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

My wonderful husband Rick and I just returned from nine magical days in Hawaii, celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  As you may know, in the Hawaiian language, “Aloha” means “Hello,” “Goodbye” or “I love you.”  But we learned from the people we met on the lovely islands of Oahu and Kaua’i that “Aloha Spirit” means so much more.

Virtually everyone we met who lives and works in the Islands seemed to naturally exude Aloha Spirit.  In the Hawaiian culture, it is a point of pride to treat visitors like Ohana (family) by being friendly, welcoming, generous, helpful and kind. As a result, we found ourselves saying “Mahalo” (Thank you) innumerable times to strangers who went above and beyond for us during our visit.

Here are some of the key Aloha Lessons I learned from them:

Make an effort to connect emotionally — Smile and look the other person in the eye. Ask how they are doing, how their day is going. And then really listen to their answer! If things aren’t so great, the simple act of being heard tells them that they matter and lightens their burdens.

Look for little ways to be of service – You don’t have to solve the world’s problems. However, if you are in a position to lend a helping hand beyond what is required or expected, the other person will be surprised and delighted by your kindness and will never forget your genuine caring. They will become raving fans of yours, and the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) will work in your favor the next time YOU need help.

Danielle, the desk clerk at our Kaua’i condo, was ready to log off her computer for the day when we approached and asked if there was a printer we could use to print the boarding passes for our flight home the next morning.  She immediately dropped her back pack and stayed to enter the information herself and print our boarding passes. And she did it with relaxed ease and good humor, like it was the most interesting and enjoyable thing she had done all day.

It turns out that one small kindness was absolutely key to our having a smooth trip home because the ticket agent at our inter-island flight from Kaua’i to Honolulu offered to have our bags checked through from his tiny airline to our mainland plane so we wouldn’t have to do anything except board our flight to Los Angeles once we got to Honolulu. We didn’t realize that was possible and wouldn’t have thought to ask!  Once on the ground, a gate agent led us through the maze of back halls in Honolulu’s huge terminals so we wouldn’t have to stand in line for a second security screening.

Because of these three people’s above-and-beyond Aloha Spirit, Rick and I were able to enjoy a relaxed lunch in the Honolulu airport and get to our gate with time to spare, setting us up for a smooth and enjoyable flight home.

Do the right thing, even if it’s not convenient — Just so you know that Aloha Spirit is also alive and well here on the Mainland, I have to give a shout out to the Hilton LAX shuttle driver who noticed us standing at the curb at midnight, having waited in vain for over 40 minutes for a Marriott shuttle to take us back to our car.  On his third trip circling the airport, he stopped, opened his doors, helped us with our bags and took us and another group of stranded foreign visitors to the Marriott, even though he was technically not supposed to do that. (We became instant raving fans and tipped him big, of course.  Next time, we will stay at the Hilton!)

Debbie Powers, Professor Emerita of Wellness at Ball State University, explained in a recent Body Wise International eNewsletter that being kind benefits both the giver and receiver in important ways:

“It seems like we’re in a bit of a kindness crisis these days.  If you have spent time on social media, behind the wheel, in a line at a store, or at any crowded event, it seems like kindness and civility have eroded tremendously.  With violence, bullying, politics and natural disasters broadcasted into our everyday consciousness, it is hard to find positivity. 

 Research shows that our brain’s reward center is wired to get a lift when we’re helpful and compassionate.  It feels good.  People with physical ailments have less pain and anxiety when presented with kindness. Everyone feels less exhausted when there is an atmosphere of kindness.  It’s time for a groundswell of kindness in 2017.  It starts with one person, one act.  One kind act trips what social scientists call ‘social contagion.’ There is a tendency to ‘kind it forward.’

 Kindness is a value that transcends borders, race, faith, and age.  It contributes to healthier schools, communities and businesses.  It doesn’t cost money or much time to show empathy, respect, and compassion for another person.  We can all start today with a simple act of kindness to someone.  Our mental and physical health is at risk without it.”

It’s an old truism that people will eventually forget what you said and did but they will never forget how you made them feel.  Rick and I will never forget how so many kind and friendly people made us feel during our special celebration trip.

