Happiness


June 16, 2019

 Happy Father’s Day in the USA!  I gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model on a young child is one of life’s most precious gifts, and those heroes don’t always get the credit they deserve for fulfilling this challenging role.

 I was originally planning to take this week off from writing the blog, to give me time to celebrate my upcoming birthday and prepare for this week’s training in the third annual Prosperity Summer Camp webinar series. But since today is Father’s Day, I decided to re-post a tribute to fathers everywhere that I last published in 2016 and share with my many new readers the invaluable life lessons that my own wonderful father taught me.

(I dedicate this blog to my own Big Bro, who is the father of six wonderful men and women and grandfather to five amazing grandchildren – Much love from your Lil Sis!)

 June 19, 2016

 “Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.  Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” – Maya Angelou

This quote from the late, great Maya Angelou perfectly describes the way my Dad lived his life.  Although his years on earth were far too short, he lived each of them with maximum gusto and I am quite sure he had no regrets when he died suddenly at age 57, right at the beginning of my senior year of high school.

My mother was my source of unconditional love, whatever minor discipline I needed, and the usual “always wear clean underwear for the ambulance” practical advice.

My father was my playmate, teacher, walking thesaurus/dictionary/encyclopedia, and my #1 Role Model.  I don’t remember him talking to me directly about rules to live by. Instead, he just lived his life on his own terms and I learned how I wanted to live mine by observing how he did it.

Here are the key Rules for Abundant Living that I got from observing the happiness and fulfillment my Dad derived from living by them himself:

  • Be happy – Other than the day President Kennedy was assassinated, when I saw him cry for the first time, my Dad was invariably optimistic, cheerful and humorous. He loved to laugh at and tell jokes (especially bad puns), watched all the 60s comedy TV shows with me, and could find the hidden humor or irony in any problem. From him, I decided that hanging out with happy, positive people is the only way to go!  While I got my inclination to worry from my mother, I got my sense of humor from my father.  Guess which trait has helped me more in life?
  • Be curious – My Dad was the most insatiable life-long learner I’ve ever known. He never passed by a used bookstore without buying something.  He left behind boxes of notebooks and reading materials on everything from Elizabethan poetry to paranormal science.  It’s too bad he didn’t live into the Internet Age because he would have spent hours Googling everything.  He taught me how great it could be to know a little bit about a lot of things (which led a high school English teacher to dub me a “Renaissance Woman”). Dad never pontificated about his own views, but sought to learn from others’ opinions. His attitude set me up for career success because coaching requires more listening than talking, being curious instead of judgmental, and having a wide variety of resources at my fingertips to support my clients’ needs.
  • Be creative – My Dad was one of the most creative problem-solvers I’ve ever known. He was an amateur inventor who came up with what he believed was a breakthrough system for teaching reading that was better than phonics. Unfortunately, he died before he got to finish it. My Dad taught me to stretch my imagination and ingenuity with his homemade inventions, like a teeter-totter I could play on all by myself, consisting of a long board balanced on an old oil drum and weighted on the other side with bricks that were equal to my weight. (This was in the days before “helicopter parenting” and Cal OSHA, you understand.)
  • Be of service – By Dad’s example, I learned that while life can be enjoyable when we meet our own needs, it can be truly fulfilling only when we help others meet their needs. He voluntarily gave up a lucrative professorship at the University of California to teach at a community college where he felt he could make a bigger difference teaching remedial English to working adults striving to improve their lives.

Dad took a personal interest in Mrs. Edwards, an elderly widow in his night school class who wanted to improve her English. One day he hitched a trailer to our station wagon and filled it with boxes of hand-me-down clothes and a used refrigerator. Then my parents, Mrs. Edwards and I drove from Orange County to Tecate, Mexico to give her extended family these precious gifts.  I was just eight, but I still remember what the dirt-floored, one-room adobe shack smelled like, with all the flies buzzing about. I am certain those strangers never forgot my Dad’s generosity.

Looking back, our relationship reminds me a lot of the bond between Atticus Finch and his young daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Like Atticus, my Dad was older when I was born, so we didn’t do much physical play together; our father-daughter bond was more spiritual and mental. And luckily for me, like Atticus, my father demonstrated by his daily life exactly how to be self-confident and stand up for one’s principles, while remaining respectful of the different abilities, lifestyles and opinions of others.

In short, Prof. Harbison Parker was my #1 Role Model for how to “love life, engage in it and give it all you’ve got.” And I feel blessed to be his daughter.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next Sunday off.  It’s my birthday!  A Cup of Caroll will return with a new blog on Sunday June 30.

