity and caring.  I wish I had room to include every single one!

Acts of Service

  • One reader’s husband built a 5 ft. by 7 ft. sleigh for their church families to take Christmas portraits with. He is a bit disabled, and she feared he took on more than he could handle, so she pitched in and they finished it on time working side by side.  The children and families loved it and she says it was SO worth the effort they made.
  • My friend’s teenage son attends a private religious school that holds a Christmas tree fundraiser each year. I bought two trees and donated them, since I have an artificial tree.  She and her son delivered all their donated trees to various charities, and she sent me a picture to prove that “my trees” had found a good home at Olive Crest, a home for children in temporary foster care.
  • As she does each year, that same friend got up early and spent her Thanksgiving morning serving dinners to the needy before going to her own Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Several of my readers volunteer at local food pantries, which get a load of donations to distribute this time of year.
  • In the news: A deputy patrolling an industrial section of a Northern California city noticed a young African American man in a hoodie walking along the side of the road at night. It’s not an area where you see many pedestrians, so the officer stopped him to see if something was wrong. He was surprised to learn that the young man was “commuting” on foot seven miles each way to and from his nearby factory job because his car had broken down some time ago and he didn’t have the money to fix it.  The deputy insisted on giving him a ride home and later took up a collection among his fellow officers to buy the young man a bicycle and, eventually, a new car.  Now, the young man rides along with the deputy because he is training to become a peace officer himself.

Acts of Kindness and Compassion

  • A reader wrote an individual message on each of her business partners’ Facebook pages about one special quality she saw in them, such as “Leader,” “Motivated,” “Giver, “ They were surprised and delighted to be acknowledged publically by their Team Leader, not just for their accomplishments, but for their character.
  • A reader said the office secretaries at the school where she teaches “do everything for all of us,” but rarely get the thanks or recognition they deserve. She bought each of them a gift card and put it on their desks anonymously, expressing gratitude for their service on behalf of the entire staff.
  • My reader saw a man digging through the dumpster outside her apartment and put together a little “Care Package” for him, filled with personal hygiene items, a blanket, gloves, a couple of homemade sandwiches and some plastic trash bags for him to use when collecting cans and bottles.

Acts of Giving

  • A reader’s young son took all the money out of his piggy bank and she kicked in some more to buy a Christmas gift for one of his class’s “adopted”children in need. “I love teaching him giving early in life. For a six year old to be so excited to give something to another child he didn’t know was amazing!”
  • One reader who works for a children’s therapy services organization coordinated the staff’s annual drive to provide presents for some needy young clients and their siblings. She collected the donated gifts, bought all the wrapping materials and wrapped the presents. Each of the nine children will receive about 10 gifts apiece, for a very abundant Christmas!
  • One reader has collected about $3,000 worth of design books over the years. He plans to donate them to the arts program of a high school in an underprivileged part of his city.
  • A reader knew a couple who both passed away within the last year, leaving their three college-aged sons with little financial support. She continuously donates half of the proceeds from the sales of her skin care products to their college fund, for as long as they need it.
  • My friend Bob Perks used my reader’s generous donation to create the most lavish Christmas party his local American Legion Post has ever had. He sent pictures of the crowd of vets and their families line dancing and enjoying a huge buffet of wonderful dishes, mostly prepared by Bob himself. A singer and DJ, Bob also provided the musical program and arranged for Elvis and Santa to join in too.

Please don’t STOP spreading the joy when the Holidays end! I hope these stories of creative kindness and generosity will inspire you to continue your personal Gratitude-in-Action program far into the future. In fact, let’s make one of our New Year’s Resolutions  to Pay it Forward every day of the coming year!

PLEASE NOTE:  The blog will take the rest of the year off so I can focus on coaching my wonderful clients and enjoying Christmas activities with my friends and family.  A Cup of Caroll will return with a special New Year’s edition on January 1, 2017!  Until then, I wish you and yours Happy Holidays!

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 on fulfilling them, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

 

 

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

As this quote reflects and last week’s blog asserted, we truly show our gratitude for all the good in our lives by doing something to pay that grace forward to those less fortunate than ourselves. And after the prolonged personalized, angry and divisive battle that was our 2016 American Presidential Election, I think we all are longing for demonstrations of love, compassion and caring among ourselves more than ever.

