December 17, 2017

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

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles Schulz

At last, Christmas is nigh!  You will recall that in early November, I was really feeling the need for a little “Christmas Spirit” right away, so I kicked off the blog’s annual Pay It Forward Challenge early.  The challenge is to demonstrate our true, heartfelt gratitude for all the good in our lives by spreading it to others in the form of kind, generous, hospitable deeds and uplifting, encouraging and loving words.

In ways big and small, local and far-flung, my wonderful readers responded with an outpouring of healing energy and love, which our world has never needed more than now.

As 2017 draws to a close, many of us will heave a sigh of relief that we survived the non-stop floods, fires, hurricanes, mass shootings, online cruelty and governmental incompetence. But now we can also let out a little sigh of happiness and fulfillment, knowing we did OUR part to make life a little bit easier, happier and brighter for our fellow human beings.

Here are just a few of the creative ways you and others have found to Pay It Forward and make a difference:

In the News:

  • As they have for the past 10 years, an anonymous donor and his wife in Fort Collins, Colorado bought out the local Goodwill store’s supplies of children’s books, toys and stuffed animals. Whenever a child entered the store, they were told to pick out a free gift for themselves.  The couple briefly stayed to watch some of their joyous reactions before slipping out the front door, unnoticed.
  • The wildfires in Southern California (which are still raging) closed many schools, causing low-income children to also lose the breakfast, lunches and even dinners the schools provide to combat hunger and help them focus on their schoolwork. So one school district left a school cafeteria open and volunteer staff continued to serve kids nutritious daily meals, which took a huge weight off of families who were already worried about losing their homes. One family even used the district food trays to put together a 10-year-old’s birthday party on school grounds.
  • Over 100 retired nuns, some in their late 80s, had to evacuate their nursing home during one of the L.A. fires. Some went to medical facilities, but staff members took most of them into their own homes and cared for them like family. (Now THAT is practicing “Radical Hospitality”!)
  • While a mother was struggling to handle a screaming toddler and a fussy baby in the parking lot at a Walmart, a police officer got out of his patrol car, took the toddler’s hand, fetched a cart for the mom and walked them all into the store. Later, when the toddler was crying because his mother couldn’t afford to get him a toy, the same officer appeared again to pay for the toy AND the mom’s entire shopping cart full of food.

Our Own Stories:

  • One reader and her family “adopted” a family of six who are temporarily living in a local shelter and bought Christmas presents for each of them. She also told the shelter’s staff to let her know about future fundraisers or other needs and promised that her networking marketing Team would pitch in to support their work.
  • Another reader donated part of her monthly sales commission to a local women’s shelter where “they need a fresh start.” Several others also donated part of their commissions to local causes in both November and December. (I especially love donating to local charities and grassroots organizations that support your local community. A few dollars mean so much more to them than to the big national charities, although those are certainly worthy too.)
  • I also received an eCard from one of my clients stating that in lieu of cards and gifts this year, she and her husband are donating to a number of worthy causes and hoping that her friends will choose to do the same.
  • One thoughtful reader sent a “comfort package” containing a warm blanket and cute bunny slippers to a friend who is battling cancer and feeling cold.
  • As they do every year, a network marketing Team decorated a Catholic Charities shelter with Christmas trees, festive decorations and wrapped gifts for the parents and children who are spending Christmas there.
  • A reader eating at a local restaurant noticed a waitress sitting at a nearby table, patiently studying the menu with an elderly gentleman. Overhearing that he was searching for items with a senior discount, she quietly slipped the waitress $20 to pay for his lunch and told her to give him the change.
  • A reader’s friend loves her skin care regimen for adult acne, but her husband said they had to cut the family’s budget, so my reader surprised her with the regimen as an early Christmas gift.
  • One of my readers connected a friend who was looking for a job with someone else she knows who had an opening. The job seeker got the job and is thrilled to have a temp assignment over the Holidays that could become a full time gig later on.
  • One reader took my $5 Starbucks gift card random distribution idea out into the streets and passed them out to Vets who were watching a Veterans Day parade.
  • Another reader took the Starbucks gift card idea one step further: She surprised her dentist’s office with a gift card big enough to buy every member of the staff a treat.
  • At the beginning of November, an elementary school teacher had her class create their own Daily Gratitude Journals from construction paper and lined notebook paper. Every school day, they took time in class to list THREE things they were grateful for. They had to be different things each day. At the end of the month, she assigned a short essay on what they learned from seeing the wide variety of things they each had to be grateful for in their lives.  The kids absolutely loved it and many want to keep up the daily practice.
  • The same teacher told me that at the student talent show, a girl who was supposed to play the ukulele and sing instead froze on stage. The other performers came out of the wings and surrounded her with their kind support until she began to sing.
  • One reader told me she unexpectedly ran into a friend who had just had a suspicious mammogram and now needed a biopsy. My reader spontaneously gave her a warm hug and assured her it would be OK. The friend later told her the small tumor was benign and that her hug and caring had made a world of difference for her.
  • I bought two Christmas trees that did double-duty in Paying it Forward: My gift helped a friend’s son support his school baseball program AND I donated the trees to the school to give away, which turned out to be to the families of California Highway Patrol officers who had either been killed in the line of duty or were unable to work.

Well, there you have it!  We did a GREAT job of spreading some comfort and cheer around in 2017, a year that surely needed all it could muster!  I hope you will look for even MORE ways to spread a little extra before the year is over….And then ramp up to continue Paying it Forward throughout the New Year.  Let’s BE the change we want to see in the world!

My Christmas Wish is that 2018 will bring all of us an overflowing abundance of peace, love, health and prosperity.  If we keep on showing our sincere gratitude to God/The Universe for our many blessings by spreading love and kindness to others, I am quite sure that The Best is already on its way to us!

PLEASE NOTE: This is the final blog for 2017.  A Cup of Caroll will return to your in-box on Sunday, January 7 with a proven way to get your New Year off to a successful start!

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

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.   Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” – Oprah Winfrey

First, whether or not you have ever given birth, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! If you are a mentor, teacher and/or provider of unconditional love, support and guidance for others, you are a Nurturer who fulfills the essential role of Mother in the world.

Rick and I just celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary with multiple delightful activities and delicious meals in lovely locales over a four-day “stay-cation.” In the middle of it, on Sunday morning, I received an unexpected email from a client asking for some immediate “spot coaching.” I am sharing her story, my coaching and the surprising outcome with you today because I believe her experience provides an important life lesson for us all.

As background, “Dorothy” found herself suddenly on her own after her husband of many years abruptly filed for divorce. He had been emotionally abusive during the latter part of their marriage, so although it came as a shock to her, their breakup was also a relief. With her two grown children safely out on their own, Dorothy had the chance to re-create her life anew and learn how to depend totally on herself for the first time in decades.

She had a little savings in the bank, but her part-time work, while emotionally rewarding, could not provide the financial security she needed. She came to coaching a few months ago for help in attracting an ideal new career that would be fulfilling AND provide financial security and a good retirement.

The uncertainty of her financial future kept her a little on edge, but as she learned to embrace the Law of Attraction and to value and believe in herself more and more, she was starting to expect The Best. Soon, she uncovered and began pursuing a number of great job opportunities in the new area she will be moving to shortly. Everything was flowing smoothly until a series of puzzling and unsettling experiences began happening to her during the past several weeks.

Purposely cutting all ties with him, Dorothy had not seen or heard from her Ex in years. Then, out of the blue, he turned up at a car dealership where she was shopping at the very same time! While the “What are the odds?” randomness of the encounter shook her up, both of them pretended not to see each other, and she decided to let it go.

