“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightengale

I hope you are enjoying the final precious days of summer! Many of my clients tell me that, while they enjoyed the extra time and fun activities with their families, they also look forward to getting back into a more focused daily routine, once school starts.

Whatever the season, I believe that EVERY day should start with a personal practice to center, calm and focus you so that you can be as productive and happy as possible.  If you don’t take the time to prepare your mind and spirit each morning, it’s easy for your daily schedule to end up running you instead of you running it.

I hope this lightly-edited blog from two years ago will demonstrate how simple it is to master your mindset and energy by starting each day with quiet, focused time for yourself that will pay big dividends in prosperity, health and productivity!

May 31, 2015

A man is but the product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly someone who cares about your personal development.  You believe that good ideas, tips, techniques and the experiences others share can contribute to YOUR success, well-being and happiness.

I would venture to guess that you also invest precious time and money attending workshops, trainings, webinars and/or reading and listening to a number of gurus, experts and inspiring speakers whose wisdom can help you reach your Big Goals and develop your personal potential.

If so, bravo!  You are one of the few people who are willing to go beyond the status quo and make a real effort to develop new skills, explore new ideas and even change any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from greatness.  As a result, you could be delighted with your growth and progress in your business, family life and well-being.

On the other hand, you may wonder “Why am I not further along after spending so much time and money to learn all this good stuff?  Why isn’t any of it making a real difference for me?”

The Pull of the Same Old Same Old

As a “Workshop Junkie” for thirty-plus years, I can attest that simply paying the fee, listening carefully, taking good notes and underlining good material will NOT change your life. Returning home with a “workshop high,” then parking my notebook on the bookshelf and never opening it again is something I did many times.  Sure, some of the more vivid ideas from trainings and books stuck with me and I implemented a few here and there.  But unless I made a concerted effort to put what I learned into DAILY practice, all those great Ah-Ha Moments soon faded from my memory and I inevitably found myself reverting to my entrenched habits and comfortable old beliefs.

Unfortunately, after your thoughts and beliefs have been stirred up with something new,   your own Ego is pre-programmed to get you back to status quo as soon as possible because that’s what it thinks is the safest thing for you to do.  It knows you can survive your life just as it has been, but it’s worried that all those NEW ideas and tactics might change you in ways that could have dire consequences. Any time you try to implement something NEW, you are going to have a fight on your hands from your own Ego.

Installing New Thought Patterns

So how can you overcome this strong inner voice telling you to stay comfortably parked on the couch and not change anything about your life? The answer is simple: PRACTICE.  Training studies done by NASA on astronauts prove that it takes 25 to 30 days of consistent repetition for the human brain to build a new neural pathway for electrical thought impulses to flow through.  These thought corridors in the brain enable you to drive a car without having to consciously think about where your feet go on the pedals, or how each of your fingers should move to play a piano sonata or type an email message.  They form new go-to thought habits, if you will.  A single infusion of inspiration or knowledge – no matter how impactful – won’t stick around for long without being anchored in your brain via consistent repetitive practice.

I’ve found that while I’m learning an online accounting program to keep all my business records up to date so tax time will be a breeze, I must practice it regularly in order to master it.  If I don’t use it on at least a weekly basis, I inevitably forget parts of the process and have to refer back to my notes.

What You Think About, You Bring About

As Gandhi said, we are each a product of our own thoughts. The Law of Attraction (which states that energy attracts like energy) dictates that the people, resources and circumstances that habitually show up in your life are a reflection of your inner reality.  For things to change in your outer world, you must habitually think new thoughts and feel new feelings in order to attract what you want in your life.

But how do you develop consistently positive thoughts and energy?  I believe it is through simple Daily Personal Practices. If you will discipline yourself to spend just 30 to 60 minutes each morning on your own personal practices, they will help you turn many great ideas you are exposed to into consistent, habitual thoughts and actions that will set you up for success and inner enrichment.

