January 5, 2020

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli

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

I don’t have to tell you that this year was, once again, one of the most tumultuous we have had in the USA and across the globe.  It was the best of times AND the worst of times, as people showed themselves to be amazingly generous and selfless toward their fellow citizens, amidst many natural disasters and man-made tragedies.

With so much change and political division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2019 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 you can carry into this new year and new decade to help you create it to be all that you wish for.

In my 15+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 775 individual clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than this one did. Creating your 2020 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. You have to truly be finished with the past. 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. 

Here are 14 KEY questions to complete your 2019 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2020. 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 2019?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • Who did you make a difference for and how?
  • 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?
  • What are you most grateful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What ONE WORD would you like to have as your theme in 2020?
  • What would you feel most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What new 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 make room for more of that in 2020?

NEXT WEEK

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 15 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 https://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to give yourself (or 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!  

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 15, 2019

“The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” – Walt Whitman

Welcome to the final Cup of Caroll for the year.  We are ending 2019 on a high note, with another very successful Pay it Forward Challenge under our belts, as so many of my cherished readers have enthusiastically spread comfort and joy far and wide this Holiday Season!

I have loved sharing the many touching and creative ways you have come up with to show kindness and generosity to others. I know the ripples of your Pay It Forward actions will spread far and wide, as those you have blessed pay your kindnesses forward to others and on and on!

Besides the good feeling you get from helping others, did you know that your giving will also come back to YOU in many practical ways?  Gratitude is said to be the most powerful positive emotion for attracting MORE good things to you because the Law of Attraction dictates that “energy attracts like energy.”  I have seen plenty of this in my own life, and I want to share some recent personal results with you to close out our 2019 PIF Challenge.

But first, I must share just one more reader story, because it so beautifully illustrates the principle that giving generously to others not only blesses them, but also comes back to bless YOU, as well.  One of my readers sent me this email after reading the last blog:

“I have been paying it forward to the Universe and getting pretty good things back in return.  We have made the decision to never resell anything that was given to us for free, even if it has a high monetary value.  It seems now that when we hand something to someone else, there is some gift, material or not, waiting for us in return.  Recently, I had been wanting a midcentury dropleaf table, and I had been hoarding a GIANT tub of Legos for a kit I realized I would never have the time to put together.  I heard my neighbor coming home from work and walked out to the parking lot with these Lego tubs to give to her son. She had been helping a friend clean out a storage unit and as I handed her the Legos, she took the table I had been wanting out of her SUV and offered it to me!  It was unbelievable, but of course, giving things away feels good even when there is no return.”

There is always a return! You may not receive it back from the same person or institution you gave to, but you WILL receive exactly what YOU want and need from somewhere – You can count on that!

Here’s my own story that illustrates this Law of Attraction principle:

In September, I came across a life-changing book by a successful entrepreneur named May McCarthy.  I absolutely believe I was guided to it, as I was scrolling through my “Good News” feed and saw a link to a podcast in which the author was being interviewed about her book called The Gratitude Formula. Normally, I wouldn’t take time to listen to a podcast, but this was a short 7-minute clip and the topic, being gratitude-related, caught my attention.  I just felt a strong urge to click on it and listen.

What I heard rocked my world!  She told an amazing story of asking God/the Universe to show her how to bring an additional $400,000 to her company by the end of the business quarter and it happened!  It was clearly divine guidance that led her intuition to steer her to be in the exact right place at the precise moment to bump into a prospect she had been trying to get a business meeting with for weeks.  They spoke on the fly, and he asked her to set up a presentation.  In just a few weeks, he had signed a contract with her company for $400,000 – the exact amount and timing that she had asked for. She said that this was just one of hundreds of “miraculous” occurrences she had used to build seven companies worth over $110 million.

