October 7, 2018

“Attitudes truly are contagious.  So decide today to make yours worthy catching.” – Mac Anderson

Last week, we examined ways to protect yourself from others’ “toxic energy” that can do real harm to you mentally and emotionally and may even keep you from realizing your full potential in life.  If you missed it, I hope you will go to the blog archives on my website and read it first (Inoculate Yourself – Blog 316).

In the last blog, I related my own experience of having to abruptly disengage from someone whose toxic energy was masquerading as something positive (at least at first).  I believe now that he was emotionally manipulating me (and probably many others) to sympathize with him — undoubtedly for the positive attention it garnered and perhaps the money people like me gave him to support his “good works” and dire personal financial problems.

Based on my own experience, I came up with the first two “Rules” for protecting yourself from people who come to you with their toxic energy – which, in addition to emotional manipulation, can include behaviors such as spreading damaging gossip, chronic complaining, and trying to sabotage your dreams, undermine your self-confidence or erode your self-worth.

Self-protection Rule Number One I gave you last time was Maya Angelou’s wonderfully wise quote: “People will show you who they are and you’d best believe them.”  Once I fully recognized what the manipulator was doing, I disengaged immediately, which so caught him off guard that he instantly revealed himself as a predator in sheep’s clothing. We all have a God-given intuition that tells us when something or someone just doesn’t add up or feel right.  We must listen to that insistent inner whisper and act on it ASAP.

Rule Number Two came from minister Joel Osteen, who reminded us that we all have “seeds” of greatness that need to be nurtured in “good soil.”  If the friends you associate with do not provide you with a nurturing environment for your personal growth through their lack of values, poor lifestyle choices or negative mindset, Joel recommends gradually disengaging by spending less and less time with them.  If they notice, you can say you are too busy pursuing your positive goals to spend as much time hanging out with them as before.

So far, so good, right?  But what if the person who exudes toxic energy in your life is someone you cannot disengage from – like your boss, a key Team member, a close relative or even a spouse or ex-spouse who shares custody of your kids?  What can you do then?

If you cannot avoid someone else’s toxic energy, I believe you must do two things to protect yourself and turn things to your advantage:

  • Be 100% relentlessly POSITIVE yourself. I have all my clients consciously prepare their own energy (defined as your thoughts PLUS your emotions) at the beginning of each day with a centering practice that includes positive affirmations, listing things you are grateful for that day in a Gratitude Journal, doing some positive visualization and a few minutes of reading in a good personal development book. My mother used to call the morning prayers and affirmations she taught me “putting on your armor” for the day.  Protecting ourselves against being affected by someone else’s negative energy starts with cultivating our own strong positive energy.
  • Adopt your own “Best” mindset and actions and expect good results. We are not here to change anyone else. But you can have a positive influence on others by consciously directing your own positive energy and entering all your interactions with a focused expectation of creating the BEST possible outcome for yourself and everyone involved.   As a wise Mentor Coach once explained to me, when two people have opposing energy, whoever has the STRONGER energy will pull the other into their energy.  You can expect the BEST outcome in a given situation because your own focused, intentional, relentlessly positive energy is always stronger than another’s negative energy.

One of my coaching clients recently faced that very conundrum. She dreaded having to deal with someone on her network marketing Team whose toxic energy she knew would likely oppose her own, because it had many times in the past.  This person had been gossiping with members of the Team about each other and stirring up emotional drama where there should be mutual support.

As my client gave me the details, I felt that what must really be driving this person is a deep insecurity about herself as a Leader. If her Team doesn’t invite her to every event or training, she imagines they don’t want or need her help.  I asked my client to imagine for a moment what it would be like to be that Leader — Wouldn’t it be scary and depressing to be so needy and have such low self-esteem? Wouldn’t it be exhausting to try to monitor all of your Team members’ every action, searching for any sign that they consider you irrelevant? She agreed it would suck to live like that.

Letting herself imagine what it would be like to hold such toxic energy allowed my client to turn her resentment for the drama this Leader stirred up on the Team into compassion for how needlessly self-punishing she was.  Then she felt that she could authentically assure her that they both have the SAME goal – for their Team to thrive.

The next step was for her to create a positive intention for the outcome of the phone call that she had first wanted to avoid but now was eager to make on HER terms: “I am creating that she will feel my good intentions and trust them. We will listen to each other with an open mind and have a healthy dialogue. We will treat each other with respect.”

The focused, positive mindset and energy she decided to embody during their upcoming call was being “fair, understanding, committed and a good listener.”

I got this excited follow-up text from my client after their conversation: “I want to thank you for giving me the words and mindset to speak with [Toxic Energy Leader]. We spoke last week and honestly that conversation has freed me from feeling responsible for so many things that aren’t mine to carry.  Things I’ve carried for way too long. I was able to not let my emotions take over and to say [my truth] and listen to what was being shared.  And the best part is I left that conversation not feeling bad about myself!”

If you cannot avoid interacting with someone in your life who often embodies toxic energy, here are some helpful guidelines to remember:

  • YOU have the power to protect yourself by putting on your mindset “armor” each day. Adopt a focused, relentlessly positive mindset and confidently expect the BEST in your interactions with them.
  • Try to imagine where their negative mindset and behaviors could stem from. Working up some compassion and understanding for what it must be like for them to live with their self-inflicted pain can allow you to control your own emotions and find ways to help them feel heard, understood and acknowledged, which is what most insecure, controlling people are really after.
  • Rather than trying to avoid whatever issues you know you eventually must confront with them, take the reins! If you embody focused, relentlessly positive energy around them, you have every reason to believe it will have a positive influence on them, rather than allowing them to have a negative influence on you.

Most importantly, you must always remember that nobody and nothing can make you FEEL any particular way. Others can say and do things you might not like, and you should absolutely stand up for yourself if someone crosses your personal boundaries. But nobody controls YOUR energy but YOU.  So recognize and make the most of your personal power!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking the next Sunday off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, October 21. 

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. 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 to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

************* 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 into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

 

September 30, 2018

“What you hear repeatedly, you will eventually believe.” – Mike Murdock

This week’s topic is not one I relish dealing with at all.  But it is necessary sometimes to address the dark side of life and how to deal with it,  to enable yourself to reap the rewards of living with integrity, optimism and expectation of good things coming to you.

I often take my cues for blog topics from a pattern I notice throughout the week in my own experiences and the experiences of my clients. This week, the theme was pretty hard to miss.  Not only did several of my clients have to deal with it, I had a jarring personal experience of it, and the whole nation got a ringside seat to it via the televised Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Thursday.  The yelling and finger pointing, vitriol and personal attacks on display among the elected “leaders” who are supposed to represent us were jaw-dropping to behold. But I am not here to talk about politicians.  I want to talk about toxic energy and what we can do to protect ourselves from it in our OWN everyday lives.

What is “toxic energy”?  Your “energy” (or some people call it your “vibration”) is made up of your thoughts PLUS your emotions“Toxic,” according to the dictionary, means something that is “poisonous” and perhaps “infectious” — to the point of “causing serious harm or death.”

At some point, we all cross paths with someone who exudes “toxic energy.”  A specific promise I ask all my clients to state aloud every day is: “I avoid toxic people and surround myself with Winners who inspire me and help me to reach my Dreams.” That is a worthy goal, but as I learned for myself this week, it’s easier said than done.  So I want to share with you some insights and tips I used to help my clients and me to shield ourselves from the toxic energy we encountered from others.

First, my own story: For the past couple of years, I have been a long-distance “friend” to someone I have never met face to face.  We corresponded via email, text and Facebook and at  first, I enjoyed our interactions. He seemed like a truly good person, who talked a lot about the people around him who were lonely and needed something to cheer them up.  He found ways to do that, some of which required money (like throwing modest parties for them). In his own life, he faced serious financial challenges, being older and living on a fixed income, which he supplemented a little bit with a sporadic sideline gig.

I was inspired by the way he seemed to maintain a positive attitude in the face of all the challenges in his own life.  He was (all too) eager to share personal information with me, including that his wife had divorced him several years ago and moved to the other side of the country, and neither of his grown children had seen or spoken to him in years.  In short, he garnered my sympathy with his vulnerable candor and seemingly selfless caring for others.

I began to send him small sums of money from time to time, to help with his parties and his own dire needs (such as car problems and having his internet and cell phone shut off, and at one time, the imminent shut off of his utilities).  Each time, he protested that he had not told me about his problems to solicit money from me, but then he always accepted it with lavish thanks.

Mind you, I am not an easy mark.  I really do have a pretty good sense of when someone is lying to me, and I don’t think he was lying about the facts.  I believe he IS broke. But looking back, I can see that he never seemed to try to change his financial circumstances, other than lament them.  Being a coach, I’m hard-wired to give suggestions to help my clients solve daily problems, but every time I offered him a suggestion, he would deflect it, explaining why that wasn’t feasible. I thought maybe there just weren’t any part-time jobs available for someone his age in his area. I felt growing frustration, but ignored what my gut was telling me for a long time.

Over time, his messages focused more and more on complaints about how others treated him unfairly and “woe is me” tales of all the things that were going wrong for him, one after another.  I was the only person he had to confide in, who could understand, he said. His energy became more toxic so gradually, I didn’t consciously recognize it for a long time.  I just knew that it was beginning to wear on me emotionally, like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.

I think what finally opened my eyes is that last Sunday I watched on YouTube a sermon by my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen, in which he talked about planting our “seeds” in good soil.  He cited a familiar parable from the Bible about how three different farmers sowed their seeds in rocky soil, weedy soil and good soil.  Those seeds planted in the rocky and weedy soil died out, while those planted in the good soil flourished and became a rich harvest.

Joel said the parable means we have to carefully CHOOSE the people we hang out with because they are the “soil” in our lives.  If we plant our own “seeds” – our special gifts and dreams that can blossom with the right nurturing – in a toxic environment filled with poor role models and those who do not support us, we are bound to have a meager harvest.

Later that day, I saw a Facebook post by Mr. Woe is Me with a big photo of his sad-eyed four-footed friend who, he said, clearly needed to go to the vet.  He said he was calculating how to get the money and whether cutting himself back to one meal a day would help. Soon, he began to get comments from several of his many Facebook friends offering to send a donation.  He replied, “Thank you, but I’ll be all right.”

I commented, “What if these kind offers are God’s HOW to help you get your dog taken care of?”  He replied “What if they aren’t?”  Then he immediately switched to private messaging, saying “I love you” and anxiously asking if I was mad at him or something was wrong.

I wrote back that he seemed to be acting like a “professional victim” by telling everyone about his dog’s plight and then refusing offers of help. I suspected some of his friends were planning to send him money anyway, despite his protestations, as I would have done in the past. He said that he hadn’t intended for his post to come across as a plea for money and immediately took it down. Then he messaged me again, saying, “Why are you doing this to me – making me feel like crap?”

In that instant, I knew it was time to permanently disengage from his toxic energy that was now on full display, so I wrote back, “I am done. Please don’t write me anymore.  I truly wish you and your dog the best.  I won’t read your posts or comment ever again. Goodbye.”

Afterward, I felt somewhat shaken at the unexpected abruptness of my recognition of and disengagement from his specific form of toxic energy (emotional manipulation masquerading as selflessness suffering). At the same time, I recognized that I instantly felt happier and lighter to be free of it.

Just before I blocked him, he sent me a long, vitriolic diatribe about everything he felt was wrong with me, including that I was trying to “control” him with my money.  The nicest thing he said was “You are NOT a godly woman.”  (I don’t remember every claiming to be one.)  His final salvo was this: “You will now answer to god for this.  I’m sure. I’m wealthy hear me roar.  I’m praying to god I never become you.  I’d really kill myself…If you don’t cause it tonight.”

Well, I am glad I climbed off that crazy train.  I am grateful that my God-given inner wisdom was right and that I instinctively followed it. Because I had blinded myself to the truth over a long period, I now realize how easy it is to do with the people in our own lives. And I see that someone’s toxic energy involves more than just chronic complaining, negativity, damaging gossip or constantly undermining your self-worth. Toxic energy comes in many forms and some of them are well-disguised as something positive.

OK, so Rule Number One in protecting yourself from toxic energy is to always remember Maya Angelou’s wonderful quote, “People will show you who they are and you’d best believe them.” Give everyone a chance to prove themselves to you, but as soon as your intuition starts to notice red flags about someone, don’t ignore those warning signs!

Rule Number Two: Don’t hang out with people whose energy provides “poor soil” for your gifts, character, habits and dreams.  If you hang out with them long enough, your own Seeds of Greatness will die and you will become like them.  Instead, seek out friends and mentors who will support you, nurture you and inspire you – people you want to emulate. Joel Osteen recommends disengaging from the poor soil gradually by just spending less and less time with them over a period of time.  If they notice, you can just say that you are busy with lots of good stuff and you don’t have as much time to hang out as you used to.

NEXT WEEK: Unfortunately, with some people who exude toxic energy, you do not have the option to just walk away. They are your boss, Team member, close relative — maybe even your spouse (or the co-parent of your children). Next time, we will discuss how to deal with others’ toxic energy when you can’t leave. Stay tuned!

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

************* 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 into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

July 8, 2018

“No act of kindness is too small.  The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.” – Kevin Heath

My friend, DJ, singer and fellow coach, Bob Perks, is one of those special people. You know someone like this too.  They seem to have an innate ability to spot overlooked people who need a little lift and give them just what they need. As a result, they attract many friends and fans who have been touched by their acts of generosity and kindness.

Bob’s innate gift – the gift of kindness – is something we all have the power to cultivate in ourselves.  If we do, we will inevitably have a positive impact on the people around us. Kindness is the #1 antidote to the apparent selfishness and meanness that seem to pervade much of social media, politics, and other elements of society today.  But you can believe this: positive energy is ALWAYS stronger than negative energy. That’s not just “woo woo” mumbo jumbo; it’s physics, folks.  But it’s up to us to USE our own positive energy to counteract any negativity we face.

Because I teach all of my clients how to use the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to bring them what they want more quickly and easily than hard work by itself can, I am very aware of how positive energy affects us and the people around us.  I have witnessed and personally experienced many, many examples of how making the effort to do one small kindness not only blesses the recipient, but always blesses the giver, too, usually many times over!

After living alone for many years, Bob recently moved into an apartment building for seniors.  He and his four-footed BFF, Phil, have made many friends quickly because Bob is someone who cannot suppress a smile, a cheerful “Hello” or an act of kindness like helping someone carry a heavy bag of groceries.

Recently, though, he emailed me that there is ONE person who seems impervious to his overtures of kindness. I share his words with his kind permission:

“There are approximately 200 people in this building. I haven’t met them all.  I say hello to everyone and stop to listen.  But as they world goes, there will always be one.  This woman insults my efforts.  Mocks and laughs at my intentions.  I have tried avoiding her.  I tried not speaking to her.  Neither of those gives me any pleasure.  My new plan is simply to pray for her.  In what I call ‘Disneyland in my Mind,’ I see one day winning her over.”

The next day was the Fourth of July and Bob, in his typically kind fashion, decided to create a fun event for his neighbors, after discovering that many of them had no place to go and no friends to celebrate with.  Even though his funds are limited, Bob shared with everyone who wanted to attend an all-American picnic of hot dogs, chips, soda and his homemade Mac and Cheese, at no cost to them.

Late that night, he wrote:

“This afternoon I was setting up for my hot dog extravaganza. LOL.  I looked outside and she was sitting there all alone.  I stood there and said, ‘God, I’m not asking you to change her, but please change my attitude toward her.’ 

I was in the middle of the picnic when she walked in.  This is the woman who mocked and ridiculed me and laughed at me.  She would not make eye contact, but helped herself to the food.  I was in charge of the hot dogs.  So, I stepped up and offered her one.  She took it without eye contact, of course.

I sang a few songs and people surrounded me with praise.  Someone asked me about my big show on the 18th and why I was doing it.” [Bob is throwing a much bigger party for his neighbors –complete with games, him singing their favorite music and great food — on his own birthday.]

“I stood where that woman was seated and explained, ‘Everyone here has been so welcoming, I just wanted to say thanks by using the gifts that God has given me.’

One woman said, ‘We all love you and are lucky to have you here.’ The lady would not look up at me.

Later, in the lobby after I cleaned up from the party, she was seated with a friend.  She actually said, ‘I liked that one song you played.  I should have gotten up and danced.’

I smiled and stepped into the elevator and said, ‘Thanks, God.’ 

Mind you, she is such that tomorrow she may go back to her ways. 

But today?  Today she was surrounded by love.”

It would be a storybook happy ending if Bob’s act of kindness toward this woman were instantly rewarded, she came out of her shell and they became fast friends.  But Bob knows that the “Disneyland in your mind” doesn’t always mirror real life. Today, he sent me another update:

“Yesterday, I got in the elevator.  I said, ‘Hello’ and she didn’t.  So I looked right at her and said, ‘Hello’ again.  Without looking at me, she responded. 

Something inside me boldly said, ‘When we get to the lobby may I speak with you?’ She said, ‘Will it cost me anything?’ I responded, ‘Just a few minutes of your time.’

In our conversation, I asked why she found pleasure in mocking my efforts, yet showed up for the hot dog meal on the 4th. I did not speak firmly or down to her.  I asked with a tone of concern.  Before she responded, I said, ‘Because I want you to be my friend.’

Then she looked at me.  I believe my directness stunned her and my sincerity confused her stone cold spirit.  

Turns out it was my background!  All she knew was that I had a radio show at one time.  She saw me listed as a DJ.  Apparently, she doesn’t like DJs….. 

I predict that even though I broke the wall she has built, she will most likely rebuild it in order to protect her narrow-minded assumptions and not appear at fault.  Still, I have removed a part of the wall with the only tool I know best.  

Love.  Love is always the answer.”

That’s how it may go with a few of the people you are kind to.  Most will respond to your positive energy with positive energy.  Some will appear to resist.  You may never know exactly what is going on inside of them – what their background is and what they have been through in life that has made them think and behave the way they do.

But it is my firm belief that if you resolutely continue to live your life according to YOUR values, as Bob does, you will be happy giving kindness and love to all, regardless of their response  — and eventually your kindness WILL be returned to you.  Perhaps it will come back directly from that person because your positivity will finally overcome their negativity, but it’s possible you will never get to see your kindness bear fruit in them.

We can’t control what others choose to say or do to us. But we have 100% control over how we RESPOND.  And how we respond determines who and what gets attracted to us NEXT. The Law of Attraction dictates that you can’t give love and kindness without attracting love and kindness in return.  Trust that your good thoughts, prayers and acts will create a ripple effect that will bless many others and you, as well.

Bob is certainly bathed in love, appreciation and kindness from the vast majority of his neighbors.  And I believe both Bob and I know in our hearts that eventually, “the difficult lady” will have no choice but to join them.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will take a break next weekend, while I enjoy some fun times with my girlfriends. Hope you are having fun in the sun this summer, too! A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday July 22.

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. 

 

 

April 29, 2018

Today’s lightly-edited post was originally published two years ago.  Many of my current coaching clients have never read it and it is SO critical, I wanted to be able to share it with them.  I hope my faithful longtime readers will use it as a reminder to keep your communication manners impeccable, because they really DO have an impact on the quality of your relationships and therefore, your success.

May 22, 2016

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.” – Andrew Carnegie

Honest, thoughtful, effective communication creates the foundation for fulfilling, lasting personal and business relationships.  Those relationships, in turn, become the foundation for our success in life. And whether you realize it or not, people really DO notice how you behave when you communicate (or don’t) and judge you by your actions.

Over my nearly 14 years of coaching, I have witnessed a number of less-than-optimal communication practices among my clients that I know can limit their success. So want to share with you, too, a few practical tips for making your own communication habits more effective, successful and enjoyable:

  • Give them your undivided attention. When I coach, I sit at my desk, listening intently and taking notes about what my clients are saying, occasionally taking a sip of water (as quietly as possible) when my throat gets dry. Most of them give me their undivided attention, too.  But over the years, I have heard some banging pots and pans, running water, dragging furniture, chewing gum (or food) and slurping beverages. I often wonder if they do the same things while talking to their customers, colleagues and loved ones. The message this sends to your conversation partner is that “You are not important enough to me to give you my undivided attention.”  So please don’t multi-task while you are on the phone. (And please don’t be looking at or on your phone in the presence of someone you are supposed to be paying attention to – including your kids!)
  • Don’t avoid a conversation. Many of my clients are used to texting or messaging their friends, customers and prospects. Rarely do they pick up the phone, even if the conversation is likely to have extended back and forth question and answers. If you want to speak to someone, CALL them and leave a voice message if they don’t pick up.  In this text-happy world, leaving a voice message conveys to your listener that they matter SO much to you that you actually wanted to have a real conversation them! One of my clients who took my advice to call her prospects reported that the ratio of replies she got was triple what her texts had garnered.
  • Respond to your messages promptly. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. If you want your teammates, customers, prospects and loved ones to return YOUR messages, ask yourself how promptly YOU respond to emails, texts and voice mails. Many of my clients complain about lack of response from others, but when I send them a critical email, I have learned to put PLEASE RESPOND in capital letters in the subject line – and some of them still never answer. Often, I have to resort to texting to make sure they got my email!  Causing other people to wonder and worry about whether you got their message or whether something is wrong between you will not make them enjoy communicating with you. Is your voice mailbox full?  Do you have a week’s worth of emails or 20 texts you haven’t looked at?  If you don’t respond to others in a timely manner, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) says YOU will attract plenty of people who will frustrate you by not responding.
  • Keep your word. This is the #1 MUST for effective communication.  If you made an appointment to meet someone at Starbucks and then just didn’t show up, you can imagine how they will react!  Why is it any less of an affront if you stand them up for a phone appointment they planned on and made time for? As soon as you realize that you are running late or can’t make it, text or leave a voice mail.  They will forgive you if you apologize and give a BRIEF explanation (not a rambling, self-serving excuse). But if they call and you are just not there, they will get the message loud and clear that they don’t matter much to you.
  • When you mess up, fess up. One of my past clients used to complain that some team members in her organization purposely cut her out of the loop on communications. I was stumped why they would do this to such a nice person — until I discovered that she is rather infamous for standing them up on set appointment calls, often when they have a business prospect on the line with them. Hey, we are all human.  If you mess up, you will be forgiven, as long as you explain briefly, take full responsibility and sincerely apologize for the impact your slip up had on the other person. A perfect example happened this week, when one of my longtime clients called over an hour late for our appointment to apologize with this brief message: “I am so sorry. I got engrossed in writing a report for work and completely lost track of the time.  I value your time and I take full responsibility for missing our session.”  That was all we needed to get our relationship back on good terms.

I hope these tips will help you create fulfilling relationships built on mutual trust, honesty and respect. Those are the kind that last and will bring you rich rewards!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next Sunday off.  Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday, May 13.  

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

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

I invite you to give a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  

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

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather

I hadn’t planned on reprinting yet another blog written by my wonderful former fitness trainer, Rose Zahnn, who owns a great fitness studio in downtown Sacramento, CA called Healthy Habits (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com).  But darn it, once again, she’s identified a formula for success that is SO simple, SO true and SO helpful, I just had to share it with you!

Although her coaching specialty is helping her clients get fit and healthy, I am sure you can see that the success secret shared in this blog applies to ANY Big Goal you are pursuing in your life – business, relationship, career, financial, you name it.

The one thing you’re missing . . .

By Rose Zahnn

“There is one reason why most people haven’t yet reached their goals, and it’s a simple one. It’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past, and it just may be the one thing that’s holding you back from your big breakthrough.

That one thing is consistency.

Think about it. The difference that separates a fitness lifestyle person from a couch potato is the consistency with which the former applies to their diet and exercise routine. That’s it!

Look, I know you can exercise and eat right. You’ve done it before! But a fitness plan only works when you consistently stay with it. You start, stop, start again, take a few days off, then get back on track. This haphazard effort will never lead to a dramatic body transformation!

What if I told you that you’re 5 feet from gold? That if you simply dug in a little deeper, and stuck with the program with consistency, you’d finally achieve the big results that you’ve been hoping for all along.

You are 5 feet from gold; don’t stop now!

The fact is that anyone can stick with a fitness and diet plan for a little while. Anyone can complete a challenge. Anyone can finish a 30-day program. Anyone can put in 2 weeks of solid effort.

It’s those who click into consistency that see the big changes and experience the joy and triumph of real accomplishment.

I want this for you.

I know that you see how valuable consistency is, and you want to do it, BUT you get off track time and time again. How do you tap into the consistency you need to make a real improvement in your life?

Use these three steps…

See it: Define exactly what it is you want to be consistent on. For example instead of saying that “I’ll start exercising,” say, “I’ll do the 7am session on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” And instead of, “I’ll start eating healthy,” say, “I’ll eat XX number of calories per day divided into 5 small meals.” The more specific the better!

Keep in mind that you are defining your actions – not your outcome. Don’t use this step to determine what size jeans you want to fit into. That outcome is a byproduct of you consistently doing the actions. Just clearly define the actions that you need to be consistent on.

Feel it: Now that you’ve determined the actions needed, let’s think about that outcome and clearly define it. Be specific! What will you look like? What will that new body feel like? How will your friends and family respond to the new you?

It’s time to get your emotions all tied up in your quest. Daydream about getting to that outcome, feel it, emotionally take ownership of the idea of owning it. FEEL the happy, excited, proud emotions as if it’s already happened!

Do it: You’re clear about what you want. You feel invested in getting the results. Now go about the business of taking consistent action toward your goals.

Yes, this sounds simple, and it is simple.

Be consistent and you’ll soon strike gold.”

Yep. Rose nailed it. The three steps to setting yourself up to reach any Big Goal: See it, feel it and DO it.  Get clear on what you must do, visualize and FEEL what it will be like when you have exactly what you have dreamed about.  Don’t let yourself be distracted by how close or far you are from your goal.  Just keep on executing your daily plan of action with clockwork consistency — and know in your heart that you are just 5 feet from striking gold!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://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.

March 11, 2018

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The last blog, which was a reprint of one written by my awesome former personal trainer, Rose Zahnn, owner of a fitness studio in Sacramento, California (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com), got a BIG thumbs up from my readers!

If you missed it, be sure to go to my website’s blog archives (Today is a Big Deal – Blog 296) because it delivers some sage advice about what it REALLY takes to reach any Big Goal.  Rose said, “At the end of the day, the sum of your [little moment-by-moment] choices pushes you in a direction” — either toward accomplishment or defeat.  Success is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You have to pace yourself to keep moving in the direction of your dreams, one step at a time.

I can’t resist sharing with you one more follow-on blog by Rose that offers more helpful perspective on the topic of goal setting and fulfillment.  Of course, her particular focus is on health and fitness, but I’m sure you will recognize that these same principles apply to business, school, finances, relationships – any area of life, really.

“Have a goal? Here’s how to meet it.

By Rose Zahnn

Do you have a specific fitness goal you are hoping to achieve?  This goal could be a number on the scale or a clothing size.  Or maybe you are hoping to wear a certain cut or style of clothes like strappy tank tops, shorts or a bathing suit.

While having this goal is great, it will NOT guarantee success.

You knew that, though, because this isn’t the first time that you’ve had a fitness goal… a goal that you didn’t meet.  In fact, you probably know dozens of other people who also have struggled to meet their fitness goals.

