November 22, 2020

“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

This is one of my favorite blogs I get to write during the year!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my last post (Two Kinds of Gratitude – Blog 387), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

I recently read an article in the Los Angeles Times about a $20-million gift to the University of California at Los Angeles to fund the Bedari Kindness Institute, studying the benefits of doing good for others. The article by Teresa Watanabe said, “A friendly smile. A food pantry donation…such acts of kindness have a self-serving upside, too, as science has conclusively shown they also make you healthier….Among many other topics, [the Bedari Kindness Institute] will explore how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

According to the article, “Researchers agreed on an academic definition of kindness: an act that enhances the welfare of others as an end in itself.  When it comes to kindness, the intention, rather than the outcome is key…Kindness is complimenting someone to make them feel good, not to get what you want.  It’s sending a donation to a charity even if the check gets lost in the mail. It’s contemplating a legitimate reason why a driver who cuts you off might be in a hurry.”

One of the co-founders of the Institute, Matthew Harris, “said his own struggles, through trauma and addiction to eventual self-acceptance, made him realize the importance of cultivating kindness to oneself and others.  He said the current state of partisan politics, environmental challenges and continued violence and war gave him an urgency to help out.

“’My end goal is to have a broad platform to promote empathy and help people think about kindness,” Harris said. ‘It is, in terms of the perpetuation of our species and the ability to live with each other and nature, critically important.’”

I would add that not only does showing kindness, generosity and empathy toward others actively demonstrate your thankfulness for the many blessings in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holiday Season by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one to a barista at the counter every time I visited the store, asking her to bestow it on any customer at random after I left.  (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity can be the MOST fun of all!) This always puts a surprised smile on the barista’s face, too!

Today, I slipped a barista my first $5 gift card of my 2020 giving season and asked him to use it toward the bill of the customer behind me.  She caught up with me outside and thanked me profusely.  “That was so kind of you!” she exclaimed. “God bless you!” I could tell she was just as surprised and delighted by that little gesture by a stranger as I was several years ago.

And, wouldn’t you know it, before another five minutes had passed, the Law of Attraction kicked in and my small act of kindness came back to bless me!  As my wonderful husband Rick and I sat outside eating our lunch, a gentleman took it upon himself to move a heavy umbrella so it would provide shade for us.  We didn’t ask him; he just showed his empathy and kindness toward two strangers by that kind gesture that gave us a more pleasant lunch experience.

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

  • Most of my coaching clients are sending snail mailed Thanksgiving cards to their clients and Teams, letting them know how much they appreciate them.
  • One client spent every night for two weeks at her girlfriend’s home, cooking her dinner and caring for her as she recovered from major surgery. Her friend had no other family to help her, and this was an exceedingly kind personal sacrifice on my client’s part.
  • One reader told me about her family tradition where on one of the eight nights of Hanukkah, each family member asks the others to donate to his or her favorite charity instead of receiving a personal gift. This has taught her children to be kind and generous at an early age!
  • One reader decided to play even BIGGER and get her whole network marketing Team involved in the PIF Challenge. She is going to contact a foster care agency and find out which teenagers will soon be “aging out” of the system at 18 years old. The Team will then purchase suitcases and fill them with supplies and gift cards to give the teens a good start as they begin life on their own.
  • Another client carries on a giving tradition for foster children that was started by her dear friend’s mother, who passed away near Thanksgiving a few years ago. She runs a “pajama drive” for child- and teen-sized warm pajamas to stock nearby “foster family closets,” where foster parents can go to get donated food and supplies for their foster children. She said the drive has grown each year with more and more local business support, and it has donated as many as 100 pairs of PJs to make kids feel extra cozy and cared for at the Holidays.
  • One direct sales Team Leader gives incentive gift cards to her Team from local women-owned businesses that may be struggling right now.
  • A client told me that whenever she sees someone who looks hungry and homeless hanging around outside the grocery store, she goes in and buys them something to eat and drink and brings it out to them. She does this all year round, but knows it is especially needed in the wintertime.
  • One of my clients told me that because of COVID, she discovered one of her neighbors is a 101-year-old woman who lives completely on her own, with no family nearby. “I checked on her all summer. Other neighbors check on her too, and we help her with grocery shopping and other errands.  She is so appreciative.  I am going to take her some homemade pumpkin bread and a little note to lift her spirits this weekend.”

I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a 365-day happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories of kindness and generosity so we can all enjoy another round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes this Holiday Season!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the next two weekends off. Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday December 13.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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

November 15, 2020

“There are two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” – Edward Arlington Robinson

It would be a gross understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year and a huge disappointment for most of us. January 2020 started out with high hopes and then disaster struck just when we were getting started on manifesting our Big Goals.

Our personal challenges may be related to career, finances, politics, health, family relationships or the loss of a loved one. And then there is the once-in-a-century, ongoing challenge of trying to live inside of a world-wide pandemic that has upended all sense of “normal” during every season of this year. Nevertheless, there have also been many, many inspiring stories of people using their gifts, skills and resources to help friends and strangers cope in ways large and small.

Now, at last, the season of “gratitude,” “peace” and “goodwill” is upon us – the season when most people make an extra effort to be kind and generous toward their fellow humans.  Even though it won’t look like Holiday Seasons past, it can still be a time of rekindled hope, love and reconciliation that we all need so much. Maybe one day, this season of goodwill will last all year long, but for now, we will take what we can get!

For the past several years, from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I have used this blog to invite my wonderful readers to make life a little brighter, happier and easier for others with a “Pay-It-Forward Challenge.” It has never been more needed than right now. So, I hope that YOU will participate this year, too!  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 this annual Pay It Forward Challenge when I was at Starbucks during Thanksgiving week several 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 act of 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 plan to purchase more gift cards this week and give them away randomly at Starbucks through the end of the year.  I trust that most of those surprised strangers 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 customers doing the same thing, creating a big old warm chain of goodwill 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 don’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.
  • Send an individual email to one or more of your closest colleagues that says what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them on your team. This will make their day.
  • 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, or offer to do some service to lighten their load, such as mowing their lawn, buying their groceries for them or running another errand.
  • Donate some lightly-used warm clothing, school supplies or blankets to an organization that serves the homeless or low-income families.
  • Donate money, food, towels, blankets or pet supplies to an organization that helps loving pets that are patiently waiting for their forever homes.
  • Surprise someone who lives alone with a tin of tea and a plate of homemade holiday treats. Better yet, sit down and listen to them (socially distanced, of course) while you enjoy the goodies together.
  • Donate blood! One of my clients recently showed up to donate and the nurse asked if she would stay an extra 2 hours to give plasma, which was desperately needed for three children waiting for it.  It interfered with the plans she had for her day, but it also made her day.

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 full tank of gas.
  • Astonish a homeless person by handing them a $20 supermarket gift card instead of spare change.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity or cause. I like to support grassroots 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.
  • Take the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other relief organizations that are struggling to fill the needs of millions whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or homelessness.

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, we can demonstrate sincere gratitude for our many blessings through small acts of giving to others.  And if each of us makes it our mission to touch just ONE life in this way, we can start a tidal way of Gratitude, Kindness and Giving that just might spread a little joyous Holiday Spirit far beyond the end of this year.

Please email me your own 2020 Pay It Forward Challenge story to caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com!  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 https://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 25, 2020

This week has been one of those.  I have scrambled hourly to help my wonderful husband acclimate to being home after his back surgery three weeks ago, followed by 10 days in a skilled nursing facility to help him regain the strength to walk on his own.  He finally was strong enough to come home with a walker on Friday the 16th.

Since then, every day has been a whirlwind of activity for me, as now I am not only looking after his needs, but also doing all the chores he used to happily do, including grocery shopping and cooking. (Yes, lucky me, Rick has fixed every dinner I have had for the past 13 years of our married life!) I am doing OK at it, with my “kitchen coach” sitting a few feet away in the family room.  But it’s a task I am not used to, and therefore stressful.

I am pleased to report that Rick has made HUGE progress since coming home and faithfully doing the many exercises his physical therapist has given him.  He now scoots around the house with his walker, leaving me more time to get my own work done and serve my clients.

I will write about the very important life lessons I have gleaned from this experience in a future blog, but for now, I am busy catching up with a lot of accountabilities. So I want to share with you the following “fan favorite” blog I originally wrote in 2016 that holds an important reminder for all of us, especially in these contentious and stressful times.  I hope you enjoy it (again)!

July 31, 2016

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

One of my favorite free daily quote services is WalkTheTalk.com. I highly recommend subscribing to this F*R*E*E daily dose of good news and inspiration. Today’s post contained a link to a beautiful, inspiring short video about the power of acknowledgment, which I provided at the end of the blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s why at the start of every coaching call, I always ask my clients to tell me what they are most proud of and want to be acknowledged for at that moment.  At first, it can be embarrassing, even painful, for some people to claim their worth out loud.  But, after a few more sessions, if we ever get too far into the call before I ask, even those who always squirm the most will interrupt me with, “Hey, aren’t you going to ask me what I want to be acknowledged for?”

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

I will leave you with this wonderful post from my favorite positive-thought preacher, Joel Osteen, who is known for encouraging people to believe that more GOOD is on its way to them and their BEST days are still ahead:

“When you see someone who is struggling, a coworker who is discouraged, a friend who is not up to par, how do you respond?  Our words can be what keep a person going; our compliments can put a spring back in their step.  Now more than ever, we need to automatically let the encouragement flow.  We need to tell others how much we love them, how we value them, and tell them that they are talented and creative.  Always remember, with your words you carry life-giving water.  You carry hope, healing, encouragement and new beginnings, and you can pour it out everywhere you go.  Today, choose to speak encouragement.  Choose to speak victory and faith into others’ lives.  Instead of telling people what they’re doing wrong, instead of pointing out all their faults, find what they are doing right.  Focus on the good.  There are already enough critical, judgmental people in the world.  Let’s be people who lift others up and restore them.”

P.S. Watch this four-minute video on the importance of acknowledging and appreciating others. Copy and paste it into your browser, turn the sound up and I hope it makes YOUR day, too: http://www.flickspire.com/m/WalkTheTalk/WhileYouCan

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking next weekend off so I can catch up further!  Enjoy a Happy Halloween and look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday, November 8, 2020.  