I immediately got her book and all my coaching clients got it too, and together we all began working with a specific type of Daily Gratitude Journal that is a letter to our Higher Power, expressing gratitude for all we have now AND for all the things we want in the future in every area of life – health, relationships, finances, recreation, home, etc. I have taught this principle to my clients for 15 years, having them describe their life on paper exactly the way that want it to be in the New Year.  But expressing GRATITUDE in advance for the desired outcomes was the missing link to make it a “formula” that works reliably for everyone.

To test it out, I decided to ask for something specific for my business and my husband’s, to prove to myself whether an unlikely outcome could be achieved in a specific amount of time.  I wrote in my Gratitude Formula Journal to God each morning, “Thank you that by the end of the year, I have 10 ideal new or returning coaching clients who are delighted with my services and who bring me prosperity in return.” And for my husband’s real estate business, I wrote, “Thank you for connecting Rick to one or more ideal buyers and/or sellers who will appreciate his skilled help with their real estate needs and bring him a generous commission in return.”

For the first few weeks of doing it every morning, nothing big happened.  But I noticed that Rick and I both got a number of nice little financial windfalls. Rick received an unexpected referral commission and I was delighted that many of my clients decided to continue in coaching beyond their initial contracts, which meant that I had greater income over the Holidays — the most challenging time of year in my coaching practice. And our tax accountant determined that we would likely get a refund on our 2019 taxes, instead of owing more, as I had feared.

Over a couple of months, as I became more skilled with my journaling and more inspired by these little demonstrations, bigger serendipitous outcomes started to happen.  Several past clients I had not spoken to in months or years contacted me out of the blue, wanting to resume coaching, and we are once again doing some great things together! My clients have sent me many wonderful referrals, and the free sessions I did in November and December introduced me to some fabulous new clients who have committed to coaching in the New Year!

But the most amazing outcome so far happened last week, when I least expected it. As I approached a local café for my morning coffee, a young man held the door for me, and I smiled and thanked him.  On foot, dressed very casually in jeans and a hoodie, he didn’t look homeless, but he didn’t look too prosperous either.  As I was getting my coffee, I noticed him counting out change in his hand, as he looked at the items in the deli case.  When he mumbled to the cashier that he would “be back,” and quickly left, it was clear to me that he didn’t have enough money to buy breakfast.

When I caught up with him in the parking lot, he turned and smiled at me and asked, “Excuse me, Ma’am.  Do you have any spare change?”  I had been intending to offer him $5, but instead I spontaneously pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to him.  His look of happy amazement was priceless!  He said, “God bless you!” walked a few feet, then turned and added, “Merry Christmas!”

As many of my readers have reported, it felt great to help a stranger with a spontaneous Pay it Forward kindness!  Feeling confident and happy when I got home, I spontaneously emailed someone I done a free session of coaching with the prior week, and invited her to coach with me in January.  I loved her energy and knew that we would both benefit from working together, but I hadn’t heard anything from her since our session, which usually is not a good sign.  I didn’t get a reply to my email all day. But late that night, she surprised me by responding, “Let’s do this!”

I am delighted and grateful that she is now the seventh new or returning client who has come to me since the Pay it Forward Challenge began around Thanksgiving, and I am still connecting with potential new and returning clients every day.  Recently, my husband Rick also got a call from a couple he hadn’t heard from in months, wanting to resume searching for their perfect home now, in the middle of December, which is not a normal occurrence in real estate!

I feel divinely guided to share this Gratitude Formula with others, so I am currently working on a webinar about it for February.  I cannot wait to see the miracles that will occur for those who learn how to put their Gratitude into ACTION in their daily lives, not only to bless themselves, but everyone they come across.

Stay tuned for more information about the course in January!  In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever tradition you celebrate this time of year. Let’s keep paying our many blessings forward to others far beyond the Holidays. I promise you it will come back to bless you over and over again, too!

NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be on vacation for the rest of the year.  Look for a new post on Sunday January 5, followed by information about the upcoming Gratitude Formula Webinar as well.

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

************ Give Yourself or Someone Else 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.  You can offer this to a friend as well!

December 8, 2019

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

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

(First, I have to say “Happy Birthday” to my brother, Harbison Parker.  Big Bro, I hope this is a great one for you and your family!  — Love, Your Lil’ Sis)

In case you didn’t read the last two blogs, I started the Pay it Forward Challenge spontaneously several years ago around Thanksgiving because a gentleman in line ahead of me at Starbucks surprised me by paying for my drink. When I tried to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”

My day had not been going too well up to that point, but this stranger’s thoughtful gesture turned my frown upside down and I wanted to pass along that warm feeling to others.  So, I bought a packet of $5.00 Starbucks gift cards and gave one to the barista at the counter whenever I stopped in throughout the Holidays, asking her to bestow it on whomever she wanted. This made me happier than any of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received!

Gratitude is thankfulness in ACTION, so I challenged my coaching clients and cherished readers to do some kind and generous act for someone else during the Holidays to show their sincere gratitude for all the many blessings in their lives. Year in and year out, they have come through in many creative ways.

Now, to finish off our “Pay it Forward Challenge 2019 results stories, I am happy to share more of their great ideas with you, in hopes they will inspire you to do a nice deed for someone else and keep our chain of “comfort and joy” going.

  • One reader recently baked 10 pies to share with the residents of the assisted living home where she regularly visits her dad.
  • Another reader emailed, “I live in a rural town. Many of my friends and I are giving $100 each to our local police department.  The plan is that the officers will randomly give $20 to folks they come across that need it.  It helps our police department, too, by giving them a positive influence in our community.”
  • A teacher spends about 20 minutes of class time on “Gratitude Fridays.” First, she shows her 6th graders a short video about some aspect of gratitude. (She says there are LOTS of these videos on YouTube and TED talks.) Then she gives them a different assignment each week designed to expand their understanding of the importance of being grateful. This past week, she had them list 10 things they were grateful for in their lives right now and say WHY they felt thankful for each thing. For example, “I am grateful for my Mom because she fixes me breakfast and makes sure I get to school on time every day.”
  • One reader told me her church has a tradition of asking each family in the congregation to purchase a warm sleeping bag on Amazon.com and have it shipped directly to the church, which then takes all the sleeping bags to the streets and distributes them to the homeless.
  • Local grassroots organizations give us great opportunities to pay our blessings forward in many ways. One reader in Colorado has her kids fill backpacks with books and school supplies and drop them off to Kinsey’s Kids, which serves underprivileged children.
  • Similarly, the local Rodan + Fields direct sales community supports Hope House of Colorado, whose mission is to provide local teen moms with encouragement, education and empowerment. This is the third year the community is coming together to do the Christmas Stocking and Stuffers Drive. The consultants can personally shop for toys or much-needed supplies for the moms and their precious kids, or simply make donations online that are then turned into purchases by other volunteers.

Here is a recent Pay It Forward story that I loved in the online good news feed:

Adrianna Edwards used to have to walk four and a half long hours in order to get to work every day at a Denny’s restaurant in Galveston, Texas. She had been scrimping and saving to buy herself a car so she would no longer have to make the 14-mile trek to and from her job.

An anonymous couple who Edwards had been serving at her restaurant learned about her grueling commute. Hours after they paid their bill, they returned to the restaurant with a 2011 Nissan Sentra and handed the keys to a dumbfounded Edwards. Their only condition for the gift was that Edwards simply pay the good deed forward.

Now that she is freed from having to buy a car, Edwards says that she will be able to put herself through college much sooner than she expected—and she is already planning on using her good fortune to help others.

“I still feel like I’m dreaming. Every two hours, I come look out my window to see if there’s still a car there,” Edwards said. “When I see somebody in need, I’ll probably be more likely to help them out (and) to do everything that I can to help them out.”

But of ALL the many wonderful stories my cherished readers have submitted so far, one is my very favorite.  It proves that one simple act of kindness that “someone will never be able to repay” can create miracles for them – and YOU:

“I got into a minor car accident last spring and the young man at fault told me that his car had been broken into earlier that day and his license and wallet had been stolen. I could see the broken window, and I believed him.  Clearly, he was having a REALLY bad day. He asked me if he could pay for the damage himself, because he didn’t want his insurance rates to skyrocket. 