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!

 

 

June 9, 2019

“Most of your emotions, positive or negative, are determined by how you talk to yourself on a minute-by-minute basis.  It’s not what happens to you, but the way that you interpret the things that are happening to you that determines how you feel.” – from Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

The third annual Prosperity Summer Camp webinar is off to a great start!  All the participants have created an envelope-pushing Intention (a BIG Goal they are 100% committed to reaching on or before July 31).  The focus of the course is to teach them tools and techniques to help them reach those Intentions, even though they don’t yet know HOW they will do it.

Some of the tools I give them involve work smarter not harder strategies, but most are about learning to control their mindsetThe dictionary definition of MINDSET is “an attitude, disposition or mood.”  Synonyms for it include “mental make-up, mental processes, way of thinking, where your head is at.”

If you want to be happy AND successful, you must learn to control your mindset because your mindset conjures up emotions that, in turn, trigger the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to attract people, resources and circumstances that will either HELP or HINDER you from creating what you want.

You may think that whatever happens to you makes you spontaneously FEEL a certain way and there’s nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, that is far from the case! Outer circumstances do not have the power to make us FEEL any particular way.  You have the absolute power to CHOOSE how you feel and respond to whatever happens to you.

It all starts with how you choose to interpret what happens to you and the meaning you choose to give it.  That is your MINDSET in daily action.

Here are four main areas in which your MINDSET can greatly affect your EMOTIONS, which in turn, will set the Law of Attraction in motion to either move you forward or hold you back from reaching your Big Goals:

  • Negative Interpretations of what others’ words and actions mean about you

A teacher recently told me that she has been waking up every morning in a foul mood.  She didn’t seem to know exactly why, so I asked her to consider what thoughts she was having that could be triggering her negative emotions.  She answered candidly that she was disheartened that, as the final weeks of school wound down, most of her class seemed bored and mentally checked out.  She interpreted her students’ dull mood and distracted behavior to be a reflection of HER teaching skills.  She was telling herself, “If I were a better teacher, they would be more engaged and eager to learn.”

As soon as she said it, she recognized the fallacy of her chosen interpretation. She admitted that she and her students are ALL tired after a long school year, and that the subject she teaches is not a scintillating one that most students would choose unless it was required. In fact, when she was in school, it probably never crossed her mind that she herself would end up in that field!

Just shifting her interpretation of why other people were behaving in a certain way elevated her mood, and she decided to focus her attention on the students who ARE engaged and clearly appreciate her efforts to make the class interesting and useful.

As my friend and mentor Leslie Zann often says, “You are making it all up anyway, so why not make up something GOOD?” 

  • Comparing yourself to others

We know we shouldn’t, but our Egos seem to be hard-wired to do this. You MUST consciously stop yourself from doing it because it has a demoralizing effect on your energy and prevents the Law of Attraction from attracting what you want.

Moreover, your self-comparison is likely not valid, because you are inevitably comparing apples to oranges.  Anyone who seems to be doing better or going faster than you does not have the identical circumstances or background you have: They grew up with a different family dynamic, have a different education, training and/or experience, different friends and connections, and a different personality and perhaps a different MINDSET. You have nothing in common with them, except perhaps the length of time you have been going after a similar goal.  So forget about competing and concentrate instead on running your own race and making the most of your own unique skills, abilities, qualities and mindset.

  • Berating yourself (or others) for past mistakes

The most useless human emotion is guilt.  To be human is to make mistakes and feel regret. But you cannot change the past, no matter how much you wish you could. All you can do is to take full responsibility for your own mess-ups, especially those that affect others.  Sincerely and humbly apologize to anyone you have harmed by your words, actions or inactions.  Make amends if you possibly can. But even if they don’t forgive you, you must forgive yourself and move on.

Staying mentally stuck in the past prevents you from taking the positive actions that can help yourself and others today and tomorrow. Learn from your mistakes so you won’t repeat them and leave the guilt behind.

The second most useless emotion is resentment. If you want to be forgiven, you must be willing to forgive others.  That doesn’t mean you condone their actions, but you have to forgive them for YOUR sake. If you harbor resentment, anger or thirst for revenge, you are only hurting yourself, because the Law of Attraction must inevitably attract to YOU even MORE circumstances to resent.

  • Worrying about the future

Worry is a totally unhelpful mindset.  Any time you spend focusing your thoughts on the “worst case scenario” that your Ego fears might happen is wasted time that could be used to create the outcome you DO want.  You can’t hold two separate thoughts in your mind at the same time.  So if you find yourself worrying about a possible negative outcome (which let’s face it, 99 percent of the time never happens anyway), simply turn your thoughts to focusing on what you DO want, and you will be sending your powerful energy in the RIGHT direction for the Law of Attraction to help you get it.