We can all spread some Aloha Spirit right now, in our own backyards — with family, neighbors, business associates and customers, among people you know and strangers you don’t know. If you go out of your way to do just one small kindness for someone each day, I guarantee it will return to bless you many times over. And it just may make you will feel like you are on a tropical vacation every day.

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.

****************** 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 contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or toll free 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill

The process for manifesting anything we want in life is SO simple that we just can’t seem to believe it, so we unintentionally muck it up by interfering in the process and thus derail our own dreams.  This week, I witnessed a delightful example of the good that can come to us when we resist the urge to micro-manage God/The Universe’s own perfect manifesting techniques.

But before I share the story, let’s recap the elegantly simple and efficient three-step process for manifesting your dreams via the Law of Attraction (which states that “energy attracts like energy.”)

STEP ONE:  ASK for what you want. Make it specific, measurable and unambiguous. Don’t ask God/The Universe to “Make me a good leader” for your business team.  How will you know when you are “good” enough?  How do you measure  that?  Instead, ask for something specific: “I will recruit, train and support my new business partner to produce $600 OR MORE in sales in her first month in the business.”

Don’t try to figure out in advance HOW you will do this.  You don’t need to know the HOW to set the process in motion for manifesting your desire. Just ASK for the outcome you want and leave the plan for the How to God/The Universe, which can direct you to the best answer more quickly and easily than you would ever be able to figure out.

These Divine directions will be picked up by the receiving dish of your subconscious mind, which will guide your conscious mind in the form of ideas, inspiration or perhaps an inner urge to be somewhere at the precise moment to bump into the perfect person or resource to help you manifest your intention.

STEP TWO: Believe it’s possible.  That’s all that’s really required — and it’s the hardest step for most of us. It is your unwavering BELIEF that what you are seeking is also seeking you that sets the Law of Attraction in motion to attract the ideal opportunities to fulfill your dreams.

If you instead listen to your Ego, as we often do, you can count on it to share the many reasons it thinks you don’t have the plan, resources or time you need to succeed, and it will certainly remind you of all the times have failed at it the past.

Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, is completely open to all the wonderful new, creative ideas that are constantly being channeled to it by God/The Universe. It is completely receptive and willing to think outside the little “box” that your Ego is locked into.

Happily, YOUR only job is to rev up your belief that this mystical process really IS going on ….That something much bigger and smarter than you wants you to succeed and is working behind the scenes to make it happen.

STEP THREE: Receive.  If you allow your Ego to run the show, it will assess all the “What ifs?” it can imagine and come up with a few, limited scenarios it thinks could possibly be the means and method for fulfilling your dream.  It is often wrong.

The Divine How often appears in “mysterious ways,” as they say.  In my 12-plus years as a professional coach, hundreds of my clients have shared jaw-dropping stories of the amazing ways God/The Universe chose to fulfill their dreams.  They invariably say things like, “I never would have thought of THAT!” or “I never imagined it would have come from HER!”

That’s why I say it and you must believe it: The How is not your problem!  Stay committed to your Goal, interested but unattached to your Ego’s ideas, and prepared to pounce when the Ideal Plan appears, so you can then take the appropriate ACTIONS that are required to fulfill your dream.

This week, a client shared with me the delightfully unexpected way the How happened for him: At the beginning of February, he asked me to hold him accountable for saving $300 a month toward the down payment he would need to lease a new car in November.  (Specific, measurable ASK, check!)

His finances have been tight lately, and he knew it was going to be a challenge, but he was COMMITTED to his goal. Then mid-month, he discovered his current car needed $700 worth of tires.  To his Ego, it looked like he would have to skip February’s $300 deposit into savings and somehow make it up in March.

But I suggested that he instead remain open and receptive to seeing HOW God/The Universe would direct him to meet his goal.  I knew from experience that lots of amazing things can happen in the final hours before a goal deadline.  He agreed that even if he didn’t have the entire amount, he would deposit whatever he could in savings by the end of the month, to prove that he was truly COMMITTED to his Big Goal. (BELIEVE, check!)

On February 26, I received this email from him:

“You are not going to believe this.  My friend gave me six tickets to see Stevie Nicks….I am unable to attend (and not interested in going anyway)….so I decided to sell them online.  The tickets are worth $150 a pair. 