This past week, dozens of my readers reported their Pay-it-Forward Challenge results. I was touched, inspired and delighted by the wide variety and creativity shown by their acts of Gratitude-in-Action! Here are a few of their joyful stories of kindness, generosity and caring. I hope they will inspire you to spread even MORE joy during this season of Peace, Love and Goodwill toward others:

Acts of Service

  • A mother and her young daughter collected and shipped 72 pounds of leftover Halloween candy to her cousin in the Air Force in Germany to distribute on base. Many of the donors also included letters and pictures, wishing them Happy Holidays and thanking them for their service.
  • One woman asked on Facebook for Thanksgiving dinner donations for families who are struggling financially. She and her husband collected 30 turkeys and all the fixings and took them to a local elementary school. With the staff’s help, 30 students received a box filled with the makings of a bountiful feast for their families. Next year, her goal is to provide joy for 60 families.
  • In the news: Right before Thanksgiving, Ft. Worth police stopped a number of motorists in older vehicles for minor driving infractions such as not wearing a seatbelt or signaling a turn. As the chagrined drivers awaited a ticket, the officers instead handed them a turkey! Many jumped out and hugged the officers, and some even cried for joy.

Acts of Kindness and Compassion

  • At the store, the middle-aged bagger was methodically putting each item into the bag very slowly. Feeling impatient and about ready to take over the process herself, my reader looked at him more closely and realized he was developmentally disabled.  Her impatience was instantly replaced with gratitude and compassion: “Thank you SO much!  I love the way you organized everything so carefully.  Now nothing will get broken.”  He smiled back at her with shy pride.
  • A reader mailed Thanksgiving cards to all her customers, expressing gratitude for their support and telling them how much she appreciates them. One of them was her own 80 year old grandmother.  Grandma called my reader’s mother to say how surprised and delighted she was to receive this thoughtful tribute.
  • In addition to letting people with fewer items in their carts go ahead of her in the checkout line, one reader also says a silent blessing for them. “I try to see someone that needs something I can provide in one way or another that will allow them to smile. I feel so blessed that God presents those opportunities to me….I need to start doing even more!”
  • One reader’s office does a 40-day Luncheon Challenge where the staff all take a few minutes out of their lunch hour to write a handwritten note of gratitude to someone who has been a mentor, encourager or helper to them or someone who just needs some encouragement at the moment.

Acts of Giving

  • Many readers love to partner with a church, office or charity to “adopt” an underprivileged family and buy each member a gift on their wish list for Christmas.
  • One reader came across a Go Fund Me page to help pay medical expenses for a former high school classmate with a serious health challenge. She donated and sent him a personal note of encouragement.
  • Like me, many readers love to buy a food or beverage item for the person in line behind them. Some do this at the drive through and make a clean getaway while the surprised recipient learns that a “Secret Santa” took care of them.
  • One reader in the Midwest often swipes her own card at the turnstile for the “El” train, when a rider nearby is fumbling for their card or discovers they don’t have enough for the fare. Recently, a stranger approached her and said, “I’ve never seen anyone do that before!  I am going to start doing that too!”
  • After reading my blog about the positive impact of my own small donation to my friend Bob Perks’ local American Legion’s Veterans Day celebration, a reader with a special soft spot for veterans donated $500 toward a sumptuous Christmas party. Bob says the word has spread and attendance is likely to be huge. I am sure the vets must believe they have a special Guardian Angel looking out for them!
  • A religious high school’s fundraisers for the year garnered $100,000, which was donated entirely to charity. A single day was then set aside for staff, parents and students to make voluntary donations to support the school itself. In honor of her grandmother, who had scrimped and saved to put three children through the school on a very limited income, my reader donated $10,000.

As for me, I got to do something I thought was selfless at the time, but which has blessed me more than I can express.  In an earlier blog, I wrote about our beloved four-footed family member, Samantha, who passed away after a brief illness close to her 16th birthday in early October.

We gave away her bedding, toys and leftover food to local rescue organizations and I vowed never to have another dog again.  The pain of losing her was just too much and I never wanted to go through that again.  Besides, I told myself, now we are free of the responsibility and can come and go as we please.

For weeks, the house seemed SO quiet and empty, and one day, I got a sudden strong urge to research local rescue organizations that needed foster parents for dogs waiting to be adopted.  I specifically wanted to help an older or disabled dog that might be harder to adopt.  I believed I could give temporary comfort and care, without the painful attachment of owning (and eventually losing) another dog.

Well, God had other plans for the Schwartz family.  I found a great organization right in our town, The Little Red Dog, Inc. —  named in honor of a female pit bull that Michael Vick and his dog-fighting “business partners” beat to death because she wouldn’t fight.  On Halloween morning, I emailed them and got an immediate call back. The volunteer said there was a dog that had to be out of the foster parent’s apartment that very day and asked if I would be willing to pick her up immediately and take her to the next adoption fair that weekend.

That’s how we found ourselves driving home on Halloween evening with a tiny, seven year old Chihuahua that had been rescued by the side of the freeway.  “Diamond” is the sweetest, best-behaved dog I have ever known and she delights us constantly with her excited tail wags, wiggles, and running all around the house wanting to play.  Now Diamond Schwartz has her forever home with us and our family is experiencing an abundance of joy this Holiday Season that I could never have imagined on Halloween.