As positive thought preacher Joel Osteen says, “Pay attention to what is playing in your mind. When you dwell on negative thoughts, you’re not going to have peace.  You have to change what you’re dwelling on.  So when the opportunity to worry comes, use it as a reminder to …. thank [God/The Universe] for His good!”

If you want to feel consistently great and create all the success you dream of, you must start right now to monitor your MINDSET closely. You have the power to generate thoughts that are going to call forth positive emotions that will make the Law of Attraction your ally in reaching your Big Goals in record time!

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.

 

May 5, 2019

“Success is doing what you said you would do, consistently, with clarity, focus, ease and grace.” – Maria Nemeth, life coach and author

Today is my 12th wedding anniversary – Cinco de Champagne, as my wonderful husband Rick likes to call it. We are definitely still in love and still a “happy couple.”  That is my life’s greatest achievement and the one I am most grateful for. Happy Anniversary, Rick. I look forward to many more years of enjoying the Journey together!

I recently read a short, insightful description of what it takes to be “happy” that I would like to share with you.  It’s by Debbie Powers, athlete, coach and author and Professor Emerita of Wellness at Ball State University.  It was published by Body Wise International:

“Happiness Now

We often convince ourselves that life will be better after we lose ten pounds, change jobs, get married or retire.  Or we’ll be happier after getting a new car, having that baby, or the kids growing out of the teenage years. It goes on and on.

Life will always be filled with challenges, so it’s best to admit it and decide to be happy anyway!  If not now, when?

Consider a quote from Alfred D. Souza.  He said, ‘For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to be served, or a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.’

This perspective reveals that happiness is a journey, not a destination.  Control what you can with your diet, exercise and other health habits.  Keep your body fit and strong.  Then treasure the moments that you have.  If you are constantly waiting for Friday night, summer vacation, graduation, or paying off the house, you could be missing a lot of living.  Happiness is within each of us. Live today!”

As a Personal Success Coach, my job is simply to help my clients reach their Big Goals – whatever they are.  Some want a fitter body, others want a new love, more money, or a fulfilling career. Most of my current clients want to build a successful network marketing business. I give them tools and strategy and accountability and encouragement to pursue all those goals.

While I do not want to see anyone postpone going after their heartfelt dreams, I also realize that we must never postpone experiencing happiness by waiting for those dreams to manifest before we allow ourselves to feel “successful.”  Pursuing Big Goals gives life drive, spice and meaning.  The drive to strive for more is inherent in us as human beings. But the formula for a successful, happy life isn’t “push and strive until you get what you want.”

Instead, I believe lasting happiness and satisfaction come from this:

Strive to do and be your BEST each day.  Keep your word to yourself and others. Be proud of each day’s big or little accomplishments.  Own each day’s failures and learn from them.  Be fully present to your life and everyone in it every moment.  Strive to be kind in all circumstances and to lend someone your ear or a helping hand each day. Be grateful and give thanks daily to your Higher Power for all that you are and all that you have.

THAT is my formula for a successful and happy life. I hope it is yours, too.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off for Mother’s Day.  Enjoy your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday May 19

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 yourself, 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 gift this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (Feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

 

March 17, 2019

“Don’t just believe in magic; expect it!” – Louise Hay

Longtime readers of this blog know that my wonderful husband Rick and I adore Disneyland.  We live just 30 minutes from the Park and are Annual Passholders.  We have visited at least once or twice a month during the past 13 years that we’ve been together, but Rick had an Annual Pass long before that. It’s so special to us, it’s where he proposed to me.

For me, Disneyland is truly “The Happiest Place on Earth,” where I can leave all my cares at the gates and feel completely carefree the whole time I am there.  Rick and I were there just yesterday and it was a perfect day, as far as I’m concerned.