Then just a few days later, mutual friends spilled details about his life that she didn’t want to know, including the cities he lives and works in and that he is in a new relationship.   Just knowing where he currently lives and what he is up to created an emotional trigger, reviving old feelings of being betrayed, demeaned and de-valued by a man she once loved and trusted.   After losing sleep wondering WHY he seemed to be re-entering her life just as she is on the verge of making a fresh start, Dorothy emailed me for help uncovering the meaning of all these “chance encounters” that didn’t feel random at all.

I share with you now a slightly edited version of my reply email, because I know that each of us has someone in our life who pushes our emotional buttons in a way that can shake our belief in ourselves and our Dreams:

Hi, Dorothy,

First, thank you for sharing your deepest feelings with me. I honor those feelings and know that you have been working for many years to improve yourself and live your best life, following the devastation of a failed marriage with someone who didn’t honor your worth.

NOW is the only thing that counts. You cannot change your past — You can only learn from it. Everything that happens to us in life happens for a reason. I was just listening to a televised sermon by Joel Osteen. He said that without Goliath, David would be known today as just another shepherd boy. Instead, he became a King who played a huge role in changing his people’s history.

We all have experienced adversity and people who either want to harm us or at least want to “nay say” what we believe and who we strive to be in life. What Joel said is that without adversity, we would never know our own strength and what we are capable of. Adversity and “enemies” hone our character and eventually lift us UP in life…That is, unless WE allow them to tear us down.

So don’t allow your past hurts to stop you NOW. “Living well is the best revenge” is so true! It doesn’t matter what your Ex is doing with HIS life now. What matters to YOU is what you are doing with YOURS. And we both know that you are up to great things! Whatever you focus on — good or bad — is going to grow stronger and bigger in your life. So if you focus on your past fears and resentments and pain, they will become stronger and bigger in your life today.

Instead, I urge you to keep your “eyes on the prize” and you WILL reach it at the perfect time. YOUR energy and YOUR actions are what will determine what you attract to YOU. Your Ex’s energy and actions will determine what eventually comes to HIM. I believe 100% in the Law of Attraction and in karma. Whatever we do to others eventually comes back to us.

So, don’t worry about him…The Universe’s laws will take care of him. Whatever he sows, he will reap. And whatever YOU sow, will grow for YOU — for your highest good. Focus on the abundance of GOOD in your life — beauty, abundance, health, happiness — count your many blessings and be GRATEFFUL for them AND for the trials and difficult people in your life, too. All of them have made you who you are today — and that’s a GOOD thing!

All the Best,

Caroll

Here’s the happy ending to Dorothy’s story: She said my email helped her get back on track and she continued listing daily in her Gratitude Journal the 10 things she was grateful for in her life right now and focusing her energy only on the positive outcomes she wants for her future.

A few days later, she got a surprise email from her Ex, notifying her that a house they co-owned had sold and he would be sending her 50% of the proceeds in about a week.   Needless to say, she was both flabbergasted and delighted!

She was right; apparently, the string of “chance” encounters weren’t so random after all! Dorothy and I choose to frame it this way: The series of unsettling events involving her Ex were actually God/the Universe alerting her that something good was about to happen, while simultaneously giving her a chance to grow stronger and more trusting that The Best really can happen for her.

Here’s the lesson for all of us: What other people think of you is none of your business. Whatever they are up to can have no impact on you unless YOU allow it. So don’t let yourself get “Whopped” by succumbing to “Wh.at O.ther P.eople T.hink”!

Instead, choose to take Dorothy’s approach to the nay-sayers and button-pushers in your life: Simply decide to live well and prosper. If nothing else, it will drive them crazy!

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

 

“Service is the very purpose of life. It is the rent we pay for being on this planet.” – Marion Wright Edelman

Before I address this week’s topic, I want to thank everyone who sent me personal feedback on last week’s blog about Tolerations. Apparently, it really struck a nerve with many of you!   Most gratifying, many readers reported that they are already getting into ACTION on their Tolerations and feeling great about it!

