April 15, 2018

“It’s very freeing when you realize you don’t have to fight every battle.  You don’t have to straighten people out.  You don’t have to pay somebody back.  Instead, focus on what matters: Focus on God and His Word so you can live in peace and happiness every day of your life.” – Joel Osteen

Wow! This is my 300th blog post.  When I began writing A Cup of Caroll 10 years ago, I never imagined I would end up writing three blogs a month for 10 years (and counting) with the intention of helping my clients and cherished readers live more fulfilling, successful and prosperous lives.

And, after almost 14 years as a full-time professional coach, I never imagined I would be writing today’s topic because, frankly, I thought I was “cured” by now of the self-punishing practice of judging others.  LOL.

Today, I am 100% clear that, because we are human beings, we are NEVER cured of judging.  Judging is part of our Ego’s critical survival mechanism.  It keeps us safe by trying to size up people and situations and making a split-second decision: “Is this person friend or foe?” “Is this situation good or bad for you?”

Unfortunately, your Ego often gets it wrong because it judges people and situations only externally — according to what it can quickly observe about their outer appearance and behavior.  We all know that “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” yet your Ego just can’t help but try to judge people and situations based on these very limited, superficial clues.

Today, I was blessed to receive what I hope will remain an unforgettable Life Lesson about just how much anxiety, turmoil, frustration and unhappiness we bring upon ourselves and others when we judge them.  It’s not easy to catch ourselves judging, but we can if we know the signs to look for.  From now on, the trigger thought I will notice myself having is “How DARE they?”

That self-righteous, judging rhetorical question always comes to me whenever someone cuts me off in traffic, doesn’t pick up after their dog, allows their front yard to go to seed and spoil the neighborhood’s appearance, doesn’t return my messages, promises to and then forgets to pay their invoice, etc. etc. etc.! “How DARE they not live up to MY standards of proper behavior and right values?” is what my Ego whines inside my head.

Today my Life Lesson came, as many of them do, during my morning stop at Starbucks.  It is often crowded on weekend mornings so, spotting an open table, my wonderful husband Rick and I put our sunglasses down on it to save it and then got in line.  Then I went to get some napkins and returned to “our” table, only to find someone’s big purse and other items sitting on a chair at the same table.  Our glasses were still clearly visible, but the woman who was walking away from the table, dressed in business clothes and talking on her cell phone, had just put her stuff down there anyway.  “How DARE she?!”

I called out to her, waving the glasses in my hand and asking if this was her stuff?  She looked at me and pointed to her cell phone, as if to say, “Can’t you see how busy and important I am? I can’t listen to you and talk on the phone at the same time!”  At least, that’s what my EGO told me she was saying.

I shot her a stern look of annoyance and disapproval and then picked up our glasses and moved to the next table. Rick sat down and began to eat his breakfast, and when I came back with mine, the woman was standing next to our table, saying to him, “Your wife is unhappy with me.  I could see it on her face.” 

Then she crouched down, looked us both in the eye and babbled a steady stream of explanation for her unintentional faux pas of “stealing” our table.  She said she has been a nurse for 30 years and she can read people’s demeanor instantly, which is how HER Ego drew the conclusion from my facial expression that I was “angry” with her.  (I was annoyed and perplexed, but I would not go so far as to say I was angry.)

She said my inexplicable anger had at first upset her and she was tempted to curse me under her breath, but then she noticed my Disney cap and said, “I thought you MUST be a fun person, if you were wearing Mickey Mouse!”  That made us smile and proved that she is someone who knows how to recognize and calm down her own Ego’s “How DARE she?” reactions.

Her voice choked with emotion, she rapidly spilled out more information about her state of mind this morning — that she had recently lost two loved ones, one of whom was 94 years old.  She was talking so fast and with such emotion, it was hard to catch her exact words, but the meaning was clear: She was distraught and distracted.  She apologized for taking our table and said she hadn’t even noticed our glasses on it.  She didn’t know what I was saying to her as she walked toward the counter because she was on the phone and couldn’t hear me.  But she could tell I was upset with her.

I consider it Divine Intervention that she bravely chose to come over and talk to us.  She could have just sat down and pretended to ignore us.  Instead, she chose to be the bigger person and address the issue head on.  She apologized AND did me a huge favor by describing clearly how MY negative energy toward her had made her feel. In truth, my Ego’s judgment that this woman was entitled and uncaring couldn’t have been more wrong!  She is a compassionate, sensitive, and dedicated caregiver who courageously took responsibility when she unintentionally wronged someone.

I felt instant sympathy toward her and instant shame toward myself for making such a harsh (and inaccurate) judgment of her. I was reminded of the iconic story I’m sure you’ve heard about a man who was riding the New York subway and found himself suddenly surrounded by a number of loud, boisterous young children whose father sat slumped in his seat, looking distracted and dejected, and seemingly ignoring their behavior.  The man was annoyed and berated the father for not controlling his children, who were bothering the other riders.  The distracted father looked up and quietly apologized, explaining they had just come from the hospital where his wife passed away.

We never know what is really going on behind the scenes in someone’s life and what is causing them to behave the way they are.  Sometimes their behavior IS patently unacceptable or hurtful and if that is the case, we should speak up about how it impacts us, just as the nurse did when she told me in a forthright but inoffensive manner how my behavior had made her feel.

But most of the time, we should take Joel Osteen’s advice and just LET IT GO.  It’s not our job to school everyone else on how to live according to our own values and standards.  And it certainly does not benefit US to harbor negative feelings about all the ways someone has wronged us and maybe even plot how to pay them back.  Leave the judgment department to God. It’s above our pay grade.

Instead, our job is simply to be the BEST we can be, and to strive each day to live up to our own standards, beliefs and values.  If we “lead from the front” by doing and being our BEST (which includes showing kindness, support and compassion to others), we are setting a good example for our children, loved ones and business colleagues and doing more to help them be happy and successful than any tongue lashing ever could.

Here’s the happy ending of my own story: After breakfast, I was about to walk out of Starbucks, when I noticed the nurse still sitting at the table, writing intently. I went up to the counter and bought a $5 Starbucks gift card that said, “Thank You. The next one’s on me.”

I took it to her table, where she was totally absorbed in writing in her journal, and laid it gently in front of her.  She looked at it and me with surprise and delight and asked my name.  Then she stood up, thanked me by name and asked if she could hug me.  We embraced and when she sat down again, there were tears in both our eyes.  She said, “You made my day.  You have no idea how much this means to me.”

I put my hand on her shoulder, smiled at her and just said, “Ditto.”

****************** 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.   

February 18, 2018

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.  The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” – Viktor Frankl

It has been cleverly stated that “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”  Yet, from time to time, all of us have been hurt, annoyed or even angry with someone important in our lives.  It might be a boss, spouse, child, client, colleague or Team member.

Unpleasant and unfair circumstances and people are a part of life, no matter how hard you try to do your best and keep a positive outlook. But you can certainly mitigate the damage they do to you by controlling your own mindset and not allowing yourself to go negative in return.

It can feel temporarily satisfying to nurse your wounded feelings by harboring resentment and enumerating to others all the ways someone has treated you poorly.  But as tempting as it can be to play the martyr, your negative thoughts and words will not help heal the situation and will eventually come back to bite you.  The Law of Attraction (energy attracts like energy) will cause the wounded, angry, complaining energy that you are spreading around to attract MORE bad breaks and people to mistreat, disappoint and upset you.

One of my coaching clients recently found herself in the unhappy position of being relentlessly hounded by a parent of one of her special-needs students.

The mother felt my client hadn’t been giving her son enough attention, support and help, even though my client said the child was one of the most difficult in her classroom, a handful in every way.  No matter how hard she tried to patiently help him, the boy’s mother seemed to blame all his learning and behavior problems on her. My client had to sit through several uncomfortable meetings, feeling “attacked” by the parent, while her principal didn’t support her strongly enough.

We talked about how the mother’s combative approach to helping her son was beginning to take a toll on my client’s energy and enthusiasm for her teaching, as well as for her own family and her network marketing business.  By allowing the negative attitude of one person to affect her, she was actually punishing herself and her loved ones in many ways.

