Happiness


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.

August 26, 2018

“In the end, it all comes down to a matter of choice.  Each of us can choose to be reactive and at the mercy of a world that appears threatening, or we can choose to be open to life and its remarkable possibilities.  We can be defensive and protective, or we can live with a new spring in our step and spirit, eyes that truly see, ears that really hear, and a heart that can feel the wonder and celebrate the magnificent mystery that is life.” – From the book Getting Unstuck: 10 Simple Secrets to Embracing Change and Celebrating Your Life

Like many of you, I have been watching the weather news anxiously this week as Hurricane Lane bore down on the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.  Although there has certainly been some significant damage to cars, homes and roads from high winds and buckets of rain, the force of the storm turned out to be much less than expected. Thankfully, the people living in the Islands have been spared the overwhelming chaos they could have faced.

The weather chaos reminds me of other forms of chaos that a number of my clients, friends and I have faced this week, as well.  Several had children going off to college for the first time, which I now know from experience (thanks to my stepson Matt), can be an anxious and challenging time, both physically and emotionally.  It was also back to school time for younger children, and there’s always a certain amount of chaos and jangled nerves that go with a new school year routine, especially if they are going into a new school. Others had mechanical problems with cars and home remodeling.  I personally had some truly frustrating moments with my email system, which I absolutely depend on to be able to coach my clients.

While it’s easy for your Ego to feel anxious, frustrated, upset and even despairing when faced with different forms of chaos, it’s important for you to not succumb to that negative energy.  If you give in to it, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) dictates that focusing your energy on negative thoughts and emotions will only attract MORE chaos to you. Whatever thoughts and emotions we focus on gain strength, like a hurricane traveling across the warm waters of an ocean, sucking up more moisture and growing ever bigger and stronger.

Fortunately, you have a choice.  No circumstance or person can make you FEEL any particular way.  You don’t have to suck up negative energy and make yourself feel more negative, upset and frustrated.  You have the free will to CHOOSE exactly how you view and respond to any given situation.  You can be the “eye” of the hurricane, which is calm and peaceful in the midst of the chaos swirling around it.

How can you do that?  Your thoughts create your emotions.  By re-directing your thoughts, you can control your emotional reaction to any situation. If you are upset, frustrated, angry, despairing or panicked, it’s because you have focused your thoughts on the worst case scenario for the outcome of a situation.  You are expecting the WORST to happen.

Instead, you need to consciously direct your mind to expect THE BEST.  You can’t know for sure the ultimate outcome of any situation in advance.  The BEST outcome is just as likely as the WORST.  But your advantage is that you can influence the odds for either the BEST or the WORST outcome by the energy you direct toward one or the other.

Your subconscious mind is always listening to everything you think and say. Like an internal minion, it believes everything you tell it, hook, line and sinker.  So don’t tell it the WORST is going to happen….Tell it the BEST is going to happen!  Talk it into really EXPECTING the best and it will do everything in its power to come up with ideas for you to make the best outcome a reality.

I saw firsthand how a mindset shift influenced the outcome for one of my friends recently.  He emailed me that his car had just had yet ANOTHER mechanical issue, in the same week it had blown two tires and the transmission had gone out of whack. In his Ego’s initial “despair” reaction to this chaos, he fumed, “This is TOO MUCH!  Please pray for me!” Clearly, his Ego was envisioning the worst case scenario: “You can’t handle any more of this chaos. This is hopeless!  Your car is not going to function and you are going to be stuck without transportation!”

I replied that maybe this “bad news” was really a sign that he was supposed to get a new car – something EVEN better.  That got him thinking along a new track.  Instead of seeing himself as the victim of some sort of unfathomable divine punishment, he recognized and took responsibility for each thing that had gone wrong with it. Instead of seeing his car as something to be frustrated with, he realized he really loves his car!

