Purpose


June 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 10, 2018

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

I am sure you have a number of important Big Goals you want to achieve in many areas of your life.  Some will take a matter of weeks or months to fulfill (like planning a great summer vacation), while others can take years or maybe even a lifetime.  How do you sustain the necessary daily focus and enthusiasm it takes to reach a goal that seems pretty far down the road… When it’s just an average Wednesday?

I believe the first thing you have to do is get crystal clear on your WHY.  What is the compelling reason you are making the effort to pursue your Big Goal in the first place?  What will it mean to you when you when you have attained it?

Without a compelling Why, every day can feel like just another Wednesday full of To-Dos, errands, and action steps you promised to take but are now looking for an excuse not to do, even though you recognize that they are the stepping stones that will carry you to your Big Goal.

The good news is that you CAN motivate yourself on a daily basis to do that stuff that nobody WANTS to do to build your business, get your degree, work your way up the corporate ladder, write your novel, learn a skill that will change your life, etc.

In Get Over your Damn SelfRomi Neustadt, a very successful Leader in the network marketing industry, suggests four simple questions you can journal the answers to that will help you dig down to find your fundamental REASON for reaching a Big Goal and why it is worth making the daily effort to reach it:

  • What is your WHY? (Peel back the onion to get to your real WHY).
  • Why is this so important to you? Get really specific here. How do you see this changing your life, affecting your family, helping you get where you want to be long-term?
  • If you don’t achieve your WHY, what’s the pain you’ll experience? In other words, what’s the cost you’ll pay in your life by not taking action [to reach your Big Goal]? Really flesh out this part. What will you and your family miss out on in life? How will this affect your confidence and your self-esteem?
  • Look ahead into the future. If you don’t achieve your WHY, where will you be and what will you have given up, all because you didn’t follow through and take action on what was important?

After you have answered these questions honestly, Romi says, “Read this every day for three weeks.  I found it very helpful to read it first thing in the morning, even before my feet hit the floor, to help set my intention for the day.  You may decide to do it before you go to sleep.  It doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you do it.  Every day for 21 days.”

Another tip to help you get motivated to carry out the actions/activities that aren’t so fun and glamorous on an “average Wednesday” is to create an empowering “context” for what you are REALLY up to.  If you can’t see a direct connection between what you are currently DOING and an inspiring, worthwhile OUTCOME that all your hard work will eventually lead to, you won’t be willing to do the work.

I recently had a context-shifting conversation with one of my coaching clients that helped her uncover a new, MUCH more important WHY to inspire her to work daily on building her network marketing business with focus and enthusiasm.

She confessed that she just wasn’t feeling motivated to do the work to achieve the next rung on the Leadership ladder.  Titles didn’t mean anything to her.  Her WHY wasn’t financial, because her family is already pretty comfortable.  She liked the idea of being able to provide some nice “extras” for them, but they didn’t really NEED her business income in order to have a good life.  She was trying, but she just couldn’t find a compelling reason to get up every day and go after this goal like it mattered to her.

But when I asked her about the other people she could bring into the business if she would just pick up the phone and reach out to them, she started to perk up.  She is a natural giver and what really lights her up is helping others.  As we talked, she began to see that by not reaching out to these people, she could be depriving them of the opportunity to change their lives in ways that might be really important to THEM.

Suddenly, her energy shifted and her new, empowering context for “building a Team” was no longer what title or goodies SHE could attain from doing the work. Her new WHY for succeeding in her business became helping as many others as possible achieve THEIR WHYs.  They might never achieve their Big Goals, unless she makes a consistent effort to reach out to them with passion and enthusiasm!

A week later, she reported making a LOT more calls to prospective business partners.  Even her husband had noticed a marked change in her and asked her what was different about her business these days.  She told him about her NEW Why and he marveled that he had not seen her so passionate about her business since she first started it.

“I’ve never felt as positive or comfortable with my business as I do now,” she said. “My husband was really impressed.  He could tell.  He said I sounded like a completely different person.  I FEEL better than I have in a long time!”

Building a large, thriving team of successful business partners is going to be a years-long endeavor for her.  But with this new, empowering context, she can turn each “ordinary” day into an extraordinary opportunity to change someone else’s life.

And that’s worth getting out of bed for!

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

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

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

 

May 13, 2018

“Determination, energy and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something.  We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

As the stratospheric box office numbers for the newest Avengers movie will attest, we are a Superhero-obsessed culture these days.  And female Superheroes are becoming just as popular as the male versions. Superheroes like Wonder Woman, Black Widow and Supergirl serve as strong, resourceful and intelligent role models for girls and boys alike.

But I’ll tell you who the REAL female Superheroes in our world are: Moms.

Soccer Moms. Working moms. Moms in boardrooms and Moms in minivans.  Moms who sign the paychecks and Moms who mop the floors and take out the trash.

They are strong, resourceful, visionary and determined because they have a Why that is bigger than themselves.  They care deeply about their families and will do whatever it takes to create a better future for their children. They are fierce, resilient and filled with grit and gusto. They are lady warriors in high heels or sneakers. They are in pursuit of a Greater Purpose and they are after it 24/7.

I am blessed to coach many of these real-life Superheroes.  I marvel at them and do my best to support and nurture them to value themselves and pursue their Big Dreams with belief and passion.

I am in awe as I see them work their day jobs, come home to fix dinner, help with homework and then give up much-needed sleep to spend an hour or two building a business that will provide the future they dream of for their families.  Some of them work from home, which is just as challenging, because everyone around them thinks they have plenty of time on their hands, and routinely call on them to help with the charity bazaar, assist in the classroom, chauffeur the soccer team, help their husbands with THEIR careers….etc. etc. etc. Just like the full-time working moms, stay-at-home Superhero Moms must squeeze in the time to grow their businesses and build their dreams.

Some of my Superhero Mom clients are single parents, with no backup if they or their children get the flu or the car breaks down. It’s all heaped on their slim shoulders.  Do they cry about it?  Nope. They suck it up and JUST DO IT.  Superhero Moms have no time for pity parties.  Stuff needs doing.  Big Dreams need fulfilling.  Either lend them a hand or get out of their way.

Some of them are also in the midst of ugly divorces and custody battles.  I cannot imagine what it is like for them to be a single parent, hold down a job, work on building a part-time business AND have to deal with a jerk whose highest aim is to sabotage them, just for spite.

How do these Superhero Moms respond to such abuse?  They lift their chins, turn away and get back to building a great future for their kids. The opposition makes them even MORE determined to succeed on their own terms.  They are the very definition of “indomitable.”

So what is the Greater Purpose that drives these Superheroes in high heels? Time.  They want more time to spend with their families and to play a big role in their children’s lives as they grow. They are committed to instilling their deepest values in them and proving to them that even their wildest dreams CAN come true — and not just in fairy tales or comic books.

So here’s to ALL the too-often-taken-for-granted, undercover Superhero Moms who walk among us – our wives, mothers, relatives, friends, teachers and colleagues.  Let’s pause this Mother’s Day (and hopefully, EVERY day) to express our admiration and gratitude to them. Let’s treat them like the Superheroes they truly are.   After all, they are saving the future of the World by pursuing their Greater Purpose.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t miss out! It’s almost time for the second-annual Prosperity Summer Camp 7-week webinar in June and July.  Watch for the special email about it this week. Registration is open, so if you want to be one of the lucky 90 participants who are going to learn exactly how to make their Big Dreams a REALITY using the Law of Attraction, email me TODAY for information.  The first 40 who register will be entered to win a free MONTH of private coaching with me as well.  So don’t delay.  Space is limited and going FAST.  Contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!

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

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

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

March 18, 2018

“Go beyond your own boundaries to your own possibilities.” – Louise Hay

Today’s blog is much shorter than usual.  It’s a simple, straightforward message that my clients need to hear, I need to hear, and I’m sure every one of my readers needs to hear at some point in their lives: Quit worrying about what OTHERS think of you and your Big Goals.

Only two opinions matter – Yours and God’s.  One of those beings created you and put those desires in your heart. (The word “desire” actually means “of the Father” in Latin).  The other one is YOU, the only being who has complete free will to pursue those desires or let them die.

If you want your desires to become your reality, your only option is to “Just Do It” with everything you’ve got.  You must shut out your well-meaning friends’ and family’s opinions about your Big Goals and how you should live YOUR life.  They don’t have to live with the consequences of you dying with your dreams unborn….YOU do. They don’t have to take the risks….YOU do.  They won’t reap the sweet rewards of your success…. YOU will!

Here’s a great perspective from my favorite tele-minister, Joel Osteen. The remarkable success of the mega church he and his wife Victoria lead in Houston has been the focus of some armchair critics who probably have never built anything in their lives.  Yet, thousands and thousands of people flock there every week and millions more watch on television to hear his messages of faith, hope and positivity, urging them to pursue their biggest dreams.

“Beyond Critical Voices

Anytime you set out to do something great in life, there will be critics.  If you’re going to be a great business person, coach, student, leader or employee, there will be opposition.  The more success you have, the more opportunities there will be for distractions. The higher you go, the more haters will come out.  When you start stretching to a new level and pursuing what God has placed in your heart, the jealous people, the critical people, and the small-minded people come out of the woodwork and start making negative comments but you don’t have to let that distract you.

If you are under pressure today, if the critical voices are coming against you, know that it’s because you are making a difference.  Don’t let them throw you off course.  Instead, dig your heels in, set your face like a flint and say, ‘I will not get distracted.  I will not get drawn into battles that don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what others think; it matters what God thinks!’

Today, look beyond the critics.  Stand strong in adversity.  Press forward to what lies ahead and win the prize of life that He has prepared for you!”

Scale that wall…. Just. Do. It.

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

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

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

“The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

This is the most challenging blog I have ever written.  It is very close to my heart and still very raw and emotional.  Mainly, it is a challenge because I don’t think I can ever do justice to the subject.

The subject is the passing of a dear friend of mine.  I met Jerry Tagami when I was 17 years old.  He was my teacher, my role model, my husband for 12 years, and ultimately, he was my dear friend.  He was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known, in that he seemed to live every day just happy to be alive and able to contribute to someone else’s day.

Although he was too young to remember his first years of life, I am sure they were embedded in his soul in some way.  He was born on May 13, 1943 in the hot, bleak spot of Gila River, Arizona. Through absolutely no fault of their own, his American-born parents and relatives and many other hard-working US citizens of Japanese ancestry who lived on the West Coast were rounded up and sent to internment camps during WW II. This was due to the US government’s unjustified fear that they might want to aid the Japanese in conquering the only country they had ever known.  Jerry’s father, Kay Tagami, fought in Europe as part of the highly-decorated 442nd battalion and eventually his family was released from the camp to start life over in the Midwest.

But this isn’t the topic of my blog.  I just wanted to make it clear that Jerry began his life in the most difficult of circumstances.  When he was old enough to realize that, he could have felt justifiably bitter.  Instead, he emulated his parents, who forgave what was done to them and made the very best life they could for him and his sister in their new home of Chicago. When Ronald Reagan’s administration eventually gave him $20,000 in restitution, he did a very Jerry-like thing: He bought a big Harley Davidson motorcycle.  I guess he thought that living well really IS the best revenge!

Jerry loved English literature, and planned to get his PhD at the University of California, Irvine and then teach at the university level.  To sustain himself, he got a “temporary” job teaching English at Newport Harbor High School, beginning in my senior year.  Soon, however, he realized that he could have more fun and make a greater difference for young people at this impressionable age than he ever could in the university system. So, he quit the PhD program with an MBA and settled into the life he really loved.

After 34 years of teaching and just six months into his second, very happy, marriage to his soul-mate, Diane, the most unimaginable tragedy befell them – Jerry suffered a brain aneurysm, which nearly took his life.  Skillful doctors saved him, but he suffered profound short-term memory loss.  Thank God, he still knew who Diane, their family and most of his friends (including me), were. He could even recall with precise detail events that happened back in his early days at Newport Harbor High.  He loved to reminisce about his classes, fun travels and good times with Diane and his friends, who were mostly other teachers.  But Jerry could not be left alone while Diane was at work, or he would wander down the street and forget where he lived. So reluctantly, she had to entrust him to the daily care of loving nurses at a nearby home facility, where she and his old friends visited him regularly and took him on outings as much as his deteriorating body would allow.

On September 11, 2016 at age 73, after 13 years of being lovingly and loyally cared about and for by his amazing love, Diane, Jerry succumbed to a second unfair tragedy – lung cancer.  Two days ago, I attended his memorial celebration in Newport Beach, along with 100 or so old friends, nurses, former workmates and students who loved, admired and were grateful to have had him in their lives.

I have to admit, the tragic side of Jerry’s story is the one thing in life that has ever made me question my belief in an all-loving, all-powerful God.  Still, I have come to accept it as just one of those great mysteries of life – Why do bad things happen to good people? We won’t have the definitive answer until we are wherever Jerry is right now.  I’ll bet he wishes he could prepare an amusing and enlightening lecture on the topic, to save us the anguish we are all feeling at the loss of him.

Since I know that we always have a CHOICE of what to focus on, I choose to focus on what I DO know for sure: Jerry Tagami’s life, while far too short in duration, was filled with more joy, enthusiasm, impact and meaning than 10 lifetimes would be for most of us.

Sometimes as I watch the evening news, I feel helpless about the huge problems that appear to beset just about every part of the world.  I wonder, “What can I do… What the heck can one ordinary person do about all of this?” But as I sat there during Jerry’s life celebration, listening to his friends and family members speak about his legacy – the enormous influence he had on their lives — I realized that there is a LOT each of us can do to make a difference for our fellow human beings.

For me, the most impactful memories were shared by Diane Tagami.  She read an email that was sent to her recently by one of Jerry’s former students.  The writer said she felt isolated and alienated during her high school years and her English teacher seemed to sense this intuitively. On the last day of class before Winter Break, Mr. Tagami took her aside and gave her a little book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Milay.  He told her those poems had helped him get through some tough times and he hoped she would like them, too.

The woman confessed in her email that she had been planning to commit suicide over the vacation, but when Jerry said to her firmly, “And I look forward to seeing YOU after the break,” she changed her mind. If Mr. Tagami cared about seeing her again in his classroom, that was proof that she was worth something.

We rarely appreciate the profound impact our small daily kindnesses – a word of encouragement, a smile, a listening ear, spare change — can have on someone else.  The thousands of students Jerry taught and  the friends and family he will always have were forever changed for the better by his gentle, wry wit, wise insight, unflagging encouragement, enthusiasm, love and quiet compassion.  I know that these little “pebbles” he dropped into our lives created ripples that will continue to expand outward to bless many, many others through us.

Thus, the impact of Jerry Tagami’s life far transcends his death, just as the unique gifts that YOU bestow on others will live on long after you depart the planet.  I leave you with this little poem. Shine, on, Jerry.  Shine on!

“Use God’s Gifts”  by Hilda Lachney Sanderson

“If you’re blessed with a loving heart,

If you’re caring, good and kind,

With many strengths and talents,

And a smart, clear-thinking mind,

Consider these as gifts from God

For you to use each day;

Rely on them as you begin

The chase of fortune’s way.

Do not forget to use God’s gifts

In what you choose to be,

Mix success with peace and love and generosity.

Acknowledge that strong voice within

That tells you right from wrong;

Console, encourage, lift others up,

And keep a faith that’s strong,

Use wisely all God’s gifts to you;

Stay true to what you are,

And you will prosper in this life

As God’s own shining star.”

If you would like your own free subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll 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 email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com 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.   

“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.” – Wayne Dyer

When I read my favorite Los Angeles Times column this morning, I got a huge shock. Chris Erskine writes humorously about his adventures as the dad to a family of four kids. Today, he announced that the youngest — “the little guy” –just turned 13.

I can distinctly remember when he announced that his wife had just told him a “surprise” baby was on the way — 11 years after their youngest child was born. I could not believe I have been reading that same column for almost 14 years now, since moving back to Orange County after living in Northern California for 15 years!

It took me back to the time when I was hit by a car while riding my bike to school. As I flew through the air in what seemed like endless slow motion, major events from my life flashed through my mind in rapid succession. While I was not seriously hurt, I learned that day that highlights from your life really do “flash before your eyes” when you are in physical danger. Only I had a lot LESS life to flash at age 13 than I do now.

But as Erskine’s column brought back to me in vivid flashes, my most recent 13 years of life have been filled with many ups and downs in some very important areas, notably love, career and finances. Where I was 13 years ago and where I am today could not be more different.

Then, newly single, having amicably split from my second husband the year before, I decided to move back to the area where I grew up. My closest friends at the time lived elsewhere, so it was uncharted territory for me to be completely on my own for the first time in my life.

I took a job I thought I would love in fundraising for a therapeutic horseback riding organization that served people of all ages with a wide spectrum of emotional, mental and physical challenges. I love horses and I love helping others, so it seemed that my Dream Job had been delivered at last! But one year into it, I got the rug pulled out from under me, so I decided to go back to community college to enhance my skills and try for a career in my second love, writing and editing.

I learned a lot from my wonderful professor, who helped me get a job as a magazine editor right after I completed the class. I thought that was going to be bliss. But my daily scenic commute to the office in San Diego was 100 miles a day and my bosses were difficult to work for, so I quit after another year, feeling I had really lost my way. What in the heck was I supposed to be doing with my life? What was my purpose?

Ask and ye shall receive! I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do and very soon I was guided into coaching. I won’t go into the many twists and turns of how that came about, but suffice to say that while my Ego thought I was doing one thing, my Higher Self was actually listening to Divine direction and I was being guided to exactly where I belonged.

Since 2004, I have never regretted one single minute of my time spent as a professional coach. I can’t wait to get up each day and help others reach their Big Goals. It is both financially rewarding and emotionally fulfilling AND I absolutely love being my own boss. At last, my Higher Self and my Ego were BOTH happy.

As I slowly built my client base, I didn’t yet make enough to pay all my expenses, but I still felt the need to invest in and travel to workshops that would further enhance my coaching skills. Thankfully, this was during the real estate boom, which enabled me to take money out of my house, or else I would have been forced to go back to work for someone else. (Perhaps my BIGGEST life lesson learned during the past 13 years is that when you truly are on a purposeful path, God/The Universe always provides whatever you need to continue the journey.)

Then, as if by magic, I met and fell in love with Rick, a handsome widower, who was also a happy and successful Realtor. I was part of a two-income family again and I imagined that, having survived the greatest financial challenge of my life, it finally looked like smooth sailing into Dreams-Come-True Land for us!

Not quite. Soon after we married and bought our big new Dream Home in 2007, the real estate market tanked and Rick’s income evaporated overnight. We held on for dear life as my coaching career and Rick’s temporary part-time job at Home Depot put food on the table and gas in the tank, but couldn’t cover the mortgage. We ran up considerable debt trying desperately to hang onto our home, thinking the Great Recession would surely be over “soon.”

I wasn’t. In 2010, we filed for bankruptcy and lost both our Dream Home and Rick’s original home that we had kept for rental income. As the final blow, Rick’s car was repossessed just a few months before being paid off.

Talk about ups and downs, huh? Over a five-year period, as we miraculously found ways to pay our rent and bare-bones expenses, every dollar that came to us was deeply appreciated. Before this financial trial, I used to think anything less than $20 was not “real” money. Now, if I find a penny on the sidewalk, I pick it up, smile and say, “Thank you, God, for this Penny from Heaven You sent as a reminder of all the abundance You rain down on us daily.”

I vividly remember two Christmases when there was literally NOTHING under the tree. Nevertheless, we grew more and more intensely grateful for our greatest blessing — a loving, healthy family (including my now 24-year-old stepson Matthew and our little dog Samantha, who just turned 15).

Two years ago, our story shifted dramatically yet again. The California real estate market finally made a comeback and Rick was very busy again. At almost the same time, my dear friend, Leslie Zann, a fabulous trainer and motivational speaker, introduced me to a few independent consultants in a direct sales company who soon became my wonderful coaching clients. They, in turn, began a non-stop flow of enthusiastic referrals to others in the same company. My client base quickly tripled and today, almost every coaching slot I have is full. Where we are in our careers and finances today would have been unimaginable to me just three years ago.

But I don’t credit just the end of the Great Recession or generous referrals for our dramatic turnaround. I know that the outward changes that have happened for us reflect the shift that occurred internally — a shift we might never have made if adversity had not forced us to.

First, we became much more truly, profoundly aware of and GRATEFUL for all the good in our lives, even the not-so-good challenges that honed our faith in God’s help and our own strength.

Secondly, with a strong attitude of gratitude, we made the same inner shift that Wayne Dyer so beautifully describes: When we stopped worrying about chasing money, and instead focused solely on what we could GIVE to others, avalanches of abundance began to flow to us. Realizing we could never have survived without the help of many kind and generous people, we became intent on paying it forward by helping othersregardless of any apparent return.

By God’s grace, via the Law of Attraction, the giving energy that we put out returned to bless us 100-fold. This Holiday Season, we are so grateful for the many financial and emotional gifts that have been bestowed on us. We are especially grateful for all the wonderful clients and friends we have been blessed to assist with our time, treasure and talents.

My special wish is that, if YOU haven’t already done so, you will be able to make your own internal shift in a much easier way than we had to. I hope you will use your special and unique time, treasure and talents to help as many people as you can, without worrying about “What’s in it for ME?” If you do, I promise there will be far MORE in it for you than you can now imagine!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will take the next weekend off so I can enjoy my annual Girls’ Weekend in San Diego with two of my dearest friends. Then, right after Christmas, we will begin the two-step process of first completing 2015 and then beginning to create all the GOOD that you desire to come to you in 2016! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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

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

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