August 30, 2020

“It’s not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

If you have read a few of my blogs, I am sure you are quite familiar with the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) and how it works in our lives. 

Your “energy vibration” that you constantly emanate, can be felt by everyone you come in contact with. Your energy is a product of your thoughts plus the emotions you feel as a result of your thoughts.  But it also results from your WORDS and your ACTIONS.  Those are also part of what attract to you the people, circumstances and resources that are a match for YOUR vibration.

I think it’s fair to say that most people (myself included) study how to harness the power of the Law of Attraction in order to create a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. We want to learn how to use this powerful magnetic universal force to attract the ideal clients, business partners, friends, romantic relationships, delightful material things, “lucky breaks” and financial prosperity we desire. And there is nothing wrong with that!

But I wonder how often we realize that doing something kind or generous for someone else from a purely unselfish motive also plays a big role in the Law of Attraction.  What you DO and SAY to others without thought for your own reward inevitably ends up rewarding you in big and small ways you could not have foreseen.

In The Power, which is my all-time favorite book about how to put the Law of Attraction to work for you in your daily life, Rhonda Byrne says simply, “Remember that the law of attraction says whatever you give, you receive.”

In his new book The Abundance Mind-Set, positive-thought pastor Joel Osteen says, “We don’t realize what we carry.  We have the most powerful force in the universe inside us. What may seem ordinary to us, no big deal, …. can be life-giving.  A simple act of kindness.  A simple hug. Words of encouragement.  Letting someone know that you care.  That can be the spark that brings them back to life….It’s great to receive a miracle, but there’s no greater feeling than to become a miracle.  Who are you carrying?  Who are you lifting up?  Who are you helping across the finish line?  Your destiny is connected to helping others.”

I have seen this in my own life more times than I can possibly count or remember.  Whenever I have gone out of my way to lend a helping hand, or just give another person some verbal encouragement, someone else has always been there to do the same for me, just when I needed it most.

I wrote in a recent blog about how one of my friends and former clients sent me a gift of $1,000 out of the blue. When I had to pay my taxes a couple of weeks later, the bill came to exactly $1,000.  Amazing, but then, I have seen such perfect serendipity happen time and again.

It doesn’t work if you are trying to get something in return, but if you do a good deed for unselfish reasons, your pure vibration is going to attract to you some form of self-less gift – often, when you have a pressing need and no idea HOW it is going to be met.

What I didn’t explain in detail in that blog was that years before, I had loaned my friend several thousand dollars.  She was a single mom of four, who was struggling financially, trying to stand on her own two feet after a painful divorce.  Despite having a fulfilling and important job, she was constantly “running behind the bus,” trying to cover bills and debts her husband had created. Her only option was to take out payday loans at high interest rates, which inevitably caused her to take out another loan to make it to the next payday, keeping her trapped in a vicious debt cycle, through no fault of her own.

Having recently emerged from the Great Recession, my husband and I were flush from a hot real estate market and a full coaching practice, so we offered to lend her the money to catch up on all her bills and give her a fresh start.  She reluctantly agreed and was very conscientious about paying us back each month over a couple of years.

For her family’s birthday and holidays, I voluntarily waived the monthly payments, knowing that the extra cash would make her family’s celebrations brighter.  Her happiness and gratitude made me far happier than any amount of money could have.

When she made the final payment, I considered us square and felt so fulfilled, knowing that we had played a role in helping her and her family to thrive. Then I forgot all about it… until the day years later, when I went to get the mail and found her surprise $1,000 check.

I had been praying for some direction about how God intended for us to pay our remaining taxes, given the recent downturn in our businesses due to COVID. And there was the answer in my mailbox!

Even BETTER, there was a heartfelt note enclosed, explaining that she had always intended to pay us back the “forgiven” payments as soon as she could.  When she got a BIG windfall bonus from her work (which had come at a perfect time for her needs, too) she knew she had to give part of it to us.

She and I firmly believe that these perfect solutions for BOTH of us all started with me noticing she could use some help, having the resources, and deciding to do it just because it was the right thing to do. She paid it forward again by doing the same.

Not all forms of help we can offer people are monetary, of course.  We can give someone who needs it a real or virtual hug, lend an ear, speak an encouraging word, offer to run an errand, do a chore, babysit their kids, cook them a meal, etc. There are an infinite number of gifts that don’t cost much money or take much effort on our part, yet certainly can make a world of difference to someone else.

