Integrity


January 21, 2018

“Today is unique!  It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated.  At midnight, it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever.  But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” – Charles R. Swindoll

 I hope you have had a chance to complete your 2017 and create a vision for the brand new year that lies before you. If not, there is still time!  Go to my blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and use the past two blogs to guide you in these important steps to lay the foundation for a happy and successful New Year.

If you have completed these two steps, there is one remaining step for you to get your year off to a successful start and maintain order and ease throughout the year ahead – getting organized. If you practice using the plan I am about to share with you, I can promise your 2018 will be filled with more internal peace and ease and more external efficiency and productivity.

(What follows is a lightly-edited post I published in June, 2015 that is definitely worth reviewing to get your year off to a great start!)

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago.  I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table.  Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit.  Looking at the four containers separately, it seemed unlikely that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could ALL fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would IF they were put in the right order.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top.  Yes, all four items DID fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of your most important tasks (the “Big Rocks”) FIRST, all your other tasks can be managed with ease.  But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff” – or worse, spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to tackle first — you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us.  These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher, Team members or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.  You will put out these annoying little fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at one time, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day?  Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) AND must be done or worked on TODAY.  If it can be delegated, ask for help!  If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control?  Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar open to the coming week. Study your To-Do list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a conference call with a potential business partner at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc. Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that you must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be blocking out times on your appointment calendar that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the current appointment OR negotiate a time change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • After scheduling the three Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble Tasks.” These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • Next, come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them amongst the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day.  TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.  Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or improving your skills via a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS: In order for this system to work:

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.)

AND

  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. on the SAME planner/calendar.  If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will inevitably double-book yourself for something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works!  They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress and guilt from double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of they day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered to them, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

Is setting aside time each weekend to plan your week ahead worth the sacrifice of 30 minutes of precious me time or family time? I promise that, in return, you will gain a greater sense of personal control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weekends off for taxes (Ugh!) and Super Bowl Sunday (Yay!).  A brand new Cup of Caroll will appear in your in-box on Sunday, February 11th.

****************** 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 and request a complimentary session.

August 20, 2017

“Dream big dreams, but never forget that realistic short-term goals are the keys to your success.” — Mac Anderson

As the first annual Prosperity Summer Camp webinar completes this week, this lightly-edited blog from spring 2015 provides a very timely message for all the “Happy Campers” taking part, as well as anyone who longs to make their Big Dreams come true more quickly and easily.  I hope you enjoy it (or enjoy it again)!

March 15, 2015

“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it.  I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles Kettering

 I believe that any Big Goal is possible to achieve, no matter what anyone else says or how improbably short the time frame may seem.  However, if you want to harness the power of the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to help you reach your goals with greater speed and ease, you must learn to distinguish empowering “Possibility Thinking” from mere “Pie in the Sky” wishful daydreaming.

Are Your Beliefs Limiting You?

A vital aspect of Practical Prosperity Coaching ™ is helping my clients to recognize when they are holding unconscious Limiting Beliefs about their Big Goal. A Limiting Belief is a limitation we automatically, unconsciously place on what we think is possible to achieve.  We must remember that our beliefs are not the “truth,” but simply our interpretation of the facts, based on our own past experience or someone else’s. A Limiting Belief holds you back from pursuing a Big Goal, while an Empowering Belief encourages you to go after it with gusto.

Working daily with the Law of Attraction over the past 13 years to manifest my own Big Goals and help over 650 coaching clients manifest theirs, I have come to believe that Big Goals ARE possible to achieve, provided you are willing to do three things in order to put the Law of Attraction into action to make the seemingly “impossible” possible.  Unless you are willing to follow these three “Keys to Success, you are simply fantasizing that your Big Goal is going to magically drop from the heavens into your lap.

Don’t Buy Others’ Limiting Beliefs about Your Goal

One of my past clients demonstrated in textbook fashion how following these three Keys to Success can help you manifest any Big Goal in record time.  “Dorothy” was a young professional with a high-paying day job who dreamed of turning her part-time business into a full-time career.  Her compelling “Why” for pursuing this Big Goal was a strong desire to spend more time with her new husband than her intense day job allowed, while still maintaining a good income.

After analyzing her Network Marketing company’s pay plan, she determined that reaching the Director Level would enable her to quit her day job and start living the life she dreamed of.  When we began coaching, she had just 30 days left to reach Director by the fastest, easiest route. After that, the requirements became much tougher, so she decided to go for it that month with everything she had.

Her well-meaning upline Leaders told her that “statistically” she would have to talk to 100 people about the products and/or the business opportunity in order to reach her Big Goal.  She knew she could not realistically expect to do her 50-60 hour a week job AND talk to 100 prospects in 30 days.

So, I asked her to challenge the Limiting Belief that she absolutely MUST talk to 100 people in order to recruit the business partners and do the product sales volume required to reach Director. I reminded her that this statistic was simply an “average” of what it had taken other consultants to reach this goal.  I asked her whether she thought it was possible for one individual to do better than “average” and she said, “Yes.”  Then if it is possible, did she believe that she could actually do it?  “Of course!” she replied.  Supported by her new Empowering Belief that she was capable of producing results that were far above average, she set out to fulfill each of the three Keys to Success for reaching a Big Goal in record time.

The Three Keys to Success in Manifesting

Success Key #1:  Use ALL available tools to their full advantage. We created her personalized Daily Success Script ™ and she began repeating it aloud twice a day for about 10 minutes each.  She understood that the purpose of the Success Script was to build her belief that she could do it, give her the right energy to attract the right prospects to her, and open her subconscious mind to come up with inspired new shortcuts to lead her to her goal.  She did her Success Script twice each day like clockwork, never making an excuse that she had forgotten or fallen asleep or didn’t have it with her when she needed it. She recognized that success requires Integrity and she kept her word that she would use every tool I provided to help her reach her Big Goal.

Success Key #2: Be Strategic.  You do not need to know HOW you are going to reach your Big Goal before you can begin to pursue it.  But you do have to take any and all Action Steps that you can right NOW, trusting that more guidance will be provided as you move forward. Taking massive action demonstrates that you really ARE committed to manifesting your Big Goal. That commitment energy attracts the ideal resources, people and serendipitous opportunities that will help guide you to it.

I asked Dorothy which people on her prospect list she thought had the BEST chance of saying “Yes” quickly.  She replied, “The ones I’ve already talked to at least once. The time wasn’t right for them before, but it might be NOW.” She decided to call them again and simply ask, “Is NOW a good time for you to try the products risk-free and/or to join me in the business?”

This strategy worked very well. When she told her friends about her Big Goal, quite a few were willing to help her by placing an order right then.  A few even decided to jump into the business at last.  She got through her “follow up” list much faster than she would have by making initial calls and having to explain the products or the business from scratch. She strategically went after the “low hanging fruit” and it paid off.

Success Key #3: Use your available time wisely.  Especially when pursuing a goal with a tight time frame, it’s critical to get into action quickly and work smart throughout.  Dorothy didn’t have a lot of hours available, but she made every minute count.  She talked to coworkers and made calls on her lunch hour, made more calls in the evenings, and asked several friends to host two or three home presentations on the weekends and invite their friends to come. And when she did those presentations, she was amazed at the unusually HIGH percentage of guests who approached her afterward to ask how they could get into the business.

Just before midnight on the last day of the month, Dorothy signed up her final business builder and placed her final order and was promoted to Director. When she ran her stats, she discovered that her personal success ratio for prospecting that month turned out to be much better than either the company “average” or her own past experience.

At her company’s annual convention, Dorothy received a special award for reaching Director Level faster than anyone else in her entire region that year. Soon, she quit her day job and continues to enjoy building her business and spending lots of time with her husband.

So what approach will YOU take to pursue your own Big Goals — Pie or Possibility?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the next two weeks off so my wonderful husband Rick and I can enjoy the last precious days of a Southern California Summer! A Cup of Caroll will return with an all-new blog on Sunday September 10.  Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

If you or your friends would like a 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.

 

“If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.” – Mel Robbins

What important task are you dragging your feet about doing right now because you just don’t “feel” like it?

I have to be honest, for me today, Number One is writing this blog. I love to write, but I have a lot of things I’d prefer to do on a beautiful Spring day, rather than sit in front of my computer trying to come up with a topic that can inspire my readers to be more efficient, successful and fulfilled in their lives.

No matter how much you value keeping your word to yourself and others, I am sure you, too, know exactly what it’s like to want to avoid doing something that you know will benefit you or someone else.

The human Ego much prefers sitting on the couch, safe and comfy, avoiding anything that will challenge the status quo in your life.  Pursuing your Big Goals usually requires sustained effort, self-discipline, risk and emotional or physical discomfort.

Of course, Life Coach Mel Robbins is 100% right. Instead of sharpening pencils, cleaning out the junk drawer, procrastisnacking, re-arranging your lists, perusing (and envying) others’ Facebook posts and binge-watching just one more episode of your favorite show –  consider where you could be if you had just plunged in and finished the very task you DON’T want to do: Make the call, go to the gym, update your resume, apply for the job you really want, apply for a business loan, join an online dating service, call your loved one and apologize for the fight you had?

What would your life look like right now?

One of my clients recently made me laugh the when she blurted out, “I didn’t read your blog this week.  I HATE reading blogs.”

Really?  You “hate” getting tips that can help you succeed?  Being challenged and inspired?  Developing your character?  Learning how others have overcome the same challenges you are facing? Stretching your belief in what is possible for you?

I was tempted to reply, “Well, sometimes I hate WRITING the blog!”  But that’s not true.  I actually love writing – or I would not have put in the thousands of hours of effort over my lifetime in order to develop that skill.

But do I love being 100% accountable for producing a blog that consumes half of my Saturday three times a month?  Heck NO! I would much prefer to be in my backyard right now, stretched out on the chaise lounge with an iced tea and a good book.  That would be nice for ME, but what about my readers, who read the blog and write comments such as, “This is exactly what I needed to hear today.”  Or “I felt so relieved to read that – Now I know I’m not alone.” They are what keeps me accountable.

Not everything we do is for someone else’s benefit, of course.  Many of the tasks we avoid doing are uncomfortable things we don’t want to do but which we know will bring us the results we say we want to have.

In her wonderful, tell-it-like-it-is book, Get Over Your Damn Self, direct sales Superstar Romi Neustadt admits that even SHE doesn’t want to be accountable for doing the daily activities that have made her a multi-millionaire in a few short years.

According to Romi, “You’ve got to figure out what it is you really want that you don’t already have.  Whatever it is, it’s got to be important enough to get you to do something with commitment and consistency.  It’s got to be important enough to get you up, to make one more phone call, to reach out to one more person….even when you are bone-ass weary.  Because if we want something bad enough in this life, we make it happen.  It’s just that simple.”

Here’s Romi’s great method for overcoming the Ego’s natural preference for avoiding all uncomfortable tasks: At the start of her business, she wrote down her WHY in vivid detail, including both the carrot and the stick. She listed all the great things having a successful direct sales business could produce for her and her family AND all the tragic disappointments that would occur if she didn’t do the things necessary to succeed.

She kept that piece of paper by her bed and read it first thing every morning before her feet hit the floor. She used it as leverage to make herself get up every day and do the tasks she didn’t want to do, but knew she must do, in order to get her WHY.

Mel Robbins has her own simple, foolproof method to counteract the Ego’s desire for inertia. She calls it “The Five Second Rule.”  Most of my coaching clients have watched Mel’s short TED Talk about this.

I urge you to spend 20 memorable minutes being entertained and confronted with the reality that you have just five seconds to do what you promised yourself to do when the time comes to do it.  If you wait longer than five seconds, like a skilled courtroom litigator, your wily Ego will make a compelling argument for why it would be better to “wait until tomorrow” to carry out the task.

Guess what the outcome will be if you listen to that voice inside your head instead of keeping your promise and taking action right NOW?

That’s right. You will never get your WHY. Instead, you will earn a comfortable seat on the sidelines, watching as others get their WHYs.

So what’s it going to be for YOU?  You have five seconds to decide.

Here’s Mel Robbins TED talk “Stop Screwing Yourself Over” about the Five Second Rule: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc

Next Sunday the blog will be taking the day off so that I can spend Easter with my family.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, April 23.

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

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

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or toll free 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

 

“If given a choice do what is right.  Do what may push you along.  Choose that thing that is outside your grasp and then work hard for it….’Or’ don’t and live to whine another day.” – Bob Perks

Welcome back  —  I’ve missed you! As you know, I took two weeks off from writing the blog to prepare for and then enjoy a one-week vacation to Oregon over the Fourth of July weekend with my wonderful husband, Rick. We had a perfect trip.

The weather was perfect – in the mid-seventies with blue skies the whole time.

The food was perfect. Portland, where we spent half the time, is a Foodie’s paradise.  We followed recommendations from friends and clients and enjoyed several wonderful restaurants and wineries. We also had some great food during the second half of our trip to Cottage Grove, in southern Oregon, to visit my only sibling’s family.  My nephew smoked four whole chickens, and we had one of the best lasagnas ever, courtesy of my nephew-in-law, Don. He even made one pan with turkey sausage, since I don’t eat anything with four feet.

The scenery was perfect.  While staying in Portland, we spent the better part of a day driving through the nearby Columbia Gorge, which is nature on steroids.  The winding road through the tall pine trees reminded me of Yosemite, but with many more waterfalls (although smaller), which were all an easy walk from the road.

Aside from all the food, fun and scenery, the MOST significant thing about the trip for me was seeing my extended family again.  All but one of my older brother’s kids and grand kids reside in Oregon or Washington, so we all congregated at the home of my niece Ann and her husband Don, an acre-plus spread right next to the Row River. My brother and sister-in-law, four of my six nieces and nephews and four of my five great-nieces and great nephews joined us, as well as my brother’s ex-wife (the mother of three of his children) and her husband. It is truly one BIG, happy family, who all get along great.

We spent time looking at old photo albums and marveling that 10 years had passed since we last got together for a Parker Family Reunion.  It seemed to all except the youngest ones that those 10 years had zoomed by in the blink of an eye. Some of the memories were still vivid, while others made us shake our heads, not believing the photographic evidence that we really DID wear that hairdo or clothing back then. And the more “seasoned” among us could count new wrinkles and grey hairs (and maybe a couple of new belt notches) that weren’t there last time.

That made me realize that life truly does go by SO fast.  I am sad to admit that I have made the choice year after year not to make the effort to get us all together again…Not a conscious choice, but a choice of omission. Rick and I simply chose to do other things with the little time off we took from making a living.

That may end up being one of my few life regrets because this reunion made me realize that as far as I am concerned, there are really only TWO important questions to ask ourselves when we come to the end of our earthly life:

  • Did I SHOW the people I love how much I love them?
  • What Big Dreams did I pursue (or let die without ever being born)?

Our lives are built on a series of many little decisions made day by day in each of these two categories.  Each day is a new chance to take time to pay attention to those we love and demonstrate to them that we really do value them.  And each day is a chance to pursue our heartfelt dreams with everything we’ve got, or let them slide in favor of what is easier, more comfortable, less scary.

Within a day of arriving home, I received yet another amazing, thought-provoking post from my friend and fellow-coach/writer/speaker/workshop leader, Bob Perks. (See blog #230 “Listen with Your Heart” if you missed his earlier post that I re-published.)

Bob perfectly expresses that it is all the little daily choices we make to be loving, to be generous, to be in integrity, to stand up for our beliefs and values, and to either pursue our dreams or sell out that REALLY matter.  It’s not the few big life choices we make, but the many little ones that steadily add up day by day, year by year to create the picture that our life ultimately ends up looking like.

Here, with permission, are Bob’s own thoughts.  I hope they make as big an impression on you as they did on me. And I hope they move you to take ACTION and make the right daily choices for YOU, so that the next decade of YOUR life fulfills and empowers you. Because one thing I can guarantee: It’s going to feel like it zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

P.S. If you find Bob’s words inspiring and the spirit moves you, you can make a small or large donation at the end, as I did, to help him keep on sharing his love and wisdom with the world.

Perks Pearl of Wisdom

“I have lived to see another day for nearly 66 years.  I have been given more second chances than I deserved.  Still, I often feel unfulfilled.  Why?  Because there are greater things for me to accomplish.  Things I can’t even imagine at this moment.  For He has plans.”  Bob Perks

“Today’s message:

“Or”

By Bob Perks

Life is full of choices.  The truth is every choice we make ripples like a stone dropped in a still pond.

Even not choosing is a choice.

I could start writing that book or I could go back and edit a few older projects I once started.

I could call my friend or wait until she calls me.  Why should I be the one?

I could look for some healthy recipes and then go shopping for the food I’ll need or I could finish all the junk food up instead of wasting it.

I could update my resume and start looking for a better job or I could wait until after vacation.

I could study more for that test on Monday or go celebrate with the girls. I’ll pass it I’m sure.

I could save this extra money I got or maybe double it at the casino.

I could or I couldn’t.

I should join that civic club and get involved or stay at home and mind my own business.

I should go for a walk after dinner or at least sit on the porch for a while.

I should tell him now how much he means to me, how much I love him, how blessed my life has been having him in it.

Or wait until morning when he has rested awhile.

I should or I shouldn’t

I could have, I should have.

I didn’t and I regret it deeply.

I could tell you that I really care about you, my friend.

I should say thanks for always being there for me.

I will…”I love you, my friend.  I depend on you being there.  Thanks.”

Bob Perks

My messages are sent free. 

The services I use to send them aren’t.

Thanks for any support you can provide.”

www.PayPal.me/GiftBobPerks

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

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

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

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.” – Andrew Carnegie

Honest, thoughtful, effective communication creates the foundation for fulfilling, lasting personal and business relationships.  Those relationships, in turn, become the foundation for our success in life. And whether you realize it or not, people really DO notice how you behave when you communicate (or don’t) and judge you by your actions.

Over my eleven-plus years of coaching, I have witnessed a number of less-than-optimal communication “manners” among my clients that I know can limit their success. Now, I want to share with you, too, a few practical tips for making your own communication habits more effective, successful and enjoyable:

  • Give them your undivided attention. When I coach, I sit at my desk, listening intently and taking notes about what my clients are saying, occasionally taking a sip of water (as quietly as possible) when my throat gets dry. Most of them give me their undivided attention, too.  But over the years, I have heard some banging pots and pans, running water, dragging furniture, chewing gum (or food) and slurping beverages. I often wonder if they do the same things while talking to their customers, colleagues and loved ones. The message this sends to your conversation partner is that “You are not important enough to me to give you my undivided attention.”  So please don’t multi-task while you are on the phone. (And please don’t be looking at or on your phone in the presence of someone you are supposed to be paying attention to – including your kids!)
  • Don’t avoid a conversation. Many of my clients are used to texting or messaging their friends, customers and prospects. Rarely do they pick up the phone, even if the conversation is likely to have extended back and forth question and answers. If you want to speak to someone, CALL them and leave a voice mail if they don’t pick up.  In this text-happy world, leaving a voice message conveys to your listener that they matter SO much to you that you actually wanted to have a real conversation with them! One of my clients who took my advice to call her prospects reported that the ratio of replies she got was triple what her texts had garnered.
  • Respond to your messages promptly. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. If you want your teammates, customers, prospects and loved ones to return YOUR messages, ask yourself how promptly YOU respond to emails, texts and voice mails. Many of my clients complain about lack of response from others, but when I send them an urgent or critical email, I have learned to put PLEASE RESPOND in capital letters in the subject line – and some of them still never answer. Often, I have to resort to texting to make sure they got my email!  Causing other people to wonder and worry about whether you got their message or whether something is wrong between you will not make them enjoy communicating with you. Is your voice mailbox full?  Do you have a week’s worth of emails or 20 texts you haven’t looked at?  If you don’t respond to others in a timely manner, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) says YOU will attract plenty of people who will frustrate you by not responding.
  • Keep your word. This is the #1 MUST for effective communication.  If you made an appointment to meet someone at Starbucks and then just didn’t show up, you can imagine how they will react!  Why is it any less of an affront if you stand them up for a phone appointment they planned on and made time for? As soon as you realize that you are running late or can’t make it, text or leave a voice mail.  They will forgive you if you apologize and give a BRIEF explanation (not a rambling, self-serving excuse). But if they call and you are just not there, they will get the message loud and clear that they don’t matter much to you. One of my past clients used to complain that some team members in her organization purposely cut her out of the loop on communications. I was stumped why they would do this to such a nice person — until I discovered that she is rather infamous for standing them up on set appointment calls, often when they have a business prospect on the line with them.
  • When you mess up, fess up. When the stood-up team member would later text that Leader to ask why she hadn’t picked up, she would usually text a lame excuse such as, “Ooops — My phone died!” That is not a real apology – or even a good explanation. Hey, we are all human.  If you mess up, you will be forgiven, as long as you explain briefly, take full responsibility and sincerely apologize for the impact your slip up had on the other person. A perfect example happened this week, when one of my longtime clients called over an hour late for our appointment to apologize with this brief message: “I am so sorry. I got engrossed in writing a report for work and completely lost track of the time.  I value your time and I take full responsibility for missing our session.”  That was all we needed to get our relationship back on good terms.

I hope these tips will help you create fulfilling relationships built on mutual trust, honesty and respect. Those are the kind that last and will bring you rich rewards!

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

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

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

Happy Mother’s Day!  I salute everyone who is a mother (I’m not) or acts as a mother-figure for someone who needs one. (I have done that.)  Whether you were lucky enough to grow up with an unconditionally-loving “June Cleaver” mother like I did or struggled to cope with someone who fell far short of the ideal, we have all been deeply affected by a mother or mother-figure in our lives.

Many of my readers have joined me since today’s blog was first published two years ago, so I want to share again my Mom’s “best practices” for living a life of joy, integrity and fulfillment.

May 11, 2014

“Love never ends.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8, The Bible.

My mother passed away in 2006, just shy of her 92nd birthday, on the very night that my wonderful husband Rick and I were supposed to have our first date. I’m sorry they never got to meet because with a similar playful, gentle sense of humor, they would have thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.

Mom was always very spiritual, if not religious, and as soon as I married and left home at 19, she began sending me a subscription to the little booklet of daily inspirational thoughts put out by Unity, the Christian denomination that she grew up in.  She would be delighted to know that it still makes me feel connected to her every morning when I read the daily message.

Interestingly, the Daily Word topic for today is exactly what I had already decided to write about. I quote here as background for what I want to share with you on Mother’s Day:

“A mother’s love is strong.  It protects and comforts, nurtures and forgives. It is uplifting, supportive and unconditional.  A mother’s love begins before birth and continues without end. It is an expression of the Divine.

 Today I honor and appreciate my mother or anyone who may have filled the role of mother in my life.  I bring to mind the wisdom she has shared, the stories she has told, and the mannerisms and characteristics that are uniquely hers.

 I am grateful for all she has given to our family. The greatest thank-you I can offer is to share with others the best of what my mother taught me.

 With gratitude, I bless and celebrate all mothers and the love they share.”

 Today, as a heartfelt thank-you to her, I want to share with you the best of what Charlene Turner Parker taught me by her words and actions. Here are the Top Five Life Lessons I learned from my Mom:

  • Make everyone feel included. When I was in elementary and middle school, my mother invited a distantly-connected family of immigrants to Sunday dinner at our house about once a month.  The working-class parents spoke broken English and I felt it was a pain to have to entertain their son who was several years younger than I.  But my mother was adamant that we must make them feel welcome and give them a good meal. “Little Carlos” grew up to be a handsome, intelligent young man who graduated from college and became a successful professional. After his parents had both passed, he continued to bring his little sister to visit my Mom on her birthday and holidays. At her funeral, he cried harder than everyone and told me he considered Charlene a second mother and would never forget her kindness as long as he lived.
  • Speak only kind words. When I was a teenager, I went through a “smart mouth” (OK, and a “foul mouth”) stage. Copying my peers and the media, I thought sarcasm, irony and scathing criticism were the height of sophisticated communication. My mother set me straight very quickly: There would be no trash talk or gossip in HER house.  I rolled my eyes and thought she was hopelessly square. When I got a little older, I realized how badly I had behaved and was deeply appreciative of her frequent reminder: “People will eventually forget what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them FEEL.”
  •  Listen deeply, without judging. My mother listened to EVERYONE – whether a three-year-old grandchild, a school Principal or a supermarket clerk — as if what they had to say were the most fascinating and important thing in the world. When she worked as an elementary school secretary, a dozen kids would hang out in her office at lunch time just to bask in the attention she paid them.  Yes, people always remember how we make them FEEL.  And feeling “heard” is one of the best feelings in the world.
  • Always send a hand-written note. My mother always nagged me mercilessly until I had mailed a thank you note to anyone who gave me the smallest gift, had me over to their house for dinner or came to my birthday party, graduation, wedding etc. Now, it seems archaic, but Mom sent me real paper birthday and thank you cards until the end, and I still strive to do the same. I wouldn’t have shoeboxes full of her loving memories if she had texted me. I advise my job-seeking clients to immediately mail a hand-written thank you note to EVERYONE who interviewers them. Nothing is as sincere and classy as acknowledging someone with a hand-written note. You would be surprised how many successful careers have started that way!
  • Help everyone you can in every way you can. Sometimes it annoyed me how much my mother gave away from her little pension — sending $10 a month to dozens of charities, paying family members’ college tuitions so they could become successful, hiring down-and-out folks to do odd jobs and errands that she really could have managed herself.  But even more than financially, she helped others with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and unconditional love.  Nobody who came in contact with Charlene Turner Parker ever forgot her patience, kindness and generosity.  That is a legacy we can all aspire to.

PLEASE NOTE: My wonderful husband Rick and I will be in Yosemite National Park this week, celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary.  The blog will return on Sunday May 22. 

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

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

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

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Steven Covey

When one of my clients didn’t call at our appointed time this week, I texted her, thinking she might be absorbed in some task and had lost track of the time. Instead, her reply confessed that she was sitting in the doctor’s office and had completely forgotten our appointment.

Just the day before, to my chagrin, I had double-booked a coaching slot.  Fortunately, I discovered my mistake well in advance and one of the two clients was gracious enough to switch times. Nevertheless, I was quite annoyed because I take pride in being well-organized and detail-oriented.  (My husband and friends probably have less-flattering terms for this tendency!)

Living an “abundant” life doesn’t depend on how much money you have in the bank, although money is certainly a good resource to have.  Abundant living depends on how much you are enjoying your life.

All of my clients are very busy people.  Some run a full-time business from home while juggling a full-time family life.  Many have a day job AND are working hard to build a thriving business on the side, often with families to look after, as well. It’s understandable that they sometimes feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I share tips and techniques I have learned to help them take control of their schedules.

Here are five keys to mastering your own busy schedule and living a more abundant, enjoyable life:

#1 Write it down. The only way you can remember all of the “To Dos” that come up daily is to write them down in ONE place. You can break the list into categories if you like, under the headings “Work” “Family” and “Personal.”  Keep ONE list you carry with you everywhere and review it at least weekly. Trying to keep To Dos in your head over taxes your brain and creates stress.  Once you write it down, your mind can relax and focus on what needs doing NOW

#2 Schedule it. The items on your To Do list are not going to get done unless you transfer them onto your scheduling calendar. You must keep ONE scheduling calendar that has EVERY appointment and action item from all categories on it – work, family and personal. If you keep multiple calendars for your work and family events, you are inevitably going to double-book yourself or miss some important meeting.  The reason I double-booked my two clients was that I noted the appointment change in one client’s file, but must have gotten distracted and forgot to change it on my actual appointment calendar.  You MUST write appointments on your calendar the minute you make them.  Don’t rely on scraps of paper or sticky notes to remind you.

I recommend taking a quiet 30 minutes each weekend to sit with your To Do list and appointment calendar and plan the upcoming week. Schedule up to three of your To Dos each day AROUND the appointments you already have.  Recurring appointments include your morning personal development time, exercise time, kids’ sports schedules, etc.  If you don’t write all of these down, you will think you have time for the three To Dos, but will quickly discover that your day actually is already full of unwritten items that you overlook until you have to do them. If you have blocked time in advance for them, you will accomplish at least 15 important To Dos each week.

#3 Plan ahead. Years ago, one of my dear friends had to wait by the side of the road for AAA to rescue him when his car ran out of gas on several occasions. When I asked him why this kept happening, he said, “I was late for work and didn’t have time to stop at the gas station. I thought I could make it.”

Haste truly does make waste, so instead of flying by the seat of your pants, practice looking ahead 24 hours on your calendar to see what you are going to be doing TOMORROW. Make sure you have everything you will need: Gas in the car, clean clothes, cash, meeting supplies, etc. This habit will de-stress your life tremendously.

#4 Focus. Men’s brains are designed to be single-focused, while women are born multi-taskers.  I know how easy it is to go into a room for one thing and end up doing three other things while I’m there.  Many of my clients use social media as a vital tool to market their business and make new connections. Most of them confess that they plan to spend just 10 minutes posting something,but end up being mesmerized by others’ posts for hours.

If you have your schedule blocked out in detail each week, you should know how much time you plan to spend on a particular task.  Set a timer for doing the task and when it goes off, STOP and proceed to the next item on your schedule, even if you didn’t finish the first task.  That “stick” will teach your brain to FOCUS next time so you can have the “carrot” of proudly accomplishing everything you planned for the day.

#5 Do it NOW. Most of us are born procrastinators.  If we don’t want to do something we must do, we often postpone it until the last minute. But more often than not, our well-laid plans for tomorrow get interrupted by unexpected “fires” to put out that may cause us to miss the deadline.  A client declared her New Year’s Resolution to be “Don’t delay; do it NOW.”  She has stuck with it and it has made her much more calm and productive.  One of my favorite quotes from life coach Mel Robbins’ great book, Stop Saying You’re Fine is “If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.”   

Here’s a final piece of hard-won wisdom from this recovering People-Pleaser: If you can easily fulfill another’s request, by all means, do so. But if it will suck up your time or resources so that your OWN dreams, family or personal well-being are likely to suffer, just say “NO!”  Many things we are invited to attend, join, buy or facilitate aren’t things we truly want and keep us from our own purposeful pursuits. If you firmly, respectfully decline, the requester will appreciate your honesty and will then ask someone for whom it will be a purposeful opportunity.

If you implement one or more of these tips, I am confident that you will soon experience more ease, productivity, joy and success in your life!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll is taking the next week off and will return on Sunday, April 24.

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

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

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