December 3, 2017

“Letting people know that you care does more than you imagine.  You have the power to cause them to pursue their dreams.” – Joel Osteen

The theme of my last several Holiday-season blogs has been doing good for others because that is how we demonstrate our sincere gratitude to God/The Universe for the many blessings we have been given in our lives AND because the world certainly needs more love and kindness and generosity right now.

We kicked off our annual Pay It Forward Challenge, where my readers strive to become a Messenger of Happiness by doing a kind deed for another, whether it involves a little financial generosity or support with an errand or listening ear that someone needs right now.  Your wonderful stories have been pouring in and I am going to share them in my final blog of 2017 on December 17, in hopes they will inspire even MORE kind, generous and hospitable deeds to create an atmosphere of love all around us.  Please send me your PIF stories ASAP so I can include them!

I want to share with you another specific type of kindness and paying it forward that was beautifully explained in a televised sermon by my favorite positive thought minister, Joel Osteen.  His message was about how we can make a profound difference for others simply through our words.  Words don’t cost a thing, and often take only seconds to express, but their impact can change a life and last a lifetime.

Joel said, “We don’t know what people are going through.  They’re smiling on the outside, but on the inside, they’re hurting, they’re lonely, they’re discouraged…Just a simple word of encouragement, a simple compliment is helping to heal their wounds, lifting their spirits and causing them to believe in themselves.”

He went on to explain that “Our words have the power to lift people, to help them get through a challenge, to push them into their destinies. When you tell someone ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you,’ you’re not just being kind; those are healing words.”

He listed some great specific examples about how, in just a few minutes or even seconds out of our daily lives, we can be healers and supporters by encouraging a co-worker who is down, lifting the spirits of a friend who is sick or calling a relative just to say you miss them. The clerk in the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, a friend at the gym – all of them need your encouragement and to know that you believe in them.

And he points out that a blessing isn’t a blessing unless it’s SPOKEN: “You can think nice things about them all day long, but until you tell them, they’ll never know… God put the idea in your head – now you need to SPEAK in order to heal with it.”

You don’t know what they are going through and how much it might mean to them and encourage them if you just take a moment to have a friendly interaction or give them a small compliment.  It’s amazing what a sincere, kind word can do for someone.

I had just such a Pay it Forward interaction in Starbucks recently.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always purchase a bunch of $5 gift cards and distribute them at random times to the baristas at the cash register to pay for the drinks of other customers, as my way of spreading around some Holiday Cheer.

Usually, I like to make a clean getaway, so the recipient of my little “Secret Santa” gift doesn’t know where it came from.  But on that particular mid-afternoon, nobody was in line behind me when I gave a $5 gift card to the barista and told her to give it to the next person who stepped up to the register. Then I went over to wait for my drink to be prepared.

At that moment, a woman walked in all by herself.  She wasn’t unkempt, not homeless, I’m sure.  But she looked somehow a little sad and definitely very quiet.  She carefully counted out her dollar bills and change for her drink, and then as I watched, the barista surprised her with, “No, you only owe $1.” She stood there frozen, puzzled as the barista pointed to me and said, “That lady paid for the rest of your order.”

She didn’t turn around to look at me, but eventually came over and stood next to me. Finally she said in a whisper of emotion, “Thank you SO much!”  I smiled at her, feeling a little awkward myself at being caught in the act.  All I could think to say was, “You are MOST welcome!  I wanted to spread a little joy around today.”  She smiled shyly at me and then we stood there quietly side by side for another couple of minutes until my drink arrived.

As I turned to leave, she touched me gently on the shoulder, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Thank you again. This means so much.”

I smiled at her, this time looking her in the eye too and replied, “YOU are so welcome! Have a great afternoon!”

It was such a small, brief interaction with a total stranger, but somehow, I could tell it meant the world to her. Maybe she was lonely or worried about something or grieving for someone….I will never know.  But that was by far the most emotional reaction I have ever gotten to this little gesture of camaraderie and kindness.  All I could think was, I know that God put me here today just for her and I am so glad I followed my inner urge to go to Starbucks and to bestow that gift card exactly when I did.

Joel also said, “When you are taking care of others, you are sowing seeds that will grow to fruition and come back to bless you.” As a post-script, I had an amazing example of that within 48 hours after blessing that shy stranger with my small gesture of human connection.

With some extra bills hitting in November, it had been a pretty tight month for us. I realized as I was preparing to pay our December rent that we were quite a bit short. I could have taken what I needed out of savings, but that would feel like a defeat, after working so hard to keep our “rainy day fund” sacrosanct, since experiencing the constant worry about having zero savings all during the Great Recession.

I didn’t know where the rest was going to come from, since all my client billings were done, but one thing I knew for sure, God/The Universe was the one who had the answer. MY job was simply to calm my fears, stay in belief, and keep my eyes wide open for the “How” to appear.

Within 48 hours of my caring interaction with the stranger at Starbucks, a new client came out of nowhere to sign up for coaching and another texted out of the blue that she wanted to pay for upcoming coaching well in advance!  Those two unexpected windfalls were exactly the balance needed for our December rent!

Remember this: Someone today is thirsty for your healing words, and a sign that they matter.  You can use your kind, empathetic words to encourage them and make them feel loved and valuable in life-changing ways you may never know. One type of Paying it Forward that we often overlook is PRAISE and ACKNOWLEDGMENT, especially with our own loved ones.