Whatever your own resources of time, treasure or talent are, I hope you get the picture that ALL acts of kindness and generosity toward others demonstrate your sincere gratitude. Paradoxically, when we pay it forward to others, it seems that MORE blessings inevitably flow to us, creating an endless circle of giving and receiving and joy.  I would welcome even MORE stories of your Pay-It-Forward Challenge results!

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 on fulfilling them, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

 It’s that special time of the year — time to give thanks for all the good we have been blessed with.  As Thanksgiving fast approaches in the USA, I want to share one simple way for you to make this a truly joyful time, regardless of your present circumstances.

I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year so far for you and yours, as it has been for my family — a year of fulfillment, abundance, adventure and opportunity. But perhaps it hasn’t been so wonderful, as you may have experienced profound loss, a health challenge, financial deprivation or worry that someone you love is grappling with a serious illness or addiction.  My family experienced a very painful loss with the death of our beloved canine companion, Samantha, who passed away in October at age 16.

Whatever you are experiencing, I am confident that you know you are still profoundly blessed. Just living in Western Civilization affords us personal freedoms, security, comfort and economic opportunity far beyond what much of humanity enjoys. Simply having four walls and a roof, potable water, indoor plumbing, electricity and food in the refrigerator makes us look like royalty to billions of people who share our planet.

Longtime readers will recall that last year I created a Pay-It-Forward Challenge and invited all to participate. It was such an inspiration to hear from you about the many creative ways you found to help someone else, show them that they are important to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face. 

Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, also wrote a book called The Magic, which asserts that GRATITUDE is the most powerful positive emotion we can feel.  Being grateful for whatever you have now puts the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) into action to attract MORE of what you love to you. This book shares many, many ways to rev up your capacity for gratitude and thus attract more good into your life.

But there is a step beyond simply feeling grateful that can make your life overflow with abundance. Putting your gratitude into ACTION demonstrates your commitment and faith that unlimited good is on its way to you from God/The Universe. And Thanksgiving provides the perfect time to go beyond simply saying a special grace at the table. However big or small your current resources, you can actively DO something to bless someone, which will inevitably bless you as well.

Last year during Thanksgiving week, a stranger unexpectedly made my day by paying $5.00 toward my purchase at Starbucks.  It turned my frazzled morning around and put a smile on my face that lasted throughout the day. That simple 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 distribute to random people in line behind me. It felt even better when it was anonymous.  In fact, it felt so good that I kept it up throughout the rest of the Holidays! 

I can’t wait to repeat this joyful practice again from Thanksgiving through the end of this year. I trust that each of those surprised strangers will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Just think! One $5.00 gift card could create an endless chain of joy and gratitude, one cup at a time!

Your Pay-It-Forward contribution to others’ joy doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it doesn’t have to involve money at all. Here are just a few examples:

  • Today, the stranger with a full cart made me smile by letting me go ahead of him in the long checkout line at the supermarket.
  • I took two hours out of my Veterans Day holiday to help a sick friend run errands when she was too weak to drive herself. I enjoyed helping her more than I would have enjoyed the leisure time.
  • Many of my coaching clients are sending Thanksgiving cards this week to surprise their customers and business partners with a heartfelt expression of gratitude for their friendship and support.
  • My friend and fellow-coach, Bob Perks, uses his considerable musical talent to brighten local events as a free singer and DJ. He also prepares and shares meals with his fellow veterans at his American Legion post whenever he can.
  • You could help an older friend or someone who is under the weather to put up their holiday decorations or haul home their Christmas tree.
  • Cover for a colleague at work or babysit someone’s kids while they do their shopping.
  • Donate lightly-used warm clothing to an organization that helps the homeless.
  • Surprise an elderly neighbor 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.
  • Adopt a pet from your local rescue organization or shelter. If you are not prepared for a lifetime commitment, foster a pet until it can be adopted.

We have been blessed this year financially, too.  If that is also the case with you, I hope you will generously spread 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 Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah feast so much brighter.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity and make a difference for a cause you care about. I love animals, and I especially like to support local rescue organizations that operate on a shoestring, so they can spread their resources further in my community. $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 them, too.
  • When you are at the gas station, if you notice someone in an old car with kids in the back, surprise her by paying for a tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them $10 or $20 instead of spare change.

So here’s my Thanksgiving/Holidays Pay It Forward Challenge for YOU: Take one small, specific action to demonstrate your profound GRATITUDE for all your many blessings. I promise you the joy it gives you will be PRICELESSPlease let me know what you did and I will share all those wonderful ideas in my upcoming blogs.

 PLEASE NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off to spend time with my friends and family.  I wish you and yours a joyous and delicious Thanksgiving and look forward to reconnecting with you on Sunday December 4! 

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

****************** 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 on fulfilling them, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

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