But even more important than the escape it provides, I have learned some very valuable life lessons at Mickey and Minnie’s home, too.  I thought I would share a few of these little nuggets that have helped me to be happier and more successful, and I am sure will help you, too:

  • Be patient. This is life’s #1 ongoing lesson for me!  I am not by nature patient and every trip to Disneyland reminds me that I need to be.  If I wait patiently for a ride or a meal or for the crowd to part so we can walk through, I will eventually receive what I want with a smile on my face.  But if I get annoyed and impatient with people, I will be in a bad mood by the time I get to my destination and it spoils what could have been a fun experience.  I have learned that when I cannot control whatever or whoever is impeding my progress, I need to breathe, smile and trust that all is working itself out in perfect timing. And it inevitably does.
  • Do what nourishes you. It’s easy to fill up on “junk food” at Disneyland and in life.  We are constantly surrounded by tempting but unsatisfying food and diversions. (Churros are my personal favorite junk food at Disneyland.)  Social media, television, online games and many other diversions provide immediate gratification, but they can steal precious hours and leave you with nothing of real value.  Take the time to seek out food, drink, friends and activities that nourish your body, mind and spirit, and you will feel strong at the end of the day, instead of empty and hung over.
  • Stop and smell the roses. One of the things Rick and I love most about Disneyland and California Adventure is the wide variety of beautiful plants.  The groundskeepers are creative and meticulous and the beautiful floral displays change with every season.  We make a point of walking slowly and stopping often to appreciate the different plants and flowers close up.  Instead of rushing to get to the next activity or errand, try to slow down, look around and be fully present to the beauty that is everywhere around you.  Appreciating and expressing gratitude for the many blessings in your life will make you feel deeply fulfilled and happy, no matter what challenges you are facing at the moment.
  • Pace yourself. You can’t get where you want to go immediately, any more than you can ride every ride in Disneyland in one day. Be patient, trust Divine Timing and try to embrace each step on your path to ultimate success. You must inevitably learn whatever lessons God/The Universe wants to teach you before you can fulfill your Big Goals, so strive to embrace them and enjoy your personal development journey.
  • Be kind. I don’t like crowds.  And it’s a fact of life that there will be crowds on most of our visits, because many other people enjoy Disneyland too! I can look at them as adversaries, vying for limited resources, or as fellow Mouseketeers who are going through the same challenges and experiences, doing the best they can, just as I am. The kinder I am, the more I smile and strive to be patient and non-judgmental toward everyone I encounter, the happier and more relaxed I feel at the end of the day.
  • See the world through the eyes of a child. Walt Disney’s original goal, which he more than accomplished, was to create a magical place where children and their parents could come to enjoy themselves together. When we’re there, I love to watch parents observing their little ones’ eyes grow big with wonder at experiencing so many “magical” things for the first time.  For a few precious hours, adults are allowed to drop their jaded, skeptical, cynical veneers and embrace seeing the world with innocent childlike wonder, too.  (Disneyland has this effect on adults of all ages, by the way, including those without kids!) Being present to the wonders of daily life is a choice and a practice.   Daily miracles are all around us, if we will just open our eyes to them. Uncle Walt developed a keen sense of childlike wonder himself as he pursued his Big Dreams, which have, in turn, made many millions of people happy all over this planet. And they will continue to do so, as long as we are willing to surrender to the child within us every day.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weeks off. A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, April 7. In the meantime, I wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day and the official start of Spring this week — I know we are all eager for that!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 gift 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 for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.  

 

February 10, 2019

Here is a lightly-edited version of the blog that followed last week’s blog in 2015. It has an equally important message for everyone who wants to effectively and joyfully pursue their Big Goals, whether personal or professional.

“In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.” – Sid Caesar

 Last week, I re-published a Fan Favorite blog that I wrote about a past client who had reached a very Big Goal in just 30 days because she applied three specific success principles:

  • Use all the tools available to you to their full advantage.
  • Be strategic (work smarter, not harder.)
  • Use every available minute.

Because she had a very big “Why” for reaching her goal and because 30 days was the specific amount of time she had to reach it, she committed to focusing and giving it everything she had for that short amount of time, even though she also had to maintain a demanding day job.

Her reward at the end of that intense effort was promoting to Director Level in her direct sales company, which enabled her to quit her 50-60 hour a week job and work her business on HER terms, so she could spend more time with her new husband and have the lifestyle freedom she had always dreamed of.  For her, that was a Big Goal worth pursuing with all her might.

Risking Burnout

Now, let’s examine the flip side of this: What happens if you get TOO consumed with pursuing a Big Goal that has a longer time frame than just a few months?  You are risking Burnout — depleting your emotional, mental and physical resources to the point of trying to drive to the finish line on an inner fuel tank that has run dry.

Burnout can bring some dire consequences:  The constant stress of pushing yourself hard and worrying about where you are in relation to a long-term Big Goal can lead to physical illness and/or emotional breakdown.  It can also alienate loved ones who feel you have abandoned them or that they are less important to you than your Big Goal.  Ironically, Burnout can lead you to abandon your Big Goal altogether, so that in the end, you have nothing to show for all the time and effort you put toward it.

