February 24, 2019

“A chief cause of worry and unhappiness in life is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment.” – Maralee McKee, author

I really don’t want to write this blog right now.  It’s Presidents Day Weekend, and my best four-footed friend just passed away.  It’s definitely not convenient or easy for me to write this now.

Yet, I AM writing this blog today because 1) The ideas are still fresh and 2) It will free me up next Saturday to do something I REALLY want to do.  I am willing to forgo the “easy” and “comfortable” option of sitting on the couch today, reading and relaxing, in favor of a much greater gain next week. Let me explain.

My wonderful husband Rick and I made the wrenching decision to have our little nine year old canine BFF put to sleep the night before Valentine’s Day.  She had just recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur, and within a week, her health had deteriorated to the point where she was lethargic, wouldn’t eat and was struggling to breathe.  It totally sucked for us, but we knew it was the kindest option for her.

After Rick’s former canine BFF, Samantha, died in October of 2016 at the ripe old age of 16, we adopted our little Chihuahua, Diamond, from The Little Red Dog. They are an amazing non-profit dog rescue headquartered in our town. They don’t have a shelter. Instead, they have an army of volunteer canine “parents” who foster the rescued dogs in their own homes until forever homes can be found for them, sometimes taking many months.

After the extreme emotional pain of losing Samantha, I swore I would never, ever own another dog. But the house felt so empty and quiet without her presence, I decide that being one of those foster parents would give me the satisfaction of helping a needy animal, without the attachment and responsibility of being its owner.  I was SO wrong.

During the car ride home from picking up Diamond (with two hours’ notice on Halloween), Rick took one look at my blissful face and Diamond totally relaxed on my lap, and sighed, “I know….We’re keeping her.”

My life changed forever at that moment.  I was no longer able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My life was no longer just my own.  It now also belonged to this 10 pound bundle of tail-wagging love. Like any parent, I was at my “baby’s” beck and call 24/7. My daily routine centered around HER needs for walks, feedings, companionship, grooming, regular vet visits (and BIG vet dental bills), daily medications for her allergies, bathroom trips outside in the pouring rain, and regular trips to the pet store for toys and treats. Whenever Rick and I traveled, we had to arrange for a family member to come stay with her. I wrote out detailed instructions for her daily care, and worried while  we were gone that she might imagine we had deserted her like her former owners (who dumped her at the side of a Los Angeles freeway!)

What did I get in return for all this upheaval in my nice, easy routine?  Not much.  Just the greatest loyalty and unconditional love I could ever imagine.  A living being that trusted me completely and worshipped the ground I walked on. Whose whole body wriggled whenever I came into the room. Who would leave her food bowl to search for me if I left her side.  A warm, loving presence who slept in her bed by the side of my desk all day as I coached my clients and then stretched out between us on the couch every night while we enjoyed television.  Who looked into my eyes with adoration and licked my hand whenever she got the chance.

Was caring for Diamond inconvenient?  You bet.  Did it cause me extra work and worry and eventually heartache?  Oh yeah.  Was it worth it? 1000 percent YES!

Like everything in life that REALLY matters, our relationship was real work and it was worth it.  The easy, convenient things in life rarely seem to deliver much lasting joy or satisfaction.  The heartfelt Big Goals that we must sacrifice and risk something for usually bring us great reward and fulfillment.

The preparation answers that I recently received from a prospective client before our free coaching session struck me exactly like that. She said her three biggest short-term goals were: “I want to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. I want to enroll new members to join my business Team and grow my sales volume. I want to better manage my money so I can afford to move into my own apartment.” 

When asked what major obstacles stood in her way to achieving these Big Goals, she was admirably candid and insightful:

“I fall victim to immediate satisfaction. For example, I know I should save money, but going out with my friends makes me feel happy now.  I know I should eat healthier, but that glass of wine with pizza is too good.  I know I should work my business, but I’m hooked on reality TV.” 

Bingo! It’s always much easier and more comfortable to do whatever our human Ego wants to do in the moment.  But succumbing to momentary ease will never carry you to where you dream of ending up.  It will keep you stuck on the couch, eating pizza, watching TV and getting a little plumper each time you do.

Pursuing your Big Goals will be inconvenient, I can promise you.  There will never be a “perfect time” to go after them. There is only the moment when the OPPORTUNITY suddenly presents itself, like Diamond was unexpectedly handed to us.  You can grab it with gusto and give it your BEST effort and be rewarded a hundredfold in return.  Or you can stay right where you are today, doing whatever you want, whenever you want.

By the way, the thing that I REALLY want to do next Saturday is to meet our potential next adopted rescue and find our next opportunity to be inconvenienced.  Now that I have done the hard work of writing this blog for next week, I am free to do so and I can’t wait to meet our new furry Best Friend!

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! ********************

This New Year, 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 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.  

October 7, 2018

“Attitudes truly are contagious.  So decide today to make yours worthy catching.” – Mac Anderson

Last week, we examined ways to protect yourself from others’ “toxic energy” that can do real harm to you mentally and emotionally and may even keep you from realizing your full potential in life.  If you missed it, I hope you will go to the blog archives on my website and read it first (Inoculate Yourself – Blog 316).

In the last blog, I related my own experience of having to abruptly disengage from someone whose toxic energy was masquerading as something positive (at least at first).  I believe now that he was emotionally manipulating me (and probably many others) to sympathize with him — undoubtedly for the positive attention it garnered and perhaps the money people like me gave him to support his “good works” and dire personal financial problems.

Based on my own experience, I came up with the first two “Rules” for protecting yourself from people who come to you with their toxic energy – which, in addition to emotional manipulation, can include behaviors such as spreading damaging gossip, chronic complaining, and trying to sabotage your dreams, undermine your self-confidence or erode your self-worth.

Self-protection Rule Number One I gave you last time was Maya Angelou’s wonderfully wise quote: “People will show you who they are and you’d best believe them.”  Once I fully recognized what the manipulator was doing, I disengaged immediately, which so caught him off guard that he instantly revealed himself as a predator in sheep’s clothing. We all have a God-given intuition that tells us when something or someone just doesn’t add up or feel right.  We must listen to that insistent inner whisper and act on it ASAP.

Rule Number Two came from minister Joel Osteen, who reminded us that we all have “seeds” of greatness that need to be nurtured in “good soil.”  If the friends you associate with do not provide you with a nurturing environment for your personal growth through their lack of values, poor lifestyle choices or negative mindset, Joel recommends gradually disengaging by spending less and less time with them.  If they notice, you can say you are too busy pursuing your positive goals to spend as much time hanging out with them as before.

So far, so good, right?  But what if the person who exudes toxic energy in your life is someone you cannot disengage from – like your boss, a key Team member, a close relative or even a spouse or ex-spouse who shares custody of your kids?  What can you do then?

If you cannot avoid someone else’s toxic energy, I believe you must do two things to protect yourself and turn things to your advantage:

  • Be 100% relentlessly POSITIVE yourself. I have all my clients consciously prepare their own energy (defined as your thoughts PLUS your emotions) at the beginning of each day with a centering practice that includes positive affirmations, listing things you are grateful for that day in a Gratitude Journal, doing some positive visualization and a few minutes of reading in a good personal development book. My mother used to call the morning prayers and affirmations she taught me “putting on your armor” for the day.  Protecting ourselves against being affected by someone else’s negative energy starts with cultivating our own strong positive energy.
  • Adopt your own “Best” mindset and actions and expect good results. We are not here to change anyone else. But you can have a positive influence on others by consciously directing your own positive energy and entering all your interactions with a focused expectation of creating the BEST possible outcome for yourself and everyone involved.   As a wise Mentor Coach once explained to me, when two people have opposing energy, whoever has the STRONGER energy will pull the other into their energy.  You can expect the BEST outcome in a given situation because your own focused, intentional, relentlessly positive energy is always stronger than another’s negative energy.

One of my coaching clients recently faced that very conundrum. She dreaded having to deal with someone on her network marketing Team whose toxic energy she knew would likely oppose her own, because it had many times in the past.  This person had been gossiping with members of the Team about each other and stirring up emotional drama where there should be mutual support.

As my client gave me the details, I felt that what must really be driving this person is a deep insecurity about herself as a Leader. If her Team doesn’t invite her to every event or training, she imagines they don’t want or need her help.  I asked my client to imagine for a moment what it would be like to be that Leader — Wouldn’t it be scary and depressing to be so needy and have such low self-esteem? Wouldn’t it be exhausting to try to monitor all of your Team members’ every action, searching for any sign that they consider you irrelevant? She agreed it would suck to live like that.

Letting herself imagine what it would be like to hold such toxic energy allowed my client to turn her resentment for the drama this Leader stirred up on the Team into compassion for how needlessly self-punishing she was.  Then she felt that she could authentically assure her that they both have the SAME goal – for their Team to thrive.

The next step was for her to create a positive intention for the outcome of the phone call that she had first wanted to avoid but now was eager to make on HER terms: “I am creating that she will feel my good intentions and trust them. We will listen to each other with an open mind and have a healthy dialogue. We will treat each other with respect.”

The focused, positive mindset and energy she decided to embody during their upcoming call was being “fair, understanding, committed and a good listener.”

I got this excited follow-up text from my client after their conversation: “I want to thank you for giving me the words and mindset to speak with [Toxic Energy Leader]. We spoke last week and honestly that conversation has freed me from feeling responsible for so many things that aren’t mine to carry.  Things I’ve carried for way too long. I was able to not let my emotions take over and to say [my truth] and listen to what was being shared.  And the best part is I left that conversation not feeling bad about myself!”

If you cannot avoid interacting with someone in your life who often embodies toxic energy, here are some helpful guidelines to remember:

  • YOU have the power to protect yourself by putting on your mindset “armor” each day. Adopt a focused, relentlessly positive mindset and confidently expect the BEST in your interactions with them.
  • Try to imagine where their negative mindset and behaviors could stem from. Working up some compassion and understanding for what it must be like for them to live with their self-inflicted pain can allow you to control your own emotions and find ways to help them feel heard, understood and acknowledged, which is what most insecure, controlling people are really after.
  • Rather than trying to avoid whatever issues you know you eventually must confront with them, take the reins! If you embody focused, relentlessly positive energy around them, you have every reason to believe it will have a positive influence on them, rather than allowing them to have a negative influence on you.

Most importantly, you must always remember that nobody and nothing can make you FEEL any particular way. Others can say and do things you might not like, and you should absolutely stand up for yourself if someone crosses your personal boundaries. But nobody controls YOUR energy but YOU.  So recognize and make the most of your personal power!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be taking the next Sunday off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, October 21. 

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

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

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

 

 

August 26, 2018

“In the end, it all comes down to a matter of choice.  Each of us can choose to be reactive and at the mercy of a world that appears threatening, or we can choose to be open to life and its remarkable possibilities.  We can be defensive and protective, or we can live with a new spring in our step and spirit, eyes that truly see, ears that really hear, and a heart that can feel the wonder and celebrate the magnificent mystery that is life.” – From the book Getting Unstuck: 10 Simple Secrets to Embracing Change and Celebrating Your Life

Like many of you, I have been watching the weather news anxiously this week as Hurricane Lane bore down on the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.  Although there has certainly been some significant damage to cars, homes and roads from high winds and buckets of rain, the force of the storm turned out to be much less than expected. Thankfully, the people living in the Islands have been spared the overwhelming chaos they could have faced.

The weather chaos reminds me of other forms of chaos that a number of my clients, friends and I have faced this week, as well.  Several had children going off to college for the first time, which I now know from experience (thanks to my stepson Matt), can be an anxious and challenging time, both physically and emotionally.  It was also back to school time for younger children, and there’s always a certain amount of chaos and jangled nerves that go with a new school year routine, especially if they are going into a new school. Others had mechanical problems with cars and home remodeling.  I personally had some truly frustrating moments with my email system, which I absolutely depend on to be able to coach my clients.

While it’s easy for your Ego to feel anxious, frustrated, upset and even despairing when faced with different forms of chaos, it’s important for you to not succumb to that negative energy.  If you give in to it, the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) dictates that focusing your energy on negative thoughts and emotions will only attract MORE chaos to you. Whatever thoughts and emotions we focus on gain strength, like a hurricane traveling across the warm waters of an ocean, sucking up more moisture and growing ever bigger and stronger.

Fortunately, you have a choice.  No circumstance or person can make you FEEL any particular way.  You don’t have to suck up negative energy and make yourself feel more negative, upset and frustrated.  You have the free will to CHOOSE exactly how you view and respond to any given situation.  You can be the “eye” of the hurricane, which is calm and peaceful in the midst of the chaos swirling around it.

How can you do that?  Your thoughts create your emotions.  By re-directing your thoughts, you can control your emotional reaction to any situation. If you are upset, frustrated, angry, despairing or panicked, it’s because you have focused your thoughts on the worst case scenario for the outcome of a situation.  You are expecting the WORST to happen.

Instead, you need to consciously direct your mind to expect THE BEST.  You can’t know for sure the ultimate outcome of any situation in advance.  The BEST outcome is just as likely as the WORST.  But your advantage is that you can influence the odds for either the BEST or the WORST outcome by the energy you direct toward one or the other.

Your subconscious mind is always listening to everything you think and say. Like an internal minion, it believes everything you tell it, hook, line and sinker.  So don’t tell it the WORST is going to happen….Tell it the BEST is going to happen!  Talk it into really EXPECTING the best and it will do everything in its power to come up with ideas for you to make the best outcome a reality.

I saw firsthand how a mindset shift influenced the outcome for one of my friends recently.  He emailed me that his car had just had yet ANOTHER mechanical issue, in the same week it had blown two tires and the transmission had gone out of whack. In his Ego’s initial “despair” reaction to this chaos, he fumed, “This is TOO MUCH!  Please pray for me!” Clearly, his Ego was envisioning the worst case scenario: “You can’t handle any more of this chaos. This is hopeless!  Your car is not going to function and you are going to be stuck without transportation!”

I replied that maybe this “bad news” was really a sign that he was supposed to get a new car – something EVEN better.  That got him thinking along a new track.  Instead of seeing himself as the victim of some sort of unfathomable divine punishment, he recognized and took responsibility for each thing that had gone wrong with it. Instead of seeing his car as something to be frustrated with, he realized he really loves his car!

As his thoughts ran in a new, positive direction, his energy began to shift.  He wrote:

“Here’s what I decided.  For now, I am completely focused on my mental health.  I want to be happy and I am….Right now I am at peace, certainly not financially but mentally.  I am liked.  I am loved.  I have the ability to give of myself and for now I need to simply maintain that.  Being here with what I have is OK for now. 

“I am outside looking at my car right now.  It’s 11 years old.  I know it like an old friend.  We’ve been through a lot together.  If someone gave me a new car, I’d have to break it in.  Good friends you hold onto.  I am not limiting myself and my future.  I am basking in the peace of the moment.”

He went from frustration and despair to “basking in the peace of the moment” in the time it took to look at his car and write an email about what it means to him.  THAT is some impressive energy shifting!

Just a little while later, I got a follow-up message:

“WOW!  Not sure if my statement earlier had anything to do with it but after sending the message about my car, I tried one more time to start it.  This time, there was a sound of actually trying to turn over. Then it did.  I discovered the positive cable wasn’t completely connected.  Like life.  We may think we are grounded but we can’t function with only negative.”

As soon as his mindset and energy shifted, his subconscious mind got him to try turning it on one more time and voila — He got a working battery without having to buy a new one!

To calm your thoughts and emotions, here’s a mantra I use myself whenever I can’t see the solution to a chaotic situation or tough problem.  If you prefer, you can substitute The Universe, Inner Wisdom, Infinite Spirit — or whatever description best fits your personal belief system:

“I claim, accept and expect THE BEST.  God is with me, helping me, and I EXPECT great things to happen!”

Repeating this affirmation aloud in the face of chaos will allow your subconscious mind to stay calm and open to receiving the BEST solution, as it is whispered to you by the still, small voice that dwells in the eye of the hurricane.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.  Your information will never be shared with anyone.

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

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

 

April 15, 2018

“It’s very freeing when you realize you don’t have to fight every battle.  You don’t have to straighten people out.  You don’t have to pay somebody back.  Instead, focus on what matters: Focus on God and His Word so you can live in peace and happiness every day of your life.” – Joel Osteen

Wow! This is my 300th blog post.  When I began writing A Cup of Caroll 10 years ago, I never imagined I would end up writing three blogs a month for 10 years (and counting) with the intention of helping my clients and cherished readers live more fulfilling, successful and prosperous lives.

And, after almost 14 years as a full-time professional coach, I never imagined I would be writing today’s topic because, frankly, I thought I was “cured” by now of the self-punishing practice of judging others.  LOL.

Today, I am 100% clear that, because we are human beings, we are NEVER cured of judging.  Judging is part of our Ego’s critical survival mechanism.  It keeps us safe by trying to size up people and situations and making a split-second decision: “Is this person friend or foe?” “Is this situation good or bad for you?”

Unfortunately, your Ego often gets it wrong because it judges people and situations only externally — according to what it can quickly observe about their outer appearance and behavior.  We all know that “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” yet your Ego just can’t help but try to judge people and situations based on these very limited, superficial clues.

Today, I was blessed to receive what I hope will remain an unforgettable Life Lesson about just how much anxiety, turmoil, frustration and unhappiness we bring upon ourselves and others when we judge them.  It’s not easy to catch ourselves judging, but we can if we know the signs to look for.  From now on, the trigger thought I will notice myself having is “How DARE they?”

That self-righteous, judging rhetorical question always comes to me whenever someone cuts me off in traffic, doesn’t pick up after their dog, allows their front yard to go to seed and spoil the neighborhood’s appearance, doesn’t return my messages, promises to and then forgets to pay their invoice, etc. etc. etc.! “How DARE they not live up to MY standards of proper behavior and right values?” is what my Ego whines inside my head.

Today my Life Lesson came, as many of them do, during my morning stop at Starbucks.  It is often crowded on weekend mornings so, spotting an open table, my wonderful husband Rick and I put our sunglasses down on it to save it and then got in line.  Then I went to get some napkins and returned to “our” table, only to find someone’s big purse and other items sitting on a chair at the same table.  Our glasses were still clearly visible, but the woman who was walking away from the table, dressed in business clothes and talking on her cell phone, had just put her stuff down there anyway.  “How DARE she?!”

I called out to her, waving the glasses in my hand and asking if this was her stuff?  She looked at me and pointed to her cell phone, as if to say, “Can’t you see how busy and important I am? I can’t listen to you and talk on the phone at the same time!”  At least, that’s what my EGO told me she was saying.

I shot her a stern look of annoyance and disapproval and then picked up our glasses and moved to the next table. Rick sat down and began to eat his breakfast, and when I came back with mine, the woman was standing next to our table, saying to him, “Your wife is unhappy with me.  I could see it on her face.” 

Then she crouched down, looked us both in the eye and babbled a steady stream of explanation for her unintentional faux pas of “stealing” our table.  She said she has been a nurse for 30 years and she can read people’s demeanor instantly, which is how HER Ego drew the conclusion from my facial expression that I was “angry” with her.  (I was annoyed and perplexed, but I would not go so far as to say I was angry.)

She said my inexplicable anger had at first upset her and she was tempted to curse me under her breath, but then she noticed my Disney cap and said, “I thought you MUST be a fun person, if you were wearing Mickey Mouse!”  That made us smile and proved that she is someone who knows how to recognize and calm down her own Ego’s “How DARE she?” reactions.

Her voice choked with emotion, she rapidly spilled out more information about her state of mind this morning — that she had recently lost two loved ones, one of whom was 94 years old.  She was talking so fast and with such emotion, it was hard to catch her exact words, but the meaning was clear: She was distraught and distracted.  She apologized for taking our table and said she hadn’t even noticed our glasses on it.  She didn’t know what I was saying to her as she walked toward the counter because she was on the phone and couldn’t hear me.  But she could tell I was upset with her.

I consider it Divine Intervention that she bravely chose to come over and talk to us.  She could have just sat down and pretended to ignore us.  Instead, she chose to be the bigger person and address the issue head on.  She apologized AND did me a huge favor by describing clearly how MY negative energy toward her had made her feel. In truth, my Ego’s judgment that this woman was entitled and uncaring couldn’t have been more wrong!  She is a compassionate, sensitive, and dedicated caregiver who courageously took responsibility when she unintentionally wronged someone.

I felt instant sympathy toward her and instant shame toward myself for making such a harsh (and inaccurate) judgment of her. I was reminded of the iconic story I’m sure you’ve heard about a man who was riding the New York subway and found himself suddenly surrounded by a number of loud, boisterous young children whose father sat slumped in his seat, looking distracted and dejected, and seemingly ignoring their behavior.  The man was annoyed and berated the father for not controlling his children, who were bothering the other riders.  The distracted father looked up and quietly apologized, explaining they had just come from the hospital where his wife passed away.

We never know what is really going on behind the scenes in someone’s life and what is causing them to behave the way they are.  Sometimes their behavior IS patently unacceptable or hurtful and if that is the case, we should speak up about how it impacts us, just as the nurse did when she told me in a forthright but inoffensive manner how my behavior had made her feel.

But most of the time, we should take Joel Osteen’s advice and just LET IT GO.  It’s not our job to school everyone else on how to live according to our own values and standards.  And it certainly does not benefit US to harbor negative feelings about all the ways someone has wronged us and maybe even plot how to pay them back.  Leave the judgment department to God. It’s above our pay grade.

Instead, our job is simply to be the BEST we can be, and to strive each day to live up to our own standards, beliefs and values.  If we “lead from the front” by doing and being our BEST (which includes showing kindness, support and compassion to others), we are setting a good example for our children, loved ones and business colleagues and doing more to help them be happy and successful than any tongue lashing ever could.

Here’s the happy ending of my own story: After breakfast, I was about to walk out of Starbucks, when I noticed the nurse still sitting at the table, writing intently. I went up to the counter and bought a $5 Starbucks gift card that said, “Thank You. The next one’s on me.”

I took it to her table, where she was totally absorbed in writing in her journal, and laid it gently in front of her.  She looked at it and me with surprise and delight and asked my name.  Then she stood up, thanked me by name and asked if she could hug me.  We embraced and when she sat down again, there were tears in both our eyes.  She said, “You made my day.  You have no idea how much this means to me.”

I put my hand on her shoulder, smiled at her and just said, “Ditto.”

****************** 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.   

February 25, 2018

“What we feel, think, and do this moment influences both our present and the future in ways we may never know.  Begin.  Start right where you are. Consider your possibilities and find inspiration…to add more meaning and zest to your life.” – Alexandra Stoddard

The following is a blog written by the wonderful personal trainer I used to go to who co-owns a popular fitness studio in Sacramento, CA. (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com)

I believe that her wise words apply to ALL long-term goals — personal and business, as well as health and fitness.  All Big Goals require patient, committed one-day-at-a–time focus and one-step-at-a-time planning to reach.  If you take her advice to heart, and make it your own guiding philosophy, I believe you can and will achieve your BIGGEST personal, business and fitness goals this year.

Today is a big deal!

By Rose Zahnn

“You woke up this morning and began making choices.

You chose whether or not to exercise, to eat a healthy breakfast, or to do something productive. You chose whether or not to eat that donut, to sleep in, or to watch an extra hour of TV.

At the end of each day, the sum of your choices pushes you in a direction.

It could be pushing you in the direction of fitness and health, if your choices were predominantly healthy.

Or, the sum of your choices could be pushing you in the direction of weight gain, health issues and problems.

I find this perspective helpful when it comes to making a major body transformation. It’s tempting to feel overwhelmed about changing your body when you have many pounds to lose and much work to do, since you can’t do it all in one day.

However, by capturing the power of each day by making healthy choices, you will be pushed in the direction of weight loss and health day after day, week after week.

Until, one day, you’ll look in the mirror and see that you’ve arrived at your ultimate destination: a lean, healthy and fit you!

So, embrace the power of each choice that you make today, and allow a momentum of good choices to push you through to your goal.

Do This At Bedtime: The best way to ensure that you will make great choices tomorrow is to plan for it tonight. Before you go to sleep, jot out your plan for the next day.

Today is a big deal.

Today is all you have.

Make the most of today.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog and I are taking next weekend off.  Look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday, March 11, which also happens to be the start of Daylight Savings Time for most of the USA.  Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to 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.

October 15, 2017

“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs

I saw a very good movie last night that demonstrates how a courageous individual’s strong belief in herself and her values, coupled with an unshakable commitment to a Big Goal enabled her to triumph over seemingly daunting odds.

“Battle of the Sexes” is the very entertaining and dramatic story of what went on behind the scenes in the lives of the principal players in the legendary 1973 tennis match between the reigning women’s champ, Billie Jean King, and retired hall of famer, compulsive gambler and showman, Bobby Riggs.

I was in college at the time, and all I was aware of then were the circus sideshow aspects of the match up, which was billed as “Libbers versus Lobbers” because the Women’s Liberation movement was just beginning to take hold. Women were speaking up for themselves and demanding equal rights and equal pay in every area of life, while the men in power at the time didn’t seem to get what all the fuss was about, believing the “fairer sex” should be content to tend to their family duties and “hobbies,” and let men continue to be the breadwinners and sports heroes.

Billie Jean was not known as a boat-rocker at the time.  She was liked and respected by other players and single-focused on improving her own game. So, when Bobby Riggs first approached her with the idea of putting on a purely money-making stunt match to determine whether a 55-year-old has-been male athlete could beat a 28-year-old woman the peak of her powers, Billie Jean initially turned him down because she didn’t want to demean the game she loved and had devoted her life to.

But she reached her breaking point when she protested the gross inequality of the women’s and men’s tournament prizes to former tennis great Jack Kramer, head of the “Old Boy’s Club” of rich white men who ran US tennis, and he responded that no woman was as good a player or as much of a draw as a male player, despite the fact that just as many tickets were sold for women’s matches as men’s. Then he proclaimed with a condescending smirk that the women should be satisfied with money that was one-eighth of the men’s purse because “men have families to support.”  She calmly answered, “I’m the breadwinner in my family” and took all the women players with her to start their own tour, underwritten by Virginia Slims cigarettes.

When Riggs finally cajoled Australian powerhouse Margaret Court into a smaller “battle of the sexes” match and won by mentally rattling her, Billie Jean realized it was up to her alone to take him on and she agreed to an epic match.

Most men in the tennis world and male celebrities of the time supported Riggs, and smugly predicted he would win.  Overconfident after beating Court, Riggs didn’t do much practicing, but devoted himself to relentlessly promoting the spectacle and stoking the flames of “war” between men and women.

What had started out as a little sexist joke bet quickly grew into a high-stakes contest that played out before a sell-out crowd of over 30,000 in the Houston Astrodome and millions of viewers in 36 countries around the world.   As the movie beautifully portrays, the match created a sense of tremendous personal responsibility for Billie Jean to “prove” that women are equally talented, competitive, entertaining and worthy of being society’s role models and heroes.

So what did Billie Jean do in the face of this immense pressure?  According to the movie, she took nothing for granted, stayed single-focused on her Big Goal and worked harder than ever at honing her game and strengthening her stamina.  She developed a strategy of not trying to match his male muscle power, but instead, keeping him running all over the court and gradually wearing him down. Most importantly, she believed in herself and never doubted for a single minute that right was on her side.

Her strategy and belief worked, and Bobby Riggs lost the epic Battle of the Sexes he had created in three straight sets. Today, Billie Jean King’s accomplishment still stands as a major milestone in the ongoing fight for women’s equality and empowerment.

But the even bigger personal lesson I see in this story for ALL human beings is summed up in a recent daily inspirational passage from my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen:

“God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny….That means you are well able to do what He has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals.  You can fulfill your dreams!  You have the ideas, the creativity and talent to be successful. You can overcome any obstacle. You have been armed with strength for every battle.

Not only has God equipped you, but He is also working on your behalf.  He has already gone before you and lined up the right people and the right opportunities.  You have everything you need to live a victorious life – you were created to excel!

You may not have seen it in the past, but if you’ll stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time; victory is on its way.”

So remember, no matter what the outer circumstances or odds you may face, no matter what the pundits’ opinions or predictions, no matter how much or how little you know about the HOW, your own Big Goals truly ARE attainable… IF you believe in yourself…. IF you believe that what you are doing is right and good…. IF you believe that God is on your side…. And IF you never, ever give up!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday October 29.

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.

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

 

“If you only did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you want.” – Mel Robbins

What important task are you dragging your feet about doing right now because you just don’t “feel” like it?

I have to be honest, for me today, Number One is writing this blog. I love to write, but I have a lot of things I’d prefer to do on a beautiful Spring day, rather than sit in front of my computer trying to come up with a topic that can inspire my readers to be more efficient, successful and fulfilled in their lives.

No matter how much you value keeping your word to yourself and others, I am sure you, too, know exactly what it’s like to want to avoid doing something that you know will benefit you or someone else.

The human Ego much prefers sitting on the couch, safe and comfy, avoiding anything that will challenge the status quo in your life.  Pursuing your Big Goals usually requires sustained effort, self-discipline, risk and emotional or physical discomfort.

Of course, Life Coach Mel Robbins is 100% right. Instead of sharpening pencils, cleaning out the junk drawer, procrastisnacking, re-arranging your lists, perusing (and envying) others’ Facebook posts and binge-watching just one more episode of your favorite show –  consider where you could be if you had just plunged in and finished the very task you DON’T want to do: Make the call, go to the gym, update your resume, apply for the job you really want, apply for a business loan, join an online dating service, call your loved one and apologize for the fight you had?

What would your life look like right now?

One of my clients recently made me laugh the when she blurted out, “I didn’t read your blog this week.  I HATE reading blogs.”

Really?  You “hate” getting tips that can help you succeed?  Being challenged and inspired?  Developing your character?  Learning how others have overcome the same challenges you are facing? Stretching your belief in what is possible for you?

I was tempted to reply, “Well, sometimes I hate WRITING the blog!”  But that’s not true.  I actually love writing – or I would not have put in the thousands of hours of effort over my lifetime in order to develop that skill.

But do I love being 100% accountable for producing a blog that consumes half of my Saturday three times a month?  Heck NO! I would much prefer to be in my backyard right now, stretched out on the chaise lounge with an iced tea and a good book.  That would be nice for ME, but what about my readers, who read the blog and write comments such as, “This is exactly what I needed to hear today.”  Or “I felt so relieved to read that – Now I know I’m not alone.” They are what keeps me accountable.

Not everything we do is for someone else’s benefit, of course.  Many of the tasks we avoid doing are uncomfortable things we don’t want to do but which we know will bring us the results we say we want to have.

In her wonderful, tell-it-like-it-is book, Get Over Your Damn Self, direct sales Superstar Romi Neustadt admits that even SHE doesn’t want to be accountable for doing the daily activities that have made her a multi-millionaire in a few short years.

According to Romi, “You’ve got to figure out what it is you really want that you don’t already have.  Whatever it is, it’s got to be important enough to get you to do something with commitment and consistency.  It’s got to be important enough to get you up, to make one more phone call, to reach out to one more person….even when you are bone-ass weary.  Because if we want something bad enough in this life, we make it happen.  It’s just that simple.”

Here’s Romi’s great method for overcoming the Ego’s natural preference for avoiding all uncomfortable tasks: At the start of her business, she wrote down her WHY in vivid detail, including both the carrot and the stick. She listed all the great things having a successful direct sales business could produce for her and her family AND all the tragic disappointments that would occur if she didn’t do the things necessary to succeed.

She kept that piece of paper by her bed and read it first thing every morning before her feet hit the floor. She used it as leverage to make herself get up every day and do the tasks she didn’t want to do, but knew she must do, in order to get her WHY.

Mel Robbins has her own simple, foolproof method to counteract the Ego’s desire for inertia. She calls it “The Five Second Rule.”  Most of my coaching clients have watched Mel’s short TED Talk about this.

I urge you to spend 20 memorable minutes being entertained and confronted with the reality that you have just five seconds to do what you promised yourself to do when the time comes to do it.  If you wait longer than five seconds, like a skilled courtroom litigator, your wily Ego will make a compelling argument for why it would be better to “wait until tomorrow” to carry out the task.

Guess what the outcome will be if you listen to that voice inside your head instead of keeping your promise and taking action right NOW?

That’s right. You will never get your WHY. Instead, you will earn a comfortable seat on the sidelines, watching as others get their WHYs.

So what’s it going to be for YOU?  You have five seconds to decide.

Here’s Mel Robbins TED talk “Stop Screwing Yourself Over” about the Five Second Rule: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc

Next Sunday the blog will be taking the day off so that I can spend Easter with my family.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday, April 23.

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.