Responsibility


May 19, 2019

Hard to believe, but Memorial Day is just one week away and Summer is almost here! I am very busy preparing for the third annual Prosperity Summer Camp webinar, so I am re-publishing a lightly-edited fan favorite post from two years ago that is as relevant today as it was then. I hope it inspires you to get moving on your Action Plans so that you can have the success you deserve!

April 9, 2017

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

What critical tasks 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, it’s writing this blog.  I love to write, but I have a lot of things I’d rather doing on a beautiful Spring day besides sitting in front of my computer, trying to come up with words that might 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 that you sit on the couch, safe and comfy, not doing 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 keeping “busy” 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 tasks you DON’T want to do: Make the calls, go to the gym, update your resume and go for the job you really want, apply for a business loan, join an online dating service, call your friend and apologize for the fight you had? What would your life would look like right now?

One of my clients recently made me laugh 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?  You hate being challenged and inspired?  You hate developing yourself as a person?  You hate learning how others have overcome the same challenges you are facing? You hate stretching your belief about what is possible for you?

I was tempted to shoot back, “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 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 it 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.” THAT is what keeps me accountable.

Not everything we do is for someone else, of course.  Most of the tasks we avoid doing are uncomfortable things we don’t want to do that will bring us what we say WE want.

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 preference for avoiding all uncomfortable tasks: At the beginning of her business, she wrote down her WHY for pursuing it in vivid detail, including both the carrot and the stick. She listed all the great things a successful business could produce for her and her family AND all the tragic disappointments that would occur if she DIDN’T succeed.

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

Mel Robbins has her own simple, powerful method to counteract the Ego’s preference for safe inertia. She calls it “The 5 Second Rule.”  Most of my coaching clients have watched Mel’s short presentation about this.

I share the link to her TEDx talk with you below and urge you to spend 20 important 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 stall longer than five seconds, like a skilled legal litigator, your wily Ego will make a compelling argument for why it would be better to “wait until tomorrow” to carry out your task.  Guess what the outcome will be if you listen to that compelling little voice inside your head instead of getting into 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 TEDx talk “Stop Screwing Yourself Over” about the Five Second Rule: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc

PLEASE NOTE: Next Sunday the blog will be taking the day off for Memorial Day Weekend.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, June 2.

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  to schedule their session.   

February 24, 2019

“A chief cause of worry and unhappiness in life is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment.” – Maralee McKee, author

I really don’t want to write this blog right now.  It’s Presidents Day Weekend, and my best four-footed friend just passed away.  It’s definitely not convenient or easy for me to write this now.

Yet, I AM writing this blog today because 1) The ideas are still fresh and 2) It will free me up next Saturday to do something I REALLY want to do.  I am willing to forgo the “easy” and “comfortable” option of sitting on the couch today, reading and relaxing, in favor of a much greater gain next week. Let me explain.

My wonderful husband Rick and I made the wrenching decision to have our little nine year old canine BFF put to sleep the night before Valentine’s Day.  She had just recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur, and within a week, her health had deteriorated to the point where she was lethargic, wouldn’t eat and was struggling to breathe.  It totally sucked for us, but we knew it was the kindest option for her.

After Rick’s former canine BFF, Samantha, died in October of 2016 at the ripe old age of 16, we adopted our little Chihuahua, Diamond, from The Little Red Dog. They are an amazing non-profit dog rescue headquartered in our town. They don’t have a shelter. Instead, they have an army of volunteer canine “parents” who foster the rescued dogs in their own homes until forever homes can be found for them, sometimes taking many months.

After the extreme emotional pain of losing Samantha, I swore I would never, ever own another dog. But the house felt so empty and quiet without her presence, I decide that being one of those foster parents would give me the satisfaction of helping a needy animal, without the attachment and responsibility of being its owner.  I was SO wrong.

During the car ride home from picking up Diamond (with two hours’ notice on Halloween), Rick took one look at my blissful face and Diamond totally relaxed on my lap, and sighed, “I know….We’re keeping her.”

My life changed forever at that moment.  I was no longer able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My life was no longer just my own.  It now also belonged to this 10 pound bundle of tail-wagging love. Like any parent, I was at my “baby’s” beck and call 24/7. My daily routine centered around HER needs for walks, feedings, companionship, grooming, regular vet visits (and BIG vet dental bills), daily medications for her allergies, bathroom trips outside in the pouring rain, and regular trips to the pet store for toys and treats. Whenever Rick and I traveled, we had to arrange for a family member to come stay with her. I wrote out detailed instructions for her daily care, and worried while  we were gone that she might imagine we had deserted her like her former owners (who dumped her at the side of a Los Angeles freeway!)

What did I get in return for all this upheaval in my nice, easy routine?  Not much.  Just the greatest loyalty and unconditional love I could ever imagine.  A living being that trusted me completely and worshipped the ground I walked on. Whose whole body wriggled whenever I came into the room. Who would leave her food bowl to search for me if I left her side.  A warm, loving presence who slept in her bed by the side of my desk all day as I coached my clients and then stretched out between us on the couch every night while we enjoyed television.  Who looked into my eyes with adoration and licked my hand whenever she got the chance.

Was caring for Diamond inconvenient?  You bet.  Did it cause me extra work and worry and eventually heartache?  Oh yeah.  Was it worth it? 1000 percent YES!

Like everything in life that REALLY matters, our relationship was real work and it was worth it.  The easy, convenient things in life rarely seem to deliver much lasting joy or satisfaction.  The heartfelt Big Goals that we must sacrifice and risk something for usually bring us great reward and fulfillment.

The preparation answers that I recently received from a prospective client before our free coaching session struck me exactly like that. She said her three biggest short-term goals were: “I want to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. I want to enroll new members to join my business Team and grow my sales volume. I want to better manage my money so I can afford to move into my own apartment.” 

When asked what major obstacles stood in her way to achieving these Big Goals, she was admirably candid and insightful:

“I fall victim to immediate satisfaction. For example, I know I should save money, but going out with my friends makes me feel happy now.  I know I should eat healthier, but that glass of wine with pizza is too good.  I know I should work my business, but I’m hooked on reality TV.” 

Bingo! It’s always much easier and more comfortable to do whatever our human Ego wants to do in the moment.  But succumbing to momentary ease will never carry you to where you dream of ending up.  It will keep you stuck on the couch, eating pizza, watching TV and getting a little plumper each time you do.

Pursuing your Big Goals will be inconvenient, I can promise you.  There will never be a “perfect time” to go after them. There is only the moment when the OPPORTUNITY suddenly presents itself, like Diamond was unexpectedly handed to us.  You can grab it with gusto and give it your BEST effort and be rewarded a hundredfold in return.  Or you can stay right where you are today, doing whatever you want, whenever you want.

By the way, the thing that I REALLY want to do next Saturday is to meet our potential next adopted rescue and find our next opportunity to be inconvenienced.  Now that I have done the hard work of writing this blog for next week, I am free to do so and I can’t wait to meet our new furry Best Friend!

If you 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 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 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 for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.  

October 15, 2017

“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs

I saw a very good movie last night that demonstrates how a courageous individual’s strong belief in herself and her values, coupled with an unshakable commitment to a Big Goal enabled her to triumph over seemingly daunting odds.

“Battle of the Sexes” is the very entertaining and dramatic story of what went on behind the scenes in the lives of the principal players in the legendary 1973 tennis match between the reigning women’s champ, Billie Jean King, and retired hall of famer, compulsive gambler and showman, Bobby Riggs.

I was in college at the time, and all I was aware of then were the circus sideshow aspects of the match up, which was billed as “Libbers versus Lobbers” because the Women’s Liberation movement was just beginning to take hold. Women were speaking up for themselves and demanding equal rights and equal pay in every area of life, while the men in power at the time didn’t seem to get what all the fuss was about, believing the “fairer sex” should be content to tend to their family duties and “hobbies,” and let men continue to be the breadwinners and sports heroes.

Billie Jean was not known as a boat-rocker at the time.  She was liked and respected by other players and single-focused on improving her own game. So, when Bobby Riggs first approached her with the idea of putting on a purely money-making stunt match to determine whether a 55-year-old has-been male athlete could beat a 28-year-old woman the peak of her powers, Billie Jean initially turned him down because she didn’t want to demean the game she loved and had devoted her life to.

But she reached her breaking point when she protested the gross inequality of the women’s and men’s tournament prizes to former tennis great Jack Kramer, head of the “Old Boy’s Club” of rich white men who ran US tennis, and he responded that no woman was as good a player or as much of a draw as a male player, despite the fact that just as many tickets were sold for women’s matches as men’s. Then he proclaimed with a condescending smirk that the women should be satisfied with money that was one-eighth of the men’s purse because “men have families to support.”  She calmly answered, “I’m the breadwinner in my family” and took all the women players with her to start their own tour, underwritten by Virginia Slims cigarettes.

When Riggs finally cajoled Australian powerhouse Margaret Court into a smaller “battle of the sexes” match and won by mentally rattling her, Billie Jean realized it was up to her alone to take him on and she agreed to an epic match.

Most men in the tennis world and male celebrities of the time supported Riggs, and smugly predicted he would win.  Overconfident after beating Court, Riggs didn’t do much practicing, but devoted himself to relentlessly promoting the spectacle and stoking the flames of “war” between men and women.

What had started out as a little sexist joke bet quickly grew into a high-stakes contest that played out before a sell-out crowd of over 30,000 in the Houston Astrodome and millions of viewers in 36 countries around the world.   As the movie beautifully portrays, the match created a sense of tremendous personal responsibility for Billie Jean to “prove” that women are equally talented, competitive, entertaining and worthy of being society’s role models and heroes.

So what did Billie Jean do in the face of this immense pressure?  According to the movie, she took nothing for granted, stayed single-focused on her Big Goal and worked harder than ever at honing her game and strengthening her stamina.  She developed a strategy of not trying to match his male muscle power, but instead, keeping him running all over the court and gradually wearing him down. Most importantly, she believed in herself and never doubted for a single minute that right was on her side.

Her strategy and belief worked, and Bobby Riggs lost the epic Battle of the Sexes he had created in three straight sets. Today, Billie Jean King’s accomplishment still stands as a major milestone in the ongoing fight for women’s equality and empowerment.

But the even bigger personal lesson I see in this story for ALL human beings is summed up in a recent daily inspirational passage from my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen:

“God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny….That means you are well able to do what He has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals.  You can fulfill your dreams!  You have the ideas, the creativity and talent to be successful. You can overcome any obstacle. You have been armed with strength for every battle.

Not only has God equipped you, but He is also working on your behalf.  He has already gone before you and lined up the right people and the right opportunities.  You have everything you need to live a victorious life – you were created to excel!

You may not have seen it in the past, but if you’ll stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time; victory is on its way.”

So remember, no matter what the outer circumstances or odds you may face, no matter what the pundits’ opinions or predictions, no matter how much or how little you know about the HOW, your own Big Goals truly ARE attainable… IF you believe in yourself…. IF you believe that what you are doing is right and good…. IF you believe that God is on your side…. And IF you never, ever give up!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday October 29.

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.

 

“When you see yourself as calm, positive, truthful and possessed of high character, you behave with greater strength.  Other people respect you more.  You feel in control of yourself and the situation.” – Brian Tracy

This week’s coaching brought a blog theme to the forefront of my mind, as several of my coaching clients struggled to deal with negative people without letting it destroy their own positive mindset.

One client was unsure how to respond to a Leader in her network marketing organization who was spewing negative texts to her and other members of her Team about someone who had reached a milestone reward in the company.  She felt it was unfair that someone who had been in the business for a shorter time was receiving this recognition and reward ahead of her. The Leader tried to make someone else’s triumph mean that SHE was never going to get there herself.

Another client was very hurt by a dear friend who texted her after a social event they attended together that she wished my client would “dial it back” about discussing her business with others in a social setting.

And a third client was exhausted from caring for a sick relative who seemed unwilling to take personal responsibility for her own decisions and actions that were contributing to her problems.

At some time, we all must deal with people whose energy is negative, selfish, uncaring or even purposely hurtful.  If we allow it, their negative thoughts and actions can throw us off course in pursuing our dreams by making us doubt our own positive expectations, values and beliefs.

It’s not in their power to steal your success and joy, but it is in YOUR power if you surrender to their negativity.  That’s because the Law of Attraction says that energy attracts like energy.”  Toxic people and negative circumstances will come into your life, but it isn’t these outside forces that can harm you.  It is solely your reaction to them that either empowers or disempowers you and determines who and what is attracted into your life next.

In the first client’s case, she handled the toxic texting beautifully with a positive response of her own that said essentially, “I know you are going to reach [that same prize] soon!  Keep up the great work.”  Responding with cheerful positivity is great way to respond to someone else’s negativity.  If you respond with positivity and don’t take the bait, they will eventually stop sending gossip and negative messages your way because it’s no “fun” when others won’t join in the trash talk.  Similarly, when someone comes at you with anger, if you respond calmly and don’t fight back, their angry energy will deflate because it truly does take two to quarrel.

This is not to say that you should be a doormat or allow someone to mistreat you.  I absolutely believe in standing up for yourself and for what you believe is right.  It’s the energy behind your response that will have a positive or negative impact on YOU.  If you take it personally and allow yourself to go negative, “the terrorists win” because you have given away your power to think and behave the way YOU choose to.

In the case of the friend’s “dial it back” text that hurt my client, I tried to help her see the situation from her friend’s point of view. It takes maturity and self-confidence to consider another’s point of view, especially when it is diametrically opposed to our own.  Judging or being self-righteous toward others’ opinions, beliefs or lifestyle is a form of negative energy.

I invited my client to consider that her friend probably felt awkward in a social setting, standing on the periphery of a two-party conversation for 10 or 15 minutes, as my client politely fielded a barrage of questions from a stranger who wanted details about a product she was interested in. The friend didn’t express herself as well as she could have, for sure.  But I don’t believe she was really being unsupportive of my client’s business; she likely just felt left out and overlooked and it hurt her feelings.

I had a lot of sympathy for the client with the difficult relative.  Anyone who has ever had to care for a sick adult knows how emotionally and physically stressful it can be.  And when that person is a needy, stubborn, chronic complainer who creates problems that others have to clean up, it can be extra frustrating.

In truth, though, more than the actual caregiving, it was my client’s attitude toward her recuperating relative’s lifestyle that was wearing her out.  For example, she allowed herself to feel helpless and upset that the woman struggled out to the porch multiple times a day to smoke, even though she knew it was bad for her.  I suggested that my client allow the relative to be herself, make her own decisions, and live with the consequences.  She is not required to solve all her problems for her.  She must be compassionate and give her relative whatever support she feels she can, without feeling guilty about whatever she can’t control.  Her relative is an adult, after all.  It’s HER life and her own life lessons that she must learn.

The irony is that the recuperating relative seemed to be getting along just fine, while my client was feeling exhausted and unfocused, which was taking a toll on her OWN health, productivity and family relationships.  You cannot control anyone else, and in trying to, you can lose control of who YOU are, thinking and behaving like someone you don’t want to be. The solution is to stop trying to save others from themselves, judging them or controlling them.  Just relax, be neutral and don’t volunteer to be sucked into their life drama.

I love Brian Tracy’s powerful quote.  Let it be your guiding star in determining your own life course. You can ask yourself daily: Am I feeling calm, positive, truthful and possessed of high character”?  Am I acting “strong and in control”? If not, adjust your thoughts and actions until you can answer “Yes!”

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 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.

 

 

November 6, 2016

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.” — Payton C. March

In honor of Veteran’s Day this Friday, I want to share with you this touching message written by my good friend and fellow coach, Bob Perks.  I have edited it for length and reprinted it with permission.  It made a big impression on me in the simple way it honors every man and woman who has served our country, at great personal sacrifice, in order to preserve their fellow citizens’ democratic rights and freedoms.  It is particularly meaningful to me because I was in High School during the era he writes about, and I had family members in that war.

This small, special group among all the brave military members who served can be easily overlooked because they never came home to a hero’s welcome OR a solemn burial.  Let us honor them, along with each and every individual who has served in the armed forces during peace and war — AND their self-sacrificing families — by demonstrating our deepest gratitude for the precious rights and freedoms they fought to defend: Let us VOTE.  

“Three Taps.  POW MIA”

By Bob Perks

In a corner prominently displayed for all to see is a simple table set for one.

The lamp stays lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Above it is the world-recognized POW MIA black and white flag imprinted with the words “You are not forgotten.”

This of course is in recognition of those who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

As you look at the above picture know these facts:

The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a place of honor, set up in military dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces and during occasions such as service branch birthday balls, in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members.

The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of U.S. concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue.

Table: set for one, it is small, symbolizing the frailty of one isolated prisoner. The table is usually set close to, or within sight of, the entrance to the dining room.

For large events, the Missing Man Table is set for six places: members of the five armed services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) and a sixth place setting reminiscent of the civilians who died during service alongside the armed forces or missing during armed conflict.

Table is round to represent everlasting concern on the part of the survivors for their missing loved ones.

Tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.

Single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood that many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.

Yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.

Slice of lemon on the bread plate: represents the bitter fate of the missing.

Salt sprinkled on the bread plate: symbolic of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.

Inverted glass: represents the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake.

Lit candle: reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

Empty chair: the missing and fallen aren’t present.

In the past year I have joined and now actively participate in American Legion Post 672 in Dallas, Pennsylvania. I serve on the board. I serve food to our vets as often as I can afford.

When visiting, I often sit at one end of the Legion.  It is a great spot to watch the members.

It was from that perch, I saw my friend approach the “Missing Man Table,” pause and tap three times on the surface.

At first I thought it was just a coincidence. Then I discovered that he did it every time he walked by.

I had to ask.

You must understand that soldiers from the Vietnam Era don’t often talk about it. I step lightly into a conversation and never ask direct questions out of pure respect.

I listen.

With John, I felt comfortable enough to question this routine.

“John, forgive me for asking, but I notice that every time you walk past our table, you stop and tap on it three times.”

John is short in stature but big in pride and attitude.  He walks slowly across the room with a slight limp.

He smiled, his face slightly blushed and said, “Oh, you noticed.”

Then as he sat up he said with a prideful look on his face, “It is in memory of three buddies.”

That’s it.  I didn’t ask anything more of him.

Like me, you can inject any possible scenario into the symbolic pause and three taps.

I will wait for a proper time when I can delve a little deeper.

It was in that single moment that he and I grew a bit.

I hold a greater respect for him and I believe John was pleased that I took notice.

I served during the Vietnam Era but nowhere near the war.  In fact, my time was really toward the end of the war and I remained stateside.

Those men and women returned to their country without parades, welcome home banners or any recognition for time served in hell.

The Table in my legion reminds us daily that many never came home.

I know of three thanks to John.

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

“You alone are enough…you have nothing to prove to anybody.” – Maya Angelou

Recently, I witnessed anew the power of a mindset shift that I shared with you in Blog #155.  (You can find it on my website in the blog archives if you missed it.)

In that blog, I detailed how the wisdom found in the I Ching helped me settle a potentially disastrous conflict with the IRS. It was the single most terrifying obstacle my husband and I faced in five years of struggling to overcome the devastating financial effects the Great Recession had on his and my businesses.

After losing two homes, a car and filing for bankruptcy, we still owed federal taxes that had grown, with penalties, to the mid-five figures.  With the help of our positivity-thinking accountant, we submitted an Offer in Compromise that laid out in painstaking detail just how little income we had to pay off the debt and still keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.

Having done everything we knew to be right — being thrifty, truthful and focused on the outcome we wanted instead of an outcome we feared — I had complete faith that God/The Universe was on our side, the side of Truth. So when I got the IRS rejection letter, I felt like everything I had coached hundreds of clients to believe about the Law of Attraction might just be bunk after all. It made me really angry and I sputtered for days about how unfair and wrong the IRS and its “stupid” agents were.

Thankfully, God/The Universe didn’t give up on us. I was guided in a seemingly-random way to a daily reading in a little book of ancient Chinese wisdom called the I Ching that taught me the BEST approach to resolving a serious conflict:

“The I Ching teaches a simple but effective method of influencing difficult people and arduous situations.  It advises us first to lay aside our prejudices – our feelings of being wounded, angry or in the right – and second to seek to understand the positions of others and the lesson that the Sage is teaching us with the situation.  Even when another is truly out of line, it is only by accepting this and remaining balanced that you make it possible for positive change to occur.  Gentleness and understanding create in others an unconscious willingness to be led.” 

That was a life-changing Ah-Ha Moment for me — realizing that being angry and self-righteous toward an entity that had complete power to either free us or seal our doom was NOT a good approach. So we regrouped, submitted an appeal and the independent arbitrator who reviewed our case was helpful, even-handed and ultimately ruled in OUR favor over the IRS!  We settled our tax debt for 25 cents on the dollar and got a fresh start to create the debt-free financial freedom we are so grateful to enjoy today. 

For me, what this really boils down to is that in order to receive the support or collaboration we ultimately want from another person, we must give up the right to self-righteously prove to them that their position is “wrong.”  Just pause a moment and reflect on a time when someone went out of their way to prove YOU wrong. Did you feel grateful to them for showing you the error of your ways?

“I told you so” is NOT an effective approach to getting another to understand your position. Yet, when faced with a conflicting point of view, the human Ego seems hard-wired to become defensive and try to prove itself “right” at all costs.

Despite knowing the effectiveness of remaining positive, emotionally balanced and non-defensive while seeking to understand the other person’s point of view, at one time or another, we all succumb to an overwhelming urge to prove ourselves “right,” with results that are usually self-destructive.

I recently coached a young friend about what I learned from my experience with the IRS and urged him to apply it to an equally critical issue he was having with an authority figure who has complete control over his life.

Some longtime readers will remember my blogs about “Mitch,” who made a very bad choice in his early 20s. Mitch is sensitive, funny and intelligent. He is a techno-whiz who used to help me with my computer issues. He graduated from college and planned to be a teacher. I know Mitch well and truly believe him to be a good person who would never intentionally hurt another human being.

But Mitch was also very naïve and immature, and with little thought, he committed a crime over the internet. When caught, he took full responsibility, resulting in a felony conviction and several years’ incarceration in a federal prison.

Surrounded by serious criminals and gang members, he stayed laser-focused on being a model prisoner, not getting hurt, becoming a good father and role model for his young son, and returning to the “outside” to rebuild his life as best he could. For a couple of years, we did coaching by mail, which helped him to stay positive and to support some other prisoners to do the same.

Since being released to parole in 2012, Mitch has been a hardworking, productive member of society who meticulously follows all the rules of his parole – reporting regularly to his Parole Officer, steering away from bad influences and staying clean and sober. He currently holds two jobs, commuting over an hour each way every day from his very modest apartment in another county, where he eventually found one of the few landlords willing to rent to a convicted felon.

He was recently re-assigned to a new Parole Officer — a no-nonsense, by-the-book type of official. Despite Mitch’s impeccable parole record, she has treated him with suspicion and tested his trustworthiness over and over in various ways. She ordered frequent drug testing (despite him not being a drug user or drinker before or after his incarceration), polygraphs and spot-searches of his home while he is at work. Admitting she is within her rights to do all these things, Mitch was still incensed that she seems to have it in for him and appears to want to trip him up in some way.

The last straw was when she insisted that he reveal his prison record, not just to potential employers, but to everyone he regularly associates with. Feeling defensive and angry that one of his very few remaining rights to privacy was being violated, Mitch called me for coaching one night.  He had retained a lawyer and said he was prepared to fight his Parole Officer in court.

At the same time, there was something he desperately wanted – to move to the county in which he works and where his family lives. This would greatly improve his quality of  life and one of his relatives had generously agreed to have him live with her family. The catch is that moving to another county under the supervision of a different Parole Officer required the permission of his current Parole Officer.

I saw where this was going, so I asked him if he remembered my earlier blog about the I Ching teaching on how to deal effectively with adversaries and how it had helped me to triumph in my conflict with the IRS. He did.

I reminded him that when someone is in a position to materially affect your well-being – be they a client, boss, partner, landlord, or the IRS —  attempting to prove them “wrong” and yourself “right” is a surefire way to win the battle and lose the war.  He got it. I sent him another copy of the I Ching reading and he promised to read it daily and think carefully before he decided his next steps.

A week or two later, I got another phone call from him.  He was pleased to report that he had re-read the I Ching and decided to request a personal meeting with his Parole Officer, instead of having his attorney contact her. They talked calmly for three hours. He conceded to taking certain steps she wanted him to take to prove his honesty to her. And she agreed that if he did so, she would sign the release for him to move to the other county.  He is happily making plans to do so right now.

As the old saying goes, “You can be right or you can be happy.”  I believe you can be both, as long as you realize that you don’t need public approval to validate you. As long as you know you are doing the right thing, you can be sure of the approval of your Highest Self and God/The Universe. And that should be more than enough to make you happy.

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.

 

 

“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.   

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