I agreed and took his information. My local garage gave me an estimate of $1400 for the body work. He didn’t have that much in a lump sum, but asked to send me what he could every month, and I agreed to hold the payments until $1400 had been accumulated.  He was faithful to his word, sending me a few hundred each month until it reached $1400.

By that time, the lease was up on my car, and I turned it in and got a new one, without ever fixing the damage.  Of course, I expected to hear from the dealer about charging me for the repairs, but weeks went by and I was amazed that they never contacted me.

I didn’t want to keep the young man’s $1400, since it was no longer needed for repairs, so I called him. He sounded groggy, like he had been asleep.  I reminded him who I was and said, ‘I have some good news for you!  I am going to Venmo you your $1400 back.’ 

He was completely flabbergasted!  He blurted out, ‘I lost my job and it’s been really tough.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent this month.  You are an ANGEL!’ He even called me back to thank me a second time and make sure he hadn’t been dreaming!  I just told him to pay it forward and wished him a great Holiday.”

3 Steps to Becoming More Grateful from DailyHealthPost.com

“In times of hardship, or stress, it might seem difficult to be grateful.  But if you really think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. If you engage in only one prayer, let it simply be a heartfelt ‘thank you.’  Here are three easy ways to put yourself in the mindfulness of gratitude.

  • Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for – list at least three. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning before your day begins or at night before sleep.
  • Make it a point to tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
  • When you look in the mirror, give yourself a moment to think about a quality you like about yourself or something you have recently accomplished.

Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

Let’s keep the gratitude goodness flowing through the rest of the Holidays!  If we all continue to do random small good deeds for others and ask them to Pay it Forward, this truly will be a Season of Comfort and Joy for the many lives that your kindness will touch.

PLEASE NOTE: Next week will be the final Cup of Caroll for 2019.  In it, I will share my own Gratitude Miracle with you and give you a preview of some exciting things I have planned for the New Year!

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

************ Give Yourself or Someone Else 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.  You can offer this to a friend as well!

November 24, 2019

“The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” – Walt Whitman

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

If you didn’t read my last post (Show Your Gratitude – Blog 355), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

A new client recently sent me an article from DailyHealthPost.com titled “Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier.”  Psychologists from the University of California Davis and the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude.  Among the randomly-selected study subjects, one third kept a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.  Another third recorded daily irritations or events that had displeased them.  The last third of the study group wrote down daily situations and events that occurred, with no special emphasis on either positive or negative emotional reactions as to what had happened.

The randomly-assigned group that wrote daily about things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other two groups.  In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The article concluded, “Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

I would add that not only does paying it forward to others demonstrate your sincere thankfulness for the blessing in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

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

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

  • One reader regularly slips a note with a $10 bill in it into a package of diapers at Walmart for a surprised new mom to find when she opens it. The note says, “I know being a new mom can be tough.  You are doing a great job!”
  • My reader was standing in line at a restaurant cash register when she overhead that the guest in front of her was $5 short to pay her bill. While the woman frantically ran out to her car to search for more money, my client anonymously paid the balance for her.
  • Another reader at a restaurant noticed a less-than-prosperous-looking elderly couple sitting nearby and anonymously paid their tab before he left.
  • Many said they purposely over-tip hardworking servers and leave a note with the bill that says, “Thank you for your service!” (I recently heard of a new tipping practice that is apparently catching on in which those who can afford it leave a tip for the server equal to the amount of the bill. I hope one day soon to be able to do that myself!)
  • For several winters in a row, one of my readers has put together comfort bundles that include a couple of pairs of new warm sox, protein bars, Cutie tangerines and bottled water. She carries them in her car and hands them out to any homeless folks she sees. Once, when she went to the “skid row” section of her city to hand them out, a number of people ran up to her excitedly, having heard about her comfort bundles.
  • Similarly, a reader’s church has an annual drive to collect travel-size personal hygiene items like shampoo, shaving cream, soap, toothpaste, etc. to bundle together and distribute to the homeless throughout the year.
  • Several selfless readers say they plan to volunteer serving meals to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • One reader decided to play even BIGGER and get her whole network marketing Team involved in the PIF Challenge. She had them read my blog, and then told them that anyone who posts on the Team’s Facebook page about an act of kindness or generosity they did will get one chance in her raffle for a fun gift. The more acts of kindness they post about, the more chances they earn in the drawing.
  • One of my clients who teaches 6th grade gave her class the assignment to think about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and write a page about all the things they can feel grateful for IN ADVANCE about it, such as spending fun times with friends and family they don’t often see. She asked them to really think deeply, visualize what they want and be specific. They already knew how to journal about things they are grateful for in their lives right NOW, but this assignment taught to be forward thinking by feeling grateful IN ADVANCE for what they WANT to have happen – which is a tried and true technique for triggering the Law of Attraction to MAKE it happen!
  • Rick and I helped “Gracie,” a sweet big dog who needed a ride from the vet to a temporary boarding facility, while our favorite local grassroots non-profit, The Little Red Dog, went about finding her a good new Forever Home for the Holidays. The round trip took two hours on busy freeways, but it was totally worth it.

I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a 365-day happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories so we can all enjoy another round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes this Holiday Season!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the holiday weekend off. Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday December 8.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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

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

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

November 17, 2019

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist of merely words.  Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Fredric Amiel

For many of my clients and me, 2019 has been a challenging year. Our personal challenges may be related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships, the loss of a loved one, or just coping with the helpless feeling from almost-daily news of yet another violent, senseless slaughter of innocents or lives upended by natural disasters.

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

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

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

I unexpectedly got to repeat that joyful practice again last week.  I noticed a young man sitting across from us, plugging his cell phone charger into the wall socket.  He had a pile of things covered by his jacket on the seat next to him.  His clothes weren’t dirty, but his hair looked like it hadn’t been washed in some time.  Despite his own troubles, when a small child was acting out in a way that undoubtedly annoyed some patrons, he just grinned at her, revealing a number of missing teeth.  I admired his kind understanding toward a young girl having a meltdown over something she wanted her mom to buy her.

When he stepped outside for a smoke, I quickly went to the register and bought my first pack of $5 Starbucks gift cards to kick off my own annual Pay it Forward Challenge. I was able to prop one against his cup and quickly exit before he saw me.  It made me smile to imagine his surprise that a stranger would give him a little day-brightening gift. I felt great for the rest of the day.

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

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

  • Let someone who appears to be in a hurry go ahead of you in the checkout line. I promise they will beam at you!
  • Help a harried friend or colleague run an errand, or babysit their kids while they do.
  • Surprise your friends, family and clients with a snail-mailed or emailed Thanksgiving card this year! Few people think to send them, but this gesture says, “I am so grateful for you!” to friends and customers like nothing else can.
  • Or pick a morning as soon as you arrive at work, to send out an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues that says what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them on your team. This will make their day.
  • Use your musical, baking or crafting talents to spread cheer and delight to children, neighbors, elderly folks and the sick.
  • Help an older person or someone who is under the weather put up their holiday decorations or haul home their Christmas tree, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, bringing them dinner or running an errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate food, towels, blankets or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone who lives alone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them while you enjoy the goodies together.
  • Donate blood! One of my clients recently showed up to donate and the nurse asked if she would stay an extra 2 hours to give plasma, which was desperately needed by three children waiting for it.  It interfered with the plans she had for her day, but it also made her day.