In his book, Joel Osteen relates how, years ago, he was leaving a local cafe with his toddler son, when he noticed a man dressed in a business suit, sitting in a booth by himself.  The gentleman didn’t look down and out by any means, but Joel just had a strong feeling, “I knew I was supposed to encourage him in some way.”

So, on his way out, Joel made a point of walking by his booth, smiling at the stranger and offering him a friendly, “Hello.  How’s it going?” The man kind of laughed and answered, “Not very well. Things are kind of rough.”

“I didn’t think much about it,” Joel says. “I just smiled and said, ‘Well, I know this. It’s going to get better.’  He thanked me and I left.”

“A few months later, I received a letter…He told me how he was at the lowest point in his life at that time.  He was going through a divorce, and his whole world had fallen apart. For months, he had been in depression. But he said, ‘When you made that statement that it’s going to get better, it was like something reignited on the inside.’ That day was a turning point in his life.  He came out of the depression.  He got his fire back. Today, he is moving forward.”

You can be sure that whenever you take time to do or say something kind, generous or encouraging for someone, it absolutely WILL come back to bless you. The one you help may not be the one to repay you directly, like my friend did. But thanks to The Law of Attraction, you can be confident that God/The Universe has created the perfect mechanism for making sure that “whatever you give, you receive.” And life doesn’t get much richer than that!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking Labor Day Weekend off.  I hope you enjoy yours!  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday September 13.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Use God’s Gifts”  by Hilda Lachney Sanderson

“If you’re blessed with a loving heart,

If you’re caring, good and kind,

With many strengths and talents,

And a smart, clear-thinking mind,

Consider these as gifts from God

For you to use each day;

Rely on them as you begin

The chase of fortune’s way.

Do not forget to use God’s gifts

In what you choose to be,

Mix success with peace and love and generosity.

Acknowledge that strong voice within

That tells you right from wrong;

Console, encourage, lift others up,

And keep a faith that’s strong,

Use wisely all God’s gifts to you;

Stay true to what you are,

And you will prosper in this life

As God’s own shining star.”

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

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

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

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

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana

My apologies. I overextended myself this week with a full schedule of coaching and a lot of paperwork to finish up today.  Soon, Rick and I will depart for a few days’ escape to the picturesque little mid-California coastal town of Cambria.  We will explore the tide pools, tour nearby San Simeon (aka Hearst Castle), which I haven’t been to in years, and visit Paso Robles, another quaint town that has become renowned for great California wines. We look forward to leisurely sightseeing, sipping and relaxing!

I imagined that I would have time to create a new blog, but as I sit at my desk this afternoon, I still have a mountain of paperwork to finish before we can hit the road bright and early tomorrow. Also, events of the past week have thrown me for a loop.  I don’t feel ready to write about it yet, but plan to share my thoughts with you next weekend.

Luckily, I took a tour through my stuffed email in-basket and discovered a gem of a short inspirational video to share with you instead of a blog.  The message is so simple, yet so profound.  THIS is the secret to a happy, successful, fulfilling life.  It is gratitude in action.  The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” Thus, if we regularly express gratitude for all the GOOD in our lives through spontaneous acts of kindness, compassion and generosity, we can be assured that our giving to others will come back to bless us.

I hope you will take just three short minutes to enjoy this video and remind yourself that as you do unto others, it will surely be done unto YOU!

Click here or copy and paste it into your browser:

http://www.viewbix.com/v/The-Secret-to-Living-is-Giving/09e58a2e-22b3-486b-8b4d-b940a7738fd6

P.S. If you want to do yourself a BIG favor, subscribe to the free “Go for the Gold” daily motivational email put out by WalktheTalk.com.  It is the source of many great quotes that inspire me to write this weekly blog and will make you aware of some wonderful books and other tools that can help you to create more success, happiness and prosperity in your life.

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.

 

“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.

 

 

“Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” – Richard Carlson

[As our summer exploration of “The Best of A Cup of Caroll” winds down, I want to share this slightly-edited blog from 2013 with you again as a reminder that nothing and no one else can determine what ultimately happens to YOU.  The Law of Attraction dictates that the energy YOU send out in response to someone else’s actions or words is what is going to determine what happens next to YOU, just as the other person’s energy will do for them.]