Signs of Burnout

Another past client came to me after pursuing a business goal for several years with only modest success.  Every day, she beat herself up emotionally for not being where she thought she should be. She felt like a failure, despite recognizing that she hadn’t been given the proper training, support and resources during her first several years in the business. She had to figure it out by herself and actually did a pretty good job, yet, she couldn’t stop negatively comparing herself to colleagues who surpassed her results during that time.

She also beat herself up for the toll she felt her pursuit of success had taken on her family.  She had two wonderful school-aged children and a loving and financially successful husband, yet she believed they must feel resentful because she hadn’t spent all her time with them.  She admitted to neglecting herself, too, by allowing herself almost no Me time to replenish her physical and emotional reserves.

I coached her to begin treating her home-based business like a real “business” and set her office hours.  That way, she could focus on her business for a few hours during the day when her kids were at school and perhaps three nights a week she could spend an hour on it as well. The rest of the time, she should be taking care of her own well-being — including exercise, rest and relaxation, personal and spiritual development time– and spending precious time with her family every day.

Despite promising that she would work to find balance and act like she truly is her own boss, she came to our calls crying almost every week.  She just couldn’t let up on herself.  When she was with her family or doing something for herself, she kept thinking she should be working her business.  And when she was working her business, she felt guilty that she wasn’t taking care of herself and her family.

Since my job as a Personal Success Coach is to help my clients reach their Big Goals as quickly, easily and joyfully as possible, I realized after several months that we were not making progress, and so did she.  I recognized that she was showing signs of major Burnout, and was unable to put into practice the simple strategies and support I tried to give her. Finally, I warned her that if she stayed on her self-imposed “hamster wheel” of stress, she would inevitably have to quit her business altogether for the sake of her well-being. I recommended she seek professional help to regain a balanced view of herself and her life and that is what I believe she ultimately did.

How to Beat Burnout

When you are pursuing a long-term Big Goal, the same three principles apply that were followed by my client who reached her Big Goal in just 30 days. The key is the definition of using “every available minute.”  That does not mean “EVERY minute of your life”!  If you follow a daily schedule that balances work, play, spiritual and personal development, physical well-being, family time and Me time, you can use your available WORK time strategically by working smarter, not harder.

And, of course, I recommend that you learn to harness the power of the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to reach your Big Goals with greater speed and ease by focusing your belief and channeling your own positive energy toward your Big Goal, which inevitably attracts the perfect people, resources and serendipitous breaks to you.

Here are the four Success Principles I believe will help you reach your long-term Big Goal with healthy balance and emotional fulfillment, instead of Burnout and tears:

Four Principles of Long-term Success

  • Treat your Big Goal like a Big Game, rather than a struggle for survival. Nobody, including you, is going to die if you don’t reach your goal by when you thought you would.  Remember you are PLAYING to win and you will win your Big Game by getting to the finish line feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled. Maintaining a centered, enthusiastic and positive energy each day will make others want to join you and help you win your Big Game.
  • Pace yourself to play the Long Game. Realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Focus on reaching a series of short-term goals within your Long Game and take time to celebrate those victories as milestones on the path to the finish line. If you don’t, the finish line can seem mighty far away.  Regularly acknowledge yourself and allow others to acknowledge you for the ground you have taken, instead of focusing on how far you have left to go.
  • Treat yourself as valuable and others will too. Make and follow a Daily Game Plan to give yourself whatever you need to fulfill your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Don’t try to play Superman or Superwoman and go it alone. Make clear, specific requests for whatever help you need.  Those who care for you will be happy to step up and support you, if you simply ASK.
  • Stay committed and maintain perspective. Don’t let the petty disappointments of today make you doubt that you will win your Long Game if you just keep on keeping on. Realize that the last “No” just brought you that much closer to the next “Yes.” If you truly want to beat Burnout, you must view your Big Goal as just one part of your life, not the all-consuming focus of your life.

Here’s my final suggestion for beating Burnout: Take at least ONE FULL DAY off each week and once a month, take the ENTIRE WEEKEND off to refresh, relax and rejuvenate your body and soul.  Plan fun activities and get-away trips with friends or family, instead of using the whole weekend to catch up on paperwork, run errands or tackle honey-do lists. You will return to the pursuit of your Big Game with renewed enthusiasm, greater productivity and enhanced creativity.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The blog will be taking the next weekend off so I can enjoy President’s Day Weekend with my family!  This is one of the ways I avoid writer’s BurnoutA Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday February 24.

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

I invite you to offer yourself or someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change your/their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching, with no obligation and no strings attached!  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.

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.

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.

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