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

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

It’s easy to fall into despair and think “What difference can I make in the face of all that seems so wrong and tragic in the world?”  But as this week’s quote reminds us, we can demonstrate sincere gratitude for our many blessings through small acts of kindness toward others.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life in this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Holiday Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

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

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

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

 

July 14, 2019

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah

In my Prosperity Summer Camp webinar series, we just finished a lesson on asking for help. For the week’s homework, all the “prosperity campers” must ask a Big Fish for help with the Big Goal they are working on manifesting by July 31.

My definition of a “Big Fish” is someone who is respected and well connected. They don’t have to be a titan of industry or celebrity; they just have to be successful at whatever they are up to in life.

Fourteen years ago, at the beginning of my career as a life coach, my first certification specialty was Dream Coaching ™, through a course designed and taught by Marcia Wieder, who has been helping people make their Big Dreams a reality for over 30 years.  One of the first things she taught us was that the #1 shortcut to making any dream come true is to tell someone about it. That’s because of the “Six Degrees of Separation” rule of life – everyone is just six connections away from a resource they need or a person they want to meet.  If you tell the RIGHT people about your Big Goal, you will be amazed how often they will say, “Oh, I know someone who can help you with that” or “I know just where to find that.”

One caveat, though: Don’t share your Big Goals with known “dream stealers” – those people who love to tell you all the reasons why your dream is impossible or not a good idea. (You may have some of those among your friends or family.)  Only share with and ask for help from “Big Fish” that you respect. Yes, they are usually busy people!  So your request must be 1) Clear and specific and 2) Simple for them to carry out. If you confuse them about what you want of them, you are likely to get a “No.”

For example, if you are finishing up writing your first book and want to get it published, don’t ask a published author, “Can you help me with my book?”  They may think you want them to edit it or send it to their publisher for you!  Instead, ask for the specific help you know they can easily grant you: “I am finishing editing my first book. Can you give me some advice on how to find a good agent?”  Or “Would you be willing to write a short endorsement for the cover when it’s done?”

If your ask is clear and straightforward and doesn’t require a tremendous investment of time on their part, most Big Fish will be happy to help you. They know that they didn’t get to the top by themselves; they had mentors who supported them along the way with advice and connections and resources.  So, Big Fish are actually the MOST likely people to be generous about helping you whenever you make a clear, specific request because they admire your courage and chutzpah for asking them!

And it really makes all of us feel GOOD when we get to help someone out, doesn’t it?  Wouldn’t you gladly support someone if they asked you for something you could easily do?  Of course you would!  Generosity feels great. So realize that if you try to do everything by yourself, you are depriving others of the joy of contributing to you!

One of my coaching clients is a single woman with a busy career.  She told me that she has a lot of projects she wants to finish around her home and yard, but is short on energy after a long work week and doesn’t look forward to spending her precious weekends on chores.

So I suggested that she ask a friend or neighbor (if it’s a small task that they are already expert at) or hire someone to do the drudge work or heavy lifting she doesn’t want to do. She confessed that she had simply never thought about the possibility of asking for help!

The next time we talked, she sounded much happier and more relaxed.  She said she had quickly located some young men to hire for many of the things she needed done, and they were relatively inexpensive. It was a Win-Win because they were very happy to be her heroes and grateful for the extra money, and she was very happy to have her leisure time back.

There are all kinds of personal and professional help, advice, and guidance available to you — much of it is free for the asking, and most of the rest of it is inexpensive. No matter what you were told growing up, it is NOT a sign of weakness or an imposition on others  to ask the RIGHT people for help with the RIGHT things!

It’s smart. And it’s also generous to allow others the joy of feeling good about themselves when they give you a little helping hand. Their “psychic paycheck” is your smile and heartfelt thanks.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off so I can play with my girlfriends.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday July 28.

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

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

SUMMER SPECIAL!  New clients who begin coaching in either July or August will receive 50% OFF your first month’s fee!  This offer won’t be repeated, so HURRY! If you have a Big Goal you want to pursue – either business or personal — I urge you to schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E hour of phone coaching with me that will help you clarify your Big Goals and explore how we can get you into action to make them a reality: Email caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY! 

