November 10, 2019

“There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today.  And tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next. Your life and what you do with it matters forever.” –from The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

This quote struck me as very appropriate for Veterans Day Weekend, because those who serve our country and the sacrifices that they and their loved ones voluntarily make surely have a huge impact on generations to come.  We can never adequately thank them nor repay the debt we owe them, but we must try.

And for the rest of us, this quote also applies.  Maybe you don’t think of the things you do in your daily life as having an impact on generations yet unborn, but each and every one of us makes a difference in the days we spend on this earth.

I recently read two different short excerpts about integrity from Eric Harvey’s “The Leadership Solution” published by WalkTheTalk.com, a great free daily blog you may want to subscribe to if you are interested in leadership and building a cohesive, successful team or organization.

I wanted to share them with you because they remind me of the honor, courage and commitment exemplified by the men and women who serve in uniform.

 “Here is an ETHICAL ACTION TEST for you to use from the bestseller Ethics 4 Everyone: The Handbook for Integrity-Based Business Practices by Eric Harvey and Scott Airitam

  1. Is it legal?
  2. Does it comply with our rules and guidelines?
  3. Is it in-sync with our organizational values?
  4. Will I be comfortable and guilt free if I do it?
  5. Does it match our stated commitments and guarantees?
  6. Would I do it to my family and friends?
  7. Would I be perfectly OK with someone doing it to me?
  8. Would the most ethical person I know do it?

Answering “NO” to one or more of these would suggest the need to develop an alternative strategy or seek counsel and advice from appropriate sources.  Lead well.  Lead right.”

The second excerpt is from the new Start Right…Stay Right employee handbook that you can use to remind your Team members (and yourself) of the importance of keeping their commitments:

“Trustworthy, dependable, reliable.  What do these words describe to you?  Would others say that your word is your bond?  Successful people in life and at work place a premium on keeping their promises and commitments.  If they say they’ll do something, they DO it! They count on the fact that people can count on them.  And, they understand that statements like ‘I was gonna, or I mean to, or I haven’t forgotten’ all translate the same way: I JUST DIDN’T DO IT!  Those are just lame excuses, so they are close to meaningless.

Most of the time, we DO intend to keep ‘our word’ and promises, but good intentions only take you so far. You get no ‘points’ for developing the expectation; you only get ‘points’ when you deliver.

So don’t make promises lightly.  When you do make commitments to your manager, your co-worker, or your customer [or Team members], do what it takes to make good on them. Those people are depending on you. Those people are expecting you to keep your word.  Your reputation is at stake, and your success at work and in life is on the line.” – Eric Harvey

I would add that keeping your word to your family and friends is just as critical as it is in your job or business.  You can’t create lasting success and prosperity in ANY area of life if you do not live with integrity in EVERY area of life – especially with yourself.  If you break your word to yourself (e.g. not going to the gym, breaking your diet, blowing off those prospecting calls), you will soon learn that you cannot trust yourself.  And that is the beginning of the end of your self-esteem and self-confidence.

But if we hold ourselves to living by these clear, simple integrity guidelines, we, too, can aspire to make a positive impact on the world, each of us in our own unique and priceless way.

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

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!

October 6, 2019

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

I got a huge reader response to the last blog (Use Your Superpower – Blog 350) about ways you can control your own MINDSET in dealing with negative people and situations that we all face from time to time.

The message essentially was: When you maintain a positive energy and do the right thing, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) will work on your behalf to produce a positive outcome for you and everyone involved, no matter how difficult a situation may appear to be.  Even people who seem permanently locked into negative patterns can change their thoughts and behavior when YOU change your thinking and expectations about them.

This past week, two coaching clients shared their personal examples of this phenomenon, which I now pass along to you, in hopes their experiences will inspire you to use YOUR Superpower too.

The first client has an ailing mother who has required a lot of care from my client and her siblings.  The sister who lives farthest away has not helped share the burden of Mom’s care, either physically, emotionally or financially, and my client was feeling resigned and resentful that there seemed to be nothing she could do about it.

But when she decided to work on her OWN attitude toward her sister, things “miraculously” changed.  My client consciously held positive thoughts towards and expressed gratitude for her sister, wishing her only the BEST.  Soon, her sister surprised the family with a visit and spent a lot of time with their mother, which delighted Mom. She also pitched in with her care, so her siblings could take a much-needed break. What amazed my client most was that there was only positive energy among all the siblings while they were under the same roof.  “They usually butt heads, but there was no conflict, only harmony, while she was here.  I was amazed,” said my client. “I put on a positive mindset and it made a difference.” 

The second client posted a picture on social media of herself with friends at a joyful gathering, which garnered many positive comments. But she was blindsided by a harshly critical message from her own mother about her choice of wardrobe.  This was typical of how her mother has criticized her since childhood about any detail of her life that wasn’t in alignment with her mother’s rigid opinions of “right” and “wrong.”

My client took some time to think before she replied.  She resisted her Ego’s first inclination to lash out after feeling attacked.  Instead of choosing to feel hurt, offended and defensive, she worked on trying to understand her mother’s motivation. Regardless of how bluntly her mother delivered her criticisms, she knew deep down that her mother only intended to help her be successful and well-regarded by society.

When she replied, my client simply thanked her mother for caring about her and always wanting what is best for her.

Then it was her mother’s turn to be caught off guard!  She wrote back that she was surprised and very pleased at how “maturely” and “graciously” her daughter had received the “feedback.” This is the hidden blessing that my client discovered wrapped inside of this negative incident: She knows that her mother may never change, but she will never again allow herself to feel “less than” when her mother shares her personal opinions with her.

As my clients so wonderfully demonstrated, your mindset and energy (your thoughts plus the emotions those thoughts conjure up) constitute a very powerful force – a SUPERPOWER, in fact!  We are all born with it….We just have to consciously choose to use it for our benefit and the benefit of everyone whose paths we cross.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next week off for some Fall fun in Apple Country!  A Cup of Caroll will re-appear in your inbox on Sunday October 20. 

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

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

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!

 

June 16, 2019

 Happy Father’s Day in the USA!  I gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model on a young child is one of life’s most precious gifts, and those heroes don’t always get the credit they deserve for fulfilling this challenging role.

 I was originally planning to take this week off from writing the blog, to give me time to celebrate my upcoming birthday and prepare for this week’s training in the third annual Prosperity Summer Camp webinar series. But since today is Father’s Day, I decided to re-post a tribute to fathers everywhere that I last published in 2016 and share with my many new readers the invaluable life lessons that my own wonderful father taught me.

(I dedicate this blog to my own Big Bro, who is the father of six wonderful men and women and grandfather to five amazing grandchildren – Much love from your Lil Sis!)

 June 19, 2016

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

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

My mother was my source of unconditional love, whatever minor discipline I needed, and the usual “always wear clean underwear for the ambulance” practical advice.

My father was my playmate, teacher, walking thesaurus/dictionary/encyclopedia, and my #1 Role Model.  I don’t remember him talking to me directly about rules to live by. Instead, he just lived his life on his own terms and I learned how I wanted to live mine by observing how he did it.

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

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

Dad took a personal interest in Mrs. Edwards, an elderly widow in his night school class who wanted to improve her English. One day he hitched a trailer to our station wagon and filled it with boxes of hand-me-down clothes and a used refrigerator. Then my parents, Mrs. Edwards and I drove from Orange County to Tecate, Mexico to give her extended family these precious gifts.  I was just eight, but I still remember what the dirt-floored, one-room adobe shack smelled like, with all the flies buzzing about. I am certain those strangers never forgot my Dad’s generosity.

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

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

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next Sunday off.  It’s my birthday!  A Cup of Caroll will return with a new blog on Sunday June 30.

If you or your friends would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

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

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* hour of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com TODAY!

 

 

April 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rose Zahn www.healthyhabitsstudio.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

March 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

January 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reflections Exercise

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

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

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

Part 1 – Questions to Complete the Old Year

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

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

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

NEXT WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

“Live for something.  Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy.  Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten.  Your name and your good deeds will shine as stars in heaven.” – Thomas Chalmers

I was gratified by the positive response to my last blog (A Special Gift – Blog 309).  It seems the story of my friend Bob Perk’s relentless kindness and patience toward a difficult neighbor touched your hearts. Most importantly, many readers told me it made them more resolved to be kind to others they come in contact with daily, too. One said, “I want to be Bob!”

I hadn’t anticipated writing a post-script to that blog, but Bob sent me two.  I’d like to share them both with you, to provide a complete picture of what it takes to be truly committed to being kind.

You will recall that one of the residents of Bob’s new senior living community seemed determined to be cynical and sour toward his attempts to make life happy and cheerful for the other residents.  A typical example of his kindness and thoughtfulness was Bob’s decision to put on a picnic of hot dogs, sodas and sides for any residents who had nowhere to go to celebrate the Fourth of July. Bob generously paid for everything out of his own small income.

Most of his neighbors adore Bob for such acts, but this one woman seemed impervious to his good will, constantly belittling his efforts with cynical and sarcastic remarks. Although he was initially taken aback, Bob wisely made a conscious choice not to take it personally.  Each time they met, he continued to greet her pleasantly (even when she wouldn’t make eye contact or even return his “Hello”) and prayed for her daily.

One day he found himself in the elevator with her and he decided to speak up. He told me he asked her “why she found pleasure in mocking my efforts, yet showed up for the hot dog meal on the Fourth…Before she responded, I said, ‘Because I want you to be my friend.’” 

She was startled by his bold declaration, but Bob observed, “I believe my directness stunned her and my sincerity confused her stone cold spirit.  Even though I broke the wall she has built, she will most likely rebuild it in order to protect her narrow-minded assumptions and not appear at fault.  Still, I have removed a part of the wall with the only tool I know best.  Love.  Love is the answer.”

I made an observation in the blog that if you follow Bob’s shining example and spread kindness to others, most people will show deep gratitude.  But some may appear to resist.  We don’t know what their personal background is or what they have been through in life that has made them think and behave the way they do.

A few days later, Bob sent me this surprising update:

“I happened to look outside and saw C. sitting there by herself.  I opened the door and said hello.  She called me over and we had this incredible conversation.  Very open and friendly.

She then revealed that yesterday she found out that she has cancer…again.  Breast.  One removed years ago.  I carefully, gently placed my hand on her shoulder and told her that ‘I will see you in my prayers.’ 

I asked that if she felt comfortable doing so, I’d like updates.  She said, ‘You’re the only one who offered.’ …..Before I left, she thanked me again and told me I was very kind and caring. 

I see it this way: I just continued to include her rather than reject her.  God knew of her cancer and knows how alienating she was.  [God] asked me to break through so others will be there for her too.”

I wish that was the storybook ending we would all love — That Bob’s relentless kindness and love permanently tore down the walls she had put up between herself and others.  Unfortunately, reality is often a bit less than perfect.

After that wonderful heart-to-heart encounter with his troubled neighbor, Bob went about putting the finishing touches on a fabulous party he was preparing. It was to be held on his birthday, but Bob was not the guest of honor. He was the host and any of the 200 residents in his community were welcome to attend as honored guests.

He spent weeks preparing a lavish menu (including 80 pounds of pulled pork), and lots of yummy sides and deserts, a variety of games for them to play, raffle prizes, and music.  Bob’s music is his passion and a special gift he likes to share with others. He is a professional DJ and singer, so he put on a 45 minute show for them as well.  Arching over the party, he stretched a tent that made the guests feel like they were at the circus.

What an amazing time everyone had!

All except one.

When I emailed Bob and asked how his new friend C. had liked the party, he replied, “ Sadly, she did not attend.  In fact, she told one of my friends that day that ‘He is a liar.  He did not decorate by himself!’ 

Bob continued, “I have now come to believe and accept that the few recent kind words are a rarity….I believe this is a mental challenge she is facing….Still, I don’t feel that my efforts were lost.  A gift from God?  Indeed.  He permitted me to break through and bring out the person she should/could be.  I will continue to pray and treat her with the respect she deserves.” 

I acknowledged Bob for the incredible effort and personal expense he kindly undertook to give his neighbors a fabulous evening. I am sure they will remember it forever.  And I was especially proud of him for his attitude toward C’s retreat back into her bitter little emotional shell.  Instead of getting angry at her, he recognized it as an opportunity for him to grow as a person and to be God’s instrument to show her what’s possible for her life, if she chooses.

So what’s the payoff for being kind and loving to everyone you come in contact with — including the few difficult ones who seem to rebuff your good intentions and even try to punish you for being kind?

I believe the payoff is that, as the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”  Therefore, if you keep on being positive, generous, kind and caring, you will inevitably attract more and more people and circumstances that reflect YOUR positive energy.  Being positive won’t insulate you from all negative people and situations, but it will help you grow into someone who is 100% sure of her own values and consciously embodies them everywhere, with everyone.  If our values and convictions are never tested, how can we know what we are truly committed to?

I am convinced that there are still more chapters to be written in Bob and C’s fascinating friendship saga.  She may act as though she doesn’t believe it, but deep down, she cannot deny that at least one person on this earth truly CARES about her, no matter what.

And that is why when you “write your name in kindness, love and mercy” it will forever bless you, the giver, along with the thousands of hearts who are the recipients.

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