Opportunity


“People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It’s that day! The biggest television audience of the year is going to be watching. Yes, it’s Super Bowl Sunday in the USA.

Even those who are not rabid football fans, as I confess I’m not, can still appreciate that the two teams battling it out for the title of The Best Team in American Football had to work very hard to get there, and they deserve our respect for that. It got me thinking about what it takes to create a Winning Team in other areas of life.

Life is filled with many types of teams: workplace teams, school sports teams, couples, families, military teams, the political parties that make up our government (ideally) act as teams, and many of my coaching clients are part of a network marketing business team.  Since we all participate on some type of team, it’s worth exploring how we can be more successful when working together.

I have identified the following five characteristics of Winning Teams:

  • A shared Purpose. A successful team must work together for a common goal, a greater good.  The individuals on the team have a clear shared purpose that is bigger than their own ego’s self-interest.  As the quote from President FDR says, committed people coming together can accomplish much bigger things than they ever could alone. So it’s in a Winning Team’s nature to be collaborative and practice sharing the spotlight and rooting for each other’s success, in order to get something that everyone on the team wants.
  • Mutual respect. All members of a team must show each other respect, even when they disagree about how to reach their mutual goal.  Each individual must be willing to listen to the others’ opinions, even if she vehemently disagrees with them. We learn more from listening to those whose opinions differ from ours than from those who agree with us. Eventually, through respectful give and take, individual members will reach a consensus about what needs to be done and what each individual’s role will be in pursuing the team’s Big Goal.
  • Clear, honest communication. Each member of the team must have the courage to speak his own truth (in a respectful way) in order for this effective collaboration to take place.  It is sometimes hard to speak up for what we believe is right when we think others might disagree or be offended.  But when you speak respectfully and own your OWN feelings without blaming or shaming others, you do them a great service because it allows them to see things from a different point of view than their own, and to understand the impact their words and actions have on others, which they may not realize. Be clear, concise, authentic and drama-free, and your opinion will be respected and considered, as long as the other members believe you are committed to the team’s Big Goal.
  • A team-supported designated Leader. Every effective team needs a respected and collaborative leader to organize, summarize and build consensus. Sometimes this leader must make the hard call alone, if there is insufficient consensus among team members, yet steps must be taken quickly or their shared Big Goal will be lost.  The Winning Team Leader acts as an inspiring quarterback, rather than a demagogue. She willingly listens to ALL the members’ input, then identifies the most likely path to victory for the entire team and gets their buy-in before moving forward.
  • Good sportsmanship. What makes a sports contest exciting is that only one team can win. There inevitably will be a “loser” in any head-to-head contest. Whether the side that loses a game, an election, a family vote on where to go on vacation, or their division’s annual Team Sales Contest is a good loser or a poor loser will have a greater impact on their long-term success than just about anything else.  Life is full of failures along the way to ultimate success.  A team that says, “We didn’t win this time, but wait until the next round!” is a team that is assured of eventual victory. Because the Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy,” you can bet that a team that takes their loss personally, blames each other or expresses sour grapes is destined to continue their losing streak. But a team whose members are willing to own and learn from their mistakes is going to come back stronger, more focused and more determined than ever to reach their Big Goal.  Victory is already in their sights, and they will eventually triumph.

If you have other ideas about what makes for a Winning Team, I would love for you to share them with me and I will pass them along to my readers in future blogs.  In the meantime, enjoy the Super Bowl and I hope you will keep working to develop your own leadership qualities and winning attitude, so that you AND your Winning Team will eventually reach the Big Goals you are pursuing!

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.

****************** 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.

 

“…we acknowledge humbly that we can never serve our veterans in quite the same way that they served us, but we can try. We can practice kindness, we can pay it forward, we can volunteer, we can serve, we can respect one another, we can always get each other’s backs.” – President Barack Obama

Holy cow, what a week!  I don’t care which side of the Presidential election you were on, I would bet that like me, you are feeling some degree of emotional, mental and physical hangover from the unprecedented rancor, bitterness, devisiveness and rage that rocked (and still rocks) our country from a relentlessly negative, personalized political battle unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.

In the aftermath of the election, I unexpectedly found my own way to regain a feeling of personal productivity and a sense of happiness, peace and optimism: I simply stopped focusing on the “big picture” of turmoil, uncertainty, demonstrations and a growing list of social ills that must be addressed by our political leaders on both sides of the aisle. Instead, I chose to focus my attention on the many small opportunities we have to make a difference, right where we are, each and every day. This Ah-Ha Moment came to me out of the blue by a seemingly-innocuous text message.

You will recall that my last blog was a reprint of a column by Bob Perks, a fellow coach and inspirational writer and speaker who lives in Pennsylvania. (I live in Southern California.) We have never met in person, but admire each other’s work.

In his “Three Taps: POW MIA” column (See “Three Taps” Blog 252), Bob wrote movingly about the symbolic meaning of each element of the “Missing Man Table” that is permanently displayed in his American Legion Post 672. I thought it was an important reminder for Veteran’s Day that we should never forget or take for granted the service of all the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces — especially those who never came home and whose loved ones never got closure. They are Missing In Action, and the symbolic empty table ensures they will never be forgotten.

Some fortunate Prisoners of War, like Senator John McCain, eventually returned home, but will forever bear the physical and emotional scars of their ordeal to protect the daily freedoms we too often take for granted, like peacefully and democratically electing our President.

After it ran, I texted Bob another thank-you for allowing me to reprint his column, and casually asked him what the “guys” (temporarily forgetting there are also women in the service!) at the Legion were going to do to celebrate Veteran’s Day.  His reply shocked me:

“I am doing a special Veterans Day performance at my Legion on Friday, along with food as best I can. I will open with patriotic music sung by me.  I cannot believe that the only thing my own Legion is providing is a free drink to each veteran.  I will feed their stomachs and spirit. I will also call on everyone there to tap three times wherever they are seated.”

I know Bob is on a very tight budget, and his determination to give them a proper celebration to honor their service touched me deeply.  So I went to my PayPal account and sent him a small donation to help with the refreshments cost. The next day, much to my surprise, I received this email from him:

Caroll, I have shared with many the fact than an “incredible friend” has sent a gift to our Legion’s veterans. “Stunned” “Amazed” “Grateful” are common reactions.

“Why would someone do that?” one asked.  Then I was pleased to hear him immediately answer his own question saying, “Most likely for the same reason you do, Bob. Tell them thank you.”

I was truly flabbergasted that my little gift made such a positive impression on a group of strangers whose service I can never begin to repay.  When I so easily clicked “Send Money,” on PayPal, it never crossed my mind that my gift would have meaning beyond the special food it would provide for them.

The next day, Bob sent me some great pictures of the sumptuous “spread,” which included his personally-prepared Fried Chicken Haluski (noodles, fried cabbage and onions), cole slaw and a half-sheet cake.  Another veteran sent 10 pizzas in honor of his late father, a Purple Heart recipient.  The room was festively decorated in red, white and blue, and “DJ Bobby” kept everyone rocking on the dance floor – including the 93 year old lady pictured above who came with her daughter who is battling cancer.

Bob said the parking lot was jammed, as about 150 Legionnaires and their loved ones (one for every dollar I donated) enjoyed the celebration and appreciated that a stranger cared enough to honor them on their special day.

This was the simple reminder I needed: Do not worry about what you cannot control.  Just look around you and see who can use a helping hand.  Red State, Blue State — We are ALL Americans. We ALL need each other.

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

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

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

“If you want to see change, if you want to see God open up new doors, the key is to bloom right where you’re planted.” – Joel Osteen

If you live east of the Mississippi, please forgive me for gloating, but Spring has officially sprung here in Southern California.  The sky is blue, the sun is warm and both my back and front yards are awash in the vivid colors of roses, azaleas, camellias and many other beautiful flowering plants.  But the plants aren’t the only things blooming now.

On April 1 (no fooling), my phone blew up with text after text from my coaching clients who had achieved their Big Goals at the end of March.  Most of them are independent consultants in the same fast-growing network marketing company.  After several months of “planting seeds” of opportunity, one was excited to have sponsored two new business partners.  Another far surpassed her personal organization’s sales volume target. And several others reached “Level 5 Leader” status — the first major step toward building a large Team of serious, successful business partners.  For one, March became the first of three consecutive months that she needs to maintain Level 5 status for her company to lease a brand new Lexus for her.

My clients didn’t achieve any of these milestones overnight or by themselves.  They had the support of their “upline” Leaders who sponsored them into the business and the consultants they personally sponsored. Everyone pulled together to make it possible, knowing the achievement of one Team member was the achievement of ALL.

Having coached them for the past several months, I knew their exciting and fulfilling accomplishments took dedication, belief and work, which reminded me of a recent daily message from Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen:

“If you want to see change, if you want to see God open up new doors, the key is to bloom right where you’re planted. You can’t wait until everything gets better before you decide to have a good attitude.  You have to be the best that you can be right where you are.  When you bloom where you’re planted, you’re allowing God to work in you, and He will be faithful to complete what He’s started in you!”

Each of my clients came into coaching because they had Big Goals that didn’t seem to be moving forward very quickly.  Most of them were feeling stuck, stymied  and even resentful about their inability to find people to join them in the business who were as motivated to succeed as they were.  Most of the Team members they had seemed content to just plod along, showing little ambition.

One of these clients achieved Level 5 Leader status last month , meaning she had sponsored eight serious business partners into the business and supported them in successfully selling the company’s high-end skin care products. When we began our coaching last year, she had just two partners on her Team.

Outwardly, she seemed positive and confident. But on our first coaching call, she confessed her true  feelings with surprising candor: “I am so annoyed with my Team.  Everything has rested on me.  I wish they would do more to help themselves succeed.  It’s invigorating to see my upline Leader’s Team rallying to help her win her Lexus.  I can’t see my own Team doing that for me. I don’t feel grateful for them. I want to learn to feel gratitude for my Team and for my life.”

During our first months together, I gave her a number of coaching tools to engage the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to help her attract business partners who were as enthusiastic and hungry for success as she is. Imagine which tool was her favorite –the Daily Gratitude Journal! Every day, she faithfully wrote in it 10 things that she was grateful for in her life right NOW.

It didn’t take long before she declared, “I am really feeling GRATEFUL!  I am so grateful for the Team I have right now – each and every one of them, no matter how hard they are working.”

That’s when things really began to shift for her. When she learned to bloom right where she was planted, her newly-positive attitude attracted those who wanted to bloom alongside her. When she stopped wishing she were living in a different garden, the garden she found herself in began to bloom more beautifully than ever before.

What kind of garden do YOU find yourself planted in right now?  Imagine what your life would be like without all the wonderful things and people you often take for granted each day:

  • Are you grateful for your job, or do you wish you had a different boss or bigger paycheck?
  • Do you feel blessed to have your partner or spouse, or do you wish he or she were more loving?
  • Are you happy with your home, or do you wish it were bigger or in a better neighborhood?
  • Do you appreciate your car that gets you where you need to go, or do you wish it were newer or flashier?
  • Are you proud of your children, or do you wish they got better grades or helped with the chores more willingly?

As Joel says, if you want your opportunities to improve, you have to be the best that you can be right where you are. Start by expressing your sincere GRATITUDE for all that you have been blessed with already.  Be grateful that you have the unlimited opportunity to better yourself and your circumstances. And then strive to do your very BEST with the resources you have been given in the garden where you are planted now.

If you want more and better, believe that you have the power to attract the right people and resources to help you.  Give your very best at the job you have each day.  Be as loving and thoughtful toward your loved ones, friends, colleagues and strangers as you would like them to be toward you.  Acknowledge the young people in your life every chance you get and watch them become their best selves.

It’s a beautiful garden you live in.  Keep planting more seeds of opportunity and watch them grow!

****************** 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.   

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

In my eleven years as a full-time professional Personal Success Coach, I have been fortunate to help over 500 people pursue their Big Goals. I have witnessed most of them succeed – some far beyond what they had imagined.

Still, to be honest, a small number failed to reach their goals. On this Super Bowl Sunday, when the top two teams in American football battle it out for the title of “World Champion,” I think it’s appropriate to talk about the number one reason I believe people fail to reach their dreams, in hopes it will save you from missing the opportunity to win your own Big Game.

Just like a football team, most of my clients are pursuing a Big Goal in which other people are involved. I really can’t think of anyone who is doing it completely solo. Even someone who wants to improve their health by quitting smoking, starting an exercise routine or losing weight needs help from someone else to succeed. They need the support of their friends, family or coaches, a good program to teach them success strategies, or an accountability partner to make sure they don’t quit on themselves.

For goals involving financial success, it’s 100% certain that other people will be involved. I cannot think of a single profession, creative endeavor or business that doesn’t involve someone else buying whatever you market, invent, write or create in order for you to make money. Even in a salaried position, you must enroll someone else to hire you and approve of your job performance in order to climb the corporate ladder.

Many of the 100-plus wonderful clients who came to me through word of mouth over the past three years are involved in the same dynamic network marketing company. They know without a doubt that their success depends on others. They can sell their cutting-edge skin care products to consumers pretty easily because they really work. But if they want to create a life-changing level of financial success, they must share with others the benefits of joining the company, sponsor them onto their Team, train them and mentor them in order to create a high level of mutual success.

It isn’t easy, believe me. I have a background in network marketing myself. For over seven years in the 1990s, I was a full-time independent consultant for a great company that makes high-end nutritional supplements. I still get a monthly residual check from my early efforts, but in the end, my greatest reward was not financial; it was the personal development– learning the importance of self-belief, a positive outlook and perseverance — which the network marketing/direct sales industry embraces like no other.

I was first introduced to Master Manifesters like Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Les Brown and Tony Robbins by the industry. None of them claimed success would come easy. But all of them said it was POSSIBLE for anyone to succeed, and I knew they were right. They are the reason I eventually chose to become a Personal Success Coach. That was the greatest of many gifts that network marketing gave me.

Like my role models, I never tell my own clients that winning their Big Game will be easy. But I promise them it is 100% possible — IF they don’t make the same mistake that a handful of my past clients made in pursuing their goals: They quit. I truly believe that is the single reason they failed to reach their goals. They simply gave up too soon.

The #1 success secret for ALL my successful clients is simple: They persevered. They continued believing in their dreams even when they didn’t reach them as quickly as they imagined they would. They just kept going, even when they kept hearing “NO” – from job interviewers, possible candidates for Mr. or Ms. Right, the bathroom scale, or potential customers for their products, creative expressions, compositions or manuscripts. Even when their family, spouses, kids, teachers or partners told them it “would never work,” they did it any way. When others told them “NO,” ignored them or criticized them, they persevered and they WON.

Early in my network marketing career, when our company was just opening up the new market, I was referred to a complete stranger in Canada who was a locally-famous personal trainer. The person who recommended her said she could be a Superstar if she decided she liked the products, the company and me. I believed them.

So I called this woman once every couple of weeks, always leaving a short, polite message stating I just needed 10 minutes of her time to tell her about this important opportunity. I never got one single response from her in nine months. Nevertheless, I persevered — determined to continue leaving my polite messages until she either called me back and heard me out or told me to stop calling her, no matter how long it took.

One day, out of the blue, she called me back on Canadian Thanksgiving. She apologized for not replying sooner, explaining that she trained clients in her home basement gym 10-12 hours a day six or seven days a week and this was the first day off she’d had in months. She said she decided to call me back because she appreciated that I was “politely persistent.” And that’s how we began a business partnership which ultimately gave me the second-biggest organization in all of Canada.

Success rarely comes in the form we first envisioned or the timeframe we hoped for. But it WILL come if you have a rock-solid belief in your Big Goal and if you are willing to take action and stick with it.

This is your Big Game. Imagine it is the fourth quarter and goal to go: Hang in there. Don’t quit. PERSEVERE.  

I encourage you to watch this beautiful three-minute video on Perseverance. I think you will find it inspiring and thought-provoking and I hope you will pass it on to someone who needs it too: http://www.flickspire.com/m/WalkTheTalk/Persevere

NOTE: I wish my readers in the USA a happy Valentine’s Day and President’s Day next weekend. The blog will be taking a holiday too, and will return on Sunday, February 21. 

****************** 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 awhile, 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.

“See your differences as strengths rather than handicaps. And, instead of comparing  yourself to others…be inspired by them!” – Kathy Davis in Simple Secrets: 7 Principles to Inspire Success

This week, several of my coaching clients admitted they suffer from “Facebook Envy.” Their friends and colleagues’ posts on social media appear to indicate they are enjoying more rapid success and leading more exciting, happy and fulfilling lives. One client asked me, “How do I stop comparing myself to others? It’s making me feel depressed and discouraged!”

The innate drive to compare ourselves to our peers is a survival mechanism that’s hardwired into the human Ego from caveman days. If we see another pulling ahead of us, our Ego prods us to measure ourselves against their success as a way to motivate us to try harder.

“Healthy” competition is a good thing because it gets us off the couch and makes us strive for our personal best. The “carrot” the Ego uses is the universal desire to gain recognition and tangible rewards in return for working hard and excelling at something we care about. That’s why we enter competitions and watch sports contests and awards shows. The Ego tells us that being labeled The Best at something guarantees we will be considered valuable and worthy by our peers and authority figures.

While it is certainly nice to be admired and rewarded, the truth is, you aren’t going to be cut from the herd and left to die on the savanna if you don’t come in first, or get promoted as quickly as someone else. Your placement in the social hierarchy isn’t a true measure of your value.  There is nobody else on the planet with the exact same personality, character, gifts and life purpose that YOU have. Therefore, nobody can compare to or replace you.  And because you are unique and irreplaceable, you are MORE than just “valuable” – you are PRICELESS.

Your Ego needs to understand that pushing you to compare yourself to others in order to motivate you to succeed is a “Limiting Belief” that will likely have the opposite effect of demotivating you.  Let’s examine three underlying myths about the Comparison Game:

MYTH #1: You have the FULL picture of someone else’s life. One of my clients recently admitted, “Looking at my life from the outside, everyone thinks I’m wildly successful and have it all together. The reality is that I’m a bundle of insecurities and have a mountain of debt to pay off that nobody knows about. I feel under constant pressure to succeed.”

So I asked her, “If you keep part of the truth about your life hidden from others, why would you think that you know the whole truth about THEIR life? Your colleagues post only the GOOD stuff on social media in order to motivate their Team to want to be successful too. But their lives must contain good and bad elements, just like yours. When you compare your accomplishments to theirs, based only on what they choose to let you see, aren’t you buying THEIR façade too?” Yep, she had to admit that was probably true.

MYTH #2:  It’s a level playing field. We are extremely fortunate to live in a society where if you are willing to work hard enough and steadfastly believe in your dreams, you WILL eventually succeed. Comparing how long it takes you to reach the same goal as someone else is useless because no two individuals have identical backgrounds, talents, education, experience, financial resources or contacts.

We are all inspired by individuals who overcome great disabilities, challenges or hardships to reach their dreams because we ALL have some type of handicap – including self-doubt and lack of support from loved ones. It’s never as easy as it looks from the outside. But that doesn’t mean you won’t win your game if you will just keep on playing.

Does it really matter if reaching the goal takes someone else a shorter amount of time than you?  Maybe they have some advantages you don’t, but think of the inner strength and character you will develop because your quest requires you to persevere! Imagine what our world would look like today if Edison, Disney and Jobs had given up on their dreams in the face of all the setbacks and criticism they faced? The only way you can lose your game is to quit.

MYTH #3: The Ego’s goals are the real prize. You can’t stay positive and motivated if you are in the game just for personal accolades or material rewards.  Those are great but they have a short shelf life. The Oscar ends up gathering dust on the shelf and it’s really hard to remember who won Best Actor two years ago.  Rather than allowing your Ego to fixate on the goodies you will get when you reach your goal, you must stay focused on your real WHY. What difference do you want to make for others and the world?  You won’t waste precious time on envy or pity parties if you are striving to reach a goal that is bigger than yourself.

One client told me that she originally started her network marketing business because she wanted to be able to afford a luxury vacation for her family each year. But after seeing how her leadership has empowered others on her Team, she now has a much bigger motivation for succeeding at her business. She plans to use a large portion of her earnings to support a worthy cause that helps others reach THEIR dreams.

Now, that is something her Ego can really get inspired about!

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

This New Year, 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 awhile, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!)

To schedule a F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals for the New Year and get into ACTION on making it their best year yet, have them contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.

“Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices and everything is possible.” – Cherie Carter Scott from the book One Choice

I hope you and yours had a great Christmas!   Now that it is behind us, our thoughts naturally turn to what lies ahead of us.

Each January presents you with a precious opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a fresh start for your life! Whatever happened this year — for good and for bad – will not define your NEW year. Your beliefs, expectations and the actions you take today will determine how your TOMORROW goes.

In my 11+ years as a professional Coach, I have been blessed to help over 550 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than this one did. Creating your 2016 YOUR way requires a two-step process and this week that bridges the old year and the new one is the ideal time to do it:

Step One: Complete the Old Year. You can’t create something NEW in a space that is full of old stuff. So, if you want 2016 to be more than just a replay of the same things you experienced this year, you must first complete your old year to make space for your new intentions.

The Reflections Exercise

A great “completion” process is simply to sit quietly and answer a series questions that make you think deeply about the outcomes of your past year – the good, the bad and the ugly. Answering them honestly will clarify your underlying beliefs, expectations, attitudes and actions that influenced the results you got.

At the end of every year, my coaching colleague, Sue Koch, and I give our clients a thought-provoking list of 30 questions we call the Reflections Exercise to answer.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do which influenced what happened for you last year. Determining accurately what caused your past outcomes helps you to identify new ways of thinking and being that will cause you to take NEW actions. Taking new actions will bring you new results, while continuing on “auto-pilot” inside of the same thought and behavior patterns pretty much guarantees that next year is going to bring you more of the same.

Here are a few of the thought-provoking “completion” questions we include:

Part 1 – Questions to Complete the Year

  • What promises did I break to myself and others in 2015?
  • What did I do that did not work out?
  • What do I wish I hadn’t wasted my time and energy on?
  • What do I wish I HAD expended my energy and time on but didn’t?

Part 2 – Questions for Acknowledgment and Acceptance

  • What promises did I keep to myself and others in 2015?
  • What accomplishments and milestones am I celebrating?
  • What is the biggest lesson I learned? What’s important about the lesson?
  • What am I thankful for regarding this year?

Once you have completed the 20 questions in these first two sections, you are ready to take on Part 3 – Questions for Creating Your New Year, including:

  • What do I intend to do differently in 2016?
  • What new skills or practices do I intend to put into place next year? How would that make me feel?
  • What would I most like to learn or master?  How would that make me feel?
  • What do I intend to accomplish next year that will matter most five years from now?

NOTE: This not the COMPLETE list of questions. Done right, the entire Reflections Exercise takes most people about two hours, but it can be broken up into several sessions – one sitting per section works great. You do not have to answer every question, but do focus on the ones that are most relevant to you and take an honest look, so your next year can be even better!

Click here or copy this into your browser to get the entire Reflections Exercise for powerfully completing your old year: http://wp.me/pttZj-j4

NEXT WEEK I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your NEW year with God/the Universe exactly as you would like it to be. It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself at the start of every January for the past 11 years and I know you will too!

****************** 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.

 

 

“Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness – both the ones you have received and the ones you have given – you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter.” – Dawn Markova

 In the last two blogs, we discussed gratitude and I gave a “Pay it Forward” Challenge to my readers to put the giving in their Thanksgiving by taking one specific action to bless someone else. I asked those participating to let me know what random act of kindness or generosity they performed before Thanksgiving, so we could share some creative ideas.

I was happy to share all the wonderful ways you came up with to bless and delight others (see Blog #214). But some great examples came to my attention after I had already published and I didn’t want them to be overlooked. So here is the final batch of my recent favorites:

  • I sometimes avoid taking calls from one of my relatives because we usually talk for quite awhile and I am always feeling “I’m too busy to chat right now.” But when she called me on Thanksgiving, I sat in the parking lot of a store and listened to her for an hour. She needed that and it felt so great to give her my undivided time and attention.
  • I was driving with my daughter on a cold and rainy day and saw a man standing by the side of the road with a sign that said “Need help. I am a painter. I will paint for money.” I don’t usually do this, but I asked my daughter to hand him $10. He was so grateful! And it was a blessing in another way because it gave me the opportunity to tell my daughter why I did it. Now she is excited, looking for a chance to pay it forward to someone herself.
  • I have a friend who is going through a rough time financially. I bought her a gift card for groceries. She was so grateful and told me it will really help her out.
  • My mom and I were eating when an older couple came into the diner. The wife shuffled in and the man caught my eye because he wore slippers and rings on every finger. He was really stylin’! When we left, I bought a gift card at the register and asked the manager to give it to them. He said, “That’s really nice – an act of kindness!” It gave me a warmer feeling inside than I’ve ever had before.
  • While I was in line at the grocery store this week, a somewhat frazzled man with groceries in each hand came up to the line just after me. I let him go in front of me and his whole demeanor relaxed. He said he was in a rush to make it back during half-time.   I got a chuckle out of that.
  • I noticed a man behind me in the quick check line a few days ago. He was kind of disheveled, but kind enough. He was buying a drink and it was silly for him to wait behind us. I casually said, “Sir, why don’t you go ahead of us?” He was really surprised and a great big smile spread across his face. When he got to the clerk, he shook his head and said, “She called me SIR!” He was beaming from ear to ear.

That last one puts a lump in my throat every time I think about it. It cost her absolutely nothing and I’m sure it lifted that man’s self esteem in a way that cannot be measured.

Those who pay it forward are inevitably blessed in return when someone else unexpectedly pays it forward to THEM. The woman who let the frantic football fan go ahead of her had this experience while waiting in the same checkout line:

  • The woman behind me was piling apples on the conveyor belt – “herding apples,” she said, smiling at us. My daughter said, “I love apples too!” and the woman asked if we had tried the kind called “Envy.” We hadn’t. She said, “Here, this is on me. Try it and you’ll love it.” And she told the clerk to weigh one of her apples twice to pay for the one she gave us. I’ve thought about that for a week now.

I’ll end with an article that caught my eye in the Los Angeles Times about a small but amazingly powerful act of kindness from a member of one group that often seems to be at odds with the members of another group. I quote here from the beautiful article by staff writer Veronica Rocha:

“The searing pavement was too much for the barefoot homeless woman, so she hopped around the mall parking lot, looking for spots of shade.

That drew the attention of some shoppers who thought she intended to break into parked cars. The Sheriff’s Department was called.

Deputy Bruce Pierson arrived and met ‘Franki,’ an 18-year-old who said she’d been homeless since she was 12. She had been barefoot and shoeless for two months.

‘Her feet were blacker than my boots,’ Pierson said.

That’s when he offered to buy her shoes. Franki, he said, was skeptical, but followed him into a Payless store…

Pierson said Franki was overcome with emotion as she opened several boxes of shoes.

Shopper Joshua Rounds noticed and chipped in $10 toward the purchase. At the same time, he took photographs of Pierson buying Franki shoes and posted them on Facebook. The pictures went viral.

Rounds said he was ‘thankful our city is filled with helpful police officers.’

Another shopper also offered to buy Franki shoes. In the end, she got a scarf, socks and two pairs of shoes.

The next day, Pierson found Franki with the help of fellow deputies and gave her some supplies that his wife had gathered: a sack of clothing and two bags of dog food.

Franki, her boyfriend and two large dogs had been sleeping in a bush under a tarp – living on the streets for about a year since losing their baby to sudden infant death syndrome, Pierson said.

With El Nino on the way, an area homeless group has offered to find housing or a tent for the couple, the deputy said.

Pierson, 46, said he didn’t expect the attention he has gotten because of the encounter.

‘I was raised to do the right thing,’ he said. ‘Law enforcement as a whole does this every day.   This is something that goes unnoticed.’”

This story is a reminder that there are Earth Angels among us everywhere, every day, quietly going about their business of making life better for their fellow human beings in ways big and small.

Thank you for being one of them. Never doubt that who you are and what you do matters.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************* (more…)

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