May 20, 2018

 “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie 

“If the only prayer you said was ‘Thank You,’ that would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart 

Gratitude is the most powerful positive emotion you can express to attract all the wonderful things you desire into your life. Acknowledging and appreciating all the good that is already present in your life sends a clear signal to God/the Universe that you would welcome more. Here is a lightly-edited update of one of my favorite past blogs about gratitude. I hope you enjoy it! 

As you are probably eagerly anticipating, next weekend is Memorial Day in the U.S.A.  It is the unofficial kick-off to summer, but its significance is much greater than that. Originally called Decoration Day, this special day honoring the fallen began in 1868 as a time set aside to commemorate those who died fighting in the Civil War by decorating their graves with flags and flowers.

But I find it equally appropriate to celebrate the day by taking a moment to remember with gratitude ALL those who have gone before you who have contributed to making you who are today:

  • All the strangers, friends and loved ones who served in the armed forces to preserve your precious freedom.
  • Your parents, grandparents and other dear ones who raised you and helped you determine the values you choose to live by.
  • All the mentors and teachers who freely gave of their precious time to guide you along your purposeful path.
  • Everyone who has ever shown you the encouragement and love that nurtured your spirit and helped you grow into your authentic Self.
  • Yes, and even those who disagreed with you honorably or sought to undermine you dishonorably — because they, too, had a hand in strengthening your character and determination to succeed against all odds.

Let us today transform our sadness at the loss of those who contributed so much to our lives into abundant GRATITUDE for all they have contributed to us.  While sadness and regret are negative emotions that attract more pain, gratitude is one of the most powerful positive emotions there is.

Gratitude can help you to make your most heartfelt dreams and ambitious intentions a reality.  If energy attracts like energy,” as the Law of Attraction states, then feeling grateful for all those who have blessed your life with their presence can only attract more good people and resources to bless you.

And because an abundantly prosperous life involves so much more than just money, I want to close with something profoundly simple, yet powerful, that I learned from a wise retired minister, Rev. Margaret Melanie.

These are the Four Spiritual Truths to live by, which can help you create a life that is truly abundant and prosperous in every way. (I loved them so much, I had them made into a plaque for my office.)

  • Breathe deeply. Breathing slowly and deeply nourishes your body with oxygen, makes you more alert to new ideas, and settles you down.  It makes you aware of being in the NOW and living fully in the present moment — which is really the only time that you have available to you.
  • Live Fully. Go out and make a miracle today.  God is busy and needs your help.
  • Kiss slowly. Appreciate all the love in your life – in ALL the forms it may take.  Don’t give your dearest loved ones just a hasty peck on the cheek as you bolt out the door.  Take time to really appreciate them and show them your love.
  • Love wastefully. Don’t hold back.  Spread your love around lavishly, so there isn’t a drop left at the end of your life.  Love can’t be hoarded; it must be spent to be enjoyed!

I hope you enjoy a gratitude-filled Memorial Day next weekend with your special Loved Ones (two-footed and/or four-footed)! The blog and I will be taking the weekend off too!

DON’T FORGET! Summer is right around the corner and it’s almost time for the second annual Prosperity Summer Camp 7-week webinar in June and July.  Watch for the special email about it on Tuesday!  Registration closes on June 2 or when all the limited spots are filled, whichever comes first.  So don’t miss out!  The first 40 Campers to register will be entered in a drawing to win ONE MONTH of free private coaching with me!  Contact me right away and ask for a registration form at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

 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 http://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.

May 13, 2018

“Determination, energy and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something.  We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

As the stratospheric box office numbers for the newest Avengers movie will attest, we are a Superhero-obsessed culture these days.  And female Superheroes are becoming just as popular as the male versions. Superheroes like Wonder Woman, Black Widow and Supergirl serve as strong, resourceful and intelligent role models for girls and boys alike.

But I’ll tell you who the REAL female Superheroes in our world are: Moms.

Soccer Moms. Working moms. Moms in boardrooms and Moms in minivans.  Moms who sign the paychecks and Moms who mop the floors and take out the trash.