Tolerations – things, people and situations you have been “putting up with” for some time that drain your physical, mental and emotional energy – can interfere with your ability to manifest the future you desire for yourself. Your 2014 Year Completion exercise helped you identify the valuable lessons you learned from the mistakes you believe you made last year, while the 2015 Year Creation exercise helped you identify exactly what you want out of THIS year.   Identifying the Tolerations that are in your PRESENT is the bridge between the two.

If you simply make a list of everything that’s currently bugging you and begin to work steadily at completing all your incomplete tasks, ending toxic relationships, getting out of commitments you don’t really care about, you will gradually open up a clean, clear energetic “space” for your NEW year to show up in – exactly the way you already imagined it on paper.   So I hope you will get to work on this pronto!

OK, now to today’s topic: As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.” When you give GOOD to others, the Universe will give GOOD to you in return.

First, I want to quote in its entirety today’s affirmation/positive message from The Daily Word, a wonderful little daily positive thinking tool published by the Unity church, because it sums this idea up so beautifully:

“[Today’s Affirmation:] I am appreciative, kind, and generous with others.

Today I live with the intention to express to others my generosity, kindness and appreciation.

I am grateful for the presence of my loved ones. I cherish the good moments and the difficulties that help us grow. As I appreciate others, I also feel better about myself.

Because I value others and myself, I am kind. In my thoughts and actions, I treat myself with gentleness, and I extend that kindness in my relationships. As I cultivate gentleness, my spirit expands. Out of kindness and appreciation for others, I am generous.   I take every opportunity to give of my time, talent and treasure. As I cultivate benevolence, I grow in the love of God.

[Scripture that was the inspiration for this affirmation:] You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:11.”

I begin every coaching session by inviting my clients to do an energetic “clearing” by saying anything they need to say to let go of any negative thoughts or feelings, so they don’t clutter up the energetic “space” for our session – kind of like Tolerations do! I wish I had a dollar for every clearing that featured a complaint about another person – usually a family member, spouse, friend, business associate – i.e., someone who is emotionally close to them.

I acknowledge this as an observable fact: People close to us DO behave badly sometimes and it DOES hurt or annoy us. But the amount of time and energy we expend being angry and/or feeling hurt by what someone else says, does or even (we imagine) thinks about us is amazing! Unfortunately, that is purely negative energy that we are holding inside our mind, body and spirit. The energy WE feel and exude into the world is what comes back to US as “like energy.” That’s the Law of Attraction (or karma) in a nutshell: You get back from the Universe exactly what you give.

Whatever another person did or didn’t do that we judge they should or shouldn’t have can have NO lasting impact on US – unless we allow it to. Unless we invite it in with our hurt feelings, blame, judgments and Tolerations. One of the Four Agreements (an incredibly powerful and helpful self-coaching book that I highly recommend) by Don Miguel Ruiz is “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”   Ruiz asserts that if you can master not taking personally ANYTHING someone else says or does, you will live a life of “Heaven on Earth.” Nothing anyone else does or says will have the power to hurt you.

That’s true even if they were purposely TRYING to hurt you! The negative energy someone else directs toward YOU will come back to bite them via the Law of Attraction. Only if you meet their negativity with your own negative reaction will you draw negative circumstances to your own life. Evil does seem to have the upper hand sometimes, but it can never last. Positive energy is stronger than negative energy, so kindness, truth and generosity will eventually prevail — IF your thoughts, feelings and actions remain positive toward yourself and others.

How the Law of Attraction works is simple, if not always easy to carry out: If you want MORE prosperity, happiness and kindness to come to YOU, you must first GIVE them to others. One of my favorite coaching tools and personal daily practices is keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal, where I list 10 things I am grateful for in my life right now.   Many of them involve other people who are in my life. After I acknowledge my GRATITUDE for the ways they have blessed me, I always send THEM an energetic blessing that they, too, will have a great day filled with love, health and prosperity.