Joel Osteen says, “Don’t let a stranger, a coach, a teacher or a friend compliment your loved ones more than you do.  Verbalize your feelings and speak positive, healing, encouraging words to them.  And when you compliment someone in front of others, it carries extra weight.  Acknowledge them in public whenever you have the chance.”

Are you speaking words of praise, encouragement and confidence to your kids, your friends, your spouse and your business associates?  You can change the atmosphere and bring healing to a relationship or provide the confidence boost someone needs to pursue their dreams — simply through your words!  So Pay it Forward in kind words and deeds and reap the good that you sow!

PLEASE NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will take next weekend off for Disneyland and other Holiday fun! Join me on Sunday December 17 to share all your Pay it Forward Challenge results stories for our final blog of 2017.  Please email me yours ASAP so I can include them!

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.

November 19, 2017

“Messenger of Happiness” by Kate Osier

“Oh!  Let me shed a little light

on someone’s path I pray.

I’d like to be a messenger

of happiness today.

It may be just a phone call,

a smile, or a prayer,

or a long-neglected letter

that smooths the edge of care.

I want to spread some happiness

in what I say or do.

I want to make life sweeter

for someone else. Don’t you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“If I were asked to give what I consider the most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me.’” – Ann Landers

In last week’s blog (The Winning Team – Blog 261), I explored what makes for a “Winning Team.”  My inspiration was that it was Super Bowl Sunday. Little did I know when I wrote it that Super Bowl LI would turn out to be a game for the Ages.  Moreover, how the New England Patriots pulled off their come from WAY behind win provided a textbook example of what a Winning Team is all about.

As you will recall, I suggested that, besides sports teams, there are many other teams in our lives — at the office, in the network marketing industry, schools, families,  volunteers, government, etc. – and  I identified five qualities that I believe a Winning Team must have:

  • A shared Purpose
  • Mutual respect
  • Clear, honest communication
  • A team-supported designated Leader
  • Good sportsmanship

I also invited my readers to let me know of any other winning qualities they could identify.  Two did.  And both of those qualities definitely were present for the Patriots to become the #1 Winning Team in American football:

6) Heart – The first reader quoted the Super Bowl sports commentators who said the biggest difference they saw in the winner was “heart.”  That’s an evocative word which, to me, means being so completely committed to your Big Goal that you never, ever consider giving up.  You keep going even when the odds are ridiculously stacked against you because you believe in yourself, your team and your dream.

The Patriots certainly had heart.  They persevered to narrow a 25 point deficit to just 8 points behind the Falcons with about 3 minutes left to go.  I have a confession to make.  I turned off the game at that point.  I know….It looked so impossible to me, that I thought it was over. Clearly, I didn’t BELIEVE in the Patriots the way they believed in themselves.

Fortunately, because the Patriots had heart, they never gave up. They managed to tie the game in the nick of time and went into the first overtime period in Super Bowl history.

How did they do it?  One. Play. At. A. Time.  If they had simply looked at the “big picture” like I was doing, they might have been tempted to let discouragement or desperation seep in and their plays would not have worked as well as they did.  I watched the replay of the fourth quarter and overtime the next day, and I could see it all over quarterback Tom Brady’s face:  100% COMMITMENT to his goal and 100% FOCUS on what the next step needed to be.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  The Patriots persevered, one play at a time, and they triumphed.  And as I have seen countless times for myself and my clients, because of  the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”), whenever you are ALL-IN, you seem to attract a “lucky” break exactly when you need it.  In this case, the Patriots won the coin toss at the start of overtime, allowing them to receive.  And they made the very most of that opportunity with some incredible plays, culminating in a just-barely-over–the-line touchdown to win the Super Bowl.

The second reader reminded me of another very important characteristic of a Winning Team that was also present in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory:

7) Acknowledgment — Every winning team needs both a focused leader AND committed members. Every single individual on the team contributes to the win, not just the few who stand out for their extraordinary accomplishments.  Even an immensely talented quarterback like Tom Brady can’t reach his Big Goal unless every single player on the team performs his job to the utmost of his ability.  That’s why EVERY member of the Winning Team gets a Super Bowl ring, symbolizing their own hard work, sacrifice and “heart” that contributed to the team’s victory.

Every one of us craves acknowledgment, and the leader and members of a Winning Team all make sure that each and every member feels appreciated.  Be it a sports team, a business team, or a marriage, no team member who feels taken for granted will stick around for long.  Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of a trophy or money or tangible prize.  It can be as simple as the words “Thank you for your efforts” or – EVEN  better  – those words could be written in a personal note or posted publicly, so the recipient can treasure them forever.

I hope these seven qualities are something that you are actively working on incorporating into your own Winning Team, in whatever area of life it may be.  Remember, you don’t have to be perfect in order to win your game.  You just have to have heart and give it your BEST!

PLEASE NOTE:  In honor of President’s Day Weekend, the blog will take next Sunday off.  A Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday February 26.

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 to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

“Letting go of limiting beliefs and harmful habits can free up more time and space for life itself.” – from the book Half Full by john Murphy

It’s that time of year.  If you haven’t already started one, you may be planning to go on a “diet” that includes changing your eating habits so you can achieve your weight and fitness goals.

I am right there with you.  I have already lost my “Holiday Five” pounds though cleansing, balanced eating, cutting out desserts and snