Service


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.  

January 27, 2019

“We need to find the courage to say ‘NO’ to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” – Barbara De Angelis

 I hope you have been enjoying creating your 2019 the way YOU want it to be, using the guidelines I gave you in the last blog (Your Time to Shine – Blog 326).  If not, the time is NOW to get it done because it will truly set the stage for your Big Dreams to manifest sooner, rather than later!

No matter how distant your Big Dreams seem from your current reality, it is possible to reach them. Manifesting your dreams requires that you demonstrate both a real PASSION for them and a BELIEF that it is possible to achieve them. It’s not your job to know HOW you are going to get there – that is up to God/the Universe.

Your job is simply to say “YES” to your dreams.  Saying “YES” with every fiber of your being sets in motion the Law of Attraction, which states that “energy attracts like energy.”  Your “YES” energy (your thoughts plus the emotions your thoughts create in you) will attract the perfect opportunities, people and resources you will need to reach your Big Dreams.

But there is also a time for you to say “NO.” In order to make the time and space for YOUR dreams and live YOUR life with integrity and authenticity, you must sometimes say “NO” to other people’s requests.

“Having the courage to say ‘no’ to requests that are unnecessary could be your most effective time-management tool!  Never say ‘yes’ without considering the time investment you are committing to. Ask yourself, ‘What is the potential consequence of saying ‘no’?  Then make a good decision on what you commit to.  Be incredibly selective about your commitments.” – From the book 175 Ways to Get More Done in Less Time by David Cottrell and Mark Layton

This can be emotionally hard to do, especially for recovering “people-pleasers” like me.

For much of my life, my knee-jerk reaction to just about every request made of me was always “YES!”  Even if it was something I wouldn’t have chosen to pursue for my own happiness or fulfillment, I generally agreed to the assignment in a misguided attempt to “help” the nice person asking me to perform the task.  My thought was, “If I don’t help them, who will?” (If you say that same thing to yourself, NOW is the time to stop!)

Most of the time, I was saying “Yes” to other people’s requests strictly out of guilt.  And guilt is a negative emotional energy that will NOT engage the Law of Attraction to help you perform a task with ease and efficiency!  Thus, at the end of such a “self-coerced” project, I often felt emotionally and physically drained and resentful of both the good work I had done and the good person who had innocently made the request.

In the early 2000s, I was asked to volunteer my time with a worthy organization that relied heavily on unpaid volunteers to do much of the work.  Were it not for an army of volunteers, the organization couldn’t have offered their services at low rates to the people who needed them most.

Since I had personally benefited from their services and believed in their work — and had skills they could use — they naturally approached me and asked me to “give back.” At first, it was just a few hours a week, which didn’t seem like much to ask in return for all that I had received.  But as my skills grew and the workload increased, the requests for my time grew as well.

For the first year, volunteering was a fun, challenging and personally enriching experience, even though I was beginning to struggle to find the time, as my fledgling coaching practice was just beginning to grow.

By the beginning of year two, I found myself performing 15-20 hours a week of unpaid work for a cause whose time had passed for me. I had gotten all there was to get out of the work I was doing there, and it had become simply a repetitive chore for me.  I was not one of the “Yes, we can!” people who came there eagerly each week, happy to be contributing to the cause.  The work was still purposeful for them, but it no longer was for me.  I felt more and more resentment. I knew in my heart that I was done.  Yet, I lacked the courage to simply say “NO” every time the volunteer coordinator called me.

Finally, tired and depressed, I was forced to ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” The honest answer turned out to be my guilt-ridden belief that “If I don’t help them, who will?” When I forced myself to think about it, the answer to that well-meaning question was very clear: The people who will help are those for whom this work is purposeful!

My Ah-Ha Moment was realizing that, by “contributing” my time out of guilt instead of genuine passion, I was doing an uninspired job that neither forwarded the work nor reflected the spirit of the organization.  I was occupying space that could have been an opportunity for the RIGHT person to contribute their skills, to grow and develop and experience fulfillment, just as I once had.  By lacking the integrity to say “NO,” I was not only depriving myself of the opportunity to pursue purposeful activity, but I was also selfishly depriving someone else of their opportunity to contribute their priceless gifts.

After this self-revelation, I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I called organization’s volunteer coordinator to resign after giving three years of weekly service. I didn’t beat around the bush, explain myself or make excuses. I knew from studying the Law of Attraction that defensive, “guilty” energy would only attract similar negative energy.

Recovering People-Pleasers take note: Well-meaning people who attempt to cajole you into participating in their projects will view your attempted “explanation” as a sign that you are wavering and will try to pressure you further.  I recommend stating firmly and simply, without a hint of guilt, “Thank you for thinking of me for this opportunity, but I am going to say No.  I wish you all the best with your project.”  You will be amazed at their reaction!

The volunteer coordinator replied that he understood and thanked me for my service. It was that simple to free myself from the time and emotional bondage that was preventing me from pursuing my OWN Big Dreams!

So, if you are still saying a guilt-induced “Yes” to hobbies, committees, politics, a dead-end career or personal relationship which no longer serves you, please know that you are preventing another soul from bestowing his or her priceless gifts on the world.  And, you are depriving yourself of the joy, prosperity and fulfillment that will come from living a life of authentic, purposeful self-expression.

So what are you waiting for?  Pick up the phone right now and “Just say No!” Then you will be free to pursue your own authentic Big Dreams — the ones you are passionate about and truly believe in….the ones that make you say, “YES, I can!”

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

December 16, 2018

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” – Sally Koch

“The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free.” – Robert Brault

What an inspiring week it’s been for me!  After the blog with your annual Pay it Forward Challenge stories came out two weeks ago, many readers were inspired to step it up even MORE to show their gratitude for their many blessings in life by spreading charity, emotional support, kindness and joy to others. 

Here are some of my favorites from all the new stories shared with me:

In the News:

My favorite two stories from the daily GoodNewsNetwork.org emails I subscribe to were these:

  • Kelsey Rae Zwick had been flying from Orlando to Philadelphia with her 11-month-old daughter Lucy earlier this week. Since the baby suffers from chronic lung disease, the two of them were heading to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for treatment.

“I was pushing a stroller, had a diaper bag on my arm and also lugging an oxygen machine for my daughter,” wrote Zwick in an open Facebook letter to the passenger. “We had smiles on our faces as we were headed to see her ‘friends’ at CHOP.”

As they settled into their pre-boarded seats, Zwick was stunned to be approached by a flight attendant who said that a man in first class (an Executive Platinum frequent flyer) wanted to switch seats with her.

“Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed!” Zwick  wrote to the kind stranger. “Thank you.  Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime… we will pay it forward.”

  • When a young boy mailed a birthday card to his father in heaven earlier this month,he was surprised – and comforted – to get a response. Since his father passed away four years ago, 7-year-old Jase Hyndman in Scotland mailed the card as a means of wishing his dad a happy birthday.

Instead of an address on the front of the envelope, however, Jase simply wrote: “Mr. Postman, can you take this to heaven for my dad’s birthday. Thanks.”

Assistant delivery office manager Sean Milligan from the UK’s Royal Mail service wrote a response to reassure the youngster that his card was in good hands.

“Dear Jase,” reads the letter, “While we’ve been delivering your post, we’ve become aware of some concerns. So I just wanted to take this opportunity to contact you about how we succeeded in the delivery of your letter, to your dad in heaven. This was a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects on route to heaven. I will continue to do all I can to ensure delivery to heaven safely,” it concluded.

“I actually cannot state how emotional he is, knowing his dad got his card,” his mother wrote on Facebook, praising Royal Mail UK. “You didn’t have to make the effort to do this. You could have just ignored it, but the fact that you have made the effort for a little boy you’ve never met is such a lovely thing to do. Royal Mail, you’ve just restored my faith in humanity and thank you – it honestly means the world to him.”

Here are some of your own wonderful PIF random and planned acts of kindness:

  • One reader and her husband, who spend part of each year living in Mexico, take a percentage of their income every month and put it into their personal giving fund, out of which they donate to a local orphanage and an educational scholarship fund to help students go to university. Occasionally, when they come across an individual in need, they are happy to be able to say, “Let me look into our giving fund and see what we can do.”
  • Another reader purchased two extra $10 Target gift cards and gave them to the cashier to pick two random shoppers to bestow them on. “Her reaction alone was worth it!”the reader wrote.  “She was so honored to be the cashier to disperse our presents.”
  • One reader and her business Team headed up a big drive to collect diapers and baby wipes for a women and children’s shelter. Team members who delivered the supplies also took time to decorate Christmas cookies with the kids.
  • A reader told me that a customer of hers is a single mom going through a tough time financially.  She is planning to give her a generous pre-paid Visa card through a go-between, so the customer won’t know who her “Secret Santa” is.
  • A group of “Mom’s Club” Facebook friends teamed up to adopt a family and get their six year old child a bunch of wonderful Christmas presents.
  • My client was in a long line at a grocery store that only takes debit cards or cash.  A woman two carts ahead of her was struggling to find a viable payment option and people behind her were growing impatient.  My client stepped forward and said, “I got you,” paying for her items with a debit card.  The astonished woman exclaimed, “Thank you, but why would you do that for me?!” and my client just said, “I know you will pay it forward next time.”
  • An oncology nurse started a lovely giving tradition that has grown and grown over the past several years. She originally wanted to create some simple “goodie bags” filled with candy and cookies, etc. for cancer patients who were in the hospital over Christmas.  Other departments got wind of it and jumped in with their own goodies to add.  Soon, her little goodie bags had grown into the Christmas Basket Campaign, including a volunteer Santa and Mrs. Claus to pass them out and carolers to entertain, that even got coverage by a local news station. A man whose late wife had received one of the Christmas Baskets sent the hospital a note and a $500 check with his thanks, helping to ensure the program that had lifted her spirits during a very dark time would continue. 
  • One reader said her two daughters’ individual Girl Scout troops made lunches for a shelter kitchen and she and each of her girls took a shift, so she got to participate twice.
  • My reader was part of the organizing committee of a big toy drive for a huge annual  Christmas Kindness event, which this year served 154 under privileged or struggling kids and their parents. The event includes a big catered party, a Build a Bear workshop and other fun activities. Besides receiving toys, the kids get to shop at Santa’s Workshop for gifts to give their parents.  One of the families consists of four children who all lived with their aunt until she died of cancer and then their great grandmother, who just went into hospice. “That’s who we’re helping,” she said.
  • One of my clients texted me a picture of her two grandchildren.  They bought five Krispy Kreme Donut gift cards and 10 Cane’s Chicken gift cards at Sam’s Club, and the kids had a ball proclaiming “Merry Christmas,” as they handed them out to random families. “The reactions they got were priceless,”she said.
  • This is my personal favorite reader PIF story, also involving the intuitive generosity of young people: While my client and her boys were waiting in line to go into a rather pricey family fun center, her older son overheard a conversation between a mom and four kids who were behind them.  The mother hadn’t realized how much the tickets cost and she didn’t have enough money for all her kids to go in that day, so she was trying to explain to them that only some of them could go now and others would go some other time.  My client’s son quietly asked her if they could pay for the family so they could all go in together, and she put the other family’s tickets on her credit card.  As she and her sons went in, they looked back to see the astonished expression on the face of the mother, as the cashier explained that her whole family’s entry fee had been pre-paid.  Later, at home, my clients’ sons insisted on paying her back with $20 each that they had been saving.  “They didn’t realize how much the tickets really cost, but that’s a lot of money to them,” she said.  “I am so proud of them for wanting to make that sacrifice for other people they didn’t even know.”

Finally, here’s my own latest PIF demonstration:

Today at Starbucks, I again planned to give my last $5 gift card to the cashier to distribute to someone in line at random,but something told me to hold onto it.  Soon,I noticed a mom with two kids sitting across from us, waiting for their order to come up. The little girl, who was about five or six, spontaneously put both arms around her mother’s neck. The mother hugged her tight, pressing her lips against her daughter’s neck and closed her eyes in a beautiful reverie of pure unconditional love. I was so touched and inspired that on our way out, I put the $5 gift card on their table and said to the mom, “You two are so sweet, Santa told me the next one’s on him.”  She broke into a big, surprised smile and exclaimed “Thank you!” The girl and older boy looked at me with their mouths open, which just made it more fun!

I hope the wide variety of these wonderful Pay It Forward stories will inspire YOU to do even more to make the rest of this year (and far beyond) merry and bright for others. Remember, the thoughts, words, emotions and especially the DEEDS that you express will put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) into ACTION for yourself, as well…. Because the good you do for others is guaranteed to attract more GOOD to you!

PLEASE NOTE: This is the final blog of 2018.  Look for the next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday January 6.  It will be a very special one to help you get your 2019 off to a successful start! In the meantime, I wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

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.

December 9, 2018

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” – Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Besides decorating my Christmas tree, my favorite holiday tradition is to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, my wonderful husband Rick and our beloved four-footed “daughter” Diamond to watch Christmas movies.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we watch the same dozen or so every year. 

Among my favorites are A Christmas Story, Elf, The Nightmare before Christmas, Fred Claus, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Love Actually and my ALL-TIME favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life.  I always save that one for Christmas Eve because, to me, it has the most heartfelt and special message.

Ironically, when IAWL first debuted in 1946, it was panned by critics and largely ignored by audiences as being “too dark” for a holiday movie.  But with time, its important message came to be appreciated, and now it is beloved by just about everyone. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings” has become part of the American lexicon and two of the first Sesame Street Muppets were named after a couple of characters in it, Bert and Ernie.

The story’s hero, George Bailey (played to perfection by Jimmy Stewart), is a decent, caring man who has spent his whole life doing the right thing to help others, often sacrificing his own dreams in the process.  One Christmas Eve, facing scandal and prison for a financial crime he didn’t commit, George plans to jump off a bridge, hoping his life insurance policy will help his family survive after he’s gone.

Clarence, George’s naive, slightly dim, but unstoppably optimistic Guardian Angel, is dispatched by God to help George see that his life is priceless and should not be thrown away.  Clarence prevents George from committing suicide and then proceeds to show the despairing man just how much worse the lives of his loved ones and neighbors — and even the town itself — would be if George had never been born.  The core message of It’s A Wonderful Life is this: Each of us makes a difference.  We bless more lives than we realize, and the world would not be the same if we had never been born. 

Since this is the time of year when most of us take stock of our current failures and successes, it’s a great time to ponder this question: What difference did I make for others this year?  As George Bailey learns, that’s what REALLY makes life meaningful and fulfilling.

You can ask yourself that question as you review each of these key areas of life, to assess how you did in 2018:

  • What difference did I make in my career or business?  What customers are happier because you helped them solve a problem?  What colleagues did you help to get what they want?  Who did you teach or mentor or give support to?  Where would all these people be if you had not been there for them? I get a warm, satisfied feeling every time one of my coaching clients acknowledges that the tools I taught her have helped her to succeed and made her value and love herself more.
  • What difference did I make for my partner or spouse? How did you support him or her with their dreams? How did you help them strengthen their belief in themselves by acknowledging them and telling them you believe in them?  How did you show them gratitude for all they do and who they are for you? How did you make them feel GREAT about themselves?  On top of working hard at his real estate business each day, my incredible husband Rick does ALL the shopping and cooking and helps with many chores around the house. He always treats me like a Queen, and I make sure to regularly thank him for his contributions because I want to be sure he knows he is my King! 
  • What difference did I make for my friends and loved ones? How did you support your friends, kids, parents, siblings, extended family?  Some of my clients took in relatives who needed help, looked after a grandchild or ailing parent, reunited with their estranged siblings, showed their kids many kinds of unconditional love that boosted their self-confidence and happiness. This summer, Rick and I took a long driving vacation to visit his son in Portland, my brother in Seattle, and my nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews, who all live in the Pacific Northwest. The trip took a lot of time to plan and we are still paying off the credit cards, but reconnecting with them all in person was priceless!
  • What did I do for the planet and other living creatures?  Some of us contributed to charities and organizations that are actively working to save the planet and help people and animals to survive and thrive.  Some of us went a step further by giving of our time and talents to help through volunteering, recycling, participating in the political process, adopting a shelter pet, going on a mission, tutoring, turning vegan, etc. etc. etc.

This last category of making a difference is something we can ALL do more of into the New Year and beyond.  That’s what the Pay It Forward Challenge I put out to my blog readers just before Thanksgiving is all about.  I hope if you haven’t yet gone out of your way to demonstrate sincere gratitude for YOUR many blessings by blessing someone else – a friend, neighbor, family member or random stranger – that you will do so before the month is over. 

This universal Season of Giving gives us the opportunity to wrap up our old year and begin our new year with the very positive energy of love, kindness and generosity. And as you know, the Law of Attraction dictates that energy attracts like energy.”  Therefore, whatever you do for others will inevitably come back to bless YOU many times over.

INVITATION: If you have done some Pay it Forward good deed during the Holidays to help someone else, please email me the details ASAP at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  Many more readers have shared their inspiring PIF stories with me since the last blog, and I will compile them and publish them next Sunday, for our final blog of 2018.  I hope yours will be one of them!

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.

Your Inspiring Kindness – Blog 322

December 2, 2018

This is one of the favorite blogs I get to write all year long!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays. 

If you didn’t read my last post (Time to Pay Up – Blog 321), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

Not only does paying it forward make you feel good, but it’s also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work for YOU.  Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret and The Power, asserts that gratitude is the most powerful positive emotion we can feel to attract MORE good things to us.  And nothing can make us feel as grateful for the many blessings and privileges of our lives than doing something good for someone else. 

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

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me YOUR gestures of Paying it Forward so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  I also have been collecting some wonderful ones from my favorite online POSITIVE news blog, called GoodNewsNetwork.org. Here are some of my favorites so far:

In the News

  • At a Walmart in Vermont, an anonymous man secretly paid for every single item on layaway. Walmart was not allowed to disclose how much money the man spent or how many people he helped that day, but judging by the number of gifts that were stacked on the store’s layaway shelves, it was a lot. When asked who could afford to pay for so many items, the man simply said: “Santa Claus can.”
  • A team of nurses pooled their money and purchased a winning lottery ticket that paid them $7,200 after taxes. But instead of divvying up the cash, the group decided to give all of the winnings to two nurses going through heartbreak: One has been grieving the loss of her 17-year-old son after he committed suicide on the night of the lotto drawing. The check that she received from her co-workers ended up paying for his funeral. The second check they donated went to a nurse who has been struggling to make ends meet since her husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year. “When I got that phone call [about the lottery winnings], it was a day I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications,” she said. “It just touches your heart.”
  • A compassionate airline passenger ensured that a 20-year-old man was reunited with his lost wallet – along with a little extra something to make up for their time apart. Hunter Shamatt lost his wallet on the way to attend his sister’s wedding in Las Vegas. Since the wallet contained his ID, a signed paycheck, his debit card, and $60 in cash, he “feared the worst”. Shortly after the flight, however, Hunter was stunned to receive a package in the mail from an anonymous sender. Inside was his wallet – along with an additional $40 in cash. There was a note enclosed that read, “Found this on a Frontier flight from Omaha to Denver-row 12, seat F wedged between the seat and wall and thought you might want it back. All the best. PS: I rounded your cash up to an even $100 so you could celebrate getting your wallet back. Have fun!!!”

But, of course, my favorite PIF stories of thoughtfulness and generosity have come from my readers.  Here are a few that I have received so far from you:

  • After I sent a young friend who is working hard at two jobs a surprise check, he soon texted me this message: “Pay it Forward Challenge accepted! I used part of the money to buy coffee.  On my way out, I saw a couple with car problems and called them a tow using my Auto Club membership card.”
  • One of my clients and her two young daughters bought a big load of supplies at Target and stuffed 20 little gift bags with all the necessities of life like toothpaste, soap, nutrition bars, hand warmers and other goodies.  They keep them I the car and whenever they spot a homeless person, the girls jump out and surprise them with a “Blessing Bag.”
  • In the Starbucks drive through, a reader was delighted to learn that the person ahead of her had already paid for her order. The barista told her that there had been an unbroken streak of 33 customers that morning, all paying for the order in the car behind them. Naturally, my reader kept the kindness streak going herself!
  • After spending the week before Thanksgiving volunteering at a local food bank,assembling food in boxes for underprivileged families to have for their holiday meals, one of my readers asked her son, who was home on break from his first semester of college, what he wanted to do for Thanksgiving dinner.  He requested that they dine at an upscale restaurant with his father.  Although she and her ex-husband had a contentious divorce and often didn’t see eye to eye about raising their son, she agreed.  The three of them ended up having a pleasant holiday meal together — their first since their son’s childhood. 
  • Lots of my readers and I participated in some of the many Giving Tuesday opportunities to contribute to our favorite charities.  By giving through PayPal and Facebook, our donations were often doubled by generous matching donors.
  • A client went a step further by starting her own Giving Tuesday fundraiser on Facebook so that the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary could have the benefit of doubled donations. She wrote, “They provide care and love for elderly dogs that are without a home…. Senior dogs are more likely to be euthanized in the shelter system and less likely to be adopted.  This breaks my heart.  I have a soft spot for all animals, and especially dogs.”  Way to do something that makes a difference for them!
  • A reader’s family sponsored her town’s local “Little Free Pantry” – an alternative to big food drives and pantries (which are also wonderful, of course).  Volunteers take turns stocking the cabinet, which is built in the shape of a little house and placed in front of the town’s Safety Office.  Anyone in need can come and discreetly withdraw any food items they want out of the little pantry.
  • One of my readers who is a new mom, and thus sleep deprived, posted on Facebook, “Where are all my tired moms?” To every mom who responded, she sent a surprise $5 Starbucks gift card.  One delighted recipient messaged her, “It’s the nicest thing another mom has ever done for me!”
  • One of my clients has participated in her town’s annual “Shop with a Cop” event for the past 13 years.  The Sheriff’s Office, where her husband is a deputy, underwrites the whole thing – taking underprivileged kids to shop for Christmas gifts with the help of “Santa and Mrs. Claus.” These kids ordinarily would not have the funds to buy presents for their own families, but the peace officers and their spouses help them pick out whatever they want for their parents and siblings, then wrap up their gifts and bus them back home.
  • My own spontaneous Pay it Forward act was to send a little gift to one of my dearest girlfriends (since 6th grade), which arrived the day after Thanksgiving.  I was a little annoyed with myself for not thinking of it soon enough to get there before the holiday–  until I got this text from her: “What an amazing gift for ‘nothing in particular’!  I opened it at the perfect time.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving,but was going through a bit of a rough patch upon arriving home.  Thank you!”

I hope these stories will inspire you to take your own ACTION! Rest assured that whatever big or small acts of kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness — or just a big beaming smile — you bestow on someone over these coming weeks, it will arrive at the perfect time for them! That’s the Law of Attraction in ACTION – putting your gratitude to work making a difference for others!

P.S. If you haven’t yet done so, please email me your own wonderful PIF Challenge story and I will post one more inspiring compilation before Christmas. 

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.

November 18, 2018

“Give everything you can, whether it’s time, money, prayer or just a kind word.  So if you want God to satisfy you with every good thing, go out and help somebody in need.” – Joel Osteen

For many of my clients and me, 2018 has been a challenging year. Our personal challenges may have been related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships, the loss of a loved one, or just coping with the helpless feeling from almost-daily news of yet another senseless slaughter of innocents or lives upended by natural disasters.

Fortunately, the season of “comfort and joy” is now upon us, when most people make an extra effort to be kind, grateful and generous toward their fellow humans.  Maybe one day, this season of goodwill will last all year long, but for now, we will take what we can get!

For the past several years, from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I have used this blog to invite my wonderful readers to make life a little brighter, happier and easier for others with a “Pay-It-Forward Challenge.” I hope that YOU will participate this year, too!  I love hearing about the many creative ways my readers find to help someone else, show them that they matter to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face.

I got the idea for this annual Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week a few years ago. A stranger ahead of me paid $5.00 toward my purchase, which turned my frazzled, grumpy day around and put a smile on my face that never went away through the rest of the year.  That simple act of generous kindness inspired me to buy a bunch of $5.00 gift cards and begin giving them out every few days to the baristas at the register to bestow on random people in the line behind me.

I unexpectedly got to repeat that joyful practice again yesterday.  A homeless woman who frequents our Starbucks came in while Rick and I were having breakfast before driving to Disneyland, our favorite place to enjoy the Holidays.  As she sat down at the next table, I moved a chair to make room for her shopping cart that was piled high with all kinds of found “treasures.” I smiled and said good morning and asked her how she was.  “Frustrated.  How are you?” she replied.

That’s when I spontaneously decided to pay forward our many blessings and brighten her day by going to the register and purchasing my first gift card of the season.  On our way out, I laid it on the table in front of her and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  It was so great to see the surprise light up her face!  As lovely a time as we had at Disneyland, I can honestly say that giving that stranger a $10 Starbucks gift card was the highlight of my day.

I plan to purchase more gift cards and give them away randomly at Starbucks through the end of the year, and I trust that each of those surprised strangers will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Last year, the baristas told me that there were a number of customers doing the same thing, creating a big old warm chain of joy and gratitude, one cup at a time!

You can experience the joy of spreading around some “Holiday Spirit” in your own creative ways.  Your kindness and thoughtfulness don’t have to cost anything.  Here are few examples my readers came up with in years past:

  • Let someone who appears to be in a hurry go ahead of you in the checkout line. I promise they will beam at you!
  • Help a harried friend or colleague run an errand, or babysit their kids while they do.
  • Surprise your friends, family and clients with a snail-mailed or emailed Thanksgiving card this year! Few people think to send them, but this gesture says, “I am so grateful for you!” to friends and customers like nothing else can.
  • Or pick a morning as soon as you arrive at work, to send out an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues stating what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them on your team. This will make their day.
  • Use your musical, baking or crafting talents to spread cheer and delight to children, neighbors, elderly folks and the sick.
  • Help an older person or someone who is under the weather put up their holiday decorations, haul home their Christmas tree, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, bringing them dinner or running an errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate money, food or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone who lives alone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them while you enjoy the goodies together.

If you are able, pay your own financial blessings forward by spreading the prosperity around a bit.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Surprise a friend on a tight budget with a supermarket gift card that will make their Holiday feast much brighter.
  • At the gas station, if you notice someone in an old car with kids in the back, surprise her by paying for a full tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them $5 or $10 instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support local animal rescue organizations that are operating on a shoestring. $25 means far more to them than it does to the big animal welfare organizations, although I try to donate as much as I can to those, too.
  • Take the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended from so many back-to-back natural disasters.

It’s easy to fall into despair and think “What difference can I make in the face of all that seems so wrong and tragic in the world?”  But as this week’s quote reminds us, any little thing we do will pay it forward to others in our own ways. And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Christmas Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

Please email me your own Pay It Forward Challenge story!  I will collect them and share them in a future blog to inspire others to do more of the same.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking next Sunday off so I can enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving too!  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday December 2.

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.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like receiving a gift and not opening it.” – William Arthur Ward

Welcome back!  I have missed you.  I missed writing the blog, but it was good to have a bit of time to myself, after a very busy summer. Over the past two weeks, while my coaching load was considerably lighter, with many of my networking marketing clients away at their annual convention in New Orleans, I got a chance to enjoy some good food, fun times and friendship with my dear friends Lisa and Peggy and of course, with my wonderful husband Rick.

The blog re-post before my hiatus (Back to School—Blog 314) was a fan favorite about showing appreciation for the people in our lives who serve as our teachers, mentors, role models and encouragers.  If you missed it, I hope you will look it up in the blog archives on my website.

I wanted to pass along to you some of the wonderful stories my readers shared with me about what happened when they took action and put their gratitude for the supporters in their lives into words of thanks and appreciation:

  • One client told me that when she returned from the convention, she sent a message to each of her Team members who had attended, acknowledging them for some specific special gift they have that blesses the whole Team. One is tech savvy and teaches others how to rock social media, one builds up and encourages others, one shares her knowledge and know-how with everyone, etc. It meant a lot to each of them, I’m sure, to be seen, acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions.
  • Another said she makes a point of telling her kids each day how proud she is of them for what they accomplished and who they were being. She also makes one short phone call each day to a member of her Team and acknowledges them for their special qualities and/or accomplishments.
  • One of the participants in my Prosperity Summer Camp 2018 webinar sent me a follow up note telling me that when she and her family were on vacation, she made it a point to thank her husband for making dinner and telling him sincerely, “I am so grateful for you.” It surprised him, and his first embarrassed reaction was “What’s up with that?” And her puzzled children chimed in, “Yeah, what’s up with that?” When she told them that she was learning about the power of expressing gratitude from the course, they thought it was a great idea.  “Before you knew it, the kids were saying, ‘Dad, thank you for dinner and I’m so grateful.’ It became part of our vacation and it felt so good!”
  • One of my clients told me how she got a real surprise when she asked her ex-husband if he would be willing to forego attending his wife’s family reunion to stay with their special needs son so my client could attend her company’s convention in New Orleans. In the past, he has not always stepped up to do his share with helping their children, so she was amazed and delighted when he readily agreed. Then I asked her if she had FULLY expressed her gratitude to him for making that sacrifice.

She took it to heart and texted him a heart-felt thank you note:  “Hi, B, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and I’m so grateful to you that you are willing to forego your trip so you could help out with our son when I am in New Orleans.”

Her Ex’s response to her text surprised and delighted her: “You’re welcome. My wife and I both thought it was the right thing to do without hesitation….I am coming over this morning to watch the game with him.  Bringing donuts.  Do you want some?”

  • That same client is a grade school teacher and she says that noticing and complimenting her students always makes them visibly happy to be seen and appreciated. Because of that, she went out of her way to acknowledge a fellow participant at Weight Watchers. She knew the woman had been struggling for awhile to reach her goal weight. When she finally did, my client asked the whole group to applaud her achievement. Later, the woman posted on Facebook, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today.”

In the last post, I quoted my favorite positive-thought preacher, Joel Osteen, who frequently reminds us how our words can build others up and make all the difference in helping them succeed in life.  Here is another great passage from his daily inspirational note:

Be a People Builder by Joel Osteen

“God designed us to live in relationship with others.  He wants us to help each other grow.  None of us will reach our highest potential by ourselves.  We need people in our lives to encourage us, and we need to encourage the people in our lives and help them reach their potential.  The word ‘encourage’ means to ‘urge forward.’  Many times, you can see things in other people that they don’t see in themselves.  You can see their strengths and talents.  You can see that God has a special plan for them, even though they may be going through a difficult time.  Don’t assume that people see what you see in them.

“Take a moment and encourage them, either with a kind word or simple note.  There might be a special gift you can give them that will remind them of their goal or dream.  In whatever way you can, urge the people in your life to keep moving forward.  If you’ll be a people builder and help others fulfill their dreams, God will fulfill your dreams, and you’ll live in blessing all the days of your life.” 

He’s absolutely right.  None of us got where we are alone.  We all had one or more special parents, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors or role models who took the time to encourage us and build up our belief in ourselves and our ability to reach our dreams.  If you pay it forward by doing the same for someone else, you will have the incomparable satisfaction of knowing that you made the same kind of impact on another life.

And who knows?  You just might get a surprise “Thank you” note one of these days, like I did recently.  One of my past clients sent me a greeting card out of the blue.  The printed part said, “I am so thankful for your mentorship.”  Then she added by hand, “You were the first to come to my mind….Thank you for what you taught me.  You are truly amazing.  You are an Everyday Mentor, and that’s something to be grateful for.”

I can tell you that, even though I have I have been a Personal Success Coach for 14 years this month and had the privilege of helping over 700 individuals reach their Big Goals, their acknowledgment never gets old!

And I have to admit that it gave me goose bumps because it arrived the very next day after my last blog was published, so it had to have already been on its way to me before I ever mentioned the idea of sending a message of gratitude to someone who has been a teacher, mentor or role model for you!  If that isn’t an example of listening to Divine Direction, I don’t know what is!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

************* 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 into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

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