If you would like your own F*R*E*E* subscription to receive A Cup of Caroll three Sundays a month, just go to my website at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.  Your name and email will be kept 100% confidential and will not be used by anyone else for any other purpose.

****************** Fulfill Your Dreams! ********************

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 to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

August 30, 2020

“It’s 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 person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

If you have read a few of my blogs, I am sure you are quite familiar with the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) and how it works in our lives. 

Your “energy vibration” that you constantly emanate, can be felt by everyone you come in contact with. Your energy is a product of your thoughts plus the emotions you feel as a result of your thoughts.  But it also results from your WORDS and your ACTIONS.  Those are also part of what attract to you the people, circumstances and resources that are a match for YOUR vibration.

I think it’s fair to say that most people (myself included) study how to harness the power of the Law of Attraction in order to create a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. We want to learn how to use this powerful magnetic universal force to attract the ideal clients, business partners, friends, romantic relationships, delightful material things, “lucky breaks” and financial prosperity we desire. And there is nothing wrong with that!

But I wonder how often we realize that doing something kind or generous for someone else from a purely unselfish motive also plays a big role in the Law of Attraction.  What you DO and SAY to others without thought for your own reward inevitably ends up rewarding you in big and small ways you could not have foreseen.

In The Power, which is my all-time favorite book about how to put the Law of Attraction to work for you in your daily life, Rhonda Byrne says simply, “Remember that the law of attraction says whatever you give, you receive.”

In his new book The Abundance Mind-Set, positive-thought pastor Joel Osteen says, “We don’t realize what we carry.  We have the most powerful force in the universe inside us. What may seem ordinary to us, no big deal, …. can be life-giving.  A simple act of kindness.  A simple hug. Words of encouragement.  Letting someone know that you care.  That can be the spark that brings them back to life….It’s great to receive a miracle, but there’s no greater feeling than to become a miracle.  Who are you carrying?  Who are you lifting up?  Who are you helping across the finish line?  Your destiny is connected to helping others.”

I have seen this in my own life more times than I can possibly count or remember.  Whenever I have gone out of my way to lend a helping hand, or just give another person some verbal encouragement, someone else has always been there to do the same for me, just when I needed it most.

I wrote in a recent blog about how one of my friends and former clients sent me a gift of $1,000 out of the blue. When I had to pay my taxes a couple of weeks later, the bill came to exactly $1,000.  Amazing, but then, I have seen such perfect serendipity happen time and again.

It doesn’t work if you are trying to get something in return, but if you do a good deed for unselfish reasons, your pure vibration is going to attract to you some form of self-less gift – often, when you have a pressing need and no idea HOW it is going to be met.

What I didn’t explain in detail in that blog was that years before, I had loaned my friend several thousand dollars.  She was a single mom of four, who was struggling financially, trying to stand on her own two feet after a painful divorce.  Despite having a fulfilling and important job, she was constantly “running behind the bus,” trying to cover bills and debts her husband had created. Her only option was to take out payday loans at high interest rates, which inevitably caused her to take out another loan to make it to the next payday, keeping her trapped in a vicious debt cycle, through no fault of her own.

Having recently emerged from the Great Recession, my husband and I were flush from a hot real estate market and a full coaching practice, so we offered to lend her the money to catch up on all her bills and give her a fresh start.  She reluctantly agreed and was very conscientious about paying us back each month over a couple of years.

For her family’s birthday and holidays, I voluntarily waived the monthly payments, knowing that the extra cash would make her family’s celebrations brighter.  Her happiness and gratitude made me far happier than any amount of money could have.

When she made the final payment, I considered us square and felt so fulfilled, knowing that we had played a role in helping her and her family to thrive. Then I forgot all about it… until the day years later, when I went to get the mail and found her surprise $1,000 check.

I had been praying for some direction about how God intended for us to pay our remaining taxes, given the recent downturn in our businesses due to COVID. And there was the answer in my mailbox!

Even BETTER, there was a heartfelt note enclosed, explaining that she had always intended to pay us back the “forgiven” payments as soon as she could.  When she got a BIG windfall bonus from her work (which had come at a perfect time for her needs, too) she knew she had to give part of it to us.

She and I firmly believe that these perfect solutions for BOTH of us all started with me noticing she could use some help, having the resources, and deciding to do it just because it was the right thing to do. She paid it forward again by doing the same.

Not all forms of help we can offer people are monetary, of course.  We can give someone who needs it a real or virtual hug, lend an ear, speak an encouraging word, offer to run an errand, do a chore, babysit their kids, cook them a meal, etc. There are an infinite number of gifts that don’t cost much money or take much effort on our part, yet certainly can make a world of difference to someone else.

In his book, Joel Osteen relates how, years ago, he was leaving a local cafe with his toddler son, when he noticed a man dressed in a business suit, sitting in a booth by himself.  The gentleman didn’t look down and out by any means, but Joel just had a strong feeling, “I knew I was supposed to encourage him in some way.”

So, on his way out, Joel made a point of walking by his booth, smiling at the stranger and offering him a friendly, “Hello.  How’s it going?” The man kind of laughed and answered, “Not very well. Things are kind of rough.”

“I didn’t think much about it,” Joel says. “I just smiled and said, ‘Well, I know this. It’s going to get better.’  He thanked me and I left.”

“A few months later, I received a letter…He told me how he was at the lowest point in his life at that time.  He was going through a divorce, and his whole world had fallen apart. For months, he had been in depression. But he said, ‘When you made that statement that it’s going to get better, it was like something reignited on the inside.’ That day was a turning point in his life.  He came out of the depression.  He got his fire back. Today, he is moving forward.”

You can be sure that whenever you take time to do or say something kind, generous or encouraging for someone, it absolutely WILL come back to bless you. The one you help may not be the one to repay you directly, like my friend did. But thanks to The Law of Attraction, you can be confident that God/The Universe has created the perfect mechanism for making sure that “whatever you give, you receive.” And life doesn’t get much richer than that!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking Labor Day Weekend off.  I hope you enjoy yours!  Look for your next fresh Cup of Caroll on Sunday September 13.

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

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

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

 

 June 14, 2020

 I am publishing this Father’s Day tribute a week early because I will be taking next Sunday off.  

 I hope you have plans to spend your Father’s Day with a wonderful father – yours, your children’s, your spouse’s or just a man you admire.  I gratefully acknowledge everyone who is a father or who acts as a role model/mentor for someone else. The influence of a strong, positive role model on a young child is one of life’s most precious gifts, and these heroes don’t get all the credit they deserve for fulfilling this challenging role.

 My longtime readers will recognize this post because I have published it before.  I wanted to do so again for one of my dear clients, who recently lost her beloved father after a valiant fight with cancer.  Kerri, your father was your best friend, just like my father was for me. This is in honor of both our Dads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next Sunday off.  (It’s the start of my birthday week.)  A Cup of Caroll will return with a new blog on Sunday June 28.

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

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

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

April 19, 2020

“You will be as much value to others as you have been to yourself.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

In the last blog (Be Kind to Be Happy – Blog 368), we read about an example of kindness to others in this very challenging time for all of us.  Acting on an inspired inner urge, a man spontaneously stepped outside of his usual role of “newspaper deliverer” to deliver vital supplies to seniors and others on his route who were unable to shop for themselves while on “home stay.”

Each of us has gifts and abilities and resources we can offer when needed, IF we are willing to be bold and step outside the comfort zone of the usual “role” that we are comfortable playing.

Today, my wonderful husband Rick and I did a small kindness that will, hopefully, make a life-changing difference for one deserving dog and one generous family.  We are among the many volunteers for The Little Red Dog, our hometown grassroots dog rescue organization that finds homes for abused, neglected and surrendered dogs of all breeds, ages and conditions.

We picked up “Akua,” a sweet former Hearing Service Dog who was surrendered at the vet by an elderly couple who brought him in for surgery. The vet said it looked like he had not had much medical attention in his life. The Little Red Dog lined up a potential new home for Akua and needed transportation to pick him up and deliver him to a “meet and greet” with his potential new owners.

It was early Saturday and raining to boot, but we stepped up and drove the 30-mile round trip to shuttle Akua from the vet to his (hopefully) new forever home. As soon as he was in the backseat, lying calm and docile beside me, I forgot about how early it was and how I hadn’t had my Starbucks yet.  When we delivered an eager Akua to the nice young man and a skilled dog trainer from TLRD who met them at the home to oversee their matchmaking, I knew we had done something far more valuable than spending the morning comfortably lounging on the couch with a newspaper and coffee.

I hope you have been finding ways to help your friends and neighbors (and perhaps a stranger or two) get through this very tough time with a little more lightness and ease.  You bring massive VALUE to others, just by being a listening ear or running a small errand for them, as Rick did recently. He called one of his real estate clients, a single woman who lives alone and has a serious underlying condition, to ask if she needed anything.  She told him she was buying her groceries online and having them delivered, but with the last three orders, the shopping service could not secure toilet paper, paper towels or tissues.  Not a voluntary “morning person,” Rick got up early the next day to go to the grocery store during “Senior Hours” before the crowds, found the elusive supplies she needed, and then delivered them to her house in another town.  I was so proud of him for thinking of her and making that extra effort.

The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” Thus, the thoughts and beliefs you hold and the actions you take will inevitably draw to you the people, circumstances, resources and “good breaks” that are a match for your own optimistic, positive and selfless energy. Or, as The Bible puts it, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” By being good to others and bringing your unique VALUE to the world, you will receive everything you need, as well.

I, of course, have daily opportunities to help others with my coaching skills.  I spent time this week on several free session calls and thoroughly enjoyed being of service to those who needed some clarity, motivation or just a reminder of their own intrinsic worth.  My regular clients not only pay me with money (which is especially appreciated right now!), but also reward me emotionally by taking time to validate how the mindset tools I teach them are working to help them gain abundance and success.

One client is successful in her day job, but dreams of becoming the paid, published author she knows is her true calling. We have been working together for just a couple of months, so I was delighted when I got a surprise email from her, stating that she submitted a blog to a self-help/resources website that pays for content.

She wrote, “All weekend, I kept getting the thought to submit my piece to them.  I finally listened to my intuition (and not my head) and I kept seeing the email in my head that it got accepted.  [A little more than 24 hours beyond the deadline they had given for acceptance], they emailed me and said they were accepting it for publication and I would be paid.… I wanted to share with you what happened, as validation of the entire process.  I know that YOU know it works, but feel free to share my little success story with prospects or clients…. This is definite confirmation I’m on the right track.”

A second client texted me: “I just wanted to let you know about my Law of Attraction experience this week.  I made contributions to my son’s college fund, contributed to an F & B support fund, bought dinner for a colleague with a fiance in the medical industry and bought [Rodan and Fields] Soothe products to give away to medical staff.  The total was just over $1400.  Yesterday, I received a final check from a relative’s estate for just over $1330.  Normally, I would not have made the connection, but thankfully now I can recognize it.”

Just for fun, to close out the subject of value, here is a little story that reminds us that we ALL deserve to have a healthy (but humble) sense of self-worth.  After all, it was God who created each of us with our own unique gifts and attributes, and God doesn’t make mistakes! It’s up to US to use our gifts to bring VALUE to others, and then we naturally will be blessed in return.

The difference between dogs and cats

A German Shepherd, a Doberman Pinscher and a cat died.

In Heaven, all three faced God, who wanted to know what they believed in.

The German Shepherd said, “I believe in discipline, training, and loyalty to my master.”

“Good!” said God.  “Sit at my right side.”

“Doberman, what do you believe in?” asked God.

The Doberman answered, “I believe in the love, care and protection of my master.”

“Aha!” said God.  “You may sit to my left.”

Then God looked at the cat and asked, “And what do you believe in?”

The cat replied, “I believe you are sitting in my seat.”

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

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

I want to be of service to you, your friends, colleagues and loved ones, especially now! To schedule a NO-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me while I still have openings at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com

April 12, 2020

“Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” – Maxim Gorky

I think this is an appropriate topic for the strangest Easter and Passover most of us have ever experienced:  It seems that many people have jumped on the Ellen DeGeneres “Be Kind” bandwagon since we all began hunkering down weeks ago to ride out this damn global pandemic.  And I think that is a great thing.

Every one of us is suffering from some form of DTSS (During Trauma Stress Syndrome), whether it is worrying about running out of toilet paper and eggs, struggling to be a live-in tutor to your antsy kids, striving to work effectively from home in order to keep your job or business afloat, or waiting anxiously for some financial assistance from the government.

For every story of people acting selfishly or tragic loss of life or livelihood, it seems there are even MORE stories of regular people going out of their way to help their neighbors or even strangers. These stories of thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity brighten our days and give us the stamina to carry on yet another day under trying circumstances.

The evening news recently featured the inspiring example of a middle-aged newspaper carrier who got a message from one of the homes on his route, asking him to please put the paper closer to the house.  That got him wondering, “If the lady who lives there can’t make it to the end of her driveway to get the paper, what else might she be struggling with?”  He checked on her and found she was elderly, lived alone and was worried about how she was going to get groceries when she wasn’t supposed to leave the house.

The newspaper carrier asked for her shopping list and went to the store for her, dropping the sealed bag of groceries on her porch.  She was, of course, overcome at his kindness and generosity.

That alone would have made him a hero, but he took it further, leaving notes inside ALL of his route’s newspapers asking if anyone else needed help shopping.  Now he has a regular route of people whose age or mobility issues make him a lifesaver.  He does this on top of his other job and doesn’t charge anything for the service.  He just saw a need and said it makes him feel good to help out his fellow human beings.

Even though he has sought no reward or publicity, I predict that man will be MAJORLY blessed in return. The Law of Attraction says, “energy attracts like energy,” and the Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”  Thus, I am confident that he will receive whatever assistance HE needs in any area of life.

I recently read a daily inspiration by minister Joel Osteen that reminds us that each of us can use our own gifts, abilities and resources to be the miracle someone is looking for right now:

“Many people are praying for a miracle.  ‘God, please send me a friend.  God, I need help with my children.  I need training. God, I need a good break.’ We have to realize that we can become the miracle they need.  God uses our lives to touch and encourage and bless others.  God will bring people across our path so that we can be the answer to their prayers.

Take time to become the miracle.  You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone.  Be aware of who is in your life.  Listen to what they are saying.  Is there any way that you can help? Those are opportunities to become their miracle. God put them there on purpose. It’s because you are full of miracles in you….There’s friendship, there are new beginnings. You can lift the fallen.  You can restore the broken.  You can be kind to a stranger.  You can become someone’s miracle.”

Last week, I sat thinking of how I have time on my hands right now, since my coaching roster is uncharacteristically thin.  People who had been planning to come into coaching have put it off until the dust settles, and I understand that.  Even so, I know that I have valuable skills, insight and experience to offer people who need it right now.  What can I do about that, I wondered?

Then the idea came to me: Offer a free one-hour phone coaching session to ANYONE who wants it! I have almost 16 years of experience as a Certified Life and Business Coach.  In the past six years, I have been kept very busy with mindset and business coaching for my network marketing clients, but I have the ability to help anyone with clarifying their options, strategizing for a particular goal, adjusting their attitude or just providing them with safe space for compassionate, non-judgmental listening.

So if you or someone you know could use some help with clarity, strategy, resources or just  good listening, I am offering one hour of phone coaching free of charge, with no strings attached.  (Just be clear that I am NOT a licensed therapist, medical professional or financial advisor.  If you need those types of professional support, please reach out to a qualified professional ASAP!)

Several people have already responded, but I still have a number of openings left in April, so I invite you or someone you will kindly forward this invitation to, to contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com ASAP and I will respond with my calendar of openings around my current clients’ reserved times, of course.

I look forward to connecting with new and old friends and maybe being a small “miracle” in someone’s life right now, as many people have already been in mine! (My special heartfelt thanks go out to my hairdresser Peggy, landlord Randy, dog groomer Janet, ace tax professional Charity, dear friend and mentor Leslie Zann, loyal clients and many other friends and supporters too numerous to mention!)

I hope YOU will use your own unique gifts, skills, listening ability, connections, resources or simple pay-for-the-car-behind-you-in-the-drive-through powers to be a miracle for someone, too.  Together, we can heal the world, one kind gesture at a time. And I know that we will reap much happiness in return!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, please visit https://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to sign up.

Also, if you haven’t yet checked out Leslie Zann’s NEW coaching series on Facebook Live, you really MUST!  She gives her wonderful input to help all of us design our new lives in “home stay” mode.  It will lift your spirits and give you great ideas for prospering during this challenging time. Her 15-30 minute daily live presentations on mindset, skill set, viewpoint, courage and Open Mic are all at 7:00 am Monday-Friday for the next few weeks at http://www.facebool.com/lesliezannconsulting. (Of course, if you are not an early riser, you can watch the recordings later, as well.)

February 16, 2020

“…Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39, NIV)

However you spent your Valentine’s Day – with your sweetheart, a four-footed pal, a BFF, or just enjoying your own company – I hope you felt LOVED.  The most important person on the planet for you to love is YOU.

If you are not being loved, respected or treated right by someone else (a boss, teacher, romantic partner, friend, upline, downline, neighbor, etc.), The Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” Therefore, if you recognize that you are attracting people into your life who do not seem to be honoring and valuing you (especially if you see a pattern among several people), it’s a good idea to honestly assess how YOU are feeling about and treating yourself.

I have always loved two quotes from psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and I often share them with clients who are dealing with someone who is behaving unkindly or disrespectfully toward them:

“No one will ever value you more than you value yourself.”

“We teach other people how to treat us.”

If we allow someone to mistreat us because we feel we somehow “deserve” it or it bothers us but we just keep quiet, trying to avoid “conflict,” their disrespectful behavior is sure to be repeated. If, however, YOU believe and behave like you are valuable, others will treat you that way. Or, if they need your polite but firm correction, they will definitely change their attitude and behavior toward you in the future.

And, if you want to love others more, you first need to love yourself, human imperfections and all.  Remember, God/The Universe couldn’t create junk – therefore, you ARE a masterpiece.

There are two things I believe all successful people have in common: Self confidence and Self-esteem.  The former is you believing that you are capable.  The latter is you believing that you are lovable.

If you were raised by well-meaning parents to believe that loving yourself displeases your Creator because it is “prideful” or “selfish,” here is a different spiritual outlook from my favorite positive-thought minister, Joel Osteen:

 “Love Yourself (By Joel Osteen)

Jesus said that if you don’t love yourself in a healthy way, you will never be able to love others in the way that you should. This is why some people don’t have good relationships. If you don’t get along with yourself, you’ll never get along with others. We all have weaknesses, shortcomings, and things that we wish were different. But if you see yourself as less than, not talented, and not valuable, you will become exactly that. If you feel unattractive on the inside, you will convey feelings of unattractiveness. That’s going to push people away. You carry yourself the way you see yourself.

People see you the way you see yourself. Perhaps if you quit focusing on your flaws and start loving yourself in a healthy way, being proud of who God made you to be, then as you send out these different messages, it’s going to bring new opportunities, new relationships, and new levels of God’s favor.”

Remember, there are only two opinions about you that TRULY matter: Yours and your Creator’s. If you steer your life by those, not only will you be happy and successful, you will be able to reflect your healthy self-love out to the rest of the world and make a positive difference in the lives of many others.  And I can promise you that you will feel loved and valued in return.

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

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

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

December 8, 2019

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schulz

(First, I have to say “Happy Birthday” to my brother, Harbison Parker.  Big Bro, I hope this is a great one for you and your family!  — Love, Your Lil’ Sis)

In case you didn’t read the last two blogs, I started the Pay it Forward Challenge spontaneously several years ago around Thanksgiving because a gentleman in line ahead of me at Starbucks surprised me by paying for my drink. When I tried to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”

My day had not been going too well up to that point, but this stranger’s thoughtful gesture turned my frown upside down and I wanted to pass along that warm feeling to others.  So, I bought a packet of $5.00 Starbucks gift cards and gave one to the barista at the counter whenever I stopped in throughout the Holidays, asking her to bestow it on whomever she wanted. This made me happier than any of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received!

Gratitude is thankfulness in ACTION, so I challenged my coaching clients and cherished readers to do some kind and generous act for someone else during the Holidays to show their sincere gratitude for all the many blessings in their lives. Year in and year out, they have come through in many creative ways.

Now, to finish off our “Pay it Forward Challenge 2019 results stories, I am happy to share more of their great ideas with you, in hopes they will inspire you to do a nice deed for someone else and keep our chain of “comfort and joy” going.

  • One reader recently baked 10 pies to share with the residents of the assisted living home where she regularly visits her dad.
  • Another reader emailed, “I live in a rural town. Many of my friends and I are giving $100 each to our local police department.  The plan is that the officers will randomly give $20 to folks they come across that need it.  It helps our police department, too, by giving them a positive influence in our community.”
  • A teacher spends about 20 minutes of class time on “Gratitude Fridays.” First, she shows her 6th graders a short video about some aspect of gratitude. (She says there are LOTS of these videos on YouTube and TED talks.) Then she gives them a different assignment each week designed to expand their understanding of the importance of being grateful. This past week, she had them list 10 things they were grateful for in their lives right now and say WHY they felt thankful for each thing. For example, “I am grateful for my Mom because she fixes me breakfast and makes sure I get to school on time every day.”
  • One reader told me her church has a tradition of asking each family in the congregation to purchase a warm sleeping bag on Amazon.com and have it shipped directly to the church, which then takes all the sleeping bags to the streets and distributes them to the homeless.
  • Local grassroots organizations give us great opportunities to pay our blessings forward in many ways. One reader in Colorado has her kids fill backpacks with books and school supplies and drop them off to Kinsey’s Kids, which serves underprivileged children.
  • Similarly, the local Rodan + Fields direct sales community supports Hope House of Colorado, whose mission is to provide local teen moms with encouragement, education and empowerment. This is the third year the community is coming together to do the Christmas Stocking and Stuffers Drive. The consultants can personally shop for toys or much-needed supplies for the moms and their precious kids, or simply make donations online that are then turned into purchases by other volunteers.

Here is a recent Pay It Forward story that I loved in the online good news feed:

Adrianna Edwards used to have to walk four and a half long hours in order to get to work every day at a Denny’s restaurant in Galveston, Texas. She had been scrimping and saving to buy herself a car so she would no longer have to make the 14-mile trek to and from her job.

An anonymous couple who Edwards had been serving at her restaurant learned about her grueling commute. Hours after they paid their bill, they returned to the restaurant with a 2011 Nissan Sentra and handed the keys to a dumbfounded Edwards. Their only condition for the gift was that Edwards simply pay the good deed forward.

Now that she is freed from having to buy a car, Edwards says that she will be able to put herself through college much sooner than she expected—and she is already planning on using her good fortune to help others.

“I still feel like I’m dreaming. Every two hours, I come look out my window to see if there’s still a car there,” Edwards said. “When I see somebody in need, I’ll probably be more likely to help them out (and) to do everything that I can to help them out.”

But of ALL the many wonderful stories my cherished readers have submitted so far, one is my very favorite.  It proves that one simple act of kindness that “someone will never be able to repay” can create miracles for them – and YOU:

“I got into a minor car accident last spring and the young man at fault told me that his car had been broken into earlier that day and his license and wallet had been stolen. I could see the broken window, and I believed him.  Clearly, he was having a REALLY bad day. He asked me if he could pay for the damage himself, because he didn’t want his insurance rates to skyrocket. 

I agreed and took his information. My local garage gave me an estimate of $1400 for the body work. He didn’t have that much in a lump sum, but asked to send me what he could every month, and I agreed to hold the payments until $1400 had been accumulated.  He was faithful to his word, sending me a few hundred each month until it reached $1400.

By that time, the lease was up on my car, and I turned it in and got a new one, without ever fixing the damage.  Of course, I expected to hear from the dealer about charging me for the repairs, but weeks went by and I was amazed that they never contacted me.

I didn’t want to keep the young man’s $1400, since it was no longer needed for repairs, so I called him. He sounded groggy, like he had been asleep.  I reminded him who I was and said, ‘I have some good news for you!  I am going to Venmo you your $1400 back.’ 

He was completely flabbergasted!  He blurted out, ‘I lost my job and it’s been really tough.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent this month.  You are an ANGEL!’ He even called me back to thank me a second time and make sure he hadn’t been dreaming!  I just told him to pay it forward and wished him a great Holiday.”

3 Steps to Becoming More Grateful from DailyHealthPost.com

“In times of hardship, or stress, it might seem difficult to be grateful.  But if you really think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. If you engage in only one prayer, let it simply be a heartfelt ‘thank you.’  Here are three easy ways to put yourself in the mindfulness of gratitude.

  • Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for – list at least three. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning before your day begins or at night before sleep.
  • Make it a point to tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
  • When you look in the mirror, give yourself a moment to think about a quality you like about yourself or something you have recently accomplished.

Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

Let’s keep the gratitude goodness flowing through the rest of the Holidays!  If we all continue to do random small good deeds for others and ask them to Pay it Forward, this truly will be a Season of Comfort and Joy for the many lives that your kindness will touch.

PLEASE NOTE: Next week will be the final Cup of Caroll for 2019.  In it, I will share my own Gratitude Miracle with you and give you a preview of some exciting things I have planned for the New Year!

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

************ Give Yourself or Someone Else 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.  You can offer this to a friend as well!

November 24, 2019

“The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” – Walt Whitman

This is one of my favorite blogs I get to write during the year!  I hope it will be just the first, as more and more of my cherished readers share what they have done to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter during the Holidays.

If you didn’t read my last post (Show Your Gratitude – Blog 355), it kicked off the annual Pay It Forward Challenge that I began several years ago.  From Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I invite my wonderful readers to join me in spreading some “comfort and joy” wherever we are, as a way of putting our gratitude into ACTION by making an extra effort to be kind and generous toward our fellow human beings.

A new client recently sent me an article from DailyHealthPost.com titled “Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier.”  Psychologists from the University of California Davis and the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude.  Among the randomly-selected study subjects, one third kept a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.  Another third recorded daily irritations or events that had displeased them.  The last third of the study group wrote down daily situations and events that occurred, with no special emphasis on either positive or negative emotional reactions as to what had happened.

The randomly-assigned group that wrote daily about things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other two groups.  In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The article concluded, “Through the power of gratitude, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good.  The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for.  This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.”

I would add that not only does paying it forward to others demonstrate your sincere thankfulness for the blessing in your life, but it is also a proven way to put the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to work bringing you even MORE good to be grateful for.

Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture.  I got the idea for the PIF Challenge when someone ahead of me in line at Starbucks paid for my drink.  When I approached him to thank him, he just smiled and said, “I trust you will pay it forward.”  And I did just that for the rest of the Holiday Season by buying multiple packs of $5 Starbucks gift cards and giving one to a barista at the counter every time I visited the store, asking her to bestow it on any customer at random after I left.  (Anonymous gestures of kindness and generosity can be the MOST fun of all!) This always puts a surprised smile on the barista’s face, too!

At the end of the last blog, I asked you to email me your own Pay it Forward stories so I could share them with other readers, in hopes of inspiring even MORE random acts of kindness and generosity among us.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

  • One reader regularly slips a note with a $10 bill in it into a package of diapers at Walmart for a surprised new mom to find when she opens it. The note says, “I know being a new mom can be tough.  You are doing a great job!”
  • My reader was standing in line at a restaurant cash register when she overhead that the guest in front of her was $5 short to pay her bill. While the woman frantically ran out to her car to search for more money, my client anonymously paid the balance for her.
  • Another reader at a restaurant noticed a less-than-prosperous-looking elderly couple sitting nearby and anonymously paid their tab before he left.
  • Many said they purposely over-tip hardworking servers and leave a note with the bill that says, “Thank you for your service!” (I recently heard of a new tipping practice that is apparently catching on in which those who can afford it leave a tip for the server equal to the amount of the bill. I hope one day soon to be able to do that myself!)
  • For several winters in a row, one of my readers has put together comfort bundles that include a couple of pairs of new warm sox, protein bars, Cutie tangerines and bottled water. She carries them in her car and hands them out to any homeless folks she sees. Once, when she went to the “skid row” section of her city to hand them out, a number of people ran up to her excitedly, having heard about her comfort bundles.
  • Similarly, a reader’s church has an annual drive to collect travel-size personal hygiene items like shampoo, shaving cream, soap, toothpaste, etc. to bundle together and distribute to the homeless throughout the year.
  • Several selfless readers say they plan to volunteer serving meals to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • One reader decided to play even BIGGER and get her whole network marketing Team involved in the PIF Challenge. She had them read my blog, and then told them that anyone who posts on the Team’s Facebook page about an act of kindness or generosity they did will get one chance in her raffle for a fun gift. The more acts of kindness they post about, the more chances they earn in the drawing.
  • One of my clients who teaches 6th grade gave her class the assignment to think about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and write a page about all the things they can feel grateful for IN ADVANCE about it, such as spending fun times with friends and family they don’t often see. She asked them to really think deeply, visualize what they want and be specific. They already knew how to journal about things they are grateful for in their lives right NOW, but this assignment taught to be forward thinking by feeling grateful IN ADVANCE for what they WANT to have happen – which is a tried and true technique for triggering the Law of Attraction to MAKE it happen!
  • Rick and I helped “Gracie,” a sweet big dog who needed a ride from the vet to a temporary boarding facility, while our favorite local grassroots non-profit, The Little Red Dog, went about finding her a good new Forever Home for the Holidays. The round trip took two hours on busy freeways, but it was totally worth it.

I hope these Pay it Forward Challenge stories will give you some new ideas for creative ways to put your own gratitude into ACTION to help others. Once you start, I predict it will become a 365-day happy habit for you! Please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and share your own stories so we can all enjoy another round of inspiring Pay It Forward outcomes this Holiday Season!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking the holiday weekend off. Look for your next Cup of Caroll to arrive on Sunday December 8.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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