I was going to write about a different topic today, but when I heard from two clients in the space of an hour this morning, both with the same complaint, I felt a nudge to write about a totally different topic.

Both of these women are good people who always strive to do the right thing and treat others with kindness and respect. They deserve only the BEST in life.  But no matter how good we are, we will sometimes be treated badly by others. One was upset because her soon-to-be ex-boss had made a snide comment to her, insinuating she was being less than productive during her final week at work. The other was hurt that her mother had unjustly accused her in front of other family members of not being supportive during a family crisis.

I let them vent, and then I asked them both, “What difference does what they said make in YOUR life?”  The answer both gave was “Nothing.”  Nothing unkind that is said to or about them can impede their happiness or ability to reach their goals. And, in each case, their nemesis was behaving in a way that was totally consistent with who they had shown themselves to be over a long period of time.  In other words, they were just being themselves.  Not their highest selves, but they were acting according to how their Egos view the world.

It’s not our job to change other people. Constant, fear-based scarcity thinking is its own punishment. These people are living under a cloud of constant suspicion, resentment, anger, blame, and self-imposed victimhood. Because they expect the worst from others and “energy attracts like energy,” according to The Law of Attraction, they must inevitably attract negative people and situations into their lives. By recognizing that they are creating their own hellish self-fulfilling prophecy, we can forgive them — or at least have compassion for them.

It is not how others treat us, but the way we respond to how they treat us that determines what is attracted next into our lives.  Nobody and nothing outside of you has the power to make you feel bad.  How we FEEL is entirely our choice — an internal response to an external situation. If you allow someone’s words or deeds to upset you, “the terrorists win.”

I know how frustrating and hurtful it can be to be unjustly accused of something.  But in the grand scheme things, what others think of you is none of your business.  They have a right to their opinion, and if it is petty, flawed, or just plain mean, that’s THEIR loss, not yours.  For the most part, the folks they are gossiping to about you are well aware of this, and most don’t buy into it. Those who have their own interactions with you will judge you on their personal experience of you, not on malicious gossip.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that you should be a doormat.  If someone is doing something that harms you in a material way — slandering you on a job reference, withholding money owed to you, lying about you in court, etc. — such actions need to be answered directly with the truth.  And, as I’ve seen time and again, the truth ALWAYS wins out eventually.

One of my past clients was taken to court by her ex-husband, who accused her of hiding a huge income from the IRS (that he knew she didn’t really make), in an attempt to get his child support payments reduced.  In fact, he claimed that she should have to pay HIM child support, even though she had primary custody of their children.

At first, she was incensed that she was being falsely accused and that she had to expend a great deal of time, effort and expense defending herself in court. I coached her to let go of all resentment towards him and to focus solely on maintaining positive energy and putting together solid proof of her true income for the judge. Since the truth was on her side, I helped her steadily grow her faith that everything would ultimately be resolved in her favor.

She was able to remain calm, get the expert help she needed, and triumph in court.  In fact, not only was the case against her dismissed, but the judge substantially INCREASED the amount of child support her ex-husband was paying her and ordered him to pay all back child support he owed, as well as half of her attorney fees! Her Ex came out of the unjust situation he had purposely created to hurt her with a lot of new pain for himself.

When faced with unfair treatment, the rule of thumb we can use is this: If there is something you need to do to protect your own material interests, by all means do it, but without negative emotion about the person or situation. And, if there is nothing you can do about it, LET IT GO and re-focus your attention on all the GOOD that you want for your life.

Where attention goes, energy flows. So stay focused on what you want and allow others to learn their own life lessons and reap their own karma. “Living well,”as they say, “is the best revenge.

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll is taking next Sunday off so I can enjoy a carefree Girls’ Vacation with my dear friend Lisa on Santa Catalina Island.  I will join you again on Labor Day Weekend with a final “Best of A Cup of Caroll” column that will be a fitting sendoff to a great Summer of 2016. See you then!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, just go to my website at 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.

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you — To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

[This slightly-edited blog first ran in 2014.  I give this incredibly powerful prosperity tip to all my Personal Success Coaching clients, and I want to share it with YOU, too!]

Feeling grateful is my habitual way of being, but that wasn’t always so.

It came from consciously following a daily practice that has greatly increased both my joy and the level of material abundance in my life. When I began it years ago, there was much more fear than gratitude inside of me.

Soon after my wonderful husband Rick and I bought our big expensive Dream Home in late 2006, the national real estate bubble burst with a vengeance.  Our home’s value plummeted by hundreds of thousands of dollars and my Realtor husband’s income evaporated overnight. At the same time, many of my clients had to quit coaching because their incomes also had been decimated by the Great Recession.

For months, I regularly woke up around 3 AM with a cold wave of fear engulfing me as I lay next to my sleeping husband thinking, “What if we lose our house?  Could we end up living in our car like the people on the evening news? Would our friends let us sleep on their couch?  What will happen to our beloved pets?”  I lay there envisioning the Worst Case Scenario in living color until the alarm clock finally went off. Then I would drag myself out of bed and try to put on a happy face for my family and my clients, but inside I was terrified.

Because of my faith and my coaching training, I knew the antidote to fear was to change my thoughts.  So I began to study every book and audio about prosperity that I could get my hands on. The consistent message coming to me from all the Master Manifesters was “Be grateful.”  That seemed like a real stretch, given our bleak circumstances and the predicted length of the Great Recession.

One day, I was watching Oprah interview Sarah Ban Brethnach, the author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  Sarah recommended that the path to greater abundance started with keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal. Oprah enthusiastically endorsed the practice, saying that it had changed her life.  Well, Oprah was already one of the richest people on the planet, so that got my attention. What could possibly make her life better?

Oprah said that writing down five things she felt grateful for in a Gratitude Journal every day changed her life because it made her notice all the GOOD things in her life, big and small.  On a challenging day when she was feeling discouraged or stressed, she had to really pay attention because she knew she would have to come up with five things that she was thankful for at the end of the day!  Keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal made her aware that we are all so blessed to have a life we often take for granted.

That got me thinking about all that I was taking for granted in my own life: My loving, healthy family and pets, an abundance of material comforts like indoor plumbing, a refrigerator full of food, electricity, a microwave, washer and dryer, clean running water, etc. etc. etc. And most of all, we are blessed with personal freedoms that billions of other people don’t enjoy. I was living a modest middle-class lifestyle that would be considered royalty in most of world!

Then I understood the Prosperity Secret that Oprah knew: All I really needed in my life was more GRATITUDE for what I already have, instead of worrying about what’s lacking. We know that what we focus on expands. I was focusing on lack, so I was attracting more LACK into my life.  If I wanted to experience more PROSPERITY, I needed to focus on all the wonderful blessings I had in my life right NOW!

I started a Daily Gratitude Journal that very day. But I write down 10 things I’m thankful for each day because it’s hard to stop at five! My husband and I also began saying “grace” together before our evening meal, giving thanks to God for the specific blessings we are present to right NOW.

Slowly but surely, with a lot of Divine guidance, we began working through every single financial challenge we faced — settling five years of back taxes, discharging a bankruptcy, recovering from losing one car and two houses. Along the way, our family never missed a meal, paid a bill late or spent one night without our own roof over our heads.

Now, my husband’s real estate business is flourishing again, my coaching practice is nearly full and we are experiencing greater financial abundance and personal happiness today than the day we married nine years ago.

One of the clearest explanations of the very real power of GRATITUDE to create more good in your life is found in Felicia Blanco Searcy’s wonderful book Do Greater Things: Following in Jesus’ Footsteps. She writes: 

“…physicists have shown that there are a multitude of possibilities available to us at any given moment. All options are there at once, waiting for us to decide where we will put our focus, which then determines which possibility will manifest. 

…Gratitude opens us to the possibility that anything can happen.  It increases our capacity to entertain other options even if we can’t begin to see how they might happen.  It gives us a renewed sense of hope and brings our focus back to the possibility that things will turn out well. 

As we focus on what is good in our lives, we bring the favorable possibility out from the shadows into the light of day.  We clothe the desired choice and make it real with our thoughts and feelings.  As we focus on gratitude, or appreciation, we give God the space to bring about other possibilities that are beyond our human understanding or imaginings.” 

If you aren’t keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal, I highly recommend starting yours today. Take it from Oprah (and me), your life will never be the same!

NOTE:  If you would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com then click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top and enter your name and email. This information will be kept 100% confidential and will not be given to anyone else for any other purpose.

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

 

 

 

 

 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia

[Continuing our “Best of A Cup of Caroll” summer series, this slightly-edited blog first ran in 2013. I hope you enjoy it and the short inspirational video at the end.]

One of my favorite free daily quote services is WalkTheTalk.com. I highly recommend subscribing to this daily dose of good news and inspiration. Today’s post contains a link to a beautiful, inspiring short video about the power of acknowledgment, which I hope you will watch at the end of the blog.

A startling statistic in the video is that 25% of good employees who voluntarily leave their jobs cite lack of appreciation as the reason they quit.  Can you imagine? What were their bosses thinking?

I learned the secret a long time ago, which this video reinforces, that every human being craves appreciation. We all want to be seen, known and validated for who we are.  If you want to experience the great feeling of rapport, affinity and harmony with another human being – a boss, spouse, co-worker, sibling, store clerk, etc. — simply give them a sincere acknowledgment, expressing appreciation for what they have done or simply who they are being.  You will make an instant friend.

Today, I got a lovely acknowledgment from someone who told me exactly how my coaching had made a difference for her and it touched me deeply.  I had done a complimentary coaching session with her over a year ago.  Now, even the greatest coach can’t turn someone’s life around in just one hour, but I CAN listen closely to someone, validate them and leave them loving themselves and believing in themselves just a little bit more.

During our long-ago hour together, I listened to her and recreated what she shared about her difficult circumstances, so she knew I truly “got” what she was going through.  I acknowledged her for her will to triumph in the face of the adversity she had been through – for never giving up. I also suggested she read The Power by Rhonda Byrne and check out professional therapy to help her begin the long journey to turning around a bad situation and creating the life she deserved.  Lastly, I told her the door was always open to call me again anytime.

I didn’t hear from her for another year and a half.  Today, we had a follow-up session and to my absolute delight, I discovered that her life has completely transformed since we last spoke.  She is now ready to take her life to another level, and we are going to partner in coaching to do just that.

While I am thrilled to have her as a client, that wasn’t the best part of the call for me.  The best part was at the end, when she said, “I want to acknowledge YOU, Caroll.  My life has come so far since our session over a year ago.  What you recommended worked great for me.  My new career, my health, strength and my happy family all have come out of that!  Things are really falling into place for me and I know I’m on my way.  You are a blessing in my life!”

Do you think that made my day?  Heck it made my MONTH!  It was amazing to think that I had made such a big difference for another human being, simply by listening to her, acknowledging her, and telling her I believed in her. That’s what we coaches live for!

 And that’s why at the start of every coaching call, I always ask my clients to tell me what they want to be acknowledged for at that moment.  At first, it can be embarrassing, even painful, for some people to claim their worth out loud.  Invariably, after a few more sessions, if we get too far into the call before I ask, even those who squirm the most will interrupt me with, “Hey, aren’t you going to ask me what I want to be acknowledged for?” I get to recreate their self-acknowledgment aloud, and even amplify it a bit, as they listen and really GET that they are great…They are worthy…They matter.  And that is the foundation for all personal transformation.

By the way, acknowledging and complimenting aren’t the same thing.  A compliment is when you draw attention to something observable about the other person, such as their hair or their clothes or their smile. While “You’ve lost weight!” or “You look good in that color” is always nice to hear, true acknowledgment is much more powerful because it’s about who the person IS or what they DID that makes a difference for the world, such as, “You did great work on that project.  I appreciate that you really went above and beyond!”  or “Thank you for sending the get-well card when I was sick.  It really made my day!”

I urge you to make at least one other human being’s day EVERY day by acknowledging and appreciating them. It will make them – and you — feel wonderful! (For extra credit, try it on someone who is usually pessimistic or grumpy and see what happens!)

P.S. Watch this four-minute video on the importance of acknowledging and appreciating others. http://www.flickspire.com/m/WalkTheTalk/WhileYouCan and I hope it makes YOUR day!

NOTE: If you would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.  Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any other purpose.

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

 

 

“Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself.” – William Boetcker

I didn’t have to look far for the topic for this week’s blog.  It kept recurring among my clients last week and it is the subject of a collection of articles published by the Unity church entitled You Are Enough.

Two of my clients had their phones die for a time this week.  Both admitted to feeling a secret sense of relief because they could not be held responsible for not working their businesses.  One of them was at the beach for a week with her family and was able to spend some guilt-free time playing with her kids and just relaxing, while the other, with a few precious days off from her day job, had time to play with her daughter and just “float in the pool.” The latter confessed that she had actually contemplated not coming to her coaching call because she didn’t want to admit to me that she had been “unproductive” this week.

I told them both that they shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what they really wanted to do.  Their worth was not defined by how productive they were being.  Their self-worth should come from knowing that they are unique and special and valuable because of WHO THEY ARE, not what they DO.

As a Personal Success Coach, my job is to help my clients get whatever they want in life.  The Big Goal they choose to pursue is up to them – greater prosperity, a fitter body, a loving relationship or a successful business.  Nobody, including me, can tell them what their heartfelt goals should be.  Nor should they put undue pressure on themselves to reach those goals at the expense of having life balance, fun and fulfillment.  If they become so driven to succeed that pursuing their goal feels like a burden, I recommend taking a step back to examine their true motivation.

Many people have a strong “Why” for pursuing a goal, especially a financial goal.  One of my clients wants to succeed at her business so her mother can retire from her job.  Several want their spouses to be able to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams or spend more time with their family.  Some are motivated to financially support a cause they care deeply about. Those are all great reasons for consistently doing activities that will get them closer to their goals with a sense of joy and enthusiasm.

But I have seen some people approach their daily tasks with a teeth-gritted, “this is hard, but I MUST do it” mindset and energy. I believe they are actually driven by the idea that they must prove their value through their achievements.  Their sense of self-worth depends on outer successes and the approval of others.

One of my clients recently shared a journaling she had done to explore her Limiting Belief that “If I give it my all and fail, my life has been a waste.”  This was her Ego’s internal Worst Case Scenario about not reaching the level of success in her business that she wanted.  In the course of her self-exploration, she had the Ah-Ha Moment, as Oprah calls it, that she doesn’t remember her father saying “I love you” very often when she was growing up.  But she does remember him frequently saying, “I am so proud of you.”

Thus, her father’s pride in her accomplishments became her Ego’s path to “earning” the unconditional love she truly craved. She wrote, “I think this has sort of made me think that if I can’t do something that makes a splash, it’s not worth doing and certainly not worth talking about.  So I find myself striving for that over-achiever status.  I feel like anything less is pointless and even something to feel shameful about, so I just don’t talk about it.”

Being human, I am sure each of us feels or has felt at some time that we are not good enough. For some, it’s about appearance:  “I’m not…young enough, pretty enough, thin enough…” to be worthy of receiving unconditional love and acceptance from those I care about.

For others, like me, it’s about our performance: “I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t get an A.  I didn’t win the competition.  I didn’t put on the perfect birthday party for my child.”  Therefore, I suck.

The truth is, your inherent value doesn’t increase or decrease with age, beauty, fitness level, accomplishments, job productivity or salary.

As minister Joel Osteen puts it, “You are the apple of God’s eye” simply because you exist. If you are alive on Planet Earth, you are enough.  In fact, you are PRICELESS.  Otherwise, you are claiming that only the pretty, thin, A students, celebrities and sports stars are worthy of God’s love, their own self-love and the love of people whose opinion matters. Then what about the rest of us?

I believe there is no swimsuit competition in Heaven – or here on Earth, for that matter. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, we should not be judged by the color of our skin (or any other external factor), but by the content of our character.

So if you long to take a few hours or days to just “float in the pool,” you should do it.  Do what your heart calls you to do.  When you are working, give it your BEST.  And when you want to play or relax, enjoy and be fully present to it, without guilt or shame.

I urge you to make this your daily mantra: I am not my job title or accomplishments.  I am whole, complete and perfect, just as I am. I am the apple of God’s eye and I am ENOUGH.

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perks Pearl of Wisdom

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

“Today’s message:

“Or”

By Bob Perks

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

Even not choosing is a choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I could or I couldn’t.

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

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

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

Or wait until morning when he has rested awhile.

I should or I shouldn’t

I could have, I should have.

I didn’t and I regret it deeply.

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

I should say thanks for always being there for me.

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

Bob Perks

My messages are sent free. 

The services I use to send them aren’t.

Thanks for any support you can provide.”

www.PayPal.me/GiftBobPerks

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

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

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

Happy Father’s Day in the USAI gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model is a priceless gift in a young child’s life.

I was originally planning to take this week off from writing the blog, to give me time to celebrate my birthday on the 23rd and prepare for a trip to Oregon with my wonderful husband Rick for a Parker family reunion over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. The last time my brother’s family and I were all together was about 10 years ago for my Mom’s memorial celebration and I am very much looking forward to spending time with my brother and sister-in-law and my many nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews!

But since today is Father’s Day, I decided to re-post my 2015 tribute to fathers everywhere and share with my many new readers the important life lessons that my own wonderful father taught me.

 “Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.  Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” – Maya Angelou

This quote from the late, great writer and poet, Maya Angelou, perfectly describes the way my Dad lived his life.  Although his years on earth were far too short, he lived each of them with maximum gusto and I am quite sure he had no regrets when he died suddenly at age 57, right at the beginning of my senior year of High School.

My Mom was my source of unconditional love, whatever minor discipline I needed, and the usual “always wear clean underwear for the ambulance” practical advice. My Dad was my Playmate, Teacher, Walking Thesaurus/Dictionary/Encyclopedia, and my #1 Role Model.  I don’t remember him talking to me directly about rules to live by. Instead, he just lived his life on his own terms and I learned how I wanted to live mine by observing how he did it.

Here are the key guidelines for abundant living that I got from observing the happiness and fulfillment my Dad derived from living by them himself:

  • Be happy – Other than the day President Kennedy was assassinated, when I saw  him cry for the first time, Dad was invariably optimistic, cheerful and humorous. He loved to laugh at and tell jokes (especially bad puns), watched all the 60s comedy TV shows with me, and could find the hidden humor or irony in any problem. From him, I decided that hanging out with happy, positive people is the only way to go!  While I got my inclination to worry from my mother, I got my sense of humor from my father.  Guess which trait has helped me more in life?
  • Be curious – My Dad was the most insatiable life-long learner I’ve ever known. He never passed a used bookstore without buying something.  He left behind boxes of notebooks and reading materials on everything from Elizabethan poetry to paranormal science.  It’s too bad he didn’t live into the Internet Age because he would have spent hours Googling everything.  He taught me how great it could be to know a little bit about a lot of things (which led a High School English teacher to dub me a “Renaissance Woman”). Dad never pontificated about his own views, but sought to learn from others’ opinions. His attitude set me up for career success because coaching requires more listening than talking, being curious instead of judgmental, and having a wide variety of resources at my fingertips to support my clients’ needs.
  • Be creative – My Dad was one of the most creative problem-solvers I’ve ever known. He was an amateur inventor who came up with what he believed was a breakthrough system for teaching reading that was better than phonics. Unfortunately, he died before he got to finish it. He taught me to stretch my imagination and ingenuity with his creative inventions, like a teeter-totter I could play on all by myself, consisting of a long board balanced on an old oil drum and weighted on the other side with bricks that were equal to my weight. (This was in the days before “helicopter parenting” and Cal OSHA, you understand.)
  • Be of service – By Dad’s example, I learned that while life can be enjoyable when we meet our own needs, it can be truly fulfilling only when we help others meet theirs.   He voluntarily gave up a lucrative professorship at the University of California to teach at a community college where he felt he made a bigger difference teaching remedial English to working adults striving to improve their lives. Dad took a personal interest in Mrs. Edwards, an elderly woman in his night school class who wanted to improve her English. One day he hitched a trailer to our station wagon and filled it with boxes of hand me down clothes and a used refrigerator. Then my parents, Mrs. Edwards and I drove from Orange County,CA to Tecate, Mexico to give her extended family these precious gifts.  I was just eight, but I still remember what their dirt-floored, one-room adobe home smelled like and all the flies buzzing about. I am certain those strangers never forgot my Dad’s generosity.

Looking back, our relationship reminds me a lot of the bond between Atticus Finch and his young daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Like Atticus, my Dad was older when I was born, so we didn’t do much physical play together; our father-daughter bond was more spiritual and mental. And luckily for me, like Atticus, my father demonstrated by his daily life exactly how to be self-confident and stand up for one’s principles, while remaining respectful of the different abilities, lifestyles and opinions of others.

In short, Prof. Harbison Parker was my #1 Role Model for how to “love life, engage in it and give it all you’ve got.” And I feel extremely blessed to be his daughter.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next TWO Sundays off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, July 10.  In the meantime, I wish my readers in the USA a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!

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