“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.

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

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

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  or toll free 888-503-8145 to schedule their session.   

“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.

 

 

 

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist merely of words.  Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel 

As this quote reflects and last week’s blog asserted, we truly show our gratitude for all the good in our lives by doing something to pay that grace forward to those less fortunate than ourselves. And after the prolonged personalized, angry and divisive battle that was our 2016 American Presidential Election, I think we all are longing for demonstrations of love, compassion and caring among ourselves more than ever.

This past week, dozens of my readers reported their Pay-it-Forward Challenge results. I was touched, inspired and delighted by the wide variety and creativity shown by their acts of Gratitude-in-Action! Here are a few of their joyful stories of kindness, generosity and caring. I hope they will inspire you to spread even MORE joy during this season of Peace, Love and Goodwill toward others:

Acts of Service

  • A mother and her young daughter collected and shipped 72 pounds of leftover Halloween candy to her cousin in the Air Force in Germany to distribute on base. Many of the donors also included letters and pictures, wishing them Happy Holidays and thanking them for their service.
  • One woman asked on Facebook for Thanksgiving dinner donations for families who are struggling financially. She and her husband collected 30 turkeys and all the fixings and took them to a local elementary school. With the staff’s help, 30 students received a box filled with the makings of a bountiful feast for their families. Next year, her goal is to provide joy for 60 families.
  • In the news: Right before Thanksgiving, Ft. Worth police stopped a number of motorists in older vehicles for minor driving infractions such as not wearing a seatbelt or signaling a turn. As the chagrined drivers awaited a ticket, the officers instead handed them a turkey! Many jumped out and hugged the officers, and some even cried for joy.

Acts of Kindness and Compassion

  • At the store, the middle-aged bagger was methodically putting each item into the bag very slowly. Feeling impatient and about ready to take over the process herself, my reader looked at him more closely and realized he was developmentally disabled.  Her impatience was instantly replaced with gratitude and compassion: “Thank you SO much!  I love the way you organized everything so carefully.  Now nothing will get broken.”  He smiled back at her with shy pride.
  • A reader mailed Thanksgiving cards to all her customers, expressing gratitude for their support and telling them how much she appreciates them. One of them was her own 80 year old grandmother.  Grandma called my reader’s mother to say how surprised and delighted she was to receive this thoughtful tribute.
  • In addition to letting people with fewer items in their carts go ahead of her in the checkout line, one reader also says a silent blessing for them. “I try to see someone that needs something I can provide in one way or another that will allow them to smile. I feel so blessed that God presents those opportunities to me….I need to start doing even more!”
  • One reader’s office does a 40-day Luncheon Challenge where the staff all take a few minutes out of their lunch hour to write a handwritten note of gratitude to someone who has been a mentor, encourager or helper to them or someone who just needs some encouragement at the moment.

Acts of Giving

  • Many readers love to partner with a church, office or charity to “adopt” an underprivileged family and buy each member a gift on their wish list for Christmas.
  • One reader came across a Go Fund Me page to help pay medical expenses for a former high school classmate with a serious health challenge. She donated and sent him a personal note of encouragement.
  • Like me, many readers love to buy a food or beverage item for the person in line behind them. Some do this at the drive through and make a clean getaway while the surprised recipient learns that a “Secret Santa” took care of them.
  • One reader in the Midwest often swipes her own card at the turnstile for the “El” train, when a rider nearby is fumbling for their card or discovers they don’t have enough for the fare. Recently, a stranger approached her and said, “I’ve never seen anyone do that before!  I am going to start doing that too!”
  • After reading my blog about the positive impact of my own small donation to my friend Bob Perks’ local American Legion’s Veterans Day celebration, a reader with a special soft spot for veterans donated $500 toward a sumptuous Christmas party. Bob says the word has spread and attendance is likely to be huge. I am sure the vets must believe they have a special Guardian Angel looking out for them!
  • A religious high school’s fundraisers for the year garnered $100,000, which was donated entirely to charity. A single day was then set aside for staff, parents and students to make voluntary donations to support the school itself. In honor of her grandmother, who had scrimped and saved to put three children through the school on a very limited income, my reader donated $10,000.

As for me, I got to do something I thought was selfless at the time, but which has blessed me more than I can express.  In an earlier blog, I wrote about our beloved four-footed family member, Samantha, who passed away after a brief illness close to her 16th birthday in early October.

We gave away her bedding, toys and leftover food to local rescue organizations and I vowed never to have another dog again.  The pain of losing her was just too much and I never wanted to go through that again.  Besides, I told myself, now we are free of the responsibility and can come and go as we please.

For weeks, the house seemed SO quiet and empty, and one day, I got a sudden strong urge to research local rescue organizations that needed foster parents for dogs waiting to be adopted.  I specifically wanted to help an older or disabled dog that might be harder to adopt.  I believed I could give temporary comfort and care, without the painful attachment of owning (and eventually losing) another dog.

Well, God had other plans for the Schwartz family.  I found a great organization right in our town, The Little Red Dog, Inc. —  named in honor of a female pit bull that Michael Vick and his dog-fighting “business partners” beat to death because she wouldn’t fight.  On Halloween morning, I emailed them and got an immediate call back. The volunteer said there was a dog that had to be out of the foster parent’s apartment that very day and asked if I would be willing to pick her up immediately and take her to the next adoption fair that weekend.