They are strong, resourceful, visionary and determined because they have a Why that is bigger than themselves.  They care deeply about their families and will do whatever it takes to create a better future for their children. They are fierce, resilient and filled with grit and gusto. They are lady warriors in high heels or sneakers. They are in pursuit of a Greater Purpose and they are after it 24/7.

I am blessed to coach many of these real-life Superheroes.  I marvel at them and do my best to support and nurture them to value themselves and pursue their Big Dreams with belief and passion.

I am in awe as I see them work their day jobs, come home to fix dinner, help with homework and then give up much-needed sleep to spend an hour or two building a business that will provide the future they dream of for their families.  Some of them work from home, which is just as challenging, because everyone around them thinks they have plenty of time on their hands, and routinely call on them to help with the charity bazaar, assist in the classroom, chauffeur the soccer team, help their husbands with THEIR careers….etc. etc. etc. Just like the full-time working moms, stay-at-home Superhero Moms must squeeze in the time to grow their businesses and build their dreams.

Some of my Superhero Mom clients are single parents, with no backup if they or their children get the flu or the car breaks down. It’s all heaped on their slim shoulders.  Do they cry about it?  Nope. They suck it up and JUST DO IT.  Superhero Moms have no time for pity parties.  Stuff needs doing.  Big Dreams need fulfilling.  Either lend them a hand or get out of their way.

Some of them are also in the midst of ugly divorces and custody battles.  I cannot imagine what it is like for them to be a single parent, hold down a job, work on building a part-time business AND have to deal with a jerk whose highest aim is to sabotage them, just for spite.

How do these Superhero Moms respond to such abuse?  They lift their chins, turn away and get back to building a great future for their kids. The opposition makes them even MORE determined to succeed on their own terms.  They are the very definition of “indomitable.”

So what is the Greater Purpose that drives these Superheroes in high heels? Time.  They want more time to spend with their families and to play a big role in their children’s lives as they grow. They are committed to instilling their deepest values in them and proving to them that even their wildest dreams CAN come true — and not just in fairy tales or comic books.

So here’s to ALL the too-often-taken-for-granted, undercover Superhero Moms who walk among us – our wives, mothers, relatives, friends, teachers and colleagues.  Let’s pause this Mother’s Day (and hopefully, EVERY day) to express our admiration and gratitude to them. Let’s treat them like the Superheroes they truly are.   After all, they are saving the future of the World by pursuing their Greater Purpose.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t miss out! It’s almost time for the second-annual Prosperity Summer Camp 7-week webinar in June and July.  Watch for the special email about it this week. Registration is open, so if you want to be one of the lucky 90 participants who are going to learn exactly how to make their Big Dreams a REALITY using the Law of Attraction, email me TODAY for information.  The first 40 who register will be entered to win a free MONTH of private coaching with me as well.  So don’t delay.  Space is limited and going FAST.  Contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!

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

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

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

March 25, 2018

“It’s not easy being grateful all of the time.  But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you.” – Oprah Winfrey

This is a lightly-edited blog that first ran in Spring 2016.  I hope its important message will resonate with my newer readers and remind my longtime readers of the transformative power of gratitude.

If you live east of the Mississippi, please forgive me for gloating, but spring has officially sprung here in Southern California.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining and both my back and front yards are awash in the vivid colors of roses, azaleas, camellias and many other beautiful flowering plants.  But the plants aren’t the only things blooming now.

On April 1 (no fooling), my phone blew up with text after text from my coaching clients who had achieved their Big Goals at the end of March.  Many of them are independent consultants in the same fast-growing network marketing company.  After several months of “planting seeds” of opportunity, one was excited to have sponsored two new business partners.  Another far surpassed her personal organization’s sales volume target. And several others reached “Level 5 Leader” status — the first major step toward building a large Team of successful business partners.  For one, March became the first of three consecutive months that she needs to maintain that status for her company to lease a brand new Lexus for her.

My clients didn’t achieve any of these milestones overnight or by themselves.  They had the support of their “upline” Leaders in the business AND the consultants they personally sponsored into the business. Everyone on their Teams pulled together to make it possible.  The achievement of one was the achievement of all.