As his thoughts ran in a new, positive direction, his energy began to shift.  He wrote:

“Here’s what I decided.  For now, I am completely focused on my mental health.  I want to be happy and I am….Right now I am at peace, certainly not financially but mentally.  I am liked.  I am loved.  I have the ability to give of myself and for now I need to simply maintain that.  Being here with what I have is OK for now. 

“I am outside looking at my car right now.  It’s 11 years old.  I know it like an old friend.  We’ve been through a lot together.  If someone gave me a new car, I’d have to break it in.  Good friends you hold onto.  I am not limiting myself and my future.  I am basking in the peace of the moment.”

He went from frustration and despair to “basking in the peace of the moment” in the time it took to look at his car and write an email about what it means to him.  THAT is some impressive energy shifting!

Just a little while later, I got a follow-up message:

“WOW!  Not sure if my statement earlier had anything to do with it but after sending the message about my car, I tried one more time to start it.  This time, there was a sound of actually trying to turn over. Then it did.  I discovered the positive cable wasn’t completely connected.  Like life.  We may think we are grounded but we can’t function with only negative.”

As soon as his mindset and energy shifted, his subconscious mind got him to try turning it on one more time and voila — He got a working battery without having to buy a new one!

To calm your thoughts and emotions, here’s a mantra I use myself whenever I can’t see the solution to a chaotic situation or tough problem.  If you prefer, you can substitute The Universe, Inner Wisdom, Infinite Spirit — or whatever description best fits your personal belief system:

“I claim, accept and expect THE BEST.  God is with me, helping me, and I EXPECT great things to happen!”

Repeating this affirmation aloud in the face of chaos will allow your subconscious mind to stay calm and open to receiving the BEST solution, as it is whispered to you by the still, small voice that dwells in the eye of the hurricane.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

July 29, 2018

 “Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself.” – William Boetcker

This month is important to many of my clients who are all in the same network marketing company.  July is their “convention qualification” period, where the status and titles they reach by the 31st will determine how they are recognized at their international convention in New Orleans in September.  It’s a big deal, and they are all running hard and giving it their BEST effort to reach their individual goals.

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

But there’s a hidden danger if you are always running at breakneck speed from one goal to the next.  While reaching important short-term goals can require a full-out sprint for a limited period, achieving long-term success is more like running a marathon.  You have to pace yourself or you risk physical and emotional burnout.  And you must always remember that you are not defined by your achievements.  You are valuable and worthy simply for being the unique and special person you are.

Here is a lightly-edited blog from “convention qualification month” two years ago that reminds us to keep a joyful attitude and take sufficient time to play, spend time with our loved ones, rest and recharge if we are going to win the LONG RACE.

July 17, 2016

I didn’t have to look far for the topic of this week’s blog.  It kept recurring among my clients last week and it is the subject of a collection of articles published by the Unity church entitled You Are Enough.

Two of my clients had their phones die for a time this week.  Both admitted to feeling a secret sense of relief because they could not be held responsible for not working their businesses.  One of them was at the beach for a week with her family and was able to spend some guilt-free time playing with her kids and just relaxing, while the other, with a few precious days off from her day job, had time to play with her daughter and just “float in the pool.” The latter confessed that she had actually contemplated not coming to her coaching call because she didn’t want to admit to me that she had been “unproductive” this week.

I told them both that they shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what they really wanted to do.  Their worth is not defined by how productive they are being.  Their self-worth should come from knowing that they are unique and special and valuable because of who they ARE, not what they DO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe there is no swimsuit competition in Heaven – or here on Earth, for that matter. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, we should not be judged by the color of our skin (or any other external factor), but by the content of our character.

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be on vacation for the next two weeks while Rick and I relax and recharge ourselves and visit our wonderful family in beautiful Washington and Oregon.  A Cup of Caroll will return with a brand new post on Sunday, August 19.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

July 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Late that night, he wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But today?  Today she was surrounded by love.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

I predict that even though I broke the wall she has built, she will most likely rebuild it in order to protect her narrow-minded assumptions and not appear at fault.  Still, I have removed a part of the wall with the only tool I know best.  