Whenever an opportunity arises to help someone else with my time, treasure or talents, I do my best to ACT on it. That doesn’t mean I always put others’ projects, commitments and requests ahead of my own. It means that IF I can help someone else, I will do so. And invariably, whatever good I do for someone else comes back to me – usually greatly multiplied!

One of the ways I routinely try to use my time and talents to assist others is by offering free one-hour phone coaching sessions to anyone who sincerely WANTS help with an important problem or goal in their life. In the hour we spend coaching together, I strive to deeply listen to them (allowing them to clear/release their negative feelings about themselves and others), understand their point of view (without judging them), and then offer any advice or resources I know they could use to help themselves.

Obviously, I hope many of my “free session clients” will want to hire me to coach them on an ongoing basis. This is how I make my living, after all. But I would say between one-quarter to one-third of them either don’t want to make the time and/or accountability commitment or believe they cannot make the financial investment at the moment to enable them to reach their goals. That is perfectly fine with me.   My belief is that this is the most valuable service I can offer the Universe as my “rent” for the happy, healthy and purposeful life I am blessed to live.

The funny thing is, though, that ALL these free sessions come back to bless me in some way. At the very least, I feel good about making a difference for a stranger I will probably never speak to again.   And it always sharpens my listening/coaching skills to try to help someone significantly in just one hour. The more I coach, the better I coach! But the prosperity benefits that have come back to me by serving strangers in this small way have been amazing, too, as some of my wonderful long-term clients came to me via referrals from someone I spent just one hour coaching long ago.

If you simply do whatever Good you can for those who need it – especially love, understanding and forgiveness and ESPECIALLY for your loved ones – that positive energy will always come back to bless YOU as well — exactly where, when and how you need it. That is the Law of Attraction in its most wonderful, magical form!

RECOMMENDATION: Check out Don Miguel Ruiz, Four Agreements and much more at: http://www.miguelruiz.com

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.” – Christiane Northrup

Now that the Holidays are in full swing, I wanted to dedicate my final blog of 2014 to one more facet of the power of gratitude that has made a huge impact in my life this year. That is Acknowledgment.

As I shared last time, my family and I are feeling SO grateful this particular holiday season because this year we have received “avalanches of abundance” following five long years of real financial struggle to survive the Great Recession. During those tough years, my husband’s real estate business collapsed and my coaching practice slowed way down. We lost two homes and a car, went through personal bankruptcy and found out what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck with no savings or credit cards to fall back on in an emergency.

As hard as it was, I can truly say that we received many blessings from this experience, the greatest of which is that we learned the power of GRATITUDE to help us focus on all the good in our lives, which gradually caused that good to grow. Over that time, we started saying grace at dinner every night and I kept a Daily Gratitude Journal, in which I listed 10 things I was grateful for each day. Getting the bills paid and making the rent every month was a nail-biter, but we focused more and more on the many blessings we DID have – our health, our beautiful rental home, our love and the support of so many people in our lives.

It Takes a Village

Were it not for the kindness and generosity of many people, we would not be ending this year with a healthy savings account, health insurance for every family member, current on our taxes, and enjoying traveling in style to places we love like Yosemite National Park a couple of weeks ago and a wine-tasting trip this coming week to Solvang, California. (Next Fall, we are looking forward to going to Epcot and Disney World in Orlando.)

I believe that one of the highest forms of gratitude we can express is acknowledgment. Therefore, I want to acknowledge just a few of the many special people whose support saw us through the tough times:

  • Randy, our wonderful landlord and friend, THANK YOU! Without your generosity and belief in us we would not have this beautiful roof over our heads.  Thank you for believing in us and trusting us with your lovely home.
  • Steve, thank you for the incredible generosity and trust you showed by giving us significant personal loans to bridge the gaps when we had big expenses like moving that just couldn’t wait for the next commission check to arrive.
  • Thank you, Harley’s Garage, for your generosity and trust in allowing us to delay paying for some hefty car repairs until another commission check came.
  • Thank you, Jennifer Weiss, for allowing us to put the critical marketing tool for Rick’s business, his monthly newsletter, on the “tab.” You not only didn’t ask to be paid for your wonderful design work, but you actually paid for the printing out of your own pocket until we could pay you back!
  • Thank you, dear friends Judy and Janice, for connecting Rick to key sources of secondary income that kept gas in the car and food on the table during our toughest times.
  • Thank you, my Prayer Circle friends — especially Jodee — for your prayers of support AND for the extremely generous gift card to our favorite place – Disneyland! Your thoughtfulness gave us several much-needed “carefree” breaks that we otherwise couldn’t have afforded.
  •  Thank you to my BFF, Lisa, for several plane tickets you bought for me to come visit you. Our Girls Weekends helped us stay connected and let me “get away from it all” when I needed it most.
  •  Thanks to my dear friend and hair stylist, Peggy, for allowing me to pay less than your going rate in “installments.” You always make me look and feel great about myself.
  •  Thanks to my dear friend, Mallory, for your ongoing, “What can I do for you?” attitude. Your surprise messages of love and support are cherished always.
  •  Huge thanks to my dear friend, mentor and colleague, Leslie Zann, for hosting — as we now call it – our annual “Girls I Ching Weekend” at your beautiful home in San Diego. And thank you, too, Hilda for making the most scrumptuous feasts for us. This has been my biggest Holiday treat for several years running and I can’t thank you both enough. I am most grateful, too, Leslie, for helping my coaching practice to thrive with your many referrals to wonderful new clients.
  • Thanks to my extraordinary coaching colleagues Sue Koch and Tim Kelley.  You have partnered with me and helped me grow my skills and fulfill my purpose, as well as putting much-needed money in my pocket!
  •  Thanks to our amazing accountant, Charity. We can never repay you for getting the IRS to wipe out our large tax debt with a settlement we could afford. You have given us a new sense of peace regarding money that has enabled us to revive and thrive.

To ALL my wonderful clients and faithful readers, I will never be able to repay YOU for the financial support you have provided and the opportunity you have given me to make a difference in YOUR life. I cannot adequately express the sense of joy and fulfillment I get each day from helping you achieve your Big Goals.

Because of the many blessings that my family has received from our own trials, I completely understood the surprising emotion that a client expressed to me recently. She said that, although she is going through a very challenging time in her life, she feels blessed because her family crisis proved to her just how deeply her friends and parents love her and the lengths to which they will go to support her.

Put YOUR Gratitude into Action

I urge you to give a unique gift to the important people in your own life during this special Season. It is a gift that some of my coaching clients already bestowed at Thanksgiving, which drew a very positive response from their friends, customers and business partners. It’s a simple yet powerful way to express sincere GRATITUDE to those who have helped us, supported us, inspired us, made us laugh or made our life better in some way this year.

Send an “I’m grateful for YOU” card to acknowledge those who have supported you emotionally, physically, mentally or financially. Don’t send them the standard Holiday greeting card with just your signature.   Instead, WRITE a personal message of authentic gratitude for who they are and what they have contributed to your life. I can’t imagine a more valuable gift you could give them than a tangible acknowledgment of their unique and special worth that they will treasure forever. (By the way, you can do this for ALL your loved ones and family members, too. Just acknowledge their special qualities you love and tell them you are grateful they are part of your family or circle of friends!)

P.S. Feel free to pass along to them the quote I gave you last time found in the book of Proverbs in the Bible: “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed. Those who help others are helped.”  Tell them you know they will be richly blessed in return for all the good they do in the world!

A Cup of Caroll will return on January 4, 2015 to share a proven method you can use to create the next year to be everything you want it to be! Until then, Happy Holidays to you and yours and thank you for being YOU. 

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What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your Big Goals and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation!