April 14, 2019

“Change is unavoidable.  Change sometimes feels uncomfortable, at least at first.  Change is often messy.  Change takes time, patience and commitment.  Change requires planning, perspective and an investment of time and energy.  Change opens the door to valuable new possibilities, discoveries and adventures.” – From the book Getting Unstuck: 10 Simple Secrets to Embracing Change and Celebrating Your Life.

From time to time, I like to share the advice and wisdom of other coaches and Master Manifesters with my readers.  One is my former personal trainer, Rose Zahn, who owns the Healthy Habits workout studio in Sacramento, California, where I lived in the 1990’s. Rose helped me get into great shape, both physically, mentally and spiritually. In a recent blog, she shared the unvarnished truth about the mindset you must adopt in order to reach ANY Big Goal:

“We are living in a have-it-all, have-it-now world. Access to anything you desire is literally a key stroke away.

There’s one-click ordering. There’s food delivery in 30 minutes or less. There’s credit available with the swipe of a card.

More so than any time in history, we have forgotten the art of sacrifice.

Can you blame us? Mainstream marketing tells us hundreds of times each day that we should have it all, and that we should have it right now.

The problem with this have-it-all-right-now mindset is that real accomplishments require sacrifice and delayed gratification. And these real accomplishments are where true satisfaction is found.

Think about it for a moment. When was the last time that you felt proud of something that you’ve done? I doubt that it was for the shoe purchase that you just one-click ordered online 🙂 More likely it was for a big project that you tackled at work, or a meal that you cooked for your family, or an 5K (or marathon!) that you worked hard for and finished.

Those proud moments have one thing in common: they all required sacrifice and delayed gratification. You gave up your time, you invested your attention and efforts, you put in the miles and the effort for a considerable period of time…

And then you achieved your goal and experienced that sweet satisfaction.

Learning how to sacrifice and delay gratification, rather than getting something right now, is a skill set. This skill set can grow as you use it more often. Just like a muscle that becomes stronger under resistance, your ability to sacrifice your immediate needs in favor of a larger accomplishment will improve the more you use it.

Sacrifice and delayed gratification are the name of the game when it comes to getting into great shape. Get comfortable with sacrifice and you’ll achieve any goal.

I know that’s not what any of us want to hear. We’d prefer the one-click-to-dream-body button over months of a controlled diet plan and challenging workouts. But by embracing and enhancing your ability to sacrifice you’ll gain traction on all of your big life goals, including getting that dream body.

I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. Yes, it’s going to require that you put in hard work and sacrifice, and I’ll be there with you every step of the way. Call or email me today to get started.”

Rose Zahn www.healthyhabitsstudio.com

I am working on my own personal fitness goal right now, and I can admit that delaying the gratification of yummy foods and adult beverages is the hardest part for me.  But I know that it will be SO worth it when I am looking good in my swimsuit this summer!  And more importantly, I will feel great about myself because I know that I worked for it and proved to myself that I had the willpower to stick to it until I reached my Big Goal.

I hope you are working on your own Big Goal right now, and that you will “embrace and enhance your ability to sacrifice” so you can have the unparalleled satisfaction of achieving it, however long it takes.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off for Easter Sunday.  Look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday, April 28

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 yourself, 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 gift this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (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

  

April 7, 2019

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” – Jim Carrey

A few weeks ago, I wrote about adopting our newest four-footed family member, Cagney.  After our beloved little rescue Chihuahua, Diamond, died unexpectedly in February, we knew immediately that we wanted to provide a home for another deserving rescue and Cagney came to us quickly and easily through the Nextdoor neighborhood website.

Cagney had a neglectful owner who kept him chained on a backyard patio for about two years, with only a lawnmower grass-catcher for a bed.  Eventually, his rescuer Sue was able to get custody of him and her friend Atissa took on the task of acclimating him to indoor life and finding him a good home, as these two wonderful women have done for many other dogs.

My husband Rick and I fell in love with Cagney at first meeting and the feeling was mutual.  He is adorable and loving and cuddly.  We are amazed at his loving, playful disposition, given that he had so little contact with people or other animals for most of his young life.  (Our vet estimates his age as 2-3 years old.)

He’s a smart little guy – part Border Collie and part Dachshund, from the looks of him — and Atissa was able to housebreak him and teach him to sit on command in a short time.  But soon after we took him into our home, we realized that his manners still needed “polishing” in a few areas.  He’s young and energetic and needs a lot of exercise and attention.  No problem.  Rick and I both work from home and he gets a lot of affection and attention from both of us all day.

The exercise part was a little trickier because he was not fully acclimated to walking on a leash.  I started walking him each morning with a harness, but soon found two major problems with that. He is small but very strong, and he would strain on the leash to go faster, dragging me along behind him.  And, more importantly, he is skittish around strangers and other dogs.  Whenever he sees another human of any age, he barks ferociously, and when he sees another dog – even at a distance – he barks, growls and snarls like a deranged hound from hell.

It was humiliating to have Cagney snarling at my neighbors and all the other placid, well-behaved dogs walking around us.  So we decided to get expert help on the proper way to train him, and hired a great trainer who came highly recommended on the same website where we originally found Cagney.

Dr. Eric Liss (chiropractor by day, dog whisperer by night) gave us just one hour of expert training and Cagney became a new dog.  It seemed like magic to us, but to Dr. Eric, it was simple: Understand how a dog thinks and then approach him with tools and techniques that make sense to HIM.  (As my BFF Lisa likes to say, “Dogs are not people in fur suits.”)

I want to share with you now the three lessons I learned from Dr. Eric’s simple and effective training techniques that can be applied to ANY goal you want to achieve or ANY challenge you must overcome:

LESSON ONE: Most of our fears are unfounded. This is really Cagney’s lesson. Without normal early socialization with other dogs or daily interactions with people who loved on him, Cagney probably came to view strangers and other dogs as threats.  He’s not really mean at all — just scared. He masks his fear by being loud and ferocious-sounding, hoping his bluff will scare them off.  But they aren’t really threats.  His fears are unfounded.

Isn’t this true of most of our fears when we pursue a Big Goal or face a challenge?  We immediately imagine a Worst Case Scenario outcome (failure, overwhelm, public humiliation, disappointed loved ones, etc. etc. etc.) and paint it in vivid detail in our imagination.  We get ourselves all worked up over something that almost never comes to pass or, if it does, turns out to be a lot less dire than our imagination cooked up.  We waste time and energy “barking” at nothing.

The mind (canine or human) can only hold one thought at a time.  Dr. Eric showed us how to redirect Cagney from focusing on the perceived threat, enabling him to calm down very quickly.  Now, when we encounter another person or dog on our walks, I know how to calmly reassure him and re-focus him to move on, and he is soon happily sniffing the bushes once again. You can also break the fear cycle by re-focusing your thoughts on the outcome you WANT, instead of imagining what you DON’T want.

LESSON TWO: Use the right tools. The harness was not the right equipment for Cagney’s walks. He was able to pull against the leash as hard as he could without discomfort, and there was nothing I could do to redirect him from barking at dogs and people. Dr. Eric brought a small prong collar for Cagney, which I had always imagined was a sharp, cruel instrument of torture.  But when I saw it up close, I realized the prongs are not sharp at all and it won’t choke him.  If he pulls against the chain with any force, it’s going to make him uncomfortable, but it’s not going to hurt him.  With a prong collar, it’s easy to redirect him with a light flick of the leash, instead of trying to pull against the cloth harness with all my might, which only gets him more agitated.

Whenever we pursue a goal, or face a challenge, we must use the right tools.  Sometimes they are obvious to us, but we avoid them because they make us emotionally “uncomfortable.” Many of my network marketing clients admit they have a “phone phobia” of speaking to a prospective customer or business partner.  They feel more comfortable texting.  And their prospect is also very comfortable ignoring their texts, just the way Cagney ignored me pulling on the harness.

But when they pick up the phone and CALL, even if they end up leaving a voice mail, my clients are always amazed at how quickly most people respond.  That’s because your energy is transmitted through your voice much more effectively than through flat words on a screen.  There’s no warm, friendly and inviting tone conveyed in a text.

So if you find that you are avoiding whatever tools you know you need to get the job done, ask yourself if you are really COMMITTED to reaching your goal.  If you are, you will find that a small amount of discomfort is worth it, if it leads to a great amount of success and pleasure.  Cagney’s walks are now a pleasure for both of us, thanks to one simple tool and knowing how to use it properly.

LESSON THREE: Energy is everything. This is the biggest lesson I got from Dr. Eric’s instructions. Whenever I panicked and tried to correct Cagney by yelling “NO!” it only escalated his anxiety and got us both more upset.  Rick and I learned that dogs don’t really understand words like “sit” and “stay.”  They respond to the tone and body language we use when we give those commands. Dogs are masterful at reading our energy and responding to it.  My own self-conscious anxiety over “What will the neighbors think of his behavior?” was actually getting him more worked up and causing more bad behavior.  Once I learned to relax, give a light flick of his chain, use a reassuring tone with “It’s OK,” and walk on, Cagney soon stopped barking, forgot about the “threat” that wasn’t real and followed my lead.

Humans are biological creatures too, and we respond to subtle energy cues from other people, just as dogs do.  The energy you bring to an interaction is going to have a big impact on the other person’s response.  As the Law of Attraction states, energy attracts like energy.”  You can decide what energy you want to embody and then direct your subconscious mind to put it into action by stating aloud to yourself how YOU want to show up in the situation. For example, “I am calm.  I am relaxed.  I am in control.” The positive energy you consciously choose to embody will affect the other people you are interacting with. Positive energy is stronger than negative energy, so when I decided to feel confident, adopt a cheerful, reassuring tone of voice and take control of my physical manner, Cagney’s negative energy quickly dissipated and reflected my own calm.  

There you have it!  It’s not rocket science, as Dr. Eric can attest.  You can make any Big Goal a reality or overcome any problem situation, if you will remember these three basic principles and put them into play….Did someone say “PLAY”?!  Cagney’s got a ball in his mouth right now. Guess we gotta go play!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 gift 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 for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.  

 

 

March 17, 2019

“Don’t just believe in magic; expect it!” – Louise Hay

Longtime readers of this blog know that my wonderful husband Rick and I adore Disneyland.  We live just 30 minutes from the Park and are Annual Passholders.  We have visited at least once or twice a month during the past 13 years that we’ve been together, but Rick had an Annual Pass long before that. It’s so special to us, it’s where he proposed to me.

For me, Disneyland is truly “The Happiest Place on Earth,” where I can leave all my cares at the gates and feel completely carefree the whole time I am there.  Rick and I were there just yesterday and it was a perfect day, as far as I’m concerned.

But even more important than the escape it provides, I have learned some very valuable life lessons at Mickey and Minnie’s home, too.  I thought I would share a few of these little nuggets that have helped me to be happier and more successful, and I am sure will help you, too:

  • Be patient. This is life’s #1 ongoing lesson for me!  I am not by nature patient and every trip to Disneyland reminds me that I need to be.  If I wait patiently for a ride or a meal or for the crowd to part so we can walk through, I will eventually receive what I want with a smile on my face.  But if I get annoyed and impatient with people, I will be in a bad mood by the time I get to my destination and it spoils what could have been a fun experience.  I have learned that when I cannot control whatever or whoever is impeding my progress, I need to breathe, smile and trust that all is working itself out in perfect timing. And it inevitably does.
  • Do what nourishes you. It’s easy to fill up on “junk food” at Disneyland and in life.  We are constantly surrounded by tempting but unsatisfying food and diversions. (Churros are my personal favorite junk food at Disneyland.)  Social media, television, online games and many other diversions provide immediate gratification, but they can steal precious hours and leave you with nothing of real value.  Take the time to seek out food, drink, friends and activities that nourish your body, mind and spirit, and you will feel strong at the end of the day, instead of empty and hung over.
  • Stop and smell the roses. One of the things Rick and I love most about Disneyland and California Adventure is the wide variety of beautiful plants.  The groundskeepers are creative and meticulous and the beautiful floral displays change with every season.  We make a point of walking slowly and stopping often to appreciate the different plants and flowers close up.  Instead of rushing to get to the next activity or errand, try to slow down, look around and be fully present to the beauty that is everywhere around you.  Appreciating and expressing gratitude for the many blessings in your life will make you feel deeply fulfilled and happy, no matter what challenges you are facing at the moment.
  • Pace yourself. You can’t get where you want to go immediately, any more than you can ride every ride in Disneyland in one day. Be patient, trust Divine Timing and try to embrace each step on your path to ultimate success. You must inevitably learn whatever lessons God/The Universe wants to teach you before you can fulfill your Big Goals, so strive to embrace them and enjoy your personal development journey.
  • Be kind. I don’t like crowds.  And it’s a fact of life that there will be crowds on most of our visits, because many other people enjoy Disneyland too! I can look at them as adversaries, vying for limited resources, or as fellow Mouseketeers who are going through the same challenges and experiences, doing the best they can, just as I am. The kinder I am, the more I smile and strive to be patient and non-judgmental toward everyone I encounter, the happier and more relaxed I feel at the end of the day.
  • See the world through the eyes of a child. Walt Disney’s original goal, which he more than accomplished, was to create a magical place where children and their parents could come to enjoy themselves together. When we’re there, I love to watch parents observing their little ones’ eyes grow big with wonder at experiencing so many “magical” things for the first time.  For a few precious hours, adults are allowed to drop their jaded, skeptical, cynical veneers and embrace seeing the world with innocent childlike wonder, too.  (Disneyland has this effect on adults of all ages, by the way, including those without kids!) Being present to the wonders of daily life is a choice and a practice.   Daily miracles are all around us, if we will just open our eyes to them. Uncle Walt developed a keen sense of childlike wonder himself as he pursued his Big Dreams, which have, in turn, made many millions of people happy all over this planet. And they will continue to do so, as long as we are willing to surrender to the child within us every day.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weeks off. A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, April 7. In the meantime, I wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day and the official start of Spring this week — I know we are all eager for that!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website 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 gift 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 for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.  

 

January 6, 2019

“We are not in a position in which we have nothing to work with.  We already have capacities, talents, direction, missions, callings.” – Abraham Maslow

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

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

With so much change and division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2018 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important life lessons that you can carry into this new year to help you create it to be all that you want it to be.

In my 14+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 750 individual clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than this one did. Creating your 2019 YOUR way requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin:

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

The Reflections Exercise

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

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

Here are 14 KEY questions to complete your 2018 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2019. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30-60 minutes to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 – Questions to Complete the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2018 and why?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • Who did you make a difference for and how? (List as many as you can!)
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on but didn’t?
  • What are you most thankful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What ONE WORD would you like to have as your theme in 2019?
  • What would you be most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing and why?
  • What skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instill this year? What is the first step you can take NOW to begin to instill it?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you do/have more of that in 2019?

NEXT WEEK

We will do STEP TWO: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for 15 years now and I know you will too!

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

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

I invite you to give yourself (or someone you care about) a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  

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

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.

September 2, 2018

 “In the end, a person is only known by the impact he or she has on others.” – Jim Stovall

Like many of my readers in the USA, I am spending the long Labor Day weekend getting some personal projects done, relaxing a bit with my family, and lamenting the unofficial end of summer.  That’s why I am playing hooky from writing a new blog this week.  Instead, I am sharing a lightly-edited post from three years ago that remains quite relevant for this time of year.

August 9, 2015

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement.  When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.”  — John O’Donohue

It’s that time — Back to School Time!  Many of my clients are parents as well as business professionals and entrepreneurs, and they are still adjusting to their kids’ new school schedules and new teachers.

One of the most important things a good teacher does is to encourage students to strive for excellence and to believe in themselves.  Even if you don’t have school-age children, Back to School is a great time to remember that teachers play a vitally important role in all our lives and we are actually ALL teachers. If you are a parent, you teach and encourage your own children their values, manners and sense of self-esteem – among other critical life skills – every day.

Recently, my favorite televised minister, Joel Osteen, talked about the special role fathers play in bringing out the BEST in their children by giving them approval, encouragement and validation.  I loved his message, and I believe it applies to every adult, not just fathers. If you are a parent, teacher, boss, mentor, sponsor, aunt, uncle, older sibling, trusted friend, life or athletic coach, you are an encourager.

Sharing your approval, validation and encouragement with your employees, children, spouse, partner, friends and teammates gives them the courage to step out of their comfort zone to risk and achieve more than they ever thought possible. Even when they fail – especially when they fail – telling them you are proud of them for giving it their all and that you believe in them will give them the courage and belief to try again.

In his sermon, Joel Osteen said, “The people in your lives can’t read your thoughts – you have to speak them.  They need your love, guidance, support and mentorship.  They need you to teach them what you have learned, and to model excellence and integrity….All they need to excel is your blessing, your encouragement.  Give them an extra boost to excel, to rise higher, to go further, to accomplish things they never knew they were capable of.” 

And they, in turn, will duplicate all that with the important people in their lives – their families, friends, colleagues and teammates.  Encouragement, approval and validation are some of the most impactful things you could possibly pass along to the lives you touch on a regular basis.  That’s what professional teachers do for a living and that’s what each of us can do as well.

So here’s a simple but profound encouragement you can give your fellow teachers: Thank them!  If your child has one or more good teachers this year, go out of your way to write those professional encouragers a personal note stating how much your child loves their class and how grateful you are to have them in your child’s life.  You don’t have to wait for Back to School Night!  You can do this the second week of school.

And even if they are not perfect, if you make the effort to acknowledge and validate a teacher for his or her hard work and dedication, guess what?  It will make them want to be an EVEN better teacher and role model for your child.  We all thrive on encouragement and acknowledgement.

If you don’t have a child with a teacher, I urge you write a similar heartfelt “Thank You” note this week to someone who has been a mentor, role model, teacher or encourager in YOUR life.  Tell them how grateful you are for their belief in you and their encouragement.  Tell them the difference they have made in your life and I promise you they will keep that note for the rest of their lives.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two Sundays off to let me spend some precious time with my family, friends and my BFF Lisa, who will be visiting from out of town.  A brand new Cup of Caroll will come to you on Sunday, September 23.  In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day! 

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 29, 2018

 “Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself.” – William Boetcker

This month is important to many of my clients who are all in the same network marketing company.  July is their “convention qualification” period, where the status and titles they reach by the 31st will determine how they are recognized at their international convention in New Orleans in September.  It’s a big deal, and they are all running hard and giving it their BEST effort to reach their individual goals.

I fully support playing full out for a Big Goal.  If you really, really want something – especially if it has a drop-dead deadline – you need to be willing to work smart every available minute and use every mindset and Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) tool available to help you succeed.  Playing full out demonstrates your commitment to your Big Goal and causes God/The Universe and your own subconscious mind to conspire together to give you a boost with the “How.”

But there’s a hidden danger if you are always running at breakneck speed from one goal to the next.  While reaching important short-term goals can require a full-out sprint for a limited period, achieving long-term success is more like running a marathon.  You have to pace yourself or you risk physical and emotional burnout.  And you must always remember that you are not defined by your achievements.  You are valuable and worthy simply for being the unique and special person you are.

Here is a lightly-edited blog from “convention qualification month” two years ago that reminds us to keep a joyful attitude and take sufficient time to play, spend time with our loved ones, rest and recharge if we are going to win the LONG RACE.

July 17, 2016

I didn’t have to look far for the topic of this week’s blog.  It kept recurring among my clients last week and it is the subject of a collection of articles published by the Unity church entitled You Are Enough.

Two of my clients had their phones die for a time this week.  Both admitted to feeling a secret sense of relief because they could not be held responsible for not working their businesses.  One of them was at the beach for a week with her family and was able to spend some guilt-free time playing with her kids and just relaxing, while the other, with a few precious days off from her day job, had time to play with her daughter and just “float in the pool.” The latter confessed that she had actually contemplated not coming to her coaching call because she didn’t want to admit to me that she had been “unproductive” this week.

I told them both that they shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what they really wanted to do.  Their worth is not defined by how productive they are being.  Their self-worth should come from knowing that they are unique and special and valuable because of who they ARE, not what they DO.

As a Personal Success Coach, my job is to help my clients get whatever they want in life.  The Big Goal they choose to pursue is up to them – greater prosperity, a fitter body, a loving relationship or a successful business.  Nobody, including me, can tell them what their heartfelt goals should be.  Nor should they put undue pressure on themselves to reach those goals at the expense of having life balance, fun and fulfillment.  If they become so driven to succeed that pursuing their Big Goal feels like a burden, I recommend taking a step back to examine their true motivation.

Many people have a strong “Why” for pursuing a goal, especially a financial goal.  One of my clients wants to succeed at her business so her mother can retire from her job.  Several want their spouses to be able to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams or spend more time with their family.  Some are motivated to financially support a cause they care deeply about. Those are all great reasons for consistently doing the daily activities that will get them closer to their goals with a sense of joy and enthusiasm.

But I have seen some people approach their daily tasks with a joyless, teeth-gritted, “this is hard, but I MUST do it” mindset and energy. I believe they are actually driven by the idea that they must prove their value through their achievements.  Their sense of self-worth depends on outer successes and the approval of others.

One of my clients recently shared a journaling she had done to explore her Limiting Belief that “If I give it my all and fail, my life has been a waste.”  This was her Ego’s internal worst case scenario about what might happen if she didn’t reach the level of success in her business that she wanted.  In the course of her self-exploration, she had the Ah-Ha Moment, as Oprah calls it, that she doesn’t remember her father saying “I love you” very often when she was growing up.  But she does remember him frequently saying, “I am so proud of you.”

Thus, her father’s pride in her accomplishments became her Ego’s path to “earning” the unconditional love she truly craved. She wrote, “I think this has sort of made me think that if I can’t do something that makes a splash, it’s not worth doing and certainly not worth talking about.  So I find myself striving for that over-achiever status.  I feel like anything less is pointless and even something to feel shameful about, so I just don’t talk about it.”

Being human, I am sure each of us feels or has felt at some time that we are not good enough. For some, it’s about their appearance:  “I’m not…young enough, pretty enough, thin enough…” to be worthy of receiving unconditional love and acceptance from those I care about.

For me and others, it’s about our performance: “I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t get an A.  I didn’t win the competition.  I didn’t put on the perfect birthday party for my child.”  Therefore, I suck.

The truth is, your inherent value doesn’t increase or decrease with age, beauty, fitness level, accomplishments, job productivity or salary.

As minister Joel Osteen, puts it, “You are the apple of God’s eye” simply because you exist. If you are alive on planet earth, you are enough.  In fact, you are PRICELESS.  Otherwise, you are claiming that only the pretty, thin, A students, celebrities and sports stars are worthy of God’s love, their own self-love and the love of people whose opinion matters. What about the rest of us, then?

I believe there is no swimsuit competition in Heaven – or here on Earth, for that matter. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, we should not be judged by the color of our skin (or any other external factor), but by the content of our character.

So if you long to take a little break from your pursuit of success to just “float in the pool” from time to time, do what your heart calls you to do.  When you are working, give it your 100% BEST…. And when you want to relax and recharge, allow yourself to enjoy and be fully present to it, without guilt or shame.  Schedule time for both work and play and you CAN have it all.

I urge you to make this your daily mantra:I am not my job title or accomplishments.  I am whole, complete and perfect, just as I am. I am the apple of God’s eye and I am ENOUGH.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be on vacation for the next two weeks while Rick and I relax and recharge ourselves and visit our wonderful family in beautiful Washington and Oregon.  A Cup of Caroll will return with a brand new post on Sunday, August 19.

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