That’s how we found ourselves driving home on Halloween evening with a tiny, seven year old Chihuahua that had been rescued by the side of the freeway.  “Diamond” is the sweetest, best-behaved dog I have ever known and she delights us constantly with her excited tail wags, wiggles, and running all around the house wanting to play.  Now Diamond Schwartz has her forever home with us and our family is experiencing an abundance of joy this Holiday Season that I could never have imagined on Halloween.

Whatever your own resources of time, treasure or talent are, I hope you get the picture that ALL acts of kindness and generosity toward others demonstrate your sincere gratitude. Paradoxically, when we pay it forward to others, it seems that MORE blessings inevitably flow to us, creating an endless circle of giving and receiving and joy.  I would welcome even MORE stories of your Pay-It-Forward Challenge results!

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.

 

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

 It’s that special time of the year — time to give thanks for all the good we have been blessed with.  As Thanksgiving fast approaches in the USA, I want to share one simple way for you to make this a truly joyful time, regardless of your present circumstances.

I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year so far for you and yours, as it has been for my family — a year of fulfillment, abundance, adventure and opportunity. But perhaps it hasn’t been so wonderful, as you may have experienced profound loss, a health challenge, financial deprivation or worry that someone you love is grappling with a serious illness or addiction.  My family experienced a very painful loss with the death of our beloved canine companion, Samantha, who passed away in October at age 16.

Whatever you are experiencing, I am confident that you know you are still profoundly blessed. Just living in Western Civilization affords us personal freedoms, security, comfort and economic opportunity far beyond what much of humanity enjoys. Simply having four walls and a roof, potable water, indoor plumbing, electricity and food in the refrigerator makes us look like royalty to billions of people who share our planet.

Longtime readers will recall that last year I created a Pay-It-Forward Challenge and invited all to participate. It was such an inspiration to hear from you about the many creative ways you found to help someone else, show them that they are important to you, or simply brighten their day and put a smile on their face. 

Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, also wrote a book called The Magic, which asserts that GRATITUDE is the most powerful positive emotion we can feel.  Being grateful for whatever you have now puts the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) into action to attract MORE of what you love to you. This book shares many, many ways to rev up your capacity for gratitude and thus attract more good into your life.

But there is a step beyond simply feeling grateful that can make your life overflow with abundance. Putting your gratitude into ACTION demonstrates your commitment and faith that unlimited good is on its way to you from God/The Universe. And Thanksgiving provides the perfect time to go beyond simply saying a special grace at the table. However big or small your current resources, you can actively DO something to bless someone, which will inevitably bless you as well.

Last year during Thanksgiving week, a stranger unexpectedly made my day by paying $5.00 toward my purchase at Starbucks.  It turned my frazzled morning around and put a smile on my face that lasted throughout the day. That simple 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 distribute to random people in line behind me. It felt even better when it was anonymous.  In fact, it felt so good that I kept it up throughout the rest of the Holidays! 

I can’t wait to repeat this joyful practice again from Thanksgiving through the end of this year. I trust that each of those surprised strangers will also pay it forward to make someone else feel special and cared about. Just think! One $5.00 gift card could create an endless chain of joy and gratitude, one cup at a time!

Your Pay-It-Forward contribution to others’ joy doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it doesn’t have to involve money at all. Here are just a few examples:

  • Today, the stranger with a full cart made me smile by letting me go ahead of him in the long checkout line at the supermarket.
  • I took two hours out of my Veterans Day holiday to help a sick friend run errands when she was too weak to drive herself. I enjoyed helping her more than I would have enjoyed the leisure time.
  • Many of my coaching clients are sending Thanksgiving cards this week to surprise their customers and business partners with a heartfelt expression of gratitude for their friendship and support.
  • My friend and fellow-coach, Bob Perks, uses his considerable musical talent to brighten local events as a free singer and DJ. He also prepares and shares meals with his fellow veterans at his American Legion post whenever he can.
  • You could help an older friend or someone who is under the weather to put up their holiday decorations or haul home their Christmas tree.
  • Cover for a colleague at work or babysit someone’s kids while they do their shopping.
  • Donate lightly-used warm clothing to an organization that helps the homeless.
  • Surprise an elderly neighbor 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.
  • Adopt a pet from your local rescue organization or shelter. If you are not prepared for a lifetime commitment, foster a pet until it can be adopted.

We have been blessed this year financially, too.  If that is also the case with you, I hope you will generously spread 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 Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah feast so much brighter.
  • Contribute a little extra to your favorite charity and make a difference for a cause you care about. I love animals, and I especially like to support local rescue organizations that operate on a shoestring, so they can spread their resources further in my community. $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 them, too.
  • When you are 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 $10 or $20 instead of spare change.

So here’s my Thanksgiving/Holidays Pay It Forward Challenge for YOU: Take one small, specific action to demonstrate your profound GRATITUDE for all your many blessings. I promise you the joy it gives you will be PRICELESSPlease let me know what you did and I will share all those wonderful ideas in my upcoming blogs.

 PLEASE NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off to spend time with my friends and family.  I wish you and yours a joyous and delicious Thanksgiving and look forward to reconnecting with you on Sunday December 4! 

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