Happiness


April 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 11, 2018

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.” – Jim Rohn

I hope you had a nice Super Bowl break and are now fully engaged in following YOUR plans for 2018 to go the way you want it to!

Today’s blog comes to us courtesy of my wonderful husband’s real estate newsletter, Rick’s Review: Tips on Everyday Life. (I get great exercise one weekend a month, helping him walk through our nearby neighborhoods to hang it on about 600 door handles.)

In his Review, Rick shares with his clients and future clients some of his own favorite recipes, plus inspiring or amusing articles. For January, he included one that really resonates with me.  He’s not sure of the originator, since it was emailed to him by a friend, so unfortunately, we can’t give the author the credit he or she deserves.

The list is amusing, pithy, and a great reminder that not all New Year’s Resolutions have to be about making major or difficult changes like getting fit, finding a better job or saving more money. Some opportunities for personal transformation may appear small, but they can measurably increase your happiness, productivity and fulfillment.  And what is life really about except creating MORE of those attributes for yourself and others, as you go about pursuing your passion and purpose?

So please enjoy these Tips for a Powerful New Year (original author unknown):

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.  It’s an ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Live with the 3 E’s: Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  4. Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did in 2017.
  5. Make time to practice meditation, yoga and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  6. Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  7. Dream more while you are awake.
  8. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat fewer foods that are manufactured in plants.
  9. Drink green tea and plenty of water, and eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds and walnuts.
  10. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  11. Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  12. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
  13. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away, like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  14. Smile and laugh more.
  15. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  16. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  17. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  18. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  19. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  20. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  21. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
  22. Forgive everyone everything.
  23. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  24. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  26. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  27. Get rid of everything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  28. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  29. The best is yet to come.
  30. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  31. Do the right thing.
  32. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  33. Enjoy the ride. Remember, this is not Disneyland, and you certainly don’t want a Fast Pass.

If you want to start making some of these upgrades in your mindset or habits, here’s my suggestion: Start with THREE that really resonate with you.  Work on those until you feel you have mastered them and they have become your new go-to thoughts and habits.  Then move on to the next three, etc. etc. etc.

Here are the first three I am committing to do NOW:  4, 9, 11.  I will let you know how it goes.  If you want an “accountability witness,” feel free to share YOUR three with me or with a friend of yours!

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

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

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

                                                                                          

December 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the News:

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

Our Own Stories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”  — Malcom Bane

Even for me, a seasoned Life Coach with many tools at my fingertips to help me maintain a positive mindset and optimistic expectation for the BEST outcomes, 2017 has been one helluva challenging year.

I honestly cannot remember one single year of my 64 so far that has been packed with such a steady stream of dispiriting calamities – devastating natural disasters like fires, floods and hurricanes; man-made tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting massacre of innocents; terrorism and wars around the globe; and a dysfunctional government in Washington filled with politicians who seem far more focused on enriching themselves and getting good press than on actually helping the people who elected them.

As I was pondering what a crazy and depressing year it’s been, my subconscious mind suddenly began running through the lyrics to the catchy little song called “We Need a Little Christmas” by Shane Harper. In case you don’t remember it, here are a few of the verses:

“Haul out the holly;

Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.

Fill up the stocking,

I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now.

 For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles by the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute….

 

For I’ve grown a little leaner,

Grown a little colder,

Grown a little sadder,

Grown a little older,

And I need a little angel

Sitting on my shoulder,

Need a little Christmas now.”

 I am usually the first to complain that store displays, commercials and non-stop Christmas songs blaring from the radio start before Halloween nowadays.  But this year, I am looking forward to a little Christmas atmosphere just as soon as we can get it…Not the commercial “buy everything you can get your hands on” kind of atmosphere — But the REAL “Spirit of the Holidays” (which include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa — every tradition that is celebrated around the end of each year).

That Spirit reflects our BEST human impulses — Gratitude, Giving, Caring and Sharing.  It’s the one season when we all seem willing to set aside our many differences and come together. We are ready to take a breath and just be kinder and more loving toward our fellow human beings. And I say that we are ready for a little of that Christmas Spirit right about NOW!

So I am going to start the ball rolling early this year!  For the past several years, this blog has had a holiday tradition called the “Pay-It-Forward Challenge” that invites YOU to participate.  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 the Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week a couple of 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 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 can’t wait to repeat that joyful practice again from this month through the end of the year!  I trust that each of those surprised strangers who receive my gift 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 people 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 doesn’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.
  • 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 or haul home their Christmas tree.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless.
  • Donate food or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone 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 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.
  • This year, more than any other in recent memory, we have 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 for someone else to pay forward all the many blessings we have received in our own lives is BIG to that person.  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 Christmas” cheer far beyond the end of the 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.

 If you or your friends would like your own free 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.

 *************** 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.

 

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman in Stress is a Choice

 Everything is going great guns in the first annual Prosperity Summer Camp course!  I am running fast to stay one step ahead of 52 eager “Campers” who are each actively working on manifesting a Big Goal by August 31, using the three steps of the Law of Attraction I am teaching them.  We are gaining insight and assistance from reading “You Are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero, who has truly mastered the art of allowing dreams to manifest more quickly and easily by letting go of the How.

To give me time to prepare for the weekly course, I want to share (again) with my cherished readers some simple but very effective suggestions for recharging yourself mentally, spiritually and physically, so you can manifest your own dreams with greater efficiency, focus and ease. Here is the edited blog that was very popular with my readers two years ago:

April 26, 2015

“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself.  Give yourself peace of mind.  You deserve to be happy.  You deserve delight.” – Mark Victor Hansen

 You may recall that one of my suggestions for “How to Beat Burnout(see blog #188 if you missed it) was to take at least one full day off each week and one entire weekend off each month.

If you find it challenging to imagine creating that much “recharging” time for yourself, I understand.  It’s challenging for me too.  There always seems to be plenty of paperwork, errands and projects to tackle on the two days a week I don’t have coaching clients. But I am striving to walk my talk and take regular time off to rest and re-charge my mind, body and spirit so I can be a more effective Personal Success Coach for my clients, a more attentive and loving wife to my husband, and a happier, more fulfilled ME to myself.

No matter how diligently we try to keep up, the chores will always be there. Trust me, the world will keep spinning if you unplug from them for a few hours a week. Isn’t it more important to nurture yourself and your personal relationships than to have a spotless house or completely orderly office?

I’ve learned to prioritize and do the weekly “musts” like writing this blog first, and then if I also manage to knock off a couple of the “would be nice” chores each week, that’s a plus that makes me feel EVEN better.  What really makes me feel happy and balanced is spending a few hours each week reading, relaxing, enjoying leisurely meals with my husband and watching good television. We also make it a point to go out on a weekly date night and enjoy a “Big Kids’ Play Day” once a month with our annual passes to Disneyland.

Here are four specific suggestions that I know for certain will have a very positive effect on your personal relationships and your mental, emotional and physical well-being if you follow them:

  • Be fully present. “Haste makes waste,” is accurate. If you focus 100% of your attention on what you are doing, you will do a better job in less time. You may think regular multi-tasking is a time-saver, but it actually makes you chronically half-present in your life. You half-understand what you hear and read, and are emotionally half-present with the people you are with. If you aren’t giving your projects, conversations and reading your full attention, you will eventually miss something critical that will lead to misunderstanding and/or having to completely re-do a task. One of my clients was dismayed when her five-year-old child recently asked her, “Mommy, why are you always in a hurry?” It’s not the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of your undivided attention, that makes your loved ones feel that you care about them.
  • Be mindful in your health habits. Obesity studies show that people who eat slowly and savor their food, instead of shoveling it in mindlessly while watching television or working at their desk, consistently consume fewer calories. Taking time to prepare dinner and eat it with your loved ones most evenings will benefit your family relationships, as well as your waistline. Similarly, in your exercise routine, if you do your running, Pilates, yoga poses or weight lifting repetitions mindfully with proper form, your muscles will respond faster and avoid injury.
  • Get enough sleep. The late evening hours when the kids are in bed may seem like the ONLY time you have to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  However the price of sleep deprivation is very high, including stubborn weight gain, emotional and mental stress and a compromised immune system. Falling asleep at the wheel or a tired driver’s slowed response time are now said to cause as many deadly accidents as drunk drivers. If you discipline yourself to go to bed even 30 minutes earlier on weeknights, it will pay off in greater mental acuity, emotional control, and physical health. Back-lit screens like TV, computers and e-readers have been shown to interfere with your brain’s ability to wind down and let you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake too. Make the last 30-60 minutes of your evening a quiet time to meditate, converse with your partner or read an enjoyable paper book.
  • Unplug from your devices as often as possible. 84% of smart phone owners use their device while watching TV. Many people are tethered to electronics 24/7. “If you’re with your children and checking your phone all the time, the message to them is ‘Anyone in the world is more important than you,’” says Tanya Shevitz, a spokesperson for Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating Jewish culture for a modern world. Orthodox Jews refrain from business transactions, writing, driving, gardening, shopping, laundry and other tasks from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, spending time focused on God and their loved ones. But you don’t have to unplug from the internet and your phone just for religious reasons. “Embracing the sensual pleasures of life – having a special meal, lighting candles, having conversations where we really listen to others and listen to what our souls are trying to say to us…is rejuvenating when we give ourselves a day of rest once a week,” Shevitz suggests.

You will recall that last week’s blog urged you to ask God/The Universe and/or your own subconscious mind’s deeper wisdom “What must I change about myself in order to have what I want?”  Well, you can ask that same question about how to find a way to re-charge yourself regularly.  You may think it’s impossible to get off the hamster wheel of constantly running and doing, but if you take that question into prayer or quiet meditation, I promise you will receive some inspired guidance to help you begin.

If you commit to making even one small change in one or more of these areas and stick with it, you will begin to create a more balanced, healthy, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and those you love.

And don’t you deserve that delight?

IMPORTANT NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday August 13.

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

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

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

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

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

June 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

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