April 11, 2021

“You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler

If you didn’t get a chance to read the last blog (The Balance Myth – Blog 399), I highly recommend you do so.  This blog is a follow-on to the topic of “Life Balance” that we started examining in that blog. 

The unique approach to creating what we think of as “Life Balance” that Gary Keller and Jay Papasan teach in their fabulous book The One Thing involves knowing that it actually takes constant COUNTERBALANCING – making constant, small adjustments on a daily basis  – for you to feel fulfilled and happy in your private life while still achieving purposeful Big Goals in your career or business.

As you will recall, the bottom-line secret, to creating a counterbalanced personal life you love is this: “In your personal life, go SHORT and avoid long periods where you’re out of balance.  Going short lets you stay connected to all the things [and people] that matter most and move them along together.”

In other words, you cannot neglect your health and fitness, your relationships, your homelife or your spiritual life for long periods or they will be irreparably damaged.  You cannot pressure yourself to try to serve everyone and attend to everything that you want to all at the same time, but you CAN prioritize and focus on the ones that need the most attention on a given day. If your child needs you now, that can’t wait. That means de-cluttering your home might have to wait another few days but you will get back it when it’s time to “counterbalance” and make cleanliness and order in your environment a top priority.

However, the authors say, in your career or business, you have to take a much different approach if you are going to reach your Big Goals with maximum efficiency, ultimately allowing more time for your personal life: “In your professional life, go LONG and make peace with the idea that the pursuit of extraordinary results may require you to be out of balance for long periods.  Going long allows you to focus on what matters most, even at the expense of other, lesser priorities.  In your personal life, nothing gets left behind.  At work, it’s required.”

Now, let’s examine the authors’ revolutionary “go LONG” approach that they say will get you to your BIGGEST stretch goals in less time with less wasted effort than most people can imagine. There are two major aspects to this winning approach: developing the Practical tools you need AND adopting the right Mindset for success. 

The practical tools they teach are simple and easy to learn and use and virtually guaranteed to bring you success – as long as you develop the right mindset so you don’t sabotage your best-laid plans.  First, let’s examine the practical tools you can use to achieve your Big Goal:

The Three P’s

The key to producing extraordinary results is to follow the three P’s:

1) First, identify your PURPOSE. Get clear on WHY your Big Goal matters to you — what it is going to bring you? Why is it worth getting up in the morning and pursuing it with focus and drive for however long it takes until you get it?

2) Then make your Big Goal your ONE PRIORITY. “Your most important priority is the ONE Thing you can do right now that will help you achieve what matters most to you.”

3) The third P is PRODUCTIVITY – You must create a clear plan that will ensure you stick with it consistently, day in and day out, until you achieve it. “Write your goals down and keep them close. Knowing your future goal is how you begin. Identifying the STEPS you need to accomplish along the way keeps your thinking clear while you uncover the right priority you need to accomplish RIGHT NOW.”

The KEY to Productivity

The authors believe the ONE great, overriding KEY to productivity is TIME BLOCKING. This is so vital to your success that there’s a whole chapter in the book focused just on how to effectively block your time.

I loved reading that because, in my 16-plus years as a Personal Success Coach, I have always told my clients: If you want to ensure that you have ENOUGH time and are doing the RIGHT things at the RIGHT time (AKA Productivity) you MUST plan your monthly goals and then lay out your weekly and your daily schedule in BLOCKS OF TIME in your planner.

The authors state, “Productive people get more done, achieve better results, and earn far more in their hours than the rest. They do so because they devote maximum time to being productive on their top priority, their ONE Thing.  They time blog their ONE Thing and then protect their time blocks with a vengeance.  They’ve connected the dots between working their time blocks consistently and the extra-ordinary results they seek.”

They go on to say, “Time blocking is a very results-oriented way of viewing and using time.  It’s a way of making sure that what has to be done GETS done… Time blocking harnesses your energy and centers it on your most important work.  It’s productivity’s greatest tool.”

How to Time Block

Time blocking is a simple habit to install, which I recommend to all my coaching clients: Spend one quiet, uninterrupted hour each weekend planning your upcoming week.

First, review your ONE Specific, Measurable Goal for the MONTH – The ONE Thing you vow to accomplish this month that will make everything else you could be doing either easier or unnecessary for reaching your Big Goal.  Then block out time to work on that ONE Thing EVERY DAY during your upcoming workweek.  

If you are serious about reaching your BIG GOAL by the end of the year, you must reach your monthly ONE Thing goal and that means you must work on it productively each workday. The authors’ recommended time for you to FOCUS solely on accomplishing your One Thing is HALF of your working hours each workday. If you work an eight-hour day, that means FOUR hours are devoted solely to working on your One Thing. The rest of your day, you tend to all the other routine tasks that have to be done – answering email, training, meetings, errands, etc. But none of those tasks is allowed to get in the way of your devoted One Thing time.

This undoubtedly sounds like a huge amount of time that you don’t think you have. But remember, you have already asked yourself the book’s Focusing Question about your blocked time: “Today, what is the ONE Thing I can do for my ONE Thing [Big Goal], such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

If you focus on accomplishing the ONE Thing and work productively toward it each day, week and month, a lot of the “busy work” you have been doing in your career, your business or on your passion project will end up being unnecessary. New ways of doing things more efficiently will emerge as you go along. Shortcuts will be found. Serendipity will happen.

You actually will GAIN more time freedom in the end because you worked with single-minded focus on accomplishing the RIGHT things that will get you to your Big Goal more quickly and easily than the haphazard approach most people take and the distractions they allow to derail their plan.

If you cannot devote four hours a day, that’s OK.  Just work as efficiently as you can toward the ultimate goal of spending 50% of your working hours on the ONE Thing that you know that you need to accomplish in order to reach your Weekly Goal, which will then carry you to your Monthly Goal, which will ultimately lead you to fulfill your BIG GOAL for the year that is going to make your life a dream and give you much MORE free time to spend on the people and things you love in your personal life.

We will finish this series on The One Thing next time by looking at the critical MINDSET side of the equation.  It’s great to have a solid plan, but as soon as you begin to work it, all kinds of challenges will inevitably arise that can derail it. Knowing what those pitfalls are and being ready to address them with the right attitude will ensure your success!

Coaching Results:

“I would not have the belief and confidence in myself or my team without Caroll, nor would I be able to bring out the best in my team without her coaching.  You should coach with Caroll if you want to create confidence in yourself, a positive mindset, a successful business and joyful approach to life.” – Lisa Davis, Top Team Leader for Crunchi Cosmetics

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation one-hour Success Breakthrough Session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please contact me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

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

March 28, 2021

“A balanced life is a lie…. Purpose, meaning, significance – these are what make a successful life.” – from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papsan

It feels fabulous to have the time to write a brand new post again!

Since the late fall of 2020, I have had too many coaching resources to study, video trainings to take, new website/branding content to create and other work projects to attend to simultaneously.  On top of that, since my wonderful husband Rick had back surgery in October, many new duties fell to me at home that he had always attended to.

At first, I felt like I was failing in ALL areas of my life because I couldn’t accomplish EVERYTHING I wanted to do for my business and my home life simultaneously.  What kept me sane was remembering to breathe, having faith that God would give me the strength and direction to do whatever I needed to do in the time I had to do it, and making a short list of my top priorities each day. Soon, I learned to be at peace with just getting the MUSTS done and letting the rest go until tomorrow.

Happily, my career is back on a more manageable pace and Rick is doing great with his full recovery.  But this personal growth experience got me intensely interested in the topic of so-called Life Balance, since my life felt completely “out of balance” in both the personal and professional realms.

Achieving an elusive “life balance” is usually the number one thing my coaching clients mention among their top three Big Goals. Women especially feel pulled in too many directions between work and their family responsibilities, with nothing left for themselves. I couldn’t really empathize with them before my own life went off the rails, but now I get it. Believe me!

One of my real estate/entrepreneur clients recently recommended a fabulous book called The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  Gary is the co-founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which began as a single office in Austin and is now the largest real estate company in the world.

This book, which is meant to help us succeed BIG in our careers and live fulfilling personal lives, has a whole chapter devoted to debunking the myth that “life balance” exists. They write, “The desire for balance makes sense.  Enough time for everything and everything done in time.  It sounds so appealing that just thinking about it makes us feel serene and peaceful. This calm is so real that we just know it’s the way life was meant to be. But it’s not.”

In order to truly “balance” your work life and personal life, you would have to stay in a “middle” zone, like on a teeter totter. However, in your work and passion projects, “magic happens at the extremes.” If you try to take care of all things all the time, everything gets short changed and you never achieve your Big Dreams.  A life lived in the middle creates mediocre success.

But in your personal life, “When we work too long, eventually our personal life suffers. Falling prey to the belief that long hours are virtuous, we unfairly blame work when we say, ‘I have no life.’ Often, it’s just the opposite. Even if our work doesn’t interfere, our personal life itself can be so full of ‘have-tos’ that we again reach the same defeated conclusion: ‘I have no life.’ And sometimes we get hit from both sides. Some of us face so many personal and professional demands that everything suffers. Breakdown imminent, we once again declare, ‘I have no life!’”

Bingo.  That was my experience exactly. What is the solution, then?

The way to achieve a successful, purposeful and happy life in BOTH your work and personal realms is to learn how to COUNTERBALANCE.

“When we say we’re out of balance,” they write, “we’re usually referring to a sense that some priorities – things that matter to us – are being underserved or unmet. The problem is that when you focus on what is truly important, something will always be underserved.  No matter how hard you try, there will always be things left undone at the end of your day, week, month, year and life….Leaving some things undone is a necessary tradeoff for extraordinary results.  But you can’t leave everything undone, and that’s where counterbalancing comes in. The idea of counterbalancing is that you never go so far that you can’t find your way back or stay so long that there’s nothing waiting for you when you return.”

There are two difference types of counterbalancing: The balancing between work and personal life and the balancing within each.  Work and personal life counterbalancing each require a different strategy, so let’s examine them separately. First, let’s look at your Personal Life and in the next blog we’ll look at what you can do to counterbalance your Work Life.

The authors state, “In your personal world, awareness is the essential ingredient.  Awareness of your spirit and body, awareness of your family and friends, awareness of your personal needs – none of these can be sacrificed if you intend to ‘have a life,’ so you can never forsake them for work or one for the other.  You can move back and forth quickly between these and often even combine activities around them, but you can’t neglect any of them for long. Your personal life requires tight counterbalancing.”

A good example of this principle was uncovered by one of my prospective coaching clients during our complimentary first session.  She felt her job’s time demands were interfering with her family’s happiness.  She longed to bond with her two young children in a special way by spending time at bedtime with each individually, reading to her, listening to her say her prayers and kissing her goodnight.

But her job required her to log into a couple of evening Zoom meetings each week, while other nights, she chose to work in her home office for a couple of hours, seeing it as an opportunity to catch up on work projects. As a result, she felt guilty that her husband often put their kids to bed and read to them most weeknights, while she felt cheated out of having special “Mommy and Me” time with them. Still, she pushed herself to accomplish more work tasks.

This conundrum gave her the opportunity to learn to “counterbalance” between her work and home life!  I reminded her that her kids wouldn’t be little for long and that she couldn’t put off this special bonding opportunity with them and expect it to be waiting for her when she had more time.  In fact, the authors of The One Thing made the same point: “Do you really think you can ever get back a child’s bedtime story or a birthday?…Do you think you can cut a deal with God that time stands still for you, holding off on anything important until you are ready to participate again?”

So we came up with a simple plan: Each weekend, she would look at her next week’s work schedule and PLAN which nights she had to be on a Zoom conference and which nights she had discretion about how she spent her time.  She was able to prioritize several nights each week that she could have precious bedtime bonding with her girls, and the other nights, her husband was happy to cover for her. The next time we spoke she was so happy and the whole family was grateful that they weren’t letting this precious time disappear.

Keller and Papasan say the secret to creating a counterbalanced personal life you love is this: “In your personal life, go SHORT and avoid long periods where you’re out of balance.  Going short lets you stay connected to all the things that matter most and move them along together. In your professional life, go LONG and make peace with the idea that the pursuit of extraordinary results may require you to be out of balance for long periods.  Going long allows you to focus on what matters most, even at the expense of other, lesser priorities.  In your personal life, nothing gets left behind. At work, it’s required.

“Acknowledge that your life actually has multiple areas and that each requires a minimum of attention for you to feel that you ‘have a life.’ Drop any one and you will feel the effects. This requires constant awareness. You must never go too long or too far without counterbalancing them so that they are ALL active areas of your life. Your personal life requires it.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog is taking next Easter Weekend off (for counterbalance!) and will return on Sunday April 11 to examine what it takes to SUCCEED BIG by focusing on your One Thing and “going long” in your career and passion projects. 

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

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

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation one-hour Success Breakthrough Session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

March 21, 2021

I had fully intended to write a brand new blog this weekend, but life had other plans. My website is coming along nicely, but there is still content I must get to my ace web designer ASAP and some important errands also came up unexpectedly that just couldn’t wait.

So, with my available time being very short, I decided to go with the flow and repost a lightly-edited blog from last year on a topic that really resonates with me right now.  I’ll bet it does with you, too: How to fully live in the present, experiencing each precious moment with ease and joy, while still getting stuff done! 

April 25, 2020

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall

The message that came to me over and over this week is one that most of us need to be constantly reminded of: Stay present and live each moment of life as it comes.

As I thought about the word “present,” it dawned on me that this one word has at least three main meanings which, while different, are all related.  First, as a noun, it means “gift,” like a Christmas present. It also means “now,” as in this present moment in time.  As a verb, “present” also means “to offer something” (as one might offer a gift).

In all these interconnected meanings, being present IS a gift because it enables us to fully experience and appreciate every precious moment of life.  Now, more than ever, the whole world is keenly aware of the precious fragility of life — that we could be here today and gone tomorrow.

A recent daily thought from Joel Osteen also reminded me of what a special gift each moment of life is, especially all the little simple things we often overlook or take for granted. This is especially true now, when the pandemic has forced us to slow down and re-arrange our usual daily routines:

Enjoy the Simple Thingsby Joel Osteen

“Don’t miss a great season in your life wishing you had more, complaining about what you don’t have.  The real joy in life is in the simple things – making memories with your family, riding your bikes together, watching the sunset with your spouse, or staring up at the stars at night.  You don’t have to have big vacations or lots of money to have fun.  Learn to enjoy the simple things in life.

Could it be that you’re at the right place for the season that you’re in, but you’re not enjoying it?  Maybe if you would step back and see it from a new perspective, you would realize that God has you in the palms of His hands.  He knows where you are, what you like, and what you don’t like.  Instead of living discontented, frustrated, always wishing you were somewhere else, embrace the place where you are.  See the good. Be grateful for what you have.”

My job is to help my coaching clients get what they want.  Each individual has a Big Goal, and I help them with the mindset tools, strategy and accountability that will enable them to reach that Big Goal, even if it seems far-fetched to someone else.

In my 16-plus years as a Personal Success Coach ™, I have learned that there are TWO fundamental keys to reaching any Big Goal:

1) Focus on what you WANT (not on what you don’t want). Keep your eye on the prize and use mindset tools daily to strengthen your BELIEF that you will get it.

2) Take ONE step at a time toward that outcome you want. Don’t try to figure out the whole HOW for getting there.  You can count on God/The Universe to help you with that, rolling the plan out for you one step at a time.  YOUR job is to take the step that is in front of you right NOW.  Looking too far ahead will only distract you from taking the right action today and make you doubt that it is possible to reach your Big Goal.  If you just stay in the NOW, focusing on carrying out today’s action step, the next perfect step will come to you when the time is right.

A week ago, on a coaching call, one of my clients seemed close to having a panic attack.  She was feeling totally overwhelmed by all the tasks she felt must be done simultaneously – caring for her family, staying mostly inside when she wanted to be outside, trying to come up with an entirely new distance learning curriculum for her students, while trying to consistently work her direct sales side business.  I understood why she wanted to stay in bed with the covers pulled over her head rather than try to organize ALL the many steps she needed to take!

During our call, I got her to take a calm look at things and focus on what small steps she could take NOW to begin to make progress on her many tasks.  As we talked, she thought of some specific resources available to her that she hadn’t been utilizing, and she promised to take just ONE action as soon as we hung up — to call her mentor teacher for lessons plan suggestions and emotional support.

She also came up with a brilliant plan for shaking off her paralyzing sense of overwhelm. She vowed to complete just ONE to THREE action items per day — no more, no less.  That number was emotionally and mentally manageable to her, and she knew that she could prioritize those specific few actions per day and get them done.  Completing them each day would give her a sense of control and accomplishment, which in turn would restore her self-confidence and expectation of success.

When we talked a week later, she sounded like her old can-do self again. She had been carrying out her daily “three things” action plan and was feeling much better. She was getting up early and enjoying her daily walks with her dog again, and grateful to be able to spend more precious time with her family because she wasn’t away all day in the classroom.  She is “embracing where she is” and “being grateful for what she has” in the PRESENT moment, just as Joel Osteen suggests.

We can all emulate my client’s simple approach to creating greater productivity and happiness:  Accept calmly whatever is going on right NOW in your life, do what you can right NOW, and let tomorrow’s steps unfold in God’s perfect time and way.  When we allow ourselves to be fully present in each moment, we will find joy in recognizing the many precious gifts that surround us right NOW.

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

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

I want to be of service to YOU and your friends, colleagues and loved ones! To schedule a F*R*E*E, no-obligation, one-hour Prosperity Breakthrough Coaching session by phone that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION on making them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

 

March 7, 2021 

I recently completed a series of advanced coaching trainings (live via Zoom), each of which took up the better part of three or four days. And for the past several weeks, I have been working on producing new content for my wonderful web designer to turn into a complete re-branding of my website and social media. It’s all very exciting and fulfilling…. AND tiring! While I am very grateful to be doing this fulfilling work for a living, I must admit to feeling a bit depleted physically and mentally right now.

Next weekend begins Daylight Savings Time for most of us, when it is recommended to change the batteries in home smoke detectors. My thought just now was “My inner battery could really use some re-charging!”  

Many of my clients are solopreneurs and direct sales professionals who are tempted to work 24/7 to grow their businesses and achieve the success they desire and deserve – not to mention handling “bonus” duties like homeschooling that have been thrust upon many of them courtesy of the pandemic.

So, I am sure that most of my cherished readers can relate to this topic right now, too.  Here is a lightly-edited past blog with some great tips to give you greater ease and balance:

August 3, 2019

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman in Stress is a Choice 

You may recall that one of my suggestions for “How to Beat Burnout(see blog #188 if you missed it) was to take at least one full day off each week and one entire weekend off each month.

If you find it challenging to imagine creating that much “recharging” time for yourself, I understand.  It’s challenging for me too.  There always seems to be plenty of paperwork, errands and projects to tackle on the two days a week I don’t have coaching clients. But I am striving to walk my talk and take regular time off to rest and re-charge my mind, body and spirit so I can be a more effective Personal Success Coach for my clients, a more attentive and loving wife to my husband, and a happier, more fulfilled ME to myself.

No matter how diligently we try to keep up, the chores will always be there. Trust me, the world will keep spinning if you unplug from them for a few hours a week. Isn’t it more important to nurture yourself and your personal relationships than to have a spotless house or completely orderly office?

I’ve learned to prioritize and do the weekly “musts” like writing this blog first, and then if I also manage to knock off a couple of the “would be nice” chores each week, that’s a plus that makes me feel EVEN better.

What really makes me feel happy and balanced is spending a few hours each week reading, relaxing, enjoying good meals with my husband and watching good television.

Here are four specific suggestions that I know for certain will have a very positive effect on your personal relationships and your mental, emotional and physical well-being IF you follow them:

  • Be fully present. “Haste makes waste,” is accurate. If you focus 100% of your attention on what you are doing, you will do a better job in less time. You may think regular multi-tasking is a time-saver, but it actually makes you chronically half-present in your life. You half-understand what you hear and read, and are emotionally half-present with the people you are with. If you aren’t giving your projects, conversations and reading your full attention, you will eventually miss something critical that will lead to misunderstanding and/or having to completely re-do a task.

One of my clients was dismayed when her five-year-old child recently asked her, “Mommy, why are you always in a hurry?” It’s not the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of your undivided attention, that makes your loved ones feel that you care about them.

  • Be mindful in your health habits. Obesity studies show that people who eat slowly and savor their food, instead of shoveling it in mindlessly while watching television or working at their desk, consistently consume fewer calories. Taking time to prepare dinner and eat it with your loved ones most evenings will benefit your family relationships, as well as your waistline. Similarly, in your exercise routine, if you do your running, Pilates, yoga poses or weight lifting mindfully with proper form, your muscles will respond faster and avoid injury.
  • Get enough sleep. The late evening hours when the kids are in bed may seem like your ONLY chance to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  But the price of sleep deprivation is very high, including stubborn weight gain, emotional and mental stress and a compromised immune system. Falling asleep at the wheel or a tired driver’s slowed response time are now said to cause as many deadly accidents as drunk drivers.

If you discipline yourself to go to bed even 30 minutes earlier on weeknights, it will pay off in greater mental acuity, emotional control, and physical health. Back-lit screens like TV, computers and e-readers have been shown to interfere with your brain’s ability to wind down and let you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake too. Make the last 30-60 minutes of your evening a quiet time to meditate, converse with your partner or read an enjoyable paper book.

  • Unplug from your devices as often as possible. 84% of smart phone owners use their device while watching TV. Many people are tethered to electronics 24/7. “If you’re with your children and checking your phone all the time, the message to them is ‘Anyone in the world is more important than you,’” says Tanya Shevitz, a spokesperson for Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating Jewish culture for a modern world.

Orthodox Jews refrain from business transactions, writing, driving, gardening, shopping, laundry and other tasks from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, spending time focused on God and their loved ones. But you don’t have to unplug from the internet and your phone just for religious reasons. “Embracing the sensual pleasures of life – having a special meal, lighting candles, having conversations where we really listen to others and listen to what our souls are trying to say to us…is rejuvenating when we give ourselves a day of rest once a week,” Shevitz suggests.

If you commit to making even one small change in one or more of these areas and stick with it, you will begin to create a more balanced, healthy, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and those you love. And don’t you deserve that delight?

IMPORTANT NOTE: In keeping with the message of this blog, A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday March 21!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com  and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any purpose. 

****************** You Can Fulfill Your Big Dreams! ******************** 

To schedule a complimentary Prosperity Breakthrough Session of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

“If given a choice do what is right.  Do what may push you along.  Choose that thing that is outside your grasp and then work hard for it….’Or’ don’t and live to whine another day.” – Bob Perks

Welcome back  —  I’ve missed you! As you know, I took two weeks off from writing the blog to prepare for and then enjoy a one-week vacation to Oregon over the Fourth of July weekend with my wonderful husband, Rick. We had a perfect trip.

The weather was perfect – in the mid-seventies with blue skies the whole time.

The food was perfect. Portland, where we spent half the time, is a Foodie’s paradise.  We followed recommendations from friends and clients and enjoyed several wonderful restaurants and wineries. We also had some great food during the second half of our trip to Cottage Grove, in southern Oregon, to visit my only sibling’s family.  My nephew smoked four whole chickens, and we had one of the best lasagnas ever, courtesy of my nephew-in-law, Don. He even made one pan with turkey sausage, since I don’t eat anything with four feet.

The scenery was perfect.  While staying in Portland, we spent the better part of a day driving through the nearby Columbia Gorge, which is nature on steroids.  The winding road through the tall pine trees reminded me of Yosemite, but with many more waterfalls (although smaller), which were all an easy walk from the road.

Aside from all the food, fun and scenery, the MOST significant thing about the trip for me was seeing my extended family again.  All but one of my older brother’s kids and grand kids reside in Oregon or Washington, so we all congregated at the home of my niece Ann and her husband Don, an acre-plus spread right next to the Row River. My brother and sister-in-law, four of my six nieces and nephews and four of my five great-nieces and great nephews joined us, as well as my brother’s ex-wife (the mother of three of his children) and her husband. It is truly one BIG, happy family, who all get along great.

We spent time looking at old photo albums and marveling that 10 years had passed since we last got together for a Parker Family Reunion.  It seemed to all except the youngest ones that those 10 years had zoomed by in the blink of an eye. Some of the memories were still vivid, while others made us shake our heads, not believing the photographic evidence that we really DID wear that hairdo or clothing back then. And the more “seasoned” among us could count new wrinkles and grey hairs (and maybe a couple of new belt notches) that weren’t there last time.

That made me realize that life truly does go by SO fast.  I am sad to admit that I have made the choice year after year not to make the effort to get us all together again…Not a conscious choice, but a choice of omission. Rick and I simply chose to do other things with the little time off we took from making a living.

That may end up being one of my few life regrets because this reunion made me realize that as far as I am concerned, there are really only TWO important questions to ask ourselves when we come to the end of our earthly life:

  • Did I SHOW the people I love how much I love them?
  • What Big Dreams did I pursue (or let die without ever being born)?

Our lives are built on a series of many little decisions made day by day in each of these two categories.  Each day is a new chance to take time to pay attention to those we love and demonstrate to them that we really do value them.  And each day is a chance to pursue our heartfelt dreams with everything we’ve got, or let them slide in favor of what is easier, more comfortable, less scary.

Within a day of arriving home, I received yet another amazing, thought-provoking post from my friend and fellow-coach/writer/speaker/workshop leader, Bob Perks. (See blog #230 “Listen with Your Heart” if you missed his earlier post that I re-published.)

Bob perfectly expresses that it is all the little daily choices we make to be loving, to be generous, to be in integrity, to stand up for our beliefs and values, and to either pursue our dreams or sell out that REALLY matter.  It’s not the few big life choices we make, but the many little ones that steadily add up day by day, year by year to create the picture that our life ultimately ends up looking like.

Here, with permission, are Bob’s own thoughts.  I hope they make as big an impression on you as they did on me. And I hope they move you to take ACTION and make the right daily choices for YOU, so that the next decade of YOUR life fulfills and empowers you. Because one thing I can guarantee: It’s going to feel like it zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

P.S. If you find Bob’s words inspiring and the spirit moves you, you can make a small or large donation at the end, as I did, to help him keep on sharing his love and wisdom with the world.

Perks Pearl of Wisdom

“I have lived to see another day for nearly 66 years.  I have been given more second chances than I deserved.  Still, I often feel unfulfilled.  Why?  Because there are greater things for me to accomplish.  Things I can’t even imagine at this moment.  For He has plans.”  Bob Perks

“Today’s message:

“Or”

By Bob Perks

Life is full of choices.  The truth is every choice we make ripples like a stone dropped in a still pond.

Even not choosing is a choice.

I could start writing that book or I could go back and edit a few older projects I once started.

I could call my friend or wait until she calls me.  Why should I be the one?

I could look for some healthy recipes and then go shopping for the food I’ll need or I could finish all the junk food up instead of wasting it.

I could update my resume and start looking for a better job or I could wait until after vacation.

I could study more for that test on Monday or go celebrate with the girls. I’ll pass it I’m sure.

I could save this extra money I got or maybe double it at the casino.

I could or I couldn’t.

I should join that civic club and get involved or stay at home and mind my own business.

I should go for a walk after dinner or at least sit on the porch for a while.

I should tell him now how much he means to me, how much I love him, how blessed my life has been having him in it.

Or wait until morning when he has rested awhile.

I should or I shouldn’t

I could have, I should have.

I didn’t and I regret it deeply.

I could tell you that I really care about you, my friend.

I should say thanks for always being there for me.

I will…”I love you, my friend.  I depend on you being there.  Thanks.”

Bob Perks

My messages are sent free. 

The services I use to send them aren’t.

Thanks for any support you can provide.”

www.PayPal.me/GiftBobPerks

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

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

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

Happy Father’s Day in the USAI gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model is a priceless gift in a young child’s life.

I was originally planning to take this week off from writing the blog, to give me time to celebrate my birthday on the 23rd and prepare for a trip to Oregon with my wonderful husband Rick for a Parker family reunion over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. The last time my brother’s family and I were all together was about 10 years ago for my Mom’s memorial celebration and I am very much looking forward to spending time with my brother and sister-in-law and my many nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews!

But since today is Father’s Day, I decided to re-post my 2015 tribute to fathers everywhere and share with my many new readers the important life lessons that my own wonderful father taught me.

 “Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.  Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” – Maya Angelou

This quote from the late, great writer and poet, Maya Angelou, perfectly describes the way my Dad lived his life.  Although his years on earth were far too short, he lived each of them with maximum gusto and I am quite sure he had no regrets when he died suddenly at age 57, right at the beginning of my senior year of High School.

My Mom was my source of unconditional love, whatever minor discipline I needed, and the usual “always wear clean underwear for the ambulance” practical advice. My Dad was my Playmate, Teacher, Walking Thesaurus/Dictionary/Encyclopedia, and my #1 Role Model.  I don’t remember him talking to me directly about rules to live by. Instead, he just lived his life on his own terms and I learned how I wanted to live mine by observing how he did it.

Here are the key guidelines for abundant living that I got from observing the happiness and fulfillment my Dad derived from living by them himself:

  • Be happy – Other than the day President Kennedy was assassinated, when I saw  him cry for the first time, Dad was invariably optimistic, cheerful and humorous. He loved to laugh at and tell jokes (especially bad puns), watched all the 60s comedy TV shows with me, and could find the hidden humor or irony in any problem. From him, I decided that hanging out with happy, positive people is the only way to go!  While I got my inclination to worry from my mother, I got my sense of humor from my father.  Guess which trait has helped me more in life?
  • Be curious – My Dad was the most insatiable life-long learner I’ve ever known. He never passed a used bookstore without buying something.  He left behind boxes of notebooks and reading materials on everything from Elizabethan poetry to paranormal science.  It’s too bad he didn’t live into the Internet Age because he would have spent hours Googling everything.  He taught me how great it could be to know a little bit about a lot of things (which led a High School English teacher to dub me a “Renaissance Woman”). Dad never pontificated about his own views, but sought to learn from others’ opinions. His attitude set me up for career success because coaching requires more listening than talking, being curious instead of judgmental, and having a wide variety of resources at my fingertips to support my clients’ needs.
  • Be creative – My Dad was one of the most creative problem-solvers I’ve ever known. He was an amateur inventor who came up with what he believed was a breakthrough system for teaching reading that was better than phonics. Unfortunately, he died before he got to finish it. He taught me to stretch my imagination and ingenuity with his creative inventions, like a teeter-totter I could play on all by myself, consisting of a long board balanced on an old oil drum and weighted on the other side with bricks that were equal to my weight. (This was in the days before “helicopter parenting” and Cal OSHA, you understand.)
  • Be of service – By Dad’s example, I learned that while life can be enjoyable when we meet our own needs, it can be truly fulfilling only when we help others meet theirs.   He voluntarily gave up a lucrative professorship at the University of California to teach at a community college where he felt he made a bigger difference teaching remedial English to working adults striving to improve their lives. Dad took a personal interest in Mrs. Edwards, an elderly woman in his night school class who wanted to improve her English. One day he hitched a trailer to our station wagon and filled it with boxes of hand me down clothes and a used refrigerator. Then my parents, Mrs. Edwards and I drove from Orange County,CA to Tecate, Mexico to give her extended family these precious gifts.  I was just eight, but I still remember what their dirt-floored, one-room adobe home smelled like and all the flies buzzing about. I am certain those strangers never forgot my Dad’s generosity.

Looking back, our relationship reminds me a lot of the bond between Atticus Finch and his young daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Like Atticus, my Dad was older when I was born, so we didn’t do much physical play together; our father-daughter bond was more spiritual and mental. And luckily for me, like Atticus, my father demonstrated by his daily life exactly how to be self-confident and stand up for one’s principles, while remaining respectful of the different abilities, lifestyles and opinions of others.

In short, Prof. Harbison Parker was my #1 Role Model for how to “love life, engage in it and give it all you’ve got.” And I feel extremely blessed to be his daughter.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next TWO Sundays off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, July 10.  In the meantime, I wish my readers in the USA a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!

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

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

 

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time.   So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman

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 didn’t seem that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could all possibly fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would if they were put in the right way.

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 the BIG tasks first, all your other tasks can be done with ease. But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff,” 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 or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.   You will put out these 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 such urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at once, 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:

  • 1) For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar. Study your list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • 2) 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 job interview 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 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.
  • 3) 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 standing appointment OR negotiate a 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.
  • 4) After scheduling the 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.
  • 5) After that 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 among the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day this week. 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 listening to a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT: 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 eventually double-book yourself or miss 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 caused by double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

If you will devote just 30 minutes each weekend to planning and scheduling the week ahead, I promise you will gain a greater sense of control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

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

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching! It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached! And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift! 

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.