Develop A Daily Personal Practice

Here are four simple but powerful Daily Personal Practices that I recommend to all my coaching clients:

  • Read or listen to an enlightening, uplifting message each day. This can be religious or something secular that is positive and uplifting. There are scores of  books, message texts or emails you can subscribe to for a positive daily thought or affirmation. I particularly enjoy both Joel Osteen’s daily messages and the affirmations in the Daily Word put out by the Unity Church, but they don’t necessarily have to be spiritual or religious. Reading any inspiring and uplifting messages will expand your consciousness and empower you to handle whatever challenges or opportunities you may face that day.
  • Pray or Meditate for a few minutes. After putting some good thoughts into your head, you can close your eyes and pray or meditate for maybe five minutes to let them sink in.  The goal is to stop your Ego’s monkey-mind chatter for just a few minutes so you can receive valuable guidance from your Higher Power or Higher Self.  It has been said that “Prayer is talking to God and meditating is listening to His reply.”
  • Maintain a regular Gratitude practice. I love to keep a Daily Gratitude Journal in which I list 10 things I am grateful for in my life right NOW. I learned this from Oprah, who said that just knowing she was going to have to list the things she was grateful for that day before she went to bed made her NOTICE all the good things in her life, which made her happier with her life.  And, of course, the Law of Attraction causes whatever energy you are sending out into the world to come back to you. So, whatever you feel grateful for now will attract even MORE of the same to you – like money, for instance!
  • Get some kind of exercise every day. Just 30 minutes of walking has been shown to provide substantial health benefits for people of all ages.  If you claim you “don’t have time” to exercise, you are REALLY saying, “Health and well-being are not a priority for me.” You can get up 30 minutes earlier or spend an extra 30 minutes after you drop the kids at school before you start in on your daily routine IF you value your health.  I walk for one hour six days a week and use this time to do a walking meditation and prayer session.  You could also listen to a daily positive message while you walk or do yoga. So you see, there’s really no excuse for not getting all four of these beneficial personal development practices done in just 30-60 minutes every morning!

Be Patient and Keep Practicing

Like any other habit, developing your Daily Personal Practice takes time, so be gentle with yourself as you explore different ways to fit it into your day and make it a priority. (One client listens to her recording of a weekly business training call each morning while putting on her makeup.) Just don’t let your Ego fool you into thinking you can do it once in awhile and still get meaningful results.  If you consistently do your Daily Personal Practice, your thoughts and energy will inevitably grow more positive and help you to get The Best results from your day.

One of my clients recently shared some major positive shifts in her life, which she attributes mainly to consistent Daily Personal Practices helping her develop a more positive mindset: “My business has really taken off, yet I feel so much less stressed than I used to be! I am sponsoring the right people with more ease. My life feels more balanced between work and family.  My Team and I are having FUN together and they seem more motivated.  I even took the whole Memorial Day Weekend off with my family and just enjoyed being together in the outdoors. There was no cell service, so I was completely cut off from work, and yet I still met a great new prospect for my business while we were fishing!”

 If you or your friends would like your own free 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.

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

 

“When you see yourself as calm, positive, truthful and possessed of high character, you behave with greater strength.  Other people respect you more.  You feel in control of yourself and the situation.” – Brian Tracy

This week’s coaching brought a blog theme to the forefront of my mind, as several of my coaching clients struggled to deal with negative people without letting it destroy their own positive mindset.

One client was unsure how to respond to a Leader in her network marketing organization who was spewing negative texts to her and other members of her Team about someone who had reached a milestone reward in the company.  She felt it was unfair that someone who had been in the business for a shorter time was receiving this recognition and reward ahead of her. The Leader tried to make someone else’s triumph mean that SHE was never going to get there herself.

Another client was very hurt by a dear friend who texted her after a social event they attended together that she wished my client would “dial it back” about discussing her business with others in a social setting.

And a third client was exhausted from caring for a sick relative who seemed unwilling to take personal responsibility for her own decisions and actions that were contributing to her problems.

At some time, we all must deal with people whose energy is negative, selfish, uncaring or even purposely hurtful.  If we allow it, their negative thoughts and actions can throw us off course in pursuing our dreams by making us doubt our own positive expectations, values and beliefs.

It’s not in their power to steal your success and joy, but it is in YOUR power if you surrender to their negativity.  That’s because the Law of Attraction says that energy attracts like energy.”  Toxic people and negative circumstances will come into your life, but it isn’t these outside forces that can harm you.  It is solely your reaction to them that either empowers or disempowers you and determines who and what is attracted into your life next.

In the first client’s case, she handled the toxic texting beautifully with a positive response of her own that said essentially, “I know you are going to reach [that same prize] soon!  Keep up the great work.”  Responding with cheerful positivity is great way to respond to someone else’s negativity.  If you respond with positivity and don’t take the bait, they will eventually stop sending gossip and negative messages your way because it’s no “fun” when others won’t join in the trash talk.  Similarly, when someone comes at you with anger, if you respond calmly and don’t fight back, their angry energy will deflate because it truly does take two to quarrel.

This is not to say that you should be a doormat or allow someone to mistreat you.  I absolutely believe in standing up for yourself and for what you believe is right.  It’s the energy behind your response that will have a positive or negative impact on YOU.  If you take it personally and allow yourself to go negative, “the terrorists win” because you have given away your power to think and behave the way YOU choose to.

In the case of the friend’s “dial it back” text that hurt my client, I tried to help her see the situation from her friend’s point of view. It takes maturity and self-confidence to consider another’s point of view, especially when it is diametrically opposed to our own.  Judging or being self-righteous toward others’ opinions, beliefs or lifestyle is a form of negative energy.

I invited my client to consider that her friend probably felt awkward in a social setting, standing on the periphery of a two-party conversation for 10 or 15 minutes, as my client politely fielded a barrage of questions from a stranger who wanted details about a product she was interested in. The friend didn’t express herself as well as she could have, for sure.  But I don’t believe she was really being unsupportive of my client’s business; she likely just felt left out and overlooked and it hurt her feelings.

I had a lot of sympathy for the client with the difficult relative.  Anyone who has ever had to care for a sick adult knows how emotionally and physically stressful it can be.  And when that person is a needy, stubborn, chronic complainer who creates problems that others have to clean up, it can be extra frustrating.

In truth, though, more than the actual caregiving, it was my client’s attitude toward her recuperating relative’s lifestyle that was wearing her out.  For example, she allowed herself to feel helpless and upset that the woman struggled out to the porch multiple times a day to smoke, even though she knew it was bad for her.  I suggested that my client allow the relative to be herself, make her own decisions, and live with the consequences.  She is not required to solve all her problems for her.  She must be compassionate and give her relative whatever support she feels she can, without feeling guilty about whatever she can’t control.  Her relative is an adult, after all.  It’s HER life and her own life lessons that she must learn.

The irony is that the recuperating relative seemed to be getting along just fine, while my client was feeling exhausted and unfocused, which was taking a toll on her OWN health, productivity and family relationships.  You cannot control anyone else, and in trying to, you can lose control of who YOU are, thinking and behaving like someone you don’t want to be. The solution is to stop trying to save others from themselves, judging them or controlling them.  Just relax, be neutral and don’t volunteer to be sucked into their life drama.

I love Brian Tracy’s powerful quote.  Let it be your guiding star in determining your own life course. You can ask yourself daily: Am I feeling calm, positive, truthful and possessed of high character”?  Am I acting “strong and in control”? If not, adjust your thoughts and actions until you can answer “Yes!”

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 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.

 

 

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Spring is around the corner, at last!  I know for many parts of the USA, it may seem like it’s still a long way off.  But the early signs are definitely here in Southern California.

We have had our share of the wettest winter in the state’s history, although my friends in Northern California have been drenched far more than we have.  Our unexpected record rainfall has been a mixed blessing. It pulled California out of a five-year drought, for which we are very grateful.  But, at the same time, it has caused considerable destruction and loss of life, especially up north.

A sign of Spring I always love to see is the tiny green buds on the trees and bushes. New plant life is a reassuring sign that Earth’s cycle of life continues, no matter what.  A few weeks ago, our gardeners pruned all the rose bushes back to what looked like dead stumps — so dry and sad, it was hard to remember the lovely blooms we had enjoyed right through Christmas.  But gardeners know that it is essential to prune rose bushes before Spring comes. The temporary pain of cutting back the branches spurs the plant to put out new green twigs, followed by lush leaves and finally some lovely red and pink buds.

Our lives are full of “pruning times,” too.  We never find them pleasant, and we often resist and struggle against them, but they are just as necessary for our growth and development as for the roses.

Facing a major health challenge is a type of radical life pruning.  People suddenly faced with the possibility of death or permanent disability and their loved ones quickly discover what REALLY matters in life.  All the “small stuff” they were sweating on a daily basis suddenly feels ridiculously unimportant.  They become laser-focused on a single goal — recovery.  Although it is certainly a painful lesson to endure, many survivors see their health challenge as a blessing that taught them how strong they really are and what truly matters in life. They are grateful for  their newfound faith, inner peace and strength that can never be taken away.

Severe financial challenges can also be seen as a kind of strengthening pruning. I can tell you from experience that when keeping a roof over your head becomes your primary focus, petty obsessions like keeping up with the Joneses and worrying what others think of you become laughable.  Before the Great Recession took two homes and a car from us, I would have spent $100 on some silly luxury item without a second thought. During that time, having $5.00 left in the checking account at the end of the month was cause for celebration.

But five years of struggle to regain our financial health, while painful, also brought my family many blessings. Now, I am more grateful for every dollar that comes to us than I could have ever imagined.  And I am much more aware of the plight of others around me.  When I see a homeless person, I always give them some money and a blessing.  When we learn that someone is struggling to make ends meet, we share what we have with them.  It is second nature to us now to be Go-Givers, and as a result, more prosperity has flowed to our family in the past three years than ever before.  Most importantly, our faith in God/The Universe as the Source of all our good is unshakable.

I am particularly inspired and gratified when I see one of my coaching clients make a positive mental shift after they have been tested by a life pruning such as a serious illness, job loss, divorce or discouragingly slow progress toward a Big Goal.

At the beginning of this month, one of my newer clients told me that she was feeling distressed about the lack of progress she felt she was making in building her networking marketing business.  She had been working diligently and trying to stay positive, but was getting the door slammed in her face at every turn.  She felt stuck and disappointed that “Nothing is coming to fruition.”  (Interesting choice of words, huh?)

I reminded her to use the mindset tools I had taught her to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work connecting her to the right people who will appreciate the opportunity she has to offer. I reminded her that declaring aloud the specific qualities or attributes she needs to embody in order to give her BEST in a given situation will direct her subconscious mind to help her produce the outcomes she desires.

So she chose to state aloud, “I am a patient, unattached, committed Leader.  I am PRICELESS!” That declaration gave her subconscious mind a blueprint for creating the ideal words and right actions that a patient, unattached, committed and priceless Leader would use. Those ideal words and right actions, in turn, will become a bright beacon of positive energy to attract individuals whose energy and desires are a match for hers.

Does that mean it will happen the minute she declares it, or that she won’t have any further setbacks or disappointments during her quest?  Nope.  “Pruning” was still taking place in her belief system, which was necessary in order for her to blossom into the kind of Leader who will attract the quality people she wants on her Team.

A few weeks later, she told me she had been reading more about the Law of Attraction and was doing mental “experiments” to test it out in small ways. She was amazed at what she felt were clear signs that specific, unusual things she focused her mind on were showing up in her life.  Her belief in her ability to attract to her exactly what she wanted was becoming much stronger.  Instead of skeptical, discouraged energy, she was now giving off excited, positive, expecting-the-Best energy. I could see that her internal Belief Switch was about to be thrown, and once it was, I knew she would start to make real progress toward her Big Goals. That’s how it works – first she must BELIEVE it is going to happen for her, and only then will she SEE it become real.

The following day, she sent me this email:

“Just wanted to share something that happened today! This morning I prayed for a new customer to reach out to ME!  This afternoon, someone did!  She was not exactly new; she was one of my very first customers who felt as if the products were way too expensive and she ended up cancelling her account. 

She called me out of the blue and I have to confess that I didn’t recognize her number….I just kept listening to her speak and finally figured out who she was!

Everything that you said to me yesterday hit me. Today, I started to read The Power [by Rhonda Byrne].  Not even 5 minutes into it [the customer called me].

So my conclusion is, I finally Believe what you are telling me, and I am so incredibly happy that I am recognizing it!”

Looks like the pruning phase of her business development may be nearing completion…. I can’t wait to see the wonderful fruit it is going to produce for her!

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 a while 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.

“Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons.  Love yourself, trust your choices and everything is possible.” – Cherie Carter Scott from the book One Choice

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great Christmas or Hanukkah. Now that the Holidays are behind us, we can pause, take a breath and examine what lies ahead. I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tumultuous one for our country and the world.  We lost an unusually large number of beloved citizens, the most recent being Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. And many of us said goodbye to our own dear loved ones, as well.

With so much loss, rancor and division swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2016 outcomes before you move on. 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 will help you create your 2017 to be all that you want it to be.

In my 12+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 600 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 2017 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. So, if you want 2017 to be more than just a replay of the same things you experienced this 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 next year is going to bring you more of the same.

Longtime readers will remember the thought-provoking list of 30 questions my coaching colleague, Sue Koch, and I have used for many years, called the Reflections Exercise. 

However, this year, I have winnowed the list down to just 12 KEY questions, in hopes that 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?

(NOTE: If you DO want to take on completing the entire list of 30 questions, bravo!  I have provided a link at the end of the blog to all 30 Reflections Exercise questions.) 

Here are my selected 12 thought-provoking questions to help you gain perspective on the year just ended and prepare you to create a more successful year to come:

Part 1 – Questions to Complete the Year

  • What promises did I break to myself and others in 2016?
  • What did I do that did not work out?
  • What do I wish I hadn’t wasted my time and energy on?
  • What do I wish I HAD expended my energy and time on, but didn’t?

Part 2 – Questions for Acknowledgment and Acceptance

  • What promises did I keep to myself and others in 2016?
  • What accomplishments and milestones am I celebrating?
  • What is the BIGGEST lesson I learned?  What’s important about that lesson?
  • What am I thankful for regarding this year?

Once you have completed the eight questions in these first two sections, you are ready to take on Part 3 – Questions for Creating Your New Year, including:

  • What do I intend to do differently in 2017?
  • What new skills or practices do I intend to put into place next year?  How would that make me feel?
  • What would I most like to learn or master?  How would that make me feel?
  • What do I intend to accomplish next year that will matter most five years from now?

If you are ambitious, click or paste the following link into your browser to see the entire 30-question Reflections Exercise for powerfully completing your 2016: http://wp.me/pttZj-j4

NEXT WEEK I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 12 years and I know you will too!

If you would like your own F*R*E*E 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.

“If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.” – Norman Vincent Peale

First, I want to thank my readers who sent me their heartfelt condolences after reading my last blog about the passing of my former husband and dear friend, Jerry Tagami.  I have many mixed, bittersweet feelings of missing a wonderful person who won’t be around anymore, while simultaneously feeling relieved for him and his lovely widow, Diane, that he is out of pain and at peace at last.  I am grateful that I was able to recognize and name the blessings this special person left behind and the huge influence he had on all our lives. His friends and family know that we are all better ourselves for having witnessed Jerry’s zest for life, unfailing caring, devilish sense of humor and dedication to making a difference in the lives of his beloved students.

I believe that Jerry’s passing has given me another gift, as well.  More clearly than ever before, I see that “life is too short” to allow ourselves to sweat the small stuff.  In my September 11 blog, (See #246 in the blog archives on my website), I recalled the old saying that “You can be right or you can be happy.” Most of the time, I choose to be happy.  But I still have to make that a conscious choice each day. That’s because the human Ego appears to be hard-wired to choose right over happy most of the time.

In my youth, I felt the need to try to right every wrong, fight every injustice and set everyone “straight” about what I saw as truth, justice and “the right thing to do.”  I argued with my loved ones, teachers, authority figures and employers, trying to convince them that I alone knew what was “right.”  Many of them undoubtedly rolled their eyes and put up with me because they were much more emotionally mature than I was.

One of the (few) benefits of growing older is that you gain a bigger perspective on life’s problems.  You realize you have to pick your battles and that it’s just not possible to right every wrong.  The issues that truly matter in your life and the lives of people you care about are the ones to focus on. Unfortunately, we often waste a lot of time and energy battling just for the right to proclaim, “I was right and you were wrong!”  (Yes, it does sound a lot like the current Presidential race, doesn’t it?)

I’m witnessing this first-hand right now with two of my coaching clients.  They are both smart, lovely, accomplished, good-hearted, hardworking young women.  Both are determined to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They are sisters, currently living under the same roof.

The older sister saw her marriage and financial support collapse unexpectedly and responded heroically by treating it as an opportunity to create a great new life on her own terms for herself and her two young children.  She applied to an in-demand school in another state to pursue a career that will make her financially independent and give her children everything they need to thrive. Her plan requires long hours of study and hard work, with little money to live on until she graduates in several years.

Her younger sister already has a successful career and is in the process of creating her own side business that promises more emotional fulfillment and greater income to help her pursue her own Big Dreams.  She has responded to her older sister’s current need in an equally heroic way by offering to share living quarters and to help with child care duties while her sister is in class. She willingly gave up much of her free time and her own space to share a four-person household and make some significant lifestyle adjustments in order to help her sister. That is true love.

That is the kind of support I would hope family members everywhere would be willing to give each other. I know the older sister is grateful.  I know she loves and admires her younger sister and wants to see her reach her own dreams, as well. That is why she referred her to me for coaching help. That is true love too.

And yet….They both seem to spend much of their precious few hours on this earth blaming and resenting each other over one petty, inconsequential issue after another.

Each has fallen into the trap of following her Ego’s desire to be right at all costs.  They bring up childhood slights about how each was treated in the family pecking order and have reverted to bickering like teenagers over who deserves the most attention from their mutual friends, best bedroom, more time to herself, etc.  One (so I’m told) insisted that the other “unfriend” some of their mutual friends on Facebook, so the other sister retaliated by demanding that her sister stop “liking” her own friends’ posts.

Really? I have a hard time re-reading that without laughing, and yet it is causing both of them absolute anguish.

When I talk to them separately, each shows up as mature, calm, smart, open and determined.  But when one complains to me about the other, each appears childish, petty, defensive, and completely attached to being declared “right,” no matter the emotional cost.

The truth is, both women have made some significant, admirable sacrifices in their lives and really deserve each other’s support. In addition, I am trying to get each one to recognize that her negative attitude and behavior toward her sister will eventually produce some negative consequences for herself too. The Law of Attraction states that “energy attracts like energy,” which means that whatever you do unto others will inevitably be done unto you – for good OR for bad.

I don’t want to see either of them attract negative consequences as a result of her own negative thoughts, words and actions. Each of them deserves success, happiness and a smooth path forward in pursuing her dreams.  Therefore, each of them must decide for herself if she’d rather be “right” or “happy.”

I know they both read this blog. It is my fervent hope that this post will help each to see herself through objective eyes and recognize that whatever she focuses her energy on WILL attract similar energy, people and circumstances back to herself. Each could be actively pursuing her individual dreams and feeling great happiness for her sister’s success, instead of attracting unnecessary technical and emotional roadblocks and distractions to herself.

It is also my hope that you will view their story as an opportunity to make better choices in your own relationships with your spouse, boss, business partners, children, parents, relatives, students or teachers. We must recognize in ourselves the same Ego pull to risk our success and happiness simply for the cold satisfaction of proving ourselves “right.”

It is said that we rarely regret the words we don’t say, but we often regret the ones we do. I hope you will join me in striving each day to make the one truly right choice: to be kind, loving, forgiving and to simply bite your tongue whenever necessary!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll 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 email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.

“The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

This is the most challenging blog I have ever written.  It is very close to my heart and still very raw and emotional.  Mainly, it is a challenge because I don’t think I can ever do justice to the subject.

The subject is the passing of a dear friend of mine.  I met Jerry Tagami when I was 17 years old.  He was my teacher, my role model, my husband for 12 years, and ultimately, he was my dear friend.  He was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known, in that he seemed to live every day just happy to be alive and able to contribute to someone else’s day.

Although he was too young to remember his first years of life, I am sure they were embedded in his soul in some way.  He was born on May 13, 1943 in the hot, bleak spot of Gila River, Arizona. Through absolutely no fault of their own, his American-born parents and relatives and many other hard-working US citizens of Japanese ancestry who lived on the West Coast were rounded up and sent to internment camps during WW II. This was due to the US government’s unjustified fear that they might want to aid the Japanese in conquering the only country they had ever known.  Jerry’s father, Kay Tagami, fought in Europe as part of the highly-decorated 442nd battalion and eventually his family was released from the camp to start life over in the Midwest.

But this isn’t the topic of my blog.  I just wanted to make it clear that Jerry began his life in the most difficult of circumstances.  When he was old enough to realize that, he could have felt justifiably bitter.  Instead, he emulated his parents, who forgave what was done to them and made the very best life they could for him and his sister in their new home of Chicago. When Ronald Reagan’s administration eventually gave him $20,000 in restitution, he did a very Jerry-like thing: He bought a big Harley Davidson motorcycle.  I guess he thought that living well really IS the best revenge!

Jerry loved English literature, and planned to get his PhD at the University of California, Irvine and then teach at the university level.  To sustain himself, he got a “temporary” job teaching English at Newport Harbor High School, beginning in my senior year.  Soon, however, he realized that he could have more fun and make a greater difference for young people at this impressionable age than he ever could in the university system. So, he quit the PhD program with an MBA and settled into the life he really loved.

After 34 years of teaching and just six months into his second, very happy, marriage to his soul-mate, Diane, the most unimaginable tragedy befell them – Jerry suffered a brain aneurysm, which nearly took his life.  Skillful doctors saved him, but he suffered profound short-term memory loss.  Thank God, he still knew who Diane, their family and most of his friends (including me), were. He could even recall with precise detail events that happened back in his early days at Newport Harbor High.  He loved to reminisce about his classes, fun travels and good times with Diane and his friends, who were mostly other teachers.  But Jerry could not be left alone while Diane was at work, or he would wander down the street and forget where he lived. So reluctantly, she had to entrust him to the daily care of loving nurses at a nearby home facility, where she and his old friends visited him regularly and took him on outings as much as his deteriorating body would allow.

On September 11, 2016 at age 73, after 13 years of being lovingly and loyally cared about and for by his amazing love, Diane, Jerry succumbed to a second unfair tragedy – lung cancer.  Two days ago, I attended his memorial celebration in Newport Beach, along with 100 or so old friends, nurses, former workmates and students who loved, admired and were grateful to have had him in their lives.

I have to admit, the tragic side of Jerry’s story is the one thing in life that has ever made me question my belief in an all-loving, all-powerful God.  Still, I have come to accept it as just one of those great mysteries of life – Why do bad things happen to good people? We won’t have the definitive answer until we are wherever Jerry is right now.  I’ll bet he wishes he could prepare an amusing and enlightening lecture on the topic, to save us the anguish we are all feeling at the loss of him.

Since I know that we always have a CHOICE of what to focus on, I choose to focus on what I DO know for sure: Jerry Tagami’s life, while far too short in duration, was filled with more joy, enthusiasm, impact and meaning than 10 lifetimes would be for most of us.

Sometimes as I watch the evening news, I feel helpless about the huge problems that appear to beset just about every part of the world.  I wonder, “What can I do… What the heck can one ordinary person do about all of this?” But as I sat there during Jerry’s life celebration, listening to his friends and family members speak about his legacy – the enormous influence he had on their lives — I realized that there is a LOT each of us can do to make a difference for our fellow human beings.

For me, the most impactful memories were shared by Diane Tagami.  She read an email that was sent to her recently by one of Jerry’s former students.  The writer said she felt isolated and alienated during her high school years and her English teacher seemed to sense this intuitively. On the last day of class before Winter Break, Mr. Tagami took her aside and gave her a little book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Milay.  He told her those poems had helped him get through some tough times and he hoped she would like them, too.

The woman confessed in her email that she had been planning to commit suicide over the vacation, but when Jerry said to her firmly, “And I look forward to seeing YOU after the break,” she changed her mind. If Mr. Tagami cared about seeing her again in his classroom, that was proof that she was worth something.

We rarely appreciate the profound impact our small daily kindnesses – a word of encouragement, a smile, a listening ear, spare change — can have on someone else.  The thousands of students Jerry taught and  the friends and family he will always have were forever changed for the better by his gentle, wry wit, wise insight, unflagging encouragement, enthusiasm, love and quiet compassion.  I know that these little “pebbles” he dropped into our lives created ripples that will continue to expand outward to bless many, many others through us.

Thus, the impact of Jerry Tagami’s life far transcends his death, just as the unique gifts that YOU bestow on others will live on long after you depart the planet.  I leave you with this little poem. Shine, on, Jerry.  Shine on!

“Use God’s Gifts”  by Hilda Lachney Sanderson

“If you’re blessed with a loving heart,

If you’re caring, good and kind,

With many strengths and talents,

And a smart, clear-thinking mind,

Consider these as gifts from God

For you to use each day;

Rely on them as you begin

The chase of fortune’s way.

Do not forget to use God’s gifts

In what you choose to be,

Mix success with peace and love and generosity.

Acknowledge that strong voice within

That tells you right from wrong;

Console, encourage, lift others up,

And keep a faith that’s strong,

Use wisely all God’s gifts to you;

Stay true to what you are,

And you will prosper in this life

As God’s own shining star.”

If you would like your own free subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll 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 email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com to schedule their session.