I reminded her that I had given her some powerful mindset tools she could use to take back her power and she vowed to work on maintaining a positive outlook.  One of those tools, which I have found to be very helpful in shifting one’s mindset quickly, is gratitude.

Acknowledging and expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of a person or a situation you are having problems with can calm you down, put things in perspective and help you to re-focus on what you WANT, instead of what you don’t want. Rather than complain about the mother and the principal, I encouraged my client to feel GRATEFUL for her job and her students and to focus all her energy on creating the best possible outcome for everyone involved. After all, she and the mother were actually on the same side – both wanting only what is BEST for the student.

A few days later, my client emailed me that she had spoken to a colleague about how parents had been treating her this year and the other teacher suggested making a bigger effort to reach out to them about positive and neutral things, “so that they don’t only hear from me when something is wrong.” She followed through on that good advice by emailing the parents some neutral class updates and the next day, she said her students “all did amazingly on their Science quiz (a class all but one failed first semester.) So I texted their parents the good news and I got a great response from the mom who’s been awful to me all year.” 

The mother responded that her son had voluntarily done his homework early, which was unheard of, giving her time to review it with him and help him better prepare for the test.  As a result, he got an exceptionally good grade and both mother and son were thrilled.

The next time you find yourself seething over what someone has done (or failed to do) and want to change your mindset so that YOU can be happy and successful, instead of attracting MORE strife to yourself, here’s a tried and true little exercise that is guaranteed to shift your energy toward the positive.  In my more than 13 years as a Personal Success Coach, I have never seen it fail:

Sit down with a blank sheet of lined paper and list 25 things you appreciate or are grateful for about the person who is causing you grief.  You aren’t allowed to get up until you have listed at least 25 positive things about the person, no matter how long it takes.

Many of the unhappy clients I have had do this began by saying, “I can’t think of 25 good things about him!”  Yet, soon I invariably receive a message from them stating that, “By the time I did 25, I was so in love with my husband again, I didn’t want to stop …. I wrote 50!”

Whatever we focus on and send our energy to will grow stronger.  If you focus on someone’s bad behavior or shortcomings, those negative traits are only going to get stronger.  But when you focus on what you love, appreciate and are grateful for, that energy will draw out more of their best – and more of yours, too.

So the next time you are annoyed or upset, just sit down and make a 25 Gratitudes List about the person or situation.  I promise that you will go from grumbling to grateful in no time!

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

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

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

“If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.” – Norman Vincent Peale

First, I want to thank my readers who sent me their heartfelt condolences after reading my last blog about the passing of my former husband and dear friend, Jerry Tagami.  I have many mixed, bittersweet feelings of missing a wonderful person who won’t be around anymore, while simultaneously feeling relieved for him and his lovely widow, Diane, that he is out of pain and at peace at last.  I am grateful that I was able to recognize and name the blessings this special person left behind and the huge influence he had on all our lives. His friends and family know that we are all better ourselves for having witnessed Jerry’s zest for life, unfailing caring, devilish sense of humor and dedication to making a difference in the lives of his beloved students.

I believe that Jerry’s passing has given me another gift, as well.  More clearly than ever before, I see that “life is too short” to allow ourselves to sweat the small stuff.  In my September 11 blog, (See #246 in the blog archives on my website), I recalled the old saying that “You can be right or you can be happy.” Most of the time, I choose to be happy.  But I still have to make that a conscious choice each day. That’s because the human Ego appears to be hard-wired to choose right over happy most of the time.

In my youth, I felt the need to try to right every wrong, fight every injustice and set everyone “straight” about what I saw as truth, justice and “the right thing to do.”  I argued with my loved ones, teachers, authority figures and employers, trying to convince them that I alone knew what was “right.”  Many of them undoubtedly rolled their eyes and put up with me because they were much more emotionally mature than I was.

One of the (few) benefits of growing older is that you gain a bigger perspective on life’s problems.  You realize you have to pick your battles and that it’s just not possible to right every wrong.  The issues that truly matter in your life and the lives of people you care about are the ones to focus on. Unfortunately, we often waste a lot of time and energy battling just for the right to proclaim, “I was right and you were wrong!”  (Yes, it does sound a lot like the current Presidential race, doesn’t it?)