I thought since I got them for free, I will sell them for $100 a pair – hopefully, being a blessing to the three couples that buy them. I have all three pairs already sold…Everyone is so happy and shocked at the price I am selling them for.

Without even thinking about it, I realized that the three sets of tickets (at $100 a pair) total $300 – The exact amount of money I want to put aside each month for my car! I made my goal of putting away $300 this month.  God is GREAT.” 

(RECEIVE, Check!)

No, we can’t just sit on the couch, OM-ing or praying and expect whatever we want to fall through the ceiling into our lap. We must take ACTION to manifest our dreams into our material world.

But instead of just blindly following your Ego’s limited advice, first try asking God/The Universe to show you the BEST way to reach your goal.  I promise, if you believe that it will come, God/The Universe WILL deliver the How to you, expedited rush delivery, via the Law of Attraction.

PLEASE NOTE:  The blog will take next Sunday off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday March 19.

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

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

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

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

“People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It’s that day! The biggest television audience of the year is going to be watching. Yes, it’s Super Bowl Sunday in the USA.

Even those who are not rabid football fans, as I confess I’m not, can still appreciate that the two teams battling it out for the title of The Best Team in American Football had to work very hard to get there, and they deserve our respect for that. It got me thinking about what it takes to create a Winning Team in other areas of life.

Life is filled with many types of teams: workplace teams, school sports teams, couples, families, military teams, the political parties that make up our government (ideally) act as teams, and many of my coaching clients are part of a network marketing business team.  Since we all participate on some type of team, it’s worth exploring how we can be more successful when working together.

I have identified the following five characteristics of Winning Teams:

  • A shared Purpose. A successful team must work together for a common goal, a greater good.  The individuals on the team have a clear shared purpose that is bigger than their own ego’s self-interest.  As the quote from President FDR says, committed people coming together can accomplish much bigger things than they ever could alone. So it’s in a Winning Team’s nature to be collaborative and practice sharing the spotlight and rooting for each other’s success, in order to get something that everyone on the team wants.
  • Mutual respect. All members of a team must show each other respect, even when they disagree about how to reach their mutual goal.  Each individual must be willing to listen to the others’ opinions, even if she vehemently disagrees with them. We learn more from listening to those whose opinions differ from ours than from those who agree with us. Eventually, through respectful give and take, individual members will reach a consensus about what needs to be done and what each individual’s role will be in pursuing the team’s Big Goal.
  • Clear, honest communication. Each member of the team must have the courage to speak his own truth (in a respectful way) in order for this effective collaboration to take place.  It is sometimes hard to speak up for what we believe is right when we think others might disagree or be offended.  But when you speak respectfully and own your OWN feelings without blaming or shaming others, you do them a great service because it allows them to see things from a different point of view than their own, and to understand the impact their words and actions have on others, which they may not realize. Be clear, concise, authentic and drama-free, and your opinion will be respected and considered, as long as the other members believe you are committed to the team’s Big Goal.
  • A team-supported designated Leader. Every effective team needs a respected and collaborative leader to organize, summarize and build consensus. Sometimes this leader must make the hard call alone, if there is insufficient consensus among team members, yet steps must be taken quickly or their shared Big Goal will be lost.  The Winning Team Leader acts as an inspiring quarterback, rather than a demagogue. She willingly listens to ALL the members’ input, then identifies the most likely path to victory for the entire team and gets their buy-in before moving forward.
  • Good sportsmanship. What makes a sports contest exciting is that only one team can win. There inevitably will be a “loser” in any head-to-head contest. Whether the side that loses a game, an election, a family vote on where to go on vacation, or their division’s annual Team Sales Contest is a good loser or a poor loser will have a greater impact on their long-term success than just about anything else.  Life is full of failures along the way to ultimate success.  A team that says, “We didn’t win this time, but wait until the next round!” is a team that is assured of eventual victory. Because the Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy,” you can bet that a team that takes their loss personally, blames each other or expresses sour grapes is destined to continue their losing streak. But a team whose members are willing to own and learn from their mistakes is going to come back stronger, more focused and more determined than ever to reach their Big Goal.  Victory is already in their sights, and they will eventually triumph.

If you have other ideas about what makes for a Winning Team, I would love for you to share them with me and I will pass them along to my readers in future blogs.  In the meantime, enjoy the Super Bowl and I hope you will keep working to develop your own leadership qualities and winning attitude, so that you AND your Winning Team will eventually reach the Big Goals you are pursuing!

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

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

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

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

“Letting go of limiting beliefs and harmful habits can free up more time and space for life itself.” – from the book Half Full by john Murphy

It’s that time of year.  If you haven’t already started one, you may be planning to go on a “diet” that includes changing your eating habits so you can achieve your weight and fitness goals.

I am right there with you.  I have already lost my “Holiday Five” pounds though cleansing, balanced eating, cutting out desserts and snacks, and getting more exercise. I feel great and I am optimistic that I will be “bathing suit ready” for Rick’s and my 10th wedding anniversary celebration in Hawaii in May.

But even if you are already at your ideal weight, there’s a diet you may need to go on for your mental AND physical health.  This one isn’t about food. It’s about cutting back on negative thoughts and words — a “negativity” fast.

As discussed in my last blog, recent Harvard medical research proves that people who are optimists – defined as expecting eventual good outcomes, even if their present circumstances are challenging – are less likely to die of a number of ailments and more likely to live longer than their pessimistic peers.

Being an optimist requires a steady diet of positive thinking. This is important to remember, because “what we think about, we bring about.”  Whatever you expend your mental and emotional energy focusing on will inevitably grow stronger and more significant in your life.

This week, several of my clients confessed to feeling in a “funk” — mildly depressed, agitated, lethargic, not having the energy to take action on their own Big Goals. The root cause invariably had something to do with words – mostly other people’s words. Habitually spending your precious time around people who constantly complain, blame, gossip, express worry and fear, enumerate their ailments or are just generally crabby can definitely deplete your own positivity reserves.

Nowadays, such Debbie Downers don’t even have to be in your physical presence or on the phone with you. They can bombard you with negativity with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a smart phone.  But here’s the saving grace: They can only steal your sense of peace, joy and optimism if YOU allow it by focusing on them via social media, gossip sites, emails or texts.  YOU  alone decide what you let into your own consciousness — and also what YOU send out to others.

One client said he felt depressed after reading social media posts by people who are rabidly political, with views he feels are ugly and misguided.  But I pointed out that he doesn’t have to expose himself to their rants and he certainly doesn’t have to waste precious time that would be better spent pursuing his own success on trying to persuade them to change their thinking (which is almost always futile, by the way).  If you let yourself get upset and frustrated because you can’t change someone else’s mind, the only one punished is YOU. Your negative emotional reaction to what others say or do is only going to attract more negative people and circumstances to YOU because, as the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”

We should stand up for what we believe is right, of course. But you have to pick your battles in life.  You can’t let every annoying issue or person get you upset or steal precious time you could be spending on your own goals and loved ones. Today, there are seemingly limitless political issues being loudly, angrily “debated” on social media or incessantly spotlighted by the media.

I absolutely believe we need to stay aware and informed about important issues.  I rarely miss a national evening news broadcast and I read a daily newspaper.  But the national news reporting tends to focus on big issues that matter to most of us, not on “gotcha” gossip or minor scandals, at least not to the degree that social media, radio talk shows and local news seem to.  Whenever there is an important issue at stake, I pay attention to the facts; when it’s simply “gotcha” gossip, I don’t waste my time. That’s my “other diet” for the New Year.

I try to heed this quote from my favorite TV minister and positive thinker, Joel Osteen: “Your words are like seeds.  They have creative power.  In the future, we will all eat the fruit of our words.  Our words are going to produce exactly what we’re saying….That’s why we should say things like ‘I am blessed.  I am prosperous.  I am healthy.  I am talented.  I am creative.  I am wise.’ When we do, we are ….sowing good seed.  We are preparing our future for when we arrive.”

Because our words DO have great power, arguing, blaming, complaining, gossiping, mocking others’ opinions and comparing yourself negatively to others are among the common ways we unknowingly sabotage our own happiness and success.  If you allow yourself to be regularly exposed to the negative thoughts and words of others, you are letting weeds take root in your mental garden, and if you react negatively in return, you are watering those weeds. Not the kind of fruit you want to harvest, is it?

But if you take care to think and speak only words that are kind, measured, accurate, non-judgmental, encouraging and helpful, you are planting the seeds for a future crop of joy, fulfillment and success for yourself and lifting the level of discourse for the whole world.

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

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

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

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

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia

[Continuing our “Best of A Cup of Caroll” summer series, this slightly-edited blog first ran in 2013. I hope you enjoy it and the short inspirational video at the end.]

One of my favorite free daily quote services is WalkTheTalk.com. I highly recommend subscribing to this daily dose of good news and inspiration. Today’s post contains a link to a beautiful, inspiring short video about the power of acknowledgment, which I hope you will watch at the end of the blog.

A startling statistic in the video is that 25% of good employees who voluntarily leave their jobs cite lack of appreciation as the reason they quit.  Can you imagine? What were their bosses thinking?

I learned the secret a long time ago, which this video reinforces, that every human being craves appreciation. We all want to be seen, known and validated for who we are.  If you want to experience the great feeling of rapport, affinity and harmony with another human being – a boss, spouse, co-worker, sibling, store clerk, etc. — simply give them a sincere acknowledgment, expressing appreciation for what they have done or simply who they are being.  You will make an instant friend.

Today, I got a lovely acknowledgment from someone who told me exactly how my coaching had made a difference for her and it touched me deeply.  I had done a complimentary coaching session with her over a year ago.  Now, even the greatest coach can’t turn someone’s life around in just one hour, but I CAN listen closely to someone, validate them and leave them loving themselves and believing in themselves just a little bit more.

During our long-ago hour together, I listened to her and recreated what she shared about her difficult circumstances, so she knew I truly “got” what she was going through.  I acknowledged her for her will to triumph in the face of the adversity she had been through – for never giving up. I also suggested she read The Power by Rhonda Byrne and check out professional therapy to help her begin the long journey to turning around a bad situation and creating the life she deserved.  Lastly, I told her the door was always open to call me again anytime.

I didn’t hear from her for another year and a half.  Today, we had a follow-up session and to my absolute delight, I discovered that her life has completely transformed since we last spoke.  She is now ready to take her life to another level, and we are going to partner in coaching to do just that.

While I am thrilled to have her as a client, that wasn’t the best part of the call for me.  The best part was at the end, when she said, “I want to acknowledge YOU, Caroll.  My life has come so far since our session over a year ago.  What you recommended worked great for me.  My new career, my health, strength and my happy family all have come out of that!  Things are really falling into place for me and I know I’m on my way.  You are a blessing in my life!”

Do you think that made my day?  Heck it made my MONTH!  It was amazing to think that I had made such a big difference for another human being, simply by listening to her, acknowledging her, and telling her I believed in her. That’s what we coaches live for!

 And that’s why at the start of every coaching call, I always ask my clients to tell me what they want to be acknowledged for at that moment.  At first, it can be embarrassing, even painful, for some people to claim their worth out loud.  Invariably, after a few more sessions, if we get too far into the call before I ask, even those who squirm the most will interrupt me with, “Hey, aren’t you going to ask me what I want to be acknowledged for?” I get to recreate their self-acknowledgment aloud, and even amplify it a bit, as they listen and really GET that they are great…They are worthy…They matter.  And that is the foundation for all personal transformation.

By the way, acknowledging and complimenting aren’t the same thing.  A compliment is when you draw attention to something observable about the other person, such as their hair or their clothes or their smile. While “You’ve lost weight!” or “You look good in that color” is always nice to hear, true acknowledgment is much more powerful because it’s about who the person IS or what they DID that makes a difference for the world, such as, “You did great work on that project.  I appreciate that you really went above and beyond!”  or “Thank you for sending the get-well card when I was sick.  It really made my day!”

I urge you to make at least one other human being’s day EVERY day by acknowledging and appreciating them. It will make them – and you — feel wonderful! (For extra credit, try it on someone who is usually pessimistic or grumpy and see what happens!)

P.S. Watch this four-minute video on the importance of acknowledging and appreciating others. http://www.flickspire.com/m/WalkTheTalk/WhileYouCan and I hope it makes YOUR day!

NOTE: If you would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll 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 other purpose.

****************** 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 to schedule their session.

 

 

“Each day when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone’s life.” – James Mann

Last week’s blog (“Light Their Fire” #235) garnered more response than almost any other.   Many of my readers told me they forwarded it to other individuals and groups. It contained a powerful message about the difference that teachers – and really ALL of us – can make in the life of someone else, just by seeing through their current lackluster or upsetting behavior and seeing the greatness that lies within each of us – the special gift, as one teacher put it, that we each open at different times in our lives.

I’m sure you, too, can name at least one person who was instrumental in helping you to discover your special passion and talent through their belief in you. Often, that person was a teacher.  This is the perfect time of year to thank a teacher for their service.  Older children spend more waking hours at school than they do with their parents, and their teachers have a tremendous influence on them.

In addition to teaching their subjects, teachers are called upon to help their students learn to reason, form intelligent opinions, respect others’ opinions that differ from theirs, and learn that their words and actions have an impact on others — for good and for bad. And teachers are expected to do it all with infinite patience, grace and energy!  They absolutely deserve all the appreciation, support and acknowledgment we can shower upon them.

It’s sometimes quite challenging to see the greatness in one who is misbehaving, acting out, pouting, crying, blaming others, or refusing to do what they know they should do.  These behaviors aren’t limited to the young, of course. At times, we ALL say and do things we wish we hadn’t.

This week, I witnessed an adult behaving very badly. As I entered the grocery store, a disheveled-looking woman riding an adult scooter was exiting the checkout line empty-handed. I could tell by her unkempt appearance that she was probably living in less than ideal conditions. The woman was extremely angry, shouting at the clerk that she was going to call the head of the grocery chain and report him.  There were children present and she yelled a number of profanities you would not have wanted your children to hear, believe me.

As I passed by her, I was tempted to frown at her and judge her for being rude to someone who was undoubtedly just doing their job, plus being so crude and uncaring about the impact she was having on everyone around her.  But with the last blog clear in my mind, I reminded myself that I needed to focus on seeing her “greatness” instead of her behavior. I honestly couldn’t see it at that moment, but I did at least do my best not to judge her. Instead, I sent up a silent prayer on her behalf, asking God to richly bless her with love, health and prosperity.

As I left the store moments later, I passed a clerk talking to a woman who was wearing some type of name badge.  She was calmly explaining to the clerk that the angry woman was “self-medicating” because she couldn’t afford her meds. Suddenly, I saw the truth and felt such compassion for her and relief that I didn’t let myself judge her.  The signs were all there that she had some sort of mental or emotional issue and was doing the best she could with what she had in her life at the moment.  Whatever frustrated her,  she lacked the tools to cope with and so acted out.  It was a dramatic reminder that we can’t know what is REALLY going on in someone else’s life and that we must not judge them if we want to help them.

Later that day, my spirits were lifted during a coaching session with a client who is an elementary school teacher.  She said the last blog made a big impression on her about teachers having a life-changing influence on their students by recognizing and nurturing their gifts. That awareness caused her to handle a tough classroom situation differently than she otherwise might have.

In a class designed for students learning English as a second language, one boy had been acting out all year, refusing to do his assignments and disrupting the class so the other students had trouble concentrating.  On this day, when he complained that he didn’t understand the assignment, she decided to try a new approach.

While the other students were absorbed with their assignments, she sat down next to him.  “I wanted to be at his level, not towering over him like an authority figure,” she explained. “I spoke to him quietly and calmly and he began to calm down, too. I told him we would work on the question sheet together.  I didn’t give him the answers, but I guided him and he began to understand it.”

Soon, he had finished almost the entire assignment in one period, which was not the norm.  With just one question left, he began to get ready to leave.  But she encouraged him with, “We still have four minutes. Why don’t you see if you can finish it?  I know you can do it!” 

And he did. “He was beaming,” she told me. “He practically danced up to my desk to put it in the in-basket for one of the first times this year.  He proved to himself that he IS smart, and he was so proud.”

My prediction is that years from now, that boy will still remember how his teacher saw his greatness and believed in him.  That seemingly ordinary day may well mark the moment when he began to open his own special gift.

****************** 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. 

“You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” – Bob Nelson

I had an extraordinary experience this past week, attending the annual “Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” at my alma mater, Newport Harbor High School. (Go, Sailors!)

The purpose of this annual ceremony is to honor past graduates and faculty members of the renowned secondary school (founded in 1930) who have found outstanding success in their own lives and made a big difference in the lives of others.  A few of the honorees were deceased or incapacitated, and were represented by family members who spoke for and about them.

All of them are amazing citizens, leaders and teachers who have made a profound and lasting impact in a variety of fields.  The graduate honorees included two respected actors (Stuart Cooper and Ted McGinley), Greg Laurie, pastor and founder of one of the largest Christian churches in the USA, David Thompson, a respected California Court of Appeals Judge, Dr. Sandi Smith, a lauded Communications Professor at Michigan State, Marshall Duffield, inventor of the beloved little “Duffy” electric boats that now number 14,000 and counting, and Dr. Mahlon DeLong, a noted scientist whose work has bettered the lives of thousands of people suffering from neurological diseases. The latter couldn’t be with us that night because he was giving a lecture at the Harvard Medical School!

The theme that was consistently repeated by all of these accomplished, humble and witty honorees was this: Most were lucky to be called “mediocre” during their high school years.   None of them imagined they were destined for greatness.  The spark that took hold inside of them and enabled them to excel was lit when one of their teachers focused attention on them and expressed belief in them, even when they didn’t yet believe in themselves.

This stayed with me as I finished my coaching week, listening to a number of my clients complain about their family members, team members and friends not behaving the way they wanted them to – in other words, “under-performing” according to their standards.

What if, I wondered, instead of focusing on their shortcomings, my clients focused on their potential for greatness, just as the wise faculty members had focused on these honorees’ potential, even when the honorees themselves were behaving in less than stellar ways and had no clue as to the spark of greatness that lay within them?

One of my clients lamented in a text that “[My teammate] will take zero coaching/help/suggestions from me.” Meaning, I guess, that her teammate wouldn’t do what SHE wanted her to do in the way SHE wanted it done.  My client said she felt exhausted and overwhelmed with the responsibility for her growing team, and just wanted them to step up and “be Leaders.”  But her message suggested that she wasn’t really viewing them as “Leaders” who could be trusted to lead, but more like “staff” who needed to be supervised and told what to do.

Contrast her approach of trying to push someone to be their BEST with the way the late Robert Wentz, a noted actor and Newport Harbor High’s revered longtime drama teacher, chose to gently inspire someone in whom he recognized potential greatness.  Popular TV and movie actor Ted McGinley (Class of ‘76), shared how Mr. Wentz craftily lured him into taking his first taste of acting.

Mr. Wentz had asked him to try out many times, but being a “jock,” Ted thought that acting in school plays would make him a laughingstock with his teammates, and adamantly refused.  So one day, just before English class, Mr. Wentz pulled Ted aside and told him, “Here’s what we’re going to do.  I am going to pretend to bate you and disrespect you. You are going to pretend to get angry. We’re going to have a heated argument in front of the class. Then you are going to storm out of the room.  Make it real. Ok, let’s go.”

Not having a clue what it was all about, but wanting to please the teacher he loved and respected, Ted did as instructed.  A convincing mock fight ensued and Ted gave it his all to make it “real.” Finally, he stormed out of the room and waited outside. Through the door, he heard Mr. Wentz tell the stunned class to write an essay about what they had just witnessed.  “And I didn’t have to write one! I was hooked on acting from that moment,” Ted laughed.

That small incident changed the course of Ted’s life and gave millions of viewers (including me) of hit TV shows like Happy Days, Married with Children, The West Wing, and Mad Men, as well as many movies, the pleasure of watching him do what he loves for a living.

Who do YOU know who is not performing up to their capability?  Who has untapped potential for greatness that YOU can see?

What are you doing about it? Are you nagging them, criticizing them and letting them know they are falling short of YOUR expectations? Or are you encouraging them with, “I see greatness in you.  I believe in you!”

Psychological studies have proven time and again that people usually live up to or down to our expectations of them.  We have to EXPECT THE BEST if we want them to be able to bring out the best in themselves.

One graduate honoree shared a memorable quote from a favorite teacher: “Everyone on earth has a gift. They just open their gifts at different times.” 

Be patient. Hang in there with them as they struggle to find their footing. Help them pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they have a defeat. Cheer them on when they have a small victory.  Allow them to build a fire from within and share their special gift with the world whenever they are ready. Then stand back and prepare to be amazed!

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