Here’s the typical scenario: You get all pumped up to lose weight and get into shape by starting out completely gung-ho.  Your enthusiasm lasts about two weeks, before old habits and routine slide back into place, cutting your results off before reaching your goal.  Then your goal begins to fade from your mind and life goes on….

The problem was your initial focus on the result, rather than a sustained focus on the process.  Let’s break this down:

Fitness success is about focusing on your goals.  But even more important is focusing on the habits to make your healthier new lifestyle stick.

Of course, once you’ve gotten your fit lifestyle to stick, you’ll eventually meet your end goal.

The number that you’re hoping to magically weigh one day doesn’t matter one bit, and here’s why….

It’s about living in the Momentum.

Can you remember how it felt the last time that you ate super clean, exercised hard and got adequate sleep for a few consecutive days?  A feeling of momentum came over you, didn’t it?

There was a buzzing in your cells and a hop in your step.  You felt alive and empowered.  Never mind that you weren’t yet at your goal number; you were headed there!

Getting down to your goal weight and fitting into your size is the direct result of living in that state of momentum for an extended period of time.  You see, the momentum can be felt immediately, once you start eating clean, exercising hard and taking care of your health, whereas the “goal number” simply can’t be felt until it is achieved, and so it’s not as powerful a motivator.

My challenge and advice to you is to find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal number is achieved.  Focus more on the momentum, less on the end goal.

Fitness is a way of life. Being lean is a lifestyle.  Neither of which can be had by going about it halfheartedly.

You have to create and re-create the momentum every day.”

If you don’t remember anything else from Rose’s wonderful column, I hope you will live by these powerful words, because they apply to EVERY Big Goal you have: “Find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal is achieved.” 

Get into your groove.  Maintain a consistent pace …. one minute, one hour, one day at a time.  Don’t worry about how close or how far you are from your Big Goal at this moment.  Just keep living in the momentum and find joy in knowing you ARE on track to succeed — all you have to do is get up, suit up and “re-create the momentum every day”!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 21, 2018

“Today is unique!  It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated.  At midnight, it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever.  But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” – Charles R. Swindoll

 I hope you have had a chance to complete your 2017 and create a vision for the brand new year that lies before you. If not, there is still time!  Go to my blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and use the past two blogs to guide you in these important steps to lay the foundation for a happy and successful New Year.

If you have completed these two steps, there is one remaining step for you to get your year off to a successful start and maintain order and ease throughout the year ahead – getting organized. If you practice using the plan I am about to share with you, I can promise your 2018 will be filled with more internal peace and ease and more external efficiency and productivity.

(What follows is a lightly-edited post I published in June, 2015 that is definitely worth reviewing to get your year off to a great start!)

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago.  I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table.  Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit.  Looking at the four containers separately, it seemed unlikely that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could ALL fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would IF they were put in the right order.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top.  Yes, all four items DID fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of your most important tasks (the “Big Rocks”) FIRST, all your other tasks can be managed with ease.  But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff” – or worse, spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to tackle first — you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us.  These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher, Team members or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.  You will put out these annoying little fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at one time, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day?  Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) AND must be done or worked on TODAY.  If it can be delegated, ask for help!  If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control?  Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar open to the coming week. Study your To-Do list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a conference call with a potential business partner at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc. Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that you must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be blocking out times on your appointment calendar that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the current appointment OR negotiate a time change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • After scheduling the three Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble Tasks.” These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • Next, come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them amongst the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day.  TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.  Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or improving your skills via a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS: In order for this system to work:

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.)

AND

  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. on the SAME planner/calendar.  If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will inevitably double-book yourself for something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works!  They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress and guilt from double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of they day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered to them, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

Is setting aside time each weekend to plan your week ahead worth the sacrifice of 30 minutes of precious me time or family time? I promise that, in return, you will gain a greater sense of personal control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weekends off for taxes (Ugh!) and Super Bowl Sunday (Yay!).  A brand new Cup of Caroll will appear in your in-box on Sunday, February 11th.

****************** 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 and request a complimentary session.