November 19, 2017

“Messenger of Happiness” by Kate Osier

“Oh!  Let me shed a little light

on someone’s path I pray.

I’d like to be a messenger

of happiness today.

It may be just a phone call,

a smile, or a prayer,

or a long-neglected letter

that smooths the edge of care.

I want to spread some happiness

in what I say or do.

I want to make life sweeter

for someone else. Don’t you?”

As we head into Thanksgiving week here in the USA, most of us are preparing to either play host or be a grateful guest at a gathering filled with family, food, warmth and joy. That is the ideal, anyway, although, as we all know, the realities of family dynamics and human interactions are sometimes far from ideal.

Still, gatherings like Thanksgiving and the rest of the Holiday Season give us the opportunity to practice a wonderful concept that I learned just this week from a story featured on my favorite positive TV news magazine, CBS Sunday Morning.

The billboard of a church in a poor part of Philadelphia that operates a daily free meal service for anyone who chooses to come in says simply, “All are welcome.  We practice Radical Hospitality here.”

 I looked up the word “hospitality” and it is defined as “A friendly welcome and kind or generous treatment offered to guests or strangers.” That’s a wonderful thing, no doubt.

 But RADICAL Hospitality goes beyond just being kind or generous to guests or strangers.  I believe it means putting your actions where your mouth is and doing something to PROVE to someone that you believe they are valuable. In fact, they are PRICELESS.  You may not know them personally, but you are willing to set aside your own Ego’s self-focus, personal judgments and typical conditions for reciprocating kindness in order to do something tangible to show them that you care about them and make them feel a sense of self-worth and value.

The featured church’s food program is supported by two restaurant partners, one of whom used to be a drug addict.  The two men own four successful restaurants and donate 100% of the profits from one of the four to the church. This support allows the church to feed a hot meal every day to the homeless, the elderly or anyone who just wants to come into a warm place for some camaraderie, amazing food and even more amazing service.

The restaurant supplies the same fabulous food to the church program that it serves to its own paying customers – far above the usual standards of a “soup kitchen.”  And the restaurant’s efficient young wait staff all volunteer unpaid on their own time to serve the “guests” (as they are always referred to), who are seated beneath beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary at big round tables covered with lovely linens, plates and silverware.

Some guests arrive trailing shopping carts filled with their belongings, while others look clean and presentable and may have been just living alone and in need of company. “They don’t care what you smell like,” as one older black lady said. The staff and volunteers don’t ask questions or judge them in any way; they simply practice Radical Hospitality by making them feel welcome and valued.

One homeless gentleman started crying on camera, saying that he didn’t think he’d be alive today if it weren’t for this program.  Not because he couldn’t get a meal somewhere else, but because he couldn’t be made to feel like a worthwhile human being anywhere else.

I think we are ALL capable of practicing Radical Hospitality.  It means going above and beyond – maybe in a small but a significant way – to make someone feel valued, appreciated and special.  That’s what my readers and I have been trying to do with our annual Pay It Forward Challenge.

 Your stories have been pouring in about the many wonderful big and little things you are doing to make others feel a measure of the joy that you feel as you count your blessings this Holiday Season. I find them SO inspiring!

Here are just two examples that illustrate beautifully the concept of giving Radical Hospitality:

  • One of my readers noticed an unkempt, clearly-homeless man sitting by himself in the café where she was having lunch. She went to the counter and told the owner she wanted to buy the man lunch AND a $25 gift card to use later.  The owner began to cry and told her that she had been trying to resist the urgings of other patrons who wanted the homeless man banned from the restaurant because his presence made them “uncomfortable.”  My reader’s support gave courage to the owner to continue to stand up for what she felt was right – offering kindness and hospitality to a fellow human being who needed it.
  • Another reader’s friend recently found the courage to end a toxic relationship and move herself and her teenage daughter into their own small apartment, leaving the emotionally abusive man she had been living with for years. Several of her friends pitched in to help her move, and as they were ordering pizza for dinner in her new place, my reader opened the refrigerator and saw that it was empty.  So she went to the store and bought everything her friend and her daughter would need to stock it.  Her generous gesture was a comparatively small sacrifice for her, but I am sure it gave a huge measure of comfort and hope to her friend, who was making the biggest change of her life.

Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving and the rest of the Holiday Season – with friends, family or just a beloved pet and the television — I hope you will be counting your own blessings and looking for ways to bless others with some Radical Hospitality, too.  That might mean preparing and sharing your favorite delicious dish or just listening patiently to an older relative who tells the same stories every year or a child who craves your attention and approval.

And even beyond that, how many ways can you find to express Radical Hospitality in your career, business or personal relationships?  What would it do to your sales results if you constantly looked for ways to make your customers feel valued and special?  How would it affect your business Team, prospective Team or work colleagues  if you made them feel they are the cream of the crop and you appreciate them every day?  And what about your own significant other, spouse or children? What ways can you find to surprise and delight those closest to you by treating them like treasured guests instead of taking them for granted?

Making those around us feel valued, special and appreciated is the essence of putting our own feelings of gratitude for our many blessings into Pay It Forward ACTION.  And, as the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) teaches us, showing Radical Hospitality to others will always attract more of the same to us.

I look forward to sharing more inspiring stories with you soon!  In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very filling and FUL-filling Thanksgiving.  The blog will be taking the next weekend off so that I can share mine with those I love.  Your next Cup of Caroll will arrive on Sunday December 3!

 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.

“It is not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

In last week’s blog, I confessed to feeling rather sad and helpless lately about the seemingly-endless stream of bad news that has inundated us this year.  I declared that we “need a little Christmas, right this very minute,” as the tune goes. My solution was to kick off the blog’s annual Pay It Forward Challenge for my readers early this year, so we can stir up some badly needed Holiday Spirit right NOW.

The rules of the PIF Challenge are simple: Find someone who needs a little support or comfort and do something to help them, inspire them, support them or just make them feel cared about.  Your gift doesn’t have to involve much or any money.  It can be in person or anonymous.  It can be to a friend or a stranger. Your giving gesture may seem small to you, but it will undoubtedly put a surprised and delighted smile on their face.

Many of my coaching clients and readers have already messaged me that they are very much IN and are actively on the lookout right now for an opportunity to spread some love and cheer to someone who needs it.

The truly wonderful thing about the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) is that it’s impossible to pay forward the many blessings you have received in your own life without attracting even MORE blessings to yourself. That’s because whatever you think, feel and do will come back to you.  It may not return to you from the same person you blessed, but it WILL come to you through whatever means God/the Universe thinks best.

I recently had my own delightful experience of this PIF “gift return” phenomenon.  One of my long-distance friends, Bob Perks, is a mindset coach, writer, singer and DJ.  We’ve never met, but my wonderful husband Rick and I have been inspired by Bob’s positive outlook on life for years and have shared some of his personal experience stories in our blog and newsletter from time to time.

Bob’s American Legion post in Pennsylvania holds a small Veteran’s Day celebration for the veterans and their families every year.  There is little budget for it, but Bob has always done his best to make it as festive as possible, sometimes putting on a musical show and always whipping up some of his homemade goodies for a modest buffet.

We hadn’t been in close contact for a few months, but as I started thinking that Veteran’s Day was right around the corner, I got a strong inner urging to text Bob and find out what the Legion was planning to do to honor these wonderful veterans and their families this year. He replied that they were having a small hometown parade and then would come back to the Legion afterward for a little potluck.

Right then, it came into my head to send him $200 toward the cost of the food and decorations.  It wasn’t something I had planned on, and to tell you the truth, nearing the end of the month, it was a bit of a tight squeeze financially for me.  But that was the number that came into my head, and I’ve learned better than to question “Divine Inspiration” when it hits me!  I trusted that it was what I was supposed to do to Pay it Forward to these wonderful veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much to serve their country. So I hit “send” on PayPal and didn’t think much more about it.

To my surprise, there was a huge outpouring of gratitude from Bob, the post Commander, and all the vets that went far beyond what I thought my small gift deserved. Turns out, Bob’s Legion didn’t have any budget for a celebration and only three people had signed up to bring any food.  My modest gift provided a long table full of delicious treats and, most importantly, made the vets and their families feel truly valued.  The fact that a stranger clear across the country actually CARED was a “thank you for your service” that meant the world to them.

Bob sent me lots of pictures afterward, showing 50 or so attendees having a good time, including families whose loved ones were overseas at the moment, protecting and serving the rest of us.  The background on the picture I chose to illustrate this blog was provided by Bob.  Here’s what he said about the group:

“The Legion Riders are a nationally-recognized motorcycle club whose sole purpose is to support veterans’ causes.  They fundraise by doing rides and holding raffles.  Many are vets, but some are not. The national American Legion considers them an intricate part of serving veterans….They are my family.  That is why it was a thrill beyond measure for me to bring your gift to them.  You have no idea.”

Bob’s right.  I had NO idea.  But by following my inner wisdom and listening to that “still, small voice” that guides us, I found that my small gesture made a much bigger difference than I ever would have imagined.

And then, as the icing on the cake, my personal “gift return” came just a few days later.  A handful of my clients had recently taken a “holiday hiatus” from coaching, sitting out November and December and planning to resume coaching with me in January. That’s fine, except it also means that a fair portion of my income goes away, too, just as my own family’s Holiday expenses kick in.

The unexpected “return gift” from my Pay It Forward gesture to the veterans is that an unprecedented number of NEW clients have just come into coaching to take their place and replenish my own financial well-being, right before the Holidays!

What we truly BELIEVE is not demonstrated by our words, but by our ACTIONS.  By giving to the vets without fearing “will I have enough left for ME?” I was proving my faith in the Law of Attraction and the limitless abundance I believe is available to each of us.  It was the perfect Win-Win: Deserving veterans and their families thousands of miles away felt the love from my PIF gesture, AND that positive energy I sent to them returned to bless my own family, too!

I look forward to hearing from YOU in the coming weeks with your own personal anecdotes of specific ways you passed along help, love and goodwill to others. I will gather these stories and publish them in a future blog to inspire even MORE people to join us and Pay it Forward this Holiday Season. Together, we can start a chain of good vibrations that will bless many, many people AND come back to bless each of us, as well!

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 wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”  — Malcom Bane

Even for me, a seasoned Life Coach with many tools at my fingertips to help me maintain a positive mindset and optimistic expectation for the BEST outcomes, 2017 has been one helluva challenging year.

I honestly cannot remember one single year of my 64 so far that has been packed with such a steady stream of dispiriting calamities – devastating natural disasters like fires, floods and hurricanes; man-made tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting massacre of innocents; terrorism and wars around the globe; and a dysfunctional government in Washington filled with politicians who seem far more focused on enriching themselves and getting good press than on actually helping the people who elected them.

As I was pondering what a crazy and depressing year it’s been, my subconscious mind suddenly began running through the lyrics to the catchy little song called “We Need a Little Christmas” by Shane Harper. In case you don’t remember it, here are a few of the verses:

“Haul out the holly;

Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.

Fill up the stocking,

I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now.

 For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles by the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute….

 

For I’ve grown a little leaner,

Grown a little colder,

Grown a little sadder,

Grown a little older,

And I need a little angel

Sitting on my shoulder,

Need a little Christmas now.”

 I am usually the first to complain that store displays, commercials and non-stop Christmas songs blaring from the radio start before Halloween nowadays.  But this year, I am looking forward to a little Christmas atmosphere just as soon as we can get it…Not the commercial “buy everything you can get your hands on” kind of atmosphere — But the REAL “Spirit of the Holidays” (which include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa — every tradition that is celebrated around the end of each year).

That Spirit reflects our BEST human impulses — Gratitude, Giving, Caring and Sharing.  It’s the one season when we all seem willing to set aside our many differences and come together. We are ready to take a breath and just be kinder and more loving toward our fellow human beings. And I say that we are ready for a little of that Christmas Spirit right about NOW!

So I am going to start the ball rolling early this year!  For the past several years, this blog has had a holiday tradition called the “Pay-It-Forward Challenge” that invites YOU to participate.  I love hearing about the many creative ways my readers find to help someone else, show them that they matter to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face.

I got the idea for the Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week a couple of years ago. A stranger ahead of me paid $5.00 toward my purchase, which turned my frazzled, grumpy day around and put a smile on my face that never went away through the rest of the year.  That simple generous kindness inspired me to buy a bunch of $5.00 gift cards and begin giving them out every few days to the baristas at the register to bestow on random people in the line behind me.

I can’t wait to repeat that joyful practice again from this month through the end of the year!  I trust that each of those surprised strangers who receive my gift will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Last year, the baristas told me that there were a number of people doing the same thing, creating a big old warm chain of joy and gratitude, one cup at a time!

You can experience the joy of spreading around some “Holiday Spirit” in your own creative ways.  Your kindness and thoughtfulness doesn’t have to cost anything.  Here are few examples my readers came up with in years past:

  • Let someone who appears to be in a hurry go ahead of you in the checkout line. I promise they will beam at you!
  • Help a harried friend or colleague run an errand, or babysit their kids while they do.
  • Surprise your friends, family and clients with a snail-mailed or emailed Thanksgiving card this year! Few people think to send them, but this gesture says, “I am so grateful for you!” to friends and customers like nothing else can.
  • Use your musical, baking or crafting talents to spread cheer and delight to children, neighbors, elderly folks and the sick.
  • Help an older person or someone who is under the weather put up their holiday decorations or haul home their Christmas tree.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless.
  • Donate food or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them while you enjoy the goodies together.

If you are able, pay your own financial blessings forward by spreading the prosperity around a bit.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Surprise a friend on a tight budget with a supermarket gift card that will make their Holiday feast much brighter.
  • At the gas station, if you notice someone in an old car with kids in the back, surprise her by paying for a tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them $5 or $10 instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support local animal rescue organizations that are operating on a shoestring. $25 means far more to them than it does to the big animal welfare organizations, although I try to donate as much as I can to those, too.
  • This year, more than any other in recent memory, we have the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended from so many back-to-back natural disasters.

It’s easy to fall into despair and think “What difference can I make in the face of all that seems so wrong and tragic in the world?”  But as this week’s quote reminds us, any little thing we do for someone else to pay forward all the many blessings we have received in our own lives is BIG to that person.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread “a little Christmas” cheer far beyond the end of the year.

Please email me your own Pay It Forward Challenge story!  I will collect them and share them in a future blog to inspire others to do more of the same.

 If you or your friends would like your own free 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.

 *************** 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 8, 2017

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

When I wrote the last blog on September 24 (See Let Go of Guilt Blog #282), little did I know what was coming.

I had been talking to a number of my coaching clients who felt paralyzed in their business pursuits by the seemingly-endless stream of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes that have occurred over the past several months. I wrote then about their feelings of “Striver’s Guilt,” which is much like the Survivor’s Guilt that paralyzes some people who have survived a horrific event where others perished.

Some of my clients felt so depressed over watching the 24/7 news stories about thousands of strangers who had suffered unimaginable losses of homes and even loved ones, they couldn’t muster the positive energy for daily outreach to grow their network marketing businesses. A few who know individuals directly affected by these natural disasters even felt it was disrespectful of their friends’ losses to pursue their own personal success.

Then this past weekend, the news focused on all the gruesome details of something even more horrific – the mass murder and wounding of hundreds of innocent people whose only crime was to enjoy themselves at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas that was within range of a madman with an automatic weapon perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

Several of my clients also had some harrowing personal experiences with this awful event:  One was extremely grateful because she was supposed to go to that concert, but her babysitter cancelled at the last minute. Another said her BFF was at the concert and was in terrible emotional shape because, although unharmed herself, she had witnessed someone being shot a few feet from her. Still another told me her young relative’s best friend was one of the people who were murdered.

Incredibly, most of my coaching clients, who are all independent consultants with the same network marketing company, were preparing to depart for their company’s annual convention in Las Vegas this week.  Wow.  How do you process something that awful happening so close by when you are supposed to be celebrating your business success?

It is well above my “pay grade” to make sense of such a tragedy.  For me personally, life’s number one question that I hope God will be kind enough to answer when I make my transition is “Why do bad things happen to good people?” How we each continue to live our daily lives with faith, hope and optimism after such events is up to each of us to figure out, according to our own personal beliefs.

I am sure of one thing, however: Our succumbing to paralyzing Survivor’s Guilt or Striver’s Guilt and despair will NOT help those affected by tragedies and disasters in any way. As the wise old saying goes, you can “light a candle or curse the darkness.” The choice is yours.

If you choose to light a candle, you will honor the memory of those who didn’t survive accidents, illness, natural disaster or unfathomably evil human deeds by providing a beacon of hope and comfort to those who most need your support, even as you help yourself.

What we must focus on in all of these disasters and tragedies are the numerous acts of selfless kindness, generosity and heroism performed by strangers in service to their fellow human beings.  First Responders and ordinary citizens alike put their own lives in danger to save others, while medical professionals acted with calm heads and skilled hands to save many lives that otherwise would have been lost.

If you want to strengthen the much greater force of Good in the world, instead of just cursing the darkness of human evil and natural disasters, ask yourself: What can I do today, with the resources I have, to light my own candle?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate as much financial help as you can to relief providers. Human and animal relief organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Humane Society, SPCA International and many others have the know-how and resources to get the right kinds of aid to victims as quickly as possible. They just need the funds.
  • If you can, donate blood. Even if it stays in your community, your blood will help someone you don’t know who is in trouble right where you are. Sign up to be an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license, too!
  • If you can spare a few hours, volunteer in your community. Food banks, literacy programs, Meals on Wheels, addiction and at-risk youth programs and animal welfare organizations, to name a few, all rely on hometown heroes to help them do their good work.
  • Lend an ear or a hand to someone who needs it. People all around you are suffering quietly in big and small ways right now. Visit an elderly, single or ill neighbor with tea and cookies. Just be good company for them or offer to help with chores and errands once in awhile.
  • If you don’t like how things are going in local, state or national politics, don’t just complain — DO something about it! At the very least, VOTE.  Attend town hall meetings or write your representatives. And if you can, donate or volunteer to help candidates you believe in get elected.  If, like the majority of Americans, you think our gun safety laws need some common-sense improvement, political change is the most effective way to make tragedies like Newtown, San Bernardino and Las Vegas become far less frequent.

And for goodness sakes, put your own oxygen mask on first!  You can’t help anyone else if you are glued to your television, laptop or smart phone, watching the news and feeling paralyzed and hopeless. My BFF Lisa says she is “on a news fast,” listening to audio books instead of watching troubling news reports and social media, and she feels much lighter for it.

It is critical that you get up each morning and put on your mental armor by spending just 15 to 30 minutes on your own personal and spiritual development in order to direct your mindset and your energy in a positive, can-do direction.  Then go out and get after your own Big Dreams, just as you support many others in pursuing theirs.

Creating your OWN financial and personal success will make your candle burn even brighter for those who are searching the darkness for a ray of light to help them find their own Path.

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.  

September 24, 2017

“What’s interesting is that most of us intuitively already know what we should let go of.  The challenge is to take action to end negative patterns, habits, or relationships that are getting in our way.” – found in the book Keep It Simple by Joe Calloway

A surprising number of my coaching clients confess to holding the Limiting Belief “I am not worthy” or “I don’t deserve” success.  I’m not a trained therapist so I don’t know exactly where this belief stems from in each of their pasts, but I have come to believe it’s related to a type of guilt that many people share.

If you have any degree of financial security, good health, loved ones, reliable food and shelter – in short, a good life — the tragic circumstances so many others are suffering under today can make you feel some degree of guilt that you have been spared. When you recognize how much good you have been blessed with, it’s easy to think “Why me?” and feel undeserving.

My job as a Personal Success Coach is pretty straightforward: to help my clients achieve their Big Goals with maximum speed and ease.  That would seem to require just making a good action plan and sticking to it until the race is won. Ah, but there is so much going on between their ears that gets in the way!  What has been coming up lately for some is akin to “Survivor’s Guilt.”

Survivor’s Guilt is a very real, crippling psychological condition that arises in some people who have somehow survived a traumatic incident in which others perished, such as a plane or car crash or war.  Intellectually, survivors recognize that they didn’t cause the horrible circumstance that killed their comrades, and there was nothing they could have done to save them, but they still hold deep guilt about the unanswerable question “Why me? Why did I survive?” It can paralyze them emotionally and ruin the rest of their lives if they cannot get past it.

Given that the daily news feed is filled with non-stop natural disasters and man-made atrocities, I see more clients than ever who are suffering from a lesser but still paralyzing condition I call “Striver’s Guilt.” They feel guilty for pursuing their personal dreams while others are suffering.  Or they feel guilty if they are making faster progress in creating a successful business than other seemingly nice, deserving people who are not having the same degree of success for their efforts. “Why me?” they wonder.

I recently talked with someone during a free coaching session who was suffering from “Striver’s Guilt” that had kept her from taking action on her Big Goals for her network marketing business for several weeks.   She said it felt selfish and petty to call potential customers about buying her company’s products or joining her in the business amidst all the terrible news of people losing everything to hurricanes or earthquakes.

I told her that I completely understand that feeling.  I, too, have been feeling helpless and sad and frustrated lately because it is very hard to see people suffer and not be able to help them, aside from donating to relief organizations.

But I also offered her a chance to view the situation from a different perspective than the Limiting Belief she was holding that “If others are suffering, it’s wrong to pursue my own success and happiness.” 

First and foremost, foregoing pursuing her own personal goals will not help even one other person who is suffering.  If you have personally done something that hurt someone else — intentionally or unintentionally — you should, of course, sincerely apologize and do everything in your power to make it right.

But if you are simply feeling guilty because you cannot do anything directly to rectify their situation, your guilt is not going to alleviate their suffering.  (It’s as illogical as when your parents used to tell you to clean your plate because there are starving children in other countries!)

And if you are succeeding in your business and someone else is falling short in theirs, feeling guilty about your own success is not going to make them successful. You can offer your suggestions and support, but ultimately, it’s up to them to succeed with the same tools you have been given.

When tragedies or social ills are widespread, it can make us feel helpless.  The solution is not guilt, which is a truly useless emotion because it never spurs you to take effective action. Quite the opposite: Guilt paralyzes your creative brain by making you feel hopeless and depressed, which makes you truly useless to help others.

Instead, we can recognize that, even if we can only do a little by ourselves – like donating or volunteering to a cause – that action sets up the right energy to draw others to the cause. And many people united CAN create big results. So, instead of giving off guilty energy, making you and others feel lethargic and hopeless, you can choose to embody “I will do what I can” energy that makes you and everyone who comes in contact with you feel uplifted, hopeful and motivated to create change.

Finally, it is important to know that feelings of guilt or unworthiness are a tool the “Inner Protector” part of your Ego uses to protect you from taking any “risks” it fears will threaten your mental, emotional or physical well-being.  Guilt provides a plausible “reason” for you to stay stuck on the sofa, which your Inner Protector thinks is the safest place for you, rather than out in the world pursuing your goals.

My intelligent free session client quickly grasped that her feelings of guilt that were threatening to derail her Big Goals could not provide one iota of help to any of the earthquake or flood or hurricane victims, but they did risk turning her into a kind of victim too.  Because our beliefs, thoughts and emotions either move us in the direction of our dreams, or hold us back, guilt is NOT going to put the Law of Attraction (which says that “energy attracts like energy”) to work for you, attracting the people, resources and opportunities you need to succeed.

She brightened up considerably when I pointed out that the increased financial abundance that would come from creating a successful business would allow her to contribute MORE to the causes she cares about. And that will make a difference for others, while crying on the sofa and avoiding picking up the phone won’t.

So, the next time you are tempted to ask the heavens the unanswerable question “Why me?” I hope you will instead ask yourself, “Why NOT me?” and “What can I do right NOW to make a difference for myself and others?”  Now, that is a question worth asking!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off. Look for a brand new Cup of Caroll on Sunday October 8.

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us.  In all likelihood, it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed, other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another’s life had been made better.” – Stephan M. Wolf

‘Tis the Season to show heartfelt GRATITUDE for all the good in our lives by doing something to pay that grace forward to those who are less fortunate or who simply need a reason to smile right now.

This past week, my readers told me even MORE great stories about their Pay-it-Forward Challenge results, and I just had to share a few of them with you.  Here is the final installment of your joyful acts of kindness, generosity and caring.  I wish I had room to include every single one!

Acts of Service

  • One reader’s husband built a 5 ft. by 7 ft. sleigh for their church families to take Christmas portraits with. He is a bit disabled, and she feared he took on more than he could handle, so she pitched in and they finished it on time working side by side.  The children and families loved it and she says it was SO worth the effort they made.
  • My friend’s teenage son attends a private religious school that holds a Christmas tree fundraiser each year. I bought two trees and donated them, since I have an artificial tree.  She and her son delivered all their donated trees to various charities, and she sent me a picture to prove that “my trees” had found a good home at Olive Crest, a home for children in temporary foster care.
  • As she does each year, that same friend got up early and spent her Thanksgiving morning serving dinners to the needy before going to her own Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Several of my readers volunteer at local food pantries, which get a load of donations to distribute this time of year.
  • In the news: A deputy patrolling an industrial section of a Northern California city noticed a young African American man in a hoodie walking along the side of the road at night. It’s not an area where you see many pedestrians, so the officer stopped him to see if something was wrong. He was surprised to learn that the young man was “commuting” on foot seven miles each way to and from his nearby factory job because his car had broken down some time ago and he didn’t have the money to fix it.  The deputy insisted on giving him a ride home and later took up a collection among his fellow officers to buy the young man a bicycle and, eventually, a new car.  Now, the young man rides along with the deputy because he is training to become a peace officer himself.

Acts of Kindness and Compassion

  • A reader wrote an individual message on each of her business partners’ Facebook pages about one special quality she saw in them, such as “Leader,” “Motivated,” “Giver, “ They were surprised and delighted to be acknowledged publically by their Team Leader, not just for their accomplishments, but for their character.
  • A reader said the office secretaries at the school where she teaches “do everything for all of us,” but rarely get the thanks or recognition they deserve. She bought each of them a gift card and put it on their desks anonymously, expressing gratitude for their service on behalf of the entire staff.
  • My reader saw a man digging through the dumpster outside her apartment and put together a little “Care Package” for him, filled with personal hygiene items, a blanket, gloves, a couple of homemade sandwiches and some plastic trash bags for him to use when collecting cans and bottles.

Acts of Giving

  • A reader’s young son took all the money out of his piggy bank and she kicked in some more to buy a Christmas gift for one of his class’s “adopted”children in need. “I love teaching him giving early in life. For a six year old to be so excited to give something to another child he didn’t know was amazing!”
  • One reader who works for a children’s therapy services organization coordinated the staff’s annual drive to provide presents for some needy young clients and their siblings. She collected the donated gifts, bought all the wrapping materials and wrapped the presents. Each of the nine children will receive about 10 gifts apiece, for a very abundant Christmas!
  • One reader has collected about $3,000 worth of design books over the years. He plans to donate them to the arts program of a high school in an underprivileged part of his city.
  • A reader knew a couple who both passed away within the last year, leaving their three college-aged sons with little financial support. She continuously donates half of the proceeds from the sales of her skin care products to their college fund, for as long as they need it.
  • My friend Bob Perks used my reader’s generous donation to create the most lavish Christmas party his local American Legion Post has ever had. He sent pictures of the crowd of vets and their families line dancing and enjoying a huge buffet of wonderful dishes, mostly prepared by Bob himself. A singer and DJ, Bob also provided the musical program and arranged for Elvis and Santa to join in too.

Please don’t STOP spreading the joy when the Holidays end! I hope these stories of creative kindness and generosity will inspire you to continue your personal Gratitude-in-Action program far into the future. In fact, let’s make one of our New Year’s Resolutions  to Pay it Forward every day of the coming year!

PLEASE NOTE:  The blog will take the rest of the year off so I can focus on coaching my wonderful clients and enjoying Christmas activities with my friends and family.  A Cup of Caroll will return with a special New Year’s edition on January 1, 2017!  Until then, I wish you and yours Happy Holidays!

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 on fulfilling them, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.