I’m witnessing this first-hand right now with two of my coaching clients.  They are both smart, lovely, accomplished, good-hearted, hardworking young women.  Both are determined to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They are sisters, currently living under the same roof.

The older sister saw her marriage and financial support collapse unexpectedly and responded heroically by treating it as an opportunity to create a great new life on her own terms for herself and her two young children.  She applied to an in-demand school in another state to pursue a career that will make her financially independent and give her children everything they need to thrive. Her plan requires long hours of study and hard work, with little money to live on until she graduates in several years.

Her younger sister already has a successful career and is in the process of creating her own side business that promises more emotional fulfillment and greater income to help her pursue her own Big Dreams.  She has responded to her older sister’s current need in an equally heroic way by offering to share living quarters and to help with child care duties while her sister is in class. She willingly gave up much of her free time and her own space to share a four-person household and make some significant lifestyle adjustments in order to help her sister. That is true love.

That is the kind of support I would hope family members everywhere would be willing to give each other. I know the older sister is grateful.  I know she loves and admires her younger sister and wants to see her reach her own dreams, as well. That is why she referred her to me for coaching help. That is true love too.

And yet….They both seem to spend much of their precious few hours on this earth blaming and resenting each other over one petty, inconsequential issue after another.

Each has fallen into the trap of following her Ego’s desire to be right at all costs.  They bring up childhood slights about how each was treated in the family pecking order and have reverted to bickering like teenagers over who deserves the most attention from their mutual friends, best bedroom, more time to herself, etc.  One (so I’m told) insisted that the other “unfriend” some of their mutual friends on Facebook, so the other sister retaliated by demanding that her sister stop “liking” her own friends’ posts.

Really? I have a hard time re-reading that without laughing, and yet it is causing both of them absolute anguish.

When I talk to them separately, each shows up as mature, calm, smart, open and determined.  But when one complains to me about the other, each appears childish, petty, defensive, and completely attached to being declared “right,” no matter the emotional cost.

The truth is, both women have made some significant, admirable sacrifices in their lives and really deserve each other’s support. In addition, I am trying to get each one to recognize that her negative attitude and behavior toward her sister will eventually produce some negative consequences for herself too. The Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy,” which means that whatever you do unto others will inevitably be done unto you – for good OR for bad.

I don’t want to see either of them attract negative consequences as a result of her own negative thoughts, words and actions. Each of them deserves success, happiness and a smooth path forward in pursuing her dreams.  Therefore, each of them must decide for herself if she’d rather be “right” or “happy.”

I know they both read this blog. It is my fervent hope that this post will help each to see herself through objective eyes and recognize that whatever she focuses her energy on WILL attract similar energy, people and circumstances back to herself. Each could be actively pursuing her individual dreams and feeling great happiness for her sister’s success, instead of attracting unnecessary technical and emotional roadblocks and distractions to herself.

It is also my hope that you will view their story as an opportunity to make better choices in your own relationships with your spouse, boss, business partners, children, parents, relatives, students or teachers. We must recognize in ourselves the same Ego pull to risk our success and happiness simply for the cold satisfaction of proving ourselves “right.”

It is said that we rarely regret the words we don’t say, but we often regret the ones we do. I hope you will join me in striving each day to make the one truly right choice: to be kind, loving, forgiving and to simply bite your tongue whenever necessary!

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.

October 11, 2015

When you read this, I will already be winging my way to Orlando with my wonderful husband, Rick, where we will spend a week enjoying every part of the Magic Kingdom from our dear friends’ Disney Vacation Club villa in the Animal Kingdom, followed by a few days sightseeing in the Florida Keys. Both of these destinations have been on my bucket list for decades, so I am thrilled to have this opportunity to visit them in one trip.

Due to my extended time away, A Cup of Caroll will take next Sunday off. But in the meantime, I want to give both my new and faithful longtime readers the chance to enjoy/enjoy again this slightly-edited post that was originally published two years ago:

November 3, 2013

“Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power.” — Benjamin Disraeli

When I heard from two clients in the space of an hour this morning, both with the same complaint, I felt a nudge from God/The Universe to write about this topic.

Both of these women are good people who always strive to do the right thing and to 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 see 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, as the Law of Attraction states, energy attracts like energy, 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 us is none of our business. They have a right to their opinion, and if it is petty, flawed, or just plain mean, that’s their loss, not ours. For the most part, the folks they are gossiping to about us 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 does 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 must be answered directly with the truth. And, as I’ve seen time and again, the truth ALWAYS comes out eventually.

One of my clients was taken to court by her ex-husband, who accused her of hiding a huge income that 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, trouble 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 and expect The Best — 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.

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, then DO it, without generating negative emotion about the person or situation. And, if there is nothing you can do about it, then simply re-focus your attention toward what 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.

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

 

 

“Life is too short to waste another day angry, offended, in self-pity…The pain of letting go is less than the pain of holding on and missing your destiny.” – Joel Osteen 

Everyone has been wronged at some time in their life – either intentionally or unintentionally.   It’s human nature to feel wounded, even devastated, by another’s betrayal or injustice. But once you get over the initial shock and sadness, it’s entirely up to YOU what happens next. You can choose to nurture your emotional wounds, or to let it go so you can thrive and prosper.

The Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy.” Whatever you focus on and send energy toward will expand and grow stronger. Therefore, if you nurse a grudge, you are doing self-inflicted damage by sending out negative energy to draw back to you MORE opportunities to be mistreated and hurt.   My favorite quote on the subject of forgiveness is this: “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”

In her wonderful book, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, Master Manifester Edwene Gaines asserts that all debt is caused by unforgiveness. She says that debt is the last remaining socially-acceptable way of punishing ourselves. If you have significant debt you want to eliminate, Edwene suggests creating a “forgiveness inventory” that lists every last person you need to forgive in your life and then “get about forgiving them.”

Thanks to the Great Recession, my husband and I have personally experienced what it is to face seemingly-insurmountable debt. I took Edwene’s teachings to heart, and worked diligently over time to release all old resentments and blame. I emotionally released all the “debtors” in my life and eventually, many of our own debts were forgiven and our financial opportunities improved greatly. Today, we are debt-free, and I believe that learning to forgive myself and others played a significant role in our financial recovery.

Nevertheless, resentment and blame still try to come calling from time to time. I wrote about my most recent forgiveness challenge in Blog 201, where a client of mine lashed out at me verbally after I tried to hold him accountable for his lack of personal integrity toward working on his goals and keeping his agreements.

I came to what turned out to be our final coaching call ready to clear the air and get back on track. But he came to the call to tell me in detail how awful my treatment of him had been and what a bad coach I was. Even though I realized that he lacked the emotional maturity to openly admit and take personal responsibility for his mistakes, I was caught off guard by his anger. To keep from losing my own emotional control and possibly saying something I would regret, all I could do in that moment was to hang up on him in mid-sentence. That definitely is NOT something I am proud of, so I knew that I had to forgive both myself AND my client.

I quickly wrote him as calm and professional a “goodbye” email as I could muster. While I was still smarting emotionally, my honest intention was not to castigate him, but to give him some productive parting advice. I wrote, in part:

“I had a list of tools I was going to suggest to help you be more successful from here on out, but I didn’t get the chance to share them. First and foremost, I recommend you read The Four Agreements. Secondly, I highly recommend you enroll in the Landmark Forum, which is a weekend-long coaching course that changes lives. You will learn about your ‘stories’ (limiting beliefs about yourself and others), how to forgive yourself and others for the past, how to take 100% responsibility for yourself and how to be your word. I believe the cost is about two months of coaching, but I believe it is PRICELESS.” 

He never responded. Nevertheless, to help me release all negative feelings about him so that I could continue to thrive in my OWN life, I added him to my daily prayers for several people I know who are facing serious challenges that are beyond my personal ability to help them with.

Each day that I prayed for my former client’s success and happiness, my hurt feelings softened a bit.   After a few weeks, the day finally came when I realized that I didn’t harbor ANY negative feelings, and I knew that I had forgiven him. Then I was able to release him completely to God, trusting that he was being guided on his personal growth journey and that all would be well for him.

Just when I had finally stopped thinking about him at all, he sent me a text out of the blue. It was short and sweet: “Tomorrow is my completion evening for the Landmark Forum. As the person who invited me to take it, I would like you to be there as my guest.”

I was stunned. I hadn’t imagined he would take any further advice from me, let alone invite ME to see him complete a course that obviously shifted his mindset and will likely change his life for the better in many ways!  I responded warmly that I would have been honored to come, but had a family birthday celebration to attend that evening. I congratulated him and wished him well in all his future endeavors. He responded that he wished me the same and hoped I had a lovely time at my event.

Learning to forgive him certainly has helped me to thrive in my life, and I believe that his forgiveness towards me will help him to prosper, too. One thing is for sure: Neither of us will be chugging any poison!

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

 

 

 

 

“If there is any secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” – Henry Ford 

My job, first and foremost, is to provide “safe space” for my coaching clients to be 100% themselves.   They know that in our conversations, they have complete confidentiality and freedom to speak their truth without fear of being judged or made wrong. I may not always agree with their point of view, but I strive to be respectful of it and to keep asking objective questions until I feel that I thoroughly understand it. Only when I understand their point of view can I suggest other possible approaches they might consider before speaking or acting in ways that could have unintended repercussions.

Yet, despite near-daily practice with hundreds of clients for almost 11 years, I still slip up from time to time. When I’ve had a particularly long or hectic day and my mental and emotional energy “tanks” are depleted, I can sometimes forget to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I may get attached to my own point of view or jump to conclusions. I might even hurt some else’s feelings by a poor choice of words or tone. In short, just like you, I sometimes say things I later regret.

For effective communication, there is nothing more vitally important than following the Golden Rule. If we want to build positive, lasting relationships, we must treat others as we want to be treated. The key, as St. Francis of Assisi said, is to “Seek first to understand; then to be understood.” 

I had a painful lesson in the consequences of NOT doing this just the other evening. It came at the end of a long and hectic day spent trying to balance focused coaching with fielding a barrage of eager emailed requests for free coaching sessions (YES, this is a GREAT “problem” to have!). In the evening, I felt physically tired and emotionally depleted. In fact, I felt downright cranky.

Sitting numbly on the couch in front of the television, I heard the ding of an incoming email on my phone. I knew that I should wait until morning, and give myself a chance to relax and replenish my patience stores. Instead, I peeked at it and discovered a very upset message from one of my clients, describing something unfair she felt another of my clients had done to her.

Once again, my better judgment whispered to just leave it alone until I had a clearer head in the morning, but instead I inserted myself into the disagreement, which I had no business doing. My client fired off the email to me simply to vent her frustration; she never asked me to get involved! Nevertheless, armed with only the bare-bones “facts” presented from her point of view, my own tired, cranky Ego made a snap decision to jump headlong into a delicate, complex situation.

Over the years, I have recognized that my Inner Wisdom/Intuition almost always tries to stop me from acting impulsively. Whenever I listen to that wise inner voice, I invariably feel relieved that I didn’t take the bait and speak or react impetuously during a stressful moment. Whenever you feel gripped by a strong negative emotion that is urging you to fire off a biting, angry or snarky response to a perceived wrong, I recommend listening instead to that wise inner voice, which is undoubtedly urging you to STOP and cool off before you respond.

Instead of listening to my wise inner voice, I impulsively picked up the phone just before 9:00 pm and called client number two, purportedly to get “her side of the story.”   But when she answered the phone, my words spilled out as though something had taken control of my vocal chords and was using them without my permission. I grilled her with a rapid-fire barrage of questions – first accusing and then judging her “guilty” of exactly what client number one THOUGHT she had done.

I could tell she was taken aback, but to her immense credit, she didn’t lash back or even act defensive. As she did all she could to field my accusatory questions as calmly and clearly as she could, it slowly began to dawn on me that there really were two sides to this story, as there always are. The indignant, self-righteous Ego voice screaming in my head subsided and I began to regain control of my thoughts and emotions.

As her side of the story emerged, it became clear that there were NO bad intentions on either side – just a misunderstanding caused by both of them making assumptions that turned out to be wrong. And then I fell into the same trap myself by assuming that what client number one had told me was 100% right and that my other client’s actions had to   be wrong.

Throughout the call, I could hear a bone-weariness in my client’s voice, but I just ignored it. Only later did I recall what she had shared with me only a few hours earlier about her own extremely hectic and emotionally difficult day. I am sure that she was feeling far more tired and emotionally drained than I was. Yet, she kept her cool when I lost mine.

After we hung up, I felt progressively worse, as I thought back over my lack of emotional control, harsh tone and judgmental manner on the call. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to clean it up with her ASAP. It’s best to convey something like this by voice, rather than writing, because it is so hard to accurately interpret tone and intent in written messages. But it was too late in the evening to call her back and I didn’t want to leave her feeling disempowered, so I texted her.

I did my best to follow the integrity training I got from Landmark Education to avoid making excuses or making it about ME. As straightforwardly and sincerely as I could, I sent her this apology:

“I apologize for sounding upset. I am not mad at either of you wonderful women. You are two of the nicest, most giving people I know.   I am just frustrated that things went wrong for both of you through miscommunication. Nobody had bad intentions. Just another example of The Four Agreements and how hard we all have to work not to make assumptions. And I admit that somehow I took it personally [another of The Four Agreements]. I can’t even say why I would! I just introduced you to help you both. The rest is entirely none of my business. I let myself get emotionally involved and that was wrong. I apologize again if I offended you or made you feel wrong.   You had a very tough day and I entirely overlooked that, too. The last thing you needed is a call like that. Hope you will forgive me.” 

To her further credit, she responded magnanimously, “No apologies needed. I know you have the best intentions for me and all your clients. I felt bad about any frustration it caused you. Thank you for calling me to talk through the concerns. You pointed out some valid points.”

Wow. How KIND she was to me in response to how UNKIND I was to her! Whose energy do you think influenced the other’s more? Her powerful positive energy had a much greater impact on ME than my negative energy had on her. Positive energy is always stronger than negative energy. She demonstrated what it means to truly live the Golden Rule and it is a lesson I will strive to remember.

Ironically, just a few days before my self-inflicted drama, I coached another client about how important it was to think carefully before she responded to an injustice perpetrated on her two young children. The Vice Principal of the private school her kids attend called to tell her that they must serve 15 minutes of detention during the last week of school because they had been tardy to their first classes too many times. She was incensed because the school is way across town and their few late arrivals were due to heavy traffic.

After forwarding her an inspirational thought from minister Joel Osteen I had received that very morning, she was quickly able to regain a positive perspective and respond in a very effective way. Instead of dressing down the overly-strict Vice Principal, she wrote a calm, measured email to the Principal stating why she felt her children should not be punished for something they could not control. “It is perfectly OK if you want to fine us parents, but I cannot allow my children to be humiliated for something they didn’t do.” The Principal immediately wrote back, assuring her that they would waive any punishment and expressing appreciation for the strong support she and her family have shown the school over the years.

Here is the thought that helped my client express her position in a committed, but positive way that garnered a positive outcome.

Guard Your Mouth [by Joel and Victoria Osteen]

Today’s Scripture: “He who guards his mouth keeps his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3, AMP

We’ve all said things we wish we could take back. Scripture says that when we guard our mouth, we keep our life. That’s because our words determine the direction of our lives, and wrong words can get us off course very quickly. 

The Bible tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. There’s no neutral ground. We are either sowing seeds of life and productivity with our words, or we are sowing seeds of ruin and destruction with our words. 

Today is a good day to take inventory of your words and make the decision to sow only good seeds. Sow seeds of life by speaking God’s Word over yourself and those around you.   Make the decision today that your words will bring glory to the Lord as you guard your mouth and keep your life!” 

May these words of wisdom remind us to think before saying and doing things we will wish we could take back!

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