Love.  Love is always the answer.”

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

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

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

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

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

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

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

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today. 

 

 

June 17, 2018

“Sustained concentration is a learnable skill.  It’s not something you’re born with; it’s something you develop through daily practice.” – from Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold

In the last blog (What is Your Why Today – Blog 306), I gave you a few specific tips to help you maintain your focus and enthusiasm and willingness to take consistent daily actions toward a Big Goal that you know will take a fairly long time to reach.

Besides being crystal clear on your WHY, I believe you also need to give yourself a consistent short-term emotional reward at the end of “just another Wednesday” that was full of To-Dos, errands, and activities. At the end of the day, when you have carried through on your promised action steps toward fulfilling your long-term Big Goal, you crave a feeling of inner satisfaction and fulfillment, whether or not your efforts produced any apparent outer results.

Without a satisfying feeling of accomplishment, you won’t be so enthusiastic about getting up and pursuing your Big Goal again tomorrow, even if you have an empowering long-term WHY.  We all need regular “Atta Girl/Guy” emotional pats on the back to keep us motivated, especially if it takes a while to see a tangible payoff from our faithful efforts.

Here’s a little daily emotional reward my BFF Lisa and I cooked up spontaneously during our recent morning texting routine. We often reach out early in the day to make each other laugh, encourage each other and remind each other to “carpe diem” (which means seize the day, in case Latin isn’t your first language) and not waste precious time because, well, we don’t know in advance which day is going to turn out to be our last one on this planet, now do we?

I shared with her my vow that from now on, before my head hits the pillow each night, I am going to ask myself “What was my L.A.C.E. today?” That’s an acronym for:

L.EARN – What was one new thing I learned today? In order to learn something NEW each day, we all have to remember to LISTEN more than we TALK, and that’s a good thing. Today, I learned from my accountant how to pay our corporate Payroll Tax using Quickbooks!  It was the very first tax payment for Rick’s and my fledgling “R & C Schwartz Inc.” corporation — and that’s kind of exciting!

A.CCOMPLISH – Did I courageously tackle the important things on my To-Do list first today? Or, did I just check off the easy little “busy work” stuff that won’t move me any closer to my Big Goals? If I tackled the hard stuff, the stuff that matters, I give myself a big old “Atta Girl,” because I know those things WILL pay off, if I just keep at it.  Today, I spent several hours writing two blogs so I can have more time on the weekends to play and to prepare my Prosperity Summer Camp course lessons.

C.ONTRIBUTE – What did I do to help someone or improve something today? My life is about more than just pursuing my own personal goals — it has a bigger purpose.  I believe we were all put here by our Creator to make the world better by using our own unique skills and talents.  A day lived without helping someone else is not a completely fulfilling day. Today, I helped my clients see some possible new ways of tweaking their daily method of operation that are going to help them be more successful.

E.NJOY – (Lisa added this one. She’s all about fun and laughter.) What made me laugh, feel happiness, glad to be alive today?  For me, it was my walk on the most perfect Southern California summer morning. I let myself drink it in and thanked God out loud for another day of life in Paradise.

If you make a habit of asking yourself at bedtime, “What was my L.A.C.E. today?” and honestly answering each of these four questions, I believe it will help you to stay motivated and on track to accomplish your long-term Big Goals. (Or do what we now do and get yourself a L.A.C.E. Accountability Buddy to share your answers with.)

This daily practice can also make you feel more present, more fulfilled and more satisfied with your life.  You won’t be living in the past or the future, as too many people do. Instead, you will be living in the NOW, focused on making the most of each Today, which will inevitably lead to more successful and prosperous Tomorrows!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off to celebrate my birthday weekend with my wonderful husband Rick at Disneyland on Friday and dinner with friends on Sunday. (And since it’s a milestone one, who knows what else might be in store for me?)  A Cup of Caroll will return to your inbox on Sunday, July 1.

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

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

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com today.

April 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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