June 30, 2019 

“You should, you can and if you are brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King

 This Thursday is Independence Day in the USA — the day Americans set aside to celebrate the priceless gift of freedom that our forefathers bestowed on us, both in our sovereignty as a nation and in the precious personal freedoms we enjoy. As we pause to show our patriotism, we should also show our gratitude to the brave men and women who serve and sacrifice to help keep us free.

I hope this lightly-edited blog from last year will encourage you to never take our country, our freedoms, our protectors or each other for granted. Importantly, I hope it will inspire you to make the MOST of the opportunities you have been given to fulfill your own dreams and destiny!

 June 30, 2018

 If you live in the USA, I hope you will be celebrating this most American of holidays in a delightful way that fills both your heart and your stomach. But no matter where you live, I hope you will join me in pausing for just a moment to reflect on what freedom means to you and your individual quest to live a life of meaning and abundance.

To me, being FREE means, first and foremost, that I have complete choice in how to live my life.  How it goes is truly up to ME. I am 100% responsible for my own success and happiness, because I am free to co-create it with God/the Universe, as I choose.

This is very much in keeping with the Law of Attraction which states, “energy attracts like energy.”  This means that the thoughts you hold – coupled with the emotions that result from holding those thoughts in your mind — create the energetic vibration that you are sending out into the world every second of your life.

Your own energetic vibration will inevitably attract to you the people, things and circumstances that exactly match your energy – just as a magnet attracts a nail.  Thus, whatever thoughts you consistently focus your attention on will eventually show up in your world in physical form – for good or for not-so-good.  You have the complete freedom to control your own thoughts, so YOU are truly the “magnet” for whomever and whatever shows up in your life.

Gratitude, as I am fond of reminding you, is THE most powerful emotion for creating a positive energetic vibration that will attract more good things to you.  When we are grateful for everything we already have, MORE of the same is attracted to us.  But when we focus on what is lacking in our life, what shows up is more LACK.

In that spirit, I’d like to acknowledge here and now my profound gratitude for the many personal freedoms that I have been blessed with.  In particular, I am deeply grateful to the patriots of every gender, color, sexual orientation, socio-economic level and ethnic origin who have sacrificed to ensure that I will continue to enjoy these precious freedoms throughout my life.

Here are just a tiny fraction of the many personal freedoms for which I am grateful, and which I am fully aware are still NOT available to so many of my brothers and sisters across the globe:

The freedom to choose my friends

The freedom to choose my mate

The freedom to marry or not

The freedom to choose how many children to have (or none at all)

The freedom to choose my political party affiliation (or none at all)

The freedom to vote (or not)

The freedom to read the books and see the plays, movies and television shows I choose

The freedom to express my life purpose by following the path that fulfills me

The freedom to choose military service or to serve my country in other ways

The freedom to go to the church of my choice (or no church at all)

The freedom to travel throughout my country and to many other lands

The freedom to live where I wish

The freedom to express my opinion, as long as it does not harm another

The freedom to dress according to my own tastes

The freedom to spend my money as I wish

The freedom to choose my career and the people I want to work with

The freedom to determine my income – according to my personal beliefs about what I “deserve” and the value I bring to the world

The freedom to celebrate Independence Day just as I please.

So, what’s on your Personal Freedoms gratitude list?  I hope you will record in your Daily Gratitude Journal the personal freedoms that mean the most to YOU and to express sincere gratitude to your Higher Power, your country and your fellow citizens who defend your right to enjoy them each and every day.

The freedom to fulfill your purpose and to prosper is your birthright as a human being, but it’s up to YOU to claim it, appreciate it, and live it to the fullest.

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******************

 SUMMER SPECIAL!  New clients who begin coaching in either July or August will get 50% OFF of your first month’s fee!  This offer won’t be repeated, so HURRY! If you have a Big Goal you want to pursue – either business or personal — I urge you to schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E hour of phone coaching with me that will help you clarify your Big Goals and explore how we can get you into action to make them a reality: Email caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!