Having coached them for the past several months, I knew their exciting and fulfilling accomplishments took dedication, belief and work, which reminded me of a recent daily message from mega church pastor Joel Osteen:

“If you want to see change, if you want to see God open up new doors, the key is to bloom right where you’re planted. You can’t wait until everything gets better before you decide to have a good attitude.  You have to be the best that you can be right where you are.  When you bloom where you’re planted, you’re allowing God to work in you, and He will be faithful to complete what He’s started in you!”

All of my clients came into coaching because they had Big Goals that didn’t seem to be moving forward very quickly.  Most of them were feeling stuck, stymied, even resentful about their inability to find partners to join them in the business who were equally driven to succeed.  Most of the Team members they had seemed content to just plod along, showing little ambition.

One of these clients achieved Level 5 Leader status last month, meaning she had sponsored eight serious business partners into the business and supported them in successfully selling the company’s high-end skin care products. When we began our coaching last year, she had just two partners on her Team.

Outwardly, she seemed positive and confident. But on our first coaching call, she confessed her true  feelings with surprising candor: “I am so annoyed with my Team.  Everything has rested on me.  I wish they would do more to help themselves succeed.  It’s invigorating to see my upline Leader’s Team rallying to help her win her Lexus.  I can’t see my own Team doing that for me. I don’t feel grateful for them. I want to learn to feel gratitude for my Team and for my life.”

During our first months together, I gave her a number of coaching tools to help her engage the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to attract people who were as enthusiastic and hungry for success as she is. Imagine which tool was her favorite –the Daily Gratitude Journal! Every day, she faithfully wrote in it 10 things that she was grateful for in her life right NOW.

It didn’t take long before she declared, “I am really feeling GRATEFUL!  I am so grateful for the Team I have right now – each and every one of them, no matter how hard they are working or not working.”

That’s when things really began to shift for her. When she learned to bloom right where she was planted, her new, positive attitude attracted those who wanted to bloom alongside her. When she stopped wishing she were living in a different garden, the garden she found herself in began to bloom more beautifully than ever before.

What kind of garden do YOU find yourself planted in right now?  Imagine what your life would be like without all the wonderful things and people you probably take for granted each day.

  • Are you grateful for your job? Or do you wish you had a different boss or bigger paycheck?
  • Do you feel blessed to have your partner or spouse, or do you wish he or she were more loving?
  • Are you happy with your home or do you wish it were bigger or in a better neighborhood?
  • Do you appreciate your car that gets you where you need to go, or do you wish it were newer or flashier?
  • Are you proud of your children? Or do you wish they got better grades or helped with the chores more willingly?

As Joel says, if you want your opportunities to improve you have to be the best that YOU can be, right where you are. Start by expressing your sincere GRATITUDE for all that you have been blessed with now.  Be grateful that you have the unlimited opportunity to better yourself and your circumstances. And then strive to do your very BEST with the resources you have been given in the garden where you currently reside.

If you want more and better, believe that you have the power to attract the right people and resources to help you.  Give your BEST at the job you have each day.  Be as loving and thoughtful toward your loved ones, friends, colleagues and strangers as you would like them to be toward you.  Acknowledge the young people in your life every chance you get and watch them become their BEST selves.

It’s a beautiful garden you live in.  Keep planting more seeds of opportunity and watch them grow!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Just as I advise my clients to do, I have to know when to say “when.” I have an overflowing plate right now, with an abundance of wonderful new clients coming aboard, an active social life, and a very long list of detailed steps I must take ASAP to transition my and my husband’s businesses from  being “sole proprietors” to a corporation.  So, I am going to take a break from creating the blog for the next two Sundays.  Enjoy the rest of your Spring Vacation and look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday April 22!

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

I invite you to give yourself, a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change your or 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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you/them clarify Big Goals and get into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  to schedule a coaching 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.

January 7, 2018

“Change always starts in your mind.  The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.” – Rick Warren

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah!  Now that the Holidays are behind us, we can pause, take a breath and examine what lies ahead.

I don’t have to tell you that last year was one of the most tumultuous in the USA and across the globe in a generation.  Thousands lost their homes and many lost their lives from a series of natural disasters and unfathomable man-made tragedies.  Ugly rancor in partisan politics came to the forefront in the USA and across the world as viewpoints clashed on just about every important topic and even issues thought long-settled were re-litigated in the courts and in the streets. Frequently, our elected leaders seemed to have lost their collective way (and maybe their minds).

One outstanding bright spot was a few brave women who found their voice and began speaking their shocking truth about the sexual harassment and economic unfairness they had endured silently for years. This triggered a tsunami of truth-telling in all walks of life from politics to the arts to business and beyond by women and men alike.  Collectively, individuals stood up for their own dignity and worth and proclaimed, “We don’t care how powerful our oppressors are. We matter and we are no longer going to allow you to treat us with anything less than fairness and respect.”

With so much loss, rancor and division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2017 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important life lessons that will help you create your next year to be all that you want it to be.

In my 13+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 650 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than the last one did. Creating your 2018 YOUR way requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin:

Step One: Complete the Old Year.  You can’t create something NEW in a space that is cluttered with old stuff. So, if you want this next year to be more than just a replay of whatever you experienced last year, you must first complete your old year to make space for your new intentions.

The Reflections Exercise

A great completion process is simply to sit quietly and answer a series questions that make you think deeply about the outcomes of your past year – the good, the bad and the ugly. Answering them honestly will clarify your underlying beliefs, expectations, attitudes and actions that influenced the results you got.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do that influenced what happened for you last year. Determining accurately what caused your past outcomes helps you to identify new ways of thinking and being that will cause you to take NEW actions.  Taking new actions will bring you new results, while continuing on “auto-pilot” inside of the same thought and behavior patterns pretty much guarantees that this year is going to bring you more of the same.

This year, I am using a revised list of questions that includes some old favorites and some great new ones.  The new ones were passed along to me by my dear friend, direct sales industry trainer and motivational speaker extraordinaire, Leslie Zann, who got them from her friend Robin Blanc Mascari (rbmascari@mac.com).  I have bolded the ones that came from Robin. 

Here are 14 KEY questions to help you complete your 2017 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2018. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30-60 minutes to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 — Questions to Complete the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • What was the biggest surprise in your year?
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on but didn’t?
  • What are you most thankful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2018?
  • What would you be most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instill this year?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you do/have more of that in 2018?

NEXT WEEK is going to be fun! 

We will do Step Two: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 13 years and I know you will too!

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

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

 

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.

December 3, 2017

“Letting people know that you care does more than you imagine.  You have the power to cause them to pursue their dreams.” – Joel Osteen

The theme of my last several Holiday-season blogs has been doing good for others because that is how we demonstrate our sincere gratitude to God/The Universe for the many blessings we have been given in our lives AND because the world certainly needs more love and kindness and generosity right now.

We kicked off our annual Pay It Forward Challenge, where my readers strive to become a Messenger of Happiness by doing a kind deed for another, whether it involves a little financial generosity or support with an errand or listening ear that someone needs right now.  Your wonderful stories have been pouring in and I am going to share them in my final blog of 2017 on December 17, in hopes they will inspire even MORE kind, generous and hospitable deeds to create an atmosphere of love all around us.  Please send me your PIF stories ASAP so I can include them!

I want to share with you another specific type of kindness and paying it forward that was beautifully explained in a televised sermon by my favorite positive thought minister, Joel Osteen.  His message was about how we can make a profound difference for others simply through our words.  Words don’t cost a thing, and often take only seconds to express, but their impact can change a life and last a lifetime.

Joel said, “We don’t know what people are going through.  They’re smiling on the outside, but on the inside, they’re hurting, they’re lonely, they’re discouraged…Just a simple word of encouragement, a simple compliment is helping to heal their wounds, lifting their spirits and causing them to believe in themselves.”

He went on to explain that “Our words have the power to lift people, to help them get through a challenge, to push them into their destinies. When you tell someone ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you,’ you’re not just being kind; those are healing words.”

He listed some great specific examples about how, in just a few minutes or even seconds out of our daily lives, we can be healers and supporters by encouraging a co-worker who is down, lifting the spirits of a friend who is sick or calling a relative just to say you miss them. The clerk in the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, a friend at the gym – all of them need your encouragement and to know that you believe in them.

And he points out that a blessing isn’t a blessing unless it’s SPOKEN: “You can think nice things about them all day long, but until you tell them, they’ll never know… God put the idea in your head – now you need to SPEAK in order to heal with it.”

You don’t know what they are going through and how much it might mean to them and encourage them if you just take a moment to have a friendly interaction or give them a small compliment.  It’s amazing what a sincere, kind word can do for someone.

I had just such a Pay it Forward interaction in Starbucks recently.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always purchase a bunch of $5 gift cards and distribute them at random times to the baristas at the cash register to pay for the drinks of other customers, as my way of spreading around some Holiday Cheer.

Usually, I like to make a clean getaway, so the recipient of my little “Secret Santa” gift doesn’t know where it came from.  But on that particular mid-afternoon, nobody was in line behind me when I gave a $5 gift card to the barista and told her to give it to the next person who stepped up to the register. Then I went over to wait for my drink to be prepared.

At that moment, a woman walked in all by herself.  She wasn’t unkempt, not homeless, I’m sure.  But she looked somehow a little sad and definitely very quiet.  She carefully counted out her dollar bills and change for her drink, and then as I watched, the barista surprised her with, “No, you only owe $1.” She stood there frozen, puzzled as the barista pointed to me and said, “That lady paid for the rest of your order.”

She didn’t turn around to look at me, but eventually came over and stood next to me. Finally she said in a whisper of emotion, “Thank you SO much!”  I smiled at her, feeling a little awkward myself at being caught in the act.  All I could think to say was, “You are MOST welcome!  I wanted to spread a little joy around today.”  She smiled shyly at me and then we stood there quietly side by side for another couple of minutes until my drink arrived.

As I turned to leave, she touched me gently on the shoulder, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Thank you again. This means so much.”

I smiled at her, this time looking her in the eye too and replied, “YOU are so welcome! Have a great afternoon!”

It was such a small, brief interaction with a total stranger, but somehow, I could tell it meant the world to her. Maybe she was lonely or worried about something or grieving for someone….I will never know.  But that was by far the most emotional reaction I have ever gotten to this little gesture of camaraderie and kindness.  All I could think was, I know that God put me here today just for her and I am so glad I followed my inner urge to go to Starbucks and to bestow that gift card exactly when I did.

Joel also said, “When you are taking care of others, you are sowing seeds that will grow to fruition and come back to bless you.” As a post-script, I had an amazing example of that within 48 hours after blessing that shy stranger with my small gesture of human connection.

With some extra bills hitting in November, it had been a pretty tight month for us. I realized as I was preparing to pay our December rent that we were quite a bit short. I could have taken what I needed out of savings, but that would feel like a defeat, after working so hard to keep our “rainy day fund” sacrosanct, since experiencing the constant worry about having zero savings all during the Great Recession.

I didn’t know where the rest was going to come from, since all my client billings were done, but one thing I knew for sure, God/The Universe was the one who had the answer. MY job was simply to calm my fears, stay in belief, and keep my eyes wide open for the “How” to appear.

Within 48 hours of my caring interaction with the stranger at Starbucks, a new client came out of nowhere to sign up for coaching and another texted out of the blue that she wanted to pay for upcoming coaching well in advance!  Those two unexpected windfalls were exactly the balance needed for our December rent!

Remember this: Someone today is thirsty for your healing words, and a sign that they matter.  You can use your kind, empathetic words to encourage them and make them feel loved and valuable in life-changing ways you may never know. One type of Paying it Forward that we often overlook is PRAISE and ACKNOWLEDGMENT, especially with our own loved ones.

Joel Osteen says, “Don’t let a stranger, a coach, a teacher or a friend compliment your loved ones more than you do.  Verbalize your feelings and speak positive, healing, encouraging words to them.  And when you compliment someone in front of others, it carries extra weight.  Acknowledge them in public whenever you have the chance.”

Are you speaking words of praise, encouragement and confidence to your kids, your friends, your spouse and your business associates?  You can change the atmosphere and bring healing to a relationship or provide the confidence boost someone needs to pursue their dreams — simply through your words!  So Pay it Forward in kind words and deeds and reap the good that you sow!

PLEASE NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will take next weekend off for Disneyland and other Holiday fun! Join me on Sunday December 17 to share all your Pay it Forward Challenge results stories for our final blog of 2017.  Please email me yours ASAP so I can include them!

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

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

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