Happiness


April 25, 2021

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” – William Feather

Our weather in Southern California is typically sunny and mild, but for the past week or so, it’s been cloudy, drizzly and gloomy all day every day.  I know that many parts of the country are still having serious snow storms, so believe me, I am grateful to live here!

But still, I must admit that gloomy weather tends to make me feel lethargic and blah. I have trouble focusing and getting motivated to tackle projects. Instead, I want to curl up under a comforter and read a book all day, which is not a productive energy to be in.

This morning, as I was trying to get up the gumption to hoist myself off the couch, I came across a daily post by the Good News Network that lifted my spirits and instantly put me in an energetic, positive mood.

It said that in a research study commissioned by Small Luxury Hotels of the World, “2,000 Americans revealed in a recent poll that their top simple pleasure is hearing music they love. Seeing flowers bloom also made it into the nation’s top ten simple joys.

“Those surveyed enjoy an average of eight moments of simple pleasure each week, about one a day. The satisfaction of a moment’s pleasure can last for upwards of 20 minutes on average, although 11 percent get a glow for up to an hour.”

Here are the top responses from 2,000 Americans about what gives them pleasure. (Notice that most don’t cost a thing!)

THE TOP 50 SIMPLE PLEASURES IN LIFE

1. Listening to your favorite songs

2. A nice dinner

3. Watching your favorite movie

4. Finishing a really good book

5. Doing exercise

6. Spotting a species of bird you’ve never seen before

7. Seeing flowers and trees blossom

8. Wearing an outfit that makes you feel good

9. Home cooking

10. A match on Hinge (or other dating site) with someone you’re attracted to

11. Stunning views

12. Going to the beach

13. Not having to set the alarm at the weekend or on a day off

14. Getting a delivery in the mail

15. Dining out

16. Finding money you had forgotten about

17. Laughing out loud at a film

18. Having dinner made for you

19. Staying in bed on a Sunday morning

20. Making someone smile or laugh

21. Sound of rain on the window

22. Having a picnic

23. Hearing the wind blow through the trees

24. Being somewhere new

25. Sleeping in a freshly made bed

26. Receiving a compliment from a stranger

27. Swimming outside

28. Discovering new food

29. Feeling the sun on your face

30. Playing sport with friends or family

31. Waking up to sun

32. Donating to charity

33. Getting a cuddle from your children

34. Meeting new people

35. Buying fresh local produce

36. Hearing nothing but birds tweeting

37. Payday

38. Cake

39. Having a coffee/tea in bed

40. People watching

41. Putting your out of office on as you head off on a vacation

42. Smell of toast in the morning

43. Spontaneous outings

44. Long walks

45. Playing a musical instrument

46. Sleeping in a big incredibly comfy bed

47. Wearing a new pair of socks for the first time

48. Having a gossip or catchup with friends

49. Being in the countryside

50. Seeing a butterfly

Much like making a Daily Gratitude List of 10 things I am most grateful for right now, just reading the Simple Pleasures list put a smile on my face by conjuring up memories of similar experiences I have enjoyed. (Although I find it hard to believe the list overlooks PETS!  Our two adopted dogs would absolutely be in my Top Five! Well, I suppose #33 could apply to Fur Children as well as the human variety.)

Suggestion: If you, too, could use a little more happiness in your life right now, simply take one or more of these items that make you smile and intentionally include them or be fully present and grateful for them during your upcoming week. (It’s fine to include other experiences of your own, too, of course – like cuddling or playing with your pets!)

I am going to challenge myself to experience at least one simple pleasure per day. The Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) dictates that the positive energy that will radiate from me as a result will attract even MORE good things into my life. And that’s a foolproof recipe for happiness.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will take next Sunday off and return on Sunday May 9.

Coaching Results

“I’ve accomplished goals I never believed were possible.  I’m healthier and more balanced in my personal life.  I’m more present with my children, more productive in my daily work life, and I’ve been able to develop healthy relationships and a lifestyle that I would have said was ‘never possible’ but now is.  The dollars I have spent coaching for the past several years have come back to me in more ways than I can count. Coaching with Caroll has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself.” – S.L., attorney and entrepreneur

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation one-hour Success Breakthrough Session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

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

March 28, 2021

“A balanced life is a lie…. Purpose, meaning, significance – these are what make a successful life.” – from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papsan

It feels fabulous to have the time to write a brand new post again!

Since the late fall of 2020, I have had too many coaching resources to study, video trainings to take, new website/branding content to create and other work projects to attend to simultaneously.  On top of that, since my wonderful husband Rick had back surgery in October, many new duties fell to me at home that he had always attended to.

At first, I felt like I was failing in ALL areas of my life because I couldn’t accomplish EVERYTHING I wanted to do for my business and my home life simultaneously.  What kept me sane was remembering to breathe, having faith that God would give me the strength and direction to do whatever I needed to do in the time I had to do it, and making a short list of my top priorities each day. Soon, I learned to be at peace with just getting the MUSTS done and letting the rest go until tomorrow.

Happily, my career is back on a more manageable pace and Rick is doing great with his full recovery.  But this personal growth experience got me intensely interested in the topic of so-called Life Balance, since my life felt completely “out of balance” in both the personal and professional realms.

Achieving an elusive “life balance” is usually the number one thing my coaching clients mention among their top three Big Goals. Women especially feel pulled in too many directions between work and their family responsibilities, with nothing left for themselves. I couldn’t really empathize with them before my own life went off the rails, but now I get it. Believe me!

One of my real estate/entrepreneur clients recently recommended a fabulous book called The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  Gary is the co-founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which began as a single office in Austin and is now the largest real estate company in the world.

This book, which is meant to help us succeed BIG in our careers and live fulfilling personal lives, has a whole chapter devoted to debunking the myth that “life balance” exists. They write, “The desire for balance makes sense.  Enough time for everything and everything done in time.  It sounds so appealing that just thinking about it makes us feel serene and peaceful. This calm is so real that we just know it’s the way life was meant to be. But it’s not.”

In order to truly “balance” your work life and personal life, you would have to stay in a “middle” zone, like on a teeter totter. However, in your work and passion projects, “magic happens at the extremes.” If you try to take care of all things all the time, everything gets short changed and you never achieve your Big Dreams.  A life lived in the middle creates mediocre success.

But in your personal life, “When we work too long, eventually our personal life suffers. Falling prey to the belief that long hours are virtuous, we unfairly blame work when we say, ‘I have no life.’ Often, it’s just the opposite. Even if our work doesn’t interfere, our personal life itself can be so full of ‘have-tos’ that we again reach the same defeated conclusion: ‘I have no life.’ And sometimes we get hit from both sides. Some of us face so many personal and professional demands that everything suffers. Breakdown imminent, we once again declare, ‘I have no life!’”

Bingo.  That was my experience exactly. What is the solution, then?

The way to achieve a successful, purposeful and happy life in BOTH your work and personal realms is to learn how to COUNTERBALANCE.

“When we say we’re out of balance,” they write, “we’re usually referring to a sense that some priorities – things that matter to us – are being underserved or unmet. The problem is that when you focus on what is truly important, something will always be underserved.  No matter how hard you try, there will always be things left undone at the end of your day, week, month, year and life….Leaving some things undone is a necessary tradeoff for extraordinary results.  But you can’t leave everything undone, and that’s where counterbalancing comes in. The idea of counterbalancing is that you never go so far that you can’t find your way back or stay so long that there’s nothing waiting for you when you return.”

There are two difference types of counterbalancing: The balancing between work and personal life and the balancing within each.  Work and personal life counterbalancing each require a different strategy, so let’s examine them separately. First, let’s look at your Personal Life and in the next blog we’ll look at what you can do to counterbalance your Work Life.

The authors state, “In your personal world, awareness is the essential ingredient.  Awareness of your spirit and body, awareness of your family and friends, awareness of your personal needs – none of these can be sacrificed if you intend to ‘have a life,’ so you can never forsake them for work or one for the other.  You can move back and forth quickly between these and often even combine activities around them, but you can’t neglect any of them for long. Your personal life requires tight counterbalancing.”

A good example of this principle was uncovered by one of my prospective coaching clients during our complimentary first session.  She felt her job’s time demands were interfering with her family’s happiness.  She longed to bond with her two young children in a special way by spending time at bedtime with each individually, reading to her, listening to her say her prayers and kissing her goodnight.

But her job required her to log into a couple of evening Zoom meetings each week, while other nights, she chose to work in her home office for a couple of hours, seeing it as an opportunity to catch up on work projects. As a result, she felt guilty that her husband often put their kids to bed and read to them most weeknights, while she felt cheated out of having special “Mommy and Me” time with them. Still, she pushed herself to accomplish more work tasks.

This conundrum gave her the opportunity to learn to “counterbalance” between her work and home life!  I reminded her that her kids wouldn’t be little for long and that she couldn’t put off this special bonding opportunity with them and expect it to be waiting for her when she had more time.  In fact, the authors of The One Thing made the same point: “Do you really think you can ever get back a child’s bedtime story or a birthday?…Do you think you can cut a deal with God that time stands still for you, holding off on anything important until you are ready to participate again?”

So we came up with a simple plan: Each weekend, she would look at her next week’s work schedule and PLAN which nights she had to be on a Zoom conference and which nights she had discretion about how she spent her time.  She was able to prioritize several nights each week that she could have precious bedtime bonding with her girls, and the other nights, her husband was happy to cover for her. The next time we spoke she was so happy and the whole family was grateful that they weren’t letting this precious time disappear.

Keller and Papasan say the secret to creating a counterbalanced personal life you love is this: “In your personal life, go SHORT and avoid long periods where you’re out of balance.  Going short lets you stay connected to all the things that matter most and move them along together. In your professional life, go LONG and make peace with the idea that the pursuit of extraordinary results may require you to be out of balance for long periods.  Going long allows you to focus on what matters most, even at the expense of other, lesser priorities.  In your personal life, nothing gets left behind. At work, it’s required.

“Acknowledge that your life actually has multiple areas and that each requires a minimum of attention for you to feel that you ‘have a life.’ Drop any one and you will feel the effects. This requires constant awareness. You must never go too long or too far without counterbalancing them so that they are ALL active areas of your life. Your personal life requires it.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog is taking next Easter Weekend off (for counterbalance!) and will return on Sunday April 11 to examine what it takes to SUCCEED BIG by focusing on your One Thing and “going long” in your career and passion projects. 

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

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

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation one-hour Success Breakthrough Session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

March 7, 2021 

I recently completed a series of advanced coaching trainings (live via Zoom), each of which took up the better part of three or four days. And for the past several weeks, I have been working on producing new content for my wonderful web designer to turn into a complete re-branding of my website and social media. It’s all very exciting and fulfilling…. AND tiring! While I am very grateful to be doing this fulfilling work for a living, I must admit to feeling a bit depleted physically and mentally right now.

Next weekend begins Daylight Savings Time for most of us, when it is recommended to change the batteries in home smoke detectors. My thought just now was “My inner battery could really use some re-charging!”  

Many of my clients are solopreneurs and direct sales professionals who are tempted to work 24/7 to grow their businesses and achieve the success they desire and deserve – not to mention handling “bonus” duties like homeschooling that have been thrust upon many of them courtesy of the pandemic.

So, I am sure that most of my cherished readers can relate to this topic right now, too.  Here is a lightly-edited past blog with some great tips to give you greater ease and balance:

August 3, 2019

“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 

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 good meals with my husband and watching good television.

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 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 your ONLY chance to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  But 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.

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: In keeping with the message of this blog, A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday March 21!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com  and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any purpose. 

****************** You Can Fulfill Your Big Dreams! ******************** 

To schedule a complimentary Prosperity Breakthrough Session 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

February 14, 2021

“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” – Robert Morley

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Here is a lightly-edited fan-favorite post from last year to remind you that this official “Day of Love” is the perfect time to rev up your self-love.

February 16, 2020

However you spend your Valentine’s Day – with your sweetheart, a four-footed pal, a BFF, or just enjoying your own company – I hope you feel LOVED.  The most important person on the planet for you to love is YOU.

If you are not being loved, appreciated, respected or treated right by someone else (a boss, teacher, romantic partner, friend, upline, downline, co-worker, etc.), The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” Therefore, if you recognize that you are attracting people into your life who do not seem to be honoring and valuing you (especially if you see a pattern among several people), it’s a good idea to honestly assess how YOU are feeling about and treating yourself.

I have always loved two quotes from psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and I often share them with clients who complain about someone who behaves badly toward them:

“No one will ever value you more than you value yourself.”

“We teach other people how to treat us.”

And, if you want to love others more, you first need to love yourself, human imperfections and all.  Remember, God/The Universe couldn’t create junk – therefore, you ARE a masterpiece.

There are two things I believe all successful people have in abundance: Self confidence and Self-esteem.  The former is you believing that you are capable.  The latter is you believing that you are worthy and lovable.

If you were raised by well-meaning parents to believe that loving yourself displeases your Creator because it is “prideful” or “selfish” or “stuck up,” here is a different spiritual outlook from my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen:

 “Love Yourself (By Joel Osteen)

Jesus said that if you don’t love yourself in a healthy way, you will never be able to love others in the way that you should. This is why some people don’t have good relationships. If you don’t get along with yourself, you’ll never get along with others. We all have weaknesses, shortcomings, and things that we wish were different. But if you see yourself as less than, not talented, and not valuable, you will become exactly that. If you feel unattractive on the inside, you will convey feelings of unattractiveness. That’s going to push people away. You carry yourself the way you see yourself.

People see you the way you see yourself. Perhaps if you quit focusing on your flaws and start loving yourself in a healthy way, being proud of who God made you to be, then as you send out these different messages, it’s going to bring new opportunities, new relationships, and new levels of God’s favor.”

Remember, there are only two opinions about YOU that TRULY matter: Yours and your Creator’s. If you steer your life by those, not only will you be happy and successful, you also will be able to radiate your healthy self-love out to the rest of the world and make a positive difference in the lives of many others.  And I can promise you that you will feel loved and valued in return.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off so that I can attend a virtual coaching training.  Your next Cup of Caroll will arrive on Sunday February 28.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://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 13, 2020

“A person struggles.  You help.  A door needs to be open. You open it.  A piece of trash is in your path.  You pick it up and throw it away.  A child needs extra attention.  You give it. A job needs to be completed. You do it.  One more act of kindness a week will add 52 moments of inspiration to your year.  Push it to two a week and you add more than one hundred.  Imagine the possibilities.” – From 212 The Extra Degree

It’s time to celebrate more inspiring acts of paying your gratitude forward, as many of my cherished readers have shared with me what they are doing to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my November 14 post (Two Kinds of Gratitude, Blog 387), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude for our own blessings into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

A client sent me an article from DailyHealthPost.com titled “Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier.”  Psychologists from the University of California Davis and the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude.  Among the randomly-selected study subjects, one third kept a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.  Another third recorded daily irritations or events that had displeased them.  The last third of the study group wrote down daily situations and events that occurred, with no special emphasis on either positive or negative emotional reactions as to what had happened.

The randomly-assigned group that wrote daily about things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other two groups.  In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The article concluded, “Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

I would add that not only does paying it forward to others demonstrate your thankfulness for the blessing in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holiday Season by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one to a barista at the counter every time I visited the store, asking her to bestow it on any customer at random after I left.  (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity can be the MOST fun of all.) This always puts a surprised smile on the barista’s face, too!

I asked my coaching clients and other blog subscribers to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some new favorites:

  • Our mobile dog groomer, Janet, has a large email list which she regularly uses to send out requests to her contacts for things like helping a local animal rescue with their donation drive, matching individuals who are looking for local work with employers seeking helpers, as well as putting out the word whenever one of her friends or clients has a pet go missing. In this way, she is our local matchmaker who helps many others.
  • One of my clients who teaches Language Arts to sixth graders is teaching them how to write complete sentences that start with “I am grateful for…” The students have to write three of those gratitude sentences a day in their handmade Gratitude Journals. She is teaching the next generation about grammar and gratitude at the same time!
  • My compassionate client delivered a homemade dinner to a friend who broke her foot on top of having to care for her husband who had COVID at the same time.
  • One of my clients who thought she was “too busy” signed up to work a shift at her local food bank around Thanksgiving and liked it so much, she is now volunteering on a regular basis.
  • One of my clients had to step out of line at a busy checkout register at Walmart to run back and retrieve an item she forgot. When she returned, she bought a $20 Walmart gift card and bestowed it on the woman behind her with heartfelt thanks for waiting patiently for her return.
  • A reader wrote, “On a daily basis, I make it a point to give a compliment to a total stranger about their hair, an article of clothing, shade of lipstick or something like that.”
  • One client makes personalized greeting cards and sends them to elderly folks who are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries, along with a personal note of congratulations.
  • She also belongs to the Blue Star Mothers of America. “One of our mail projects is sending hand decorated Christmas stockings (about 450) to the troops overseas or away from home at Christmas time. We collect donations like individual packets of chips or crackers, playing cards, gum, wet wipes, etc. to fill the stockings.  In past years, we also baked homemade cookies and each stocking got a dozen.  This year they have to be pre-packaged.”
  • Another client does something similar with her church congregation, which puts together boxes of goodies for sailors who are in port over Christmas, with a “Thank you for your service” message inside each one.
  • A reader’s young daughter came up with the idea for the whole family to participate in helping stock a “pop up” food bank pantry in their area.
  • After sending a handwritten gratitude card to each of her customers at Thanksgiving, a client who is an interior designer went a step further for the Holidays, putting together lovely gift bags with small decorative items like dishtowels and candles for their homes and enclosed a note that says, “I am so grateful you chose me to work with you. It has been such a pleasure.”
  • That same client always gives an extra $2 to the toll booth attendants each time she passes through, telling them to use it for anyone who is caught unawares on the interstate without cash for the toll.
  • A client who is a horse lover always shops online at AmazonSmile.com, where a small portion of what she spends is donated to a Therapeutic Horseback Riding facility that helps people with a wide variety of special needs.
  • One of my clients took the Pay it Forward Challenge to her book club around Thanksgiving and reported back to me what they decided to do. The women gave eight classrooms of first and second graders a total of 285 Scholastic Reader books for Christmas. “The teachers were not able to purchase these books this year due to the book fair being online and not enough purchases were made to get credits the teachers usually use to pay for them.  We each donated money to purchase a book for each student to take home and keep!”
  • My longtime client’s young teen son seems to notice people in need wherever he goes and often persuades her to assist them. Recently, they were in a take-out line when he overheard a girl ask her mother, “Is there enough money left for dessert?”  He immediately asked my client if she could buy dessert for them. Out of the goodness of his big heart, he was going to pay her back with his own savings when they got home, but she gladly covered his act of generosity and compassion herself.

In case you doubt that small gestures of kindness and generosity can make a BIG impression on the recipient, I can attest that they DO.  The night before Thanksgiving, I was absorbed with preparing my first Thanksgiving feast in 14 years (because my live-in chef/husband Rick is recovering from back surgery). I had not even stopped to think about what I could do for a centerpiece to decorate the table, which is usually my main Thanksgiving responsibility. The doorbell rang about 6pm and when I opened it, I found the most beautiful bouquet of fall colors arranged inside of a Thanksgiving-themed cornucopia basket. The enclosed note from one of my coaching clients who lives on the East Coast, expressed her gratitude to me for helping her with her business and personal growth.  That gift and note were the highlight of my Thanksgiving this year.

The Holidays are far from over! So, I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a year-round happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories so I can publish a final round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes before the end of 2020!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to https://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 15, 2020

“There are two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” – Edward Arlington Robinson

It would be a gross understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year and a huge disappointment for most of us. January 2020 started out with high hopes and then disaster struck just when we were getting started on manifesting our Big Goals.

Our personal challenges may be related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships or the loss of a loved one. And then there is the once-in-a-century, ongoing challenge of trying to live inside of a world-wide pandemic that has upended all sense of “normal” during every season of this year. Nevertheless, there have also been many, many inspiring stories of people using their gifts, skills and resources to help friends and strangers cope in ways large and small.

Now, at last, the season of “gratitude,” “peace” and “goodwill” is upon us – the season when most people make an extra effort to be kind and generous toward their fellow humans.  Even though it won’t look like Holiday Seasons past, it can still be a time of rekindled hope, love and reconciliation that we all need so much. 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.” It has never been more needed than right now. So, 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 several 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 plan to purchase more gift cards this week and give them away randomly at Starbucks through the end of the year.  I trust that most 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 goodwill 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.
  • Send an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues that says 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 or haul home their Christmas tree, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, buying their groceries for them or running another errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing, school supplies or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate money, food, towels, blankets 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 (socially distanced, of course) while you enjoy the goodies together.
  • Donate blood! One of my clients recently showed up to donate and the nurse asked if she would stay an extra 2 hours to give plasma, which was desperately needed for three children waiting for it.  It interfered with the plans she had for her day, but it also made her day.

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 a $20 supermarket gift card instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support grassroots 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, Salvation Army and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or homelessness.

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, we can demonstrate sincere gratitude for our many blessings through small acts of giving to others.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life in this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Holiday Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

Please email me your own 2020 Pay It Forward Challenge story to caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com!  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 https://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 30, 2020

“It’s not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

If you have read a few of my blogs, I am sure you are quite familiar with the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) and how it works in our lives. 

Your “energy vibration” that you constantly emanate, can be felt by everyone you come in contact with. Your energy is a product of your thoughts plus the emotions you feel as a result of your thoughts.  But it also results from your WORDS and your ACTIONS.  Those are also part of what attract to you the people, circumstances and resources that are a match for YOUR vibration.

I think it’s fair to say that most people (myself included) study how to harness the power of the Law of Attraction in order to create a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. We want to learn how to use this powerful magnetic universal force to attract the ideal clients, business partners, friends, romantic relationships, delightful material things, “lucky breaks” and financial prosperity we desire. And there is nothing wrong with that!

But I wonder how often we realize that doing something kind or generous for someone else from a purely unselfish motive also plays a big role in the Law of Attraction.  What you DO and SAY to others without thought for your own reward inevitably ends up rewarding you in big and small ways you could not have foreseen.

In The Power, which is my all-time favorite book about how to put the Law of Attraction to work for you in your daily life, Rhonda Byrne says simply, “Remember that the law of attraction says whatever you give, you receive.”

In his new book The Abundance Mind-Set, positive-thought pastor Joel Osteen says, “We don’t realize what we carry.  We have the most powerful force in the universe inside us. What may seem ordinary to us, no big deal, …. can be life-giving.  A simple act of kindness.  A simple hug. Words of encouragement.  Letting someone know that you care.  That can be the spark that brings them back to life….It’s great to receive a miracle, but there’s no greater feeling than to become a miracle.  Who are you carrying?  Who are you lifting up?  Who are you helping across the finish line?  Your destiny is connected to helping others.”

I have seen this in my own life more times than I can possibly count or remember.  Whenever I have gone out of my way to lend a helping hand, or just give another person some verbal encouragement, someone else has always been there to do the same for me, just when I needed it most.

I wrote in a recent blog about how one of my friends and former clients sent me a gift of $1,000 out of the blue. When I had to pay my taxes a couple of weeks later, the bill came to exactly $1,000.  Amazing, but then, I have seen such perfect serendipity happen time and again.

It doesn’t work if you are trying to get something in return, but if you do a good deed for unselfish reasons, your pure vibration is going to attract to you some form of self-less gift – often, when you have a pressing need and no idea HOW it is going to be met.

What I didn’t explain in detail in that blog was that years before, I had loaned my friend several thousand dollars.  She was a single mom of four, who was struggling financially, trying to stand on her own two feet after a painful divorce.  Despite having a fulfilling and important job, she was constantly “running behind the bus,” trying to cover bills and debts her husband had created. Her only option was to take out payday loans at high interest rates, which inevitably caused her to take out another loan to make it to the next payday, keeping her trapped in a vicious debt cycle, through no fault of her own.

Having recently emerged from the Great Recession, my husband and I were flush from a hot real estate market and a full coaching practice, so we offered to lend her the money to catch up on all her bills and give her a fresh start.  She reluctantly agreed and was very conscientious about paying us back each month over a couple of years.

For her family’s birthday and holidays, I voluntarily waived the monthly payments, knowing that the extra cash would make her family’s celebrations brighter.  Her happiness and gratitude made me far happier than any amount of money could have.

When she made the final payment, I considered us square and felt so fulfilled, knowing that we had played a role in helping her and her family to thrive. Then I forgot all about it… until the day years later, when I went to get the mail and found her surprise $1,000 check.

I had been praying for some direction about how God intended for us to pay our remaining taxes, given the recent downturn in our businesses due to COVID. And there was the answer in my mailbox!

Even BETTER, there was a heartfelt note enclosed, explaining that she had always intended to pay us back the “forgiven” payments as soon as she could.  When she got a BIG windfall bonus from her work (which had come at a perfect time for her needs, too) she knew she had to give part of it to us.

She and I firmly believe that these perfect solutions for BOTH of us all started with me noticing she could use some help, having the resources, and deciding to do it just because it was the right thing to do. She paid it forward again by doing the same.

Not all forms of help we can offer people are monetary, of course.  We can give someone who needs it a real or virtual hug, lend an ear, speak an encouraging word, offer to run an errand, do a chore, babysit their kids, cook them a meal, etc. There are an infinite number of gifts that don’t cost much money or take much effort on our part, yet certainly can make a world of difference to someone else.

In his book, Joel Osteen relates how, years ago, he was leaving a local cafe with his toddler son, when he noticed a man dressed in a business suit, sitting in a booth by himself.  The gentleman didn’t look down and out by any means, but Joel just had a strong feeling, “I knew I was supposed to encourage him in some way.”

So, on his way out, Joel made a point of walking by his booth, smiling at the stranger and offering him a friendly, “Hello.  How’s it going?” The man kind of laughed and answered, “Not very well. Things are kind of rough.”

“I didn’t think much about it,” Joel says. “I just smiled and said, ‘Well, I know this. It’s going to get better.’  He thanked me and I left.”

“A few months later, I received a letter…He told me how he was at the lowest point in his life at that time.  He was going through a divorce, and his whole world had fallen apart. For months, he had been in depression. But he said, ‘When you made that statement that it’s going to get better, it was like something reignited on the inside.’ That day was a turning point in his life.  He came out of the depression.  He got his fire back. Today, he is moving forward.”

You can be sure that whenever you take time to do or say something kind, generous or encouraging for someone, it absolutely WILL come back to bless you. The one you help may not be the one to repay you directly, like my friend did. But thanks to The Law of Attraction, you can be confident that God/The Universe has created the perfect mechanism for making sure that “whatever you give, you receive.” And life doesn’t get much richer than that!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking Labor Day Weekend off.  I hope you enjoy yours!  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday September 13.

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 https://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 14, 2020

 I am publishing this Father’s Day tribute a week early because I will be taking next Sunday off.  

 I hope you have plans to spend your Father’s Day with a wonderful father – yours, your children’s, your spouse’s or just a man you admire.  I gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model on a young child is one of life’s most precious gifts, and these heroes don’t get all the credit they deserve for fulfilling this challenging role.

 My longtime readers will recognize this post because I have published it before.  I wanted to do so again for one of my dear clients, who recently lost her beloved father after a valiant fight with cancer.  Kerri, your father was your best friend, just like my father was for me. This is in honor of both our Dads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next Sunday off.  (It’s the start of my birthday week.)  A Cup of Caroll will return with a new blog on Sunday June 28.

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 https://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 12, 2020

“Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” – Maxim Gorky

I think this is an appropriate topic for the strangest Easter and Passover most of us have ever experienced:  It seems that many people have jumped on the Ellen DeGeneres “Be Kind” bandwagon since we all began hunkering down weeks ago to ride out this damn global pandemic.  And I think that is a great thing.

Every one of us is suffering from some form of DTSS (During Trauma Stress Syndrome), whether it is worrying about running out of toilet paper and eggs, struggling to be a live-in tutor to your antsy kids, striving to work effectively from home in order to keep your job or business afloat, or waiting anxiously for some financial assistance from the government.

For every story of people acting selfishly or tragic loss of life or livelihood, it seems there are even MORE stories of regular people going out of their way to help their neighbors or even strangers. These stories of thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity brighten our days and give us the stamina to carry on yet another day under trying circumstances.

The evening news recently featured the inspiring example of a middle-aged newspaper carrier who got a message from one of the homes on his route, asking him to please put the paper closer to the house.  That got him wondering, “If the lady who lives there can’t make it to the end of her driveway to get the paper, what else might she be struggling with?”  He checked on her and found she was elderly, lived alone and was worried about how she was going to get groceries when she wasn’t supposed to leave the house.

The newspaper carrier asked for her shopping list and went to the store for her, dropping the sealed bag of groceries on her porch.  She was, of course, overcome at his kindness and generosity.

That alone would have made him a hero, but he took it further, leaving notes inside ALL of his route’s newspapers asking if anyone else needed help shopping.  Now he has a regular route of people whose age or mobility issues make him a lifesaver.  He does this on top of his other job and doesn’t charge anything for the service.  He just saw a need and said it makes him feel good to help out his fellow human beings.

Even though he has sought no reward or publicity, I predict that man will be MAJORLY blessed in return. The Law of Attraction says, “energy attracts like energy,” and the Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”  Thus, I am confident that he will receive whatever assistance HE needs in any area of life.

I recently read a daily inspiration by minister Joel Osteen that reminds us that each of us can use our own gifts, abilities and resources to be the miracle someone is looking for right now:

“Many people are praying for a miracle.  ‘God, please send me a friend.  God, I need help with my children.  I need training. God, I need a good break.’ We have to realize that we can become the miracle they need.  God uses our lives to touch and encourage and bless others.  God will bring people across our path so that we can be the answer to their prayers.

Take time to become the miracle.  You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone.  Be aware of who is in your life.  Listen to what they are saying.  Is there any way that you can help? Those are opportunities to become their miracle. God put them there on purpose. It’s because you are full of miracles in you….There’s friendship, there are new beginnings. You can lift the fallen.  You can restore the broken.  You can be kind to a stranger.  You can become someone’s miracle.”

Last week, I sat thinking of how I have time on my hands right now, since my coaching roster is uncharacteristically thin.  People who had been planning to come into coaching have put it off until the dust settles, and I understand that.  Even so, I know that I have valuable skills, insight and experience to offer people who need it right now.  What can I do about that, I wondered?

Then the idea came to me: Offer a free one-hour phone coaching session to ANYONE who wants it! I have almost 16 years of experience as a Certified Life and Business Coach.  In the past six years, I have been kept very busy with mindset and business coaching for my network marketing clients, but I have the ability to help anyone with clarifying their options, strategizing for a particular goal, adjusting their attitude or just providing them with safe space for compassionate, non-judgmental listening.

So if you or someone you know could use some help with clarity, strategy, resources or just  good listening, I am offering one hour of phone coaching free of charge, with no strings attached.  (Just be clear that I am NOT a licensed therapist, medical professional or financial advisor.  If you need those types of professional support, please reach out to a qualified professional ASAP!)

Several people have already responded, but I still have a number of openings left in April, so I invite you or someone you will kindly forward this invitation to, to contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com ASAP and I will respond with my calendar of openings around my current clients’ reserved times, of course.

I look forward to connecting with new and old friends and maybe being a small “miracle” in someone’s life right now, as many people have already been in mine! (My special heartfelt thanks go out to my hairdresser Peggy, landlord Randy, dog groomer Janet, ace tax professional Charity, dear friend and mentor Leslie Zann, loyal clients and many other friends and supporters too numerous to mention!)

I hope YOU will use your own unique gifts, skills, listening ability, connections, resources or simple pay-for-the-car-behind-you-in-the-drive-through powers to be a miracle for someone, too.  Together, we can heal the world, one kind gesture at a time. And I know that we will reap much happiness in return!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, please visit https://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to sign up.

Also, if you haven’t yet checked out Leslie Zann’s NEW coaching series on Facebook Live, you really MUST!  She gives her wonderful input to help all of us design our new lives in “home stay” mode.  It will lift your spirits and give you great ideas for prospering during this challenging time. Her 15-30 minute daily live presentations on mindset, skill set, viewpoint, courage and Open Mic are all at 7:00 am Monday-Friday for the next few weeks at http://www.facebool.com/lesliezannconsulting. (Of course, if you are not an early riser, you can watch the recordings later, as well.)

December 8, 2019

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

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

(First, I have to say “Happy Birthday” to my brother, Harbison Parker.  Big Bro, I hope this is a great one for you and your family!  — Love, Your Lil’ Sis)

In case you didn’t read the last two blogs, I started the Pay it Forward Challenge spontaneously several years ago around Thanksgiving because a gentleman in line ahead of me at Starbucks surprised me by paying for my drink. When I tried to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”

My day had not been going too well up to that point, but this stranger’s thoughtful gesture turned my frown upside down and I wanted to pass along that warm feeling to others.  So, I bought a packet of $5.00 Starbucks gift cards and gave one to the barista at the counter whenever I stopped in throughout the Holidays, asking her to bestow it on whomever she wanted. This made me happier than any of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received!

Gratitude is thankfulness in ACTION, so I challenged my coaching clients and cherished readers to do some kind and generous act for someone else during the Holidays to show their sincere gratitude for all the many blessings in their lives. Year in and year out, they have come through in many creative ways.

Now, to finish off our “Pay it Forward Challenge 2019 results stories, I am happy to share more of their great ideas with you, in hopes they will inspire you to do a nice deed for someone else and keep our chain of “comfort and joy” going.

  • One reader recently baked 10 pies to share with the residents of the assisted living home where she regularly visits her dad.
  • Another reader emailed, “I live in a rural town. Many of my friends and I are giving $100 each to our local police department.  The plan is that the officers will randomly give $20 to folks they come across that need it.  It helps our police department, too, by giving them a positive influence in our community.”
  • A teacher spends about 20 minutes of class time on “Gratitude Fridays.” First, she shows her 6th graders a short video about some aspect of gratitude. (She says there are LOTS of these videos on YouTube and TED talks.) Then she gives them a different assignment each week designed to expand their understanding of the importance of being grateful. This past week, she had them list 10 things they were grateful for in their lives right now and say WHY they felt thankful for each thing. For example, “I am grateful for my Mom because she fixes me breakfast and makes sure I get to school on time every day.”
  • One reader told me her church has a tradition of asking each family in the congregation to purchase a warm sleeping bag on Amazon.com and have it shipped directly to the church, which then takes all the sleeping bags to the streets and distributes them to the homeless.
  • Local grassroots organizations give us great opportunities to pay our blessings forward in many ways. One reader in Colorado has her kids fill backpacks with books and school supplies and drop them off to Kinsey’s Kids, which serves underprivileged children.
  • Similarly, the local Rodan + Fields direct sales community supports Hope House of Colorado, whose mission is to provide local teen moms with encouragement, education and empowerment. This is the third year the community is coming together to do the Christmas Stocking and Stuffers Drive. The consultants can personally shop for toys or much-needed supplies for the moms and their precious kids, or simply make donations online that are then turned into purchases by other volunteers.

Here is a recent Pay It Forward story that I loved in the online good news feed:

Adrianna Edwards used to have to walk four and a half long hours in order to get to work every day at a Denny’s restaurant in Galveston, Texas. She had been scrimping and saving to buy herself a car so she would no longer have to make the 14-mile trek to and from her job.

An anonymous couple who Edwards had been serving at her restaurant learned about her grueling commute. Hours after they paid their bill, they returned to the restaurant with a 2011 Nissan Sentra and handed the keys to a dumbfounded Edwards. Their only condition for the gift was that Edwards simply pay the good deed forward.

Now that she is freed from having to buy a car, Edwards says that she will be able to put herself through college much sooner than she expected—and she is already planning on using her good fortune to help others.

“I still feel like I’m dreaming. Every two hours, I come look out my window to see if there’s still a car there,” Edwards said. “When I see somebody in need, I’ll probably be more likely to help them out (and) to do everything that I can to help them out.”

But of ALL the many wonderful stories my cherished readers have submitted so far, one is my very favorite.  It proves that one simple act of kindness that “someone will never be able to repay” can create miracles for them – and YOU:

“I got into a minor car accident last spring and the young man at fault told me that his car had been broken into earlier that day and his license and wallet had been stolen. I could see the broken window, and I believed him.  Clearly, he was having a REALLY bad day. He asked me if he could pay for the damage himself, because he didn’t want his insurance rates to skyrocket. 

I agreed and took his information. My local garage gave me an estimate of $1400 for the body work. He didn’t have that much in a lump sum, but asked to send me what he could every month, and I agreed to hold the payments until $1400 had been accumulated.  He was faithful to his word, sending me a few hundred each month until it reached $1400.

By that time, the lease was up on my car, and I turned it in and got a new one, without ever fixing the damage.  Of course, I expected to hear from the dealer about charging me for the repairs, but weeks went by and I was amazed that they never contacted me.

I didn’t want to keep the young man’s $1400, since it was no longer needed for repairs, so I called him. He sounded groggy, like he had been asleep.  I reminded him who I was and said, ‘I have some good news for you!  I am going to Venmo you your $1400 back.’ 

He was completely flabbergasted!  He blurted out, ‘I lost my job and it’s been really tough.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent this month.  You are an ANGEL!’ He even called me back to thank me a second time and make sure he hadn’t been dreaming!  I just told him to pay it forward and wished him a great Holiday.”

3 Steps to Becoming More Grateful from DailyHealthPost.com

“In times of hardship, or stress, it might seem difficult to be grateful.  But if you really think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. If you engage in only one prayer, let it simply be a heartfelt ‘thank you.’  Here are three easy ways to put yourself in the mindfulness of gratitude.

  • Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for – list at least three. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning before your day begins or at night before sleep.
  • Make it a point to tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
  • When you look in the mirror, give yourself a moment to think about a quality you like about yourself or something you have recently accomplished.

Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

Let’s keep the gratitude goodness flowing through the rest of the Holidays!  If we all continue to do random small good deeds for others and ask them to Pay it Forward, this truly will be a Season of Comfort and Joy for the many lives that your kindness will touch.

PLEASE NOTE: Next week will be the final Cup of Caroll for 2019.  In it, I will share my own Gratitude Miracle with you and give you a preview of some exciting things I have planned for the New Year!

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

************ Give Yourself or Someone Else 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.  You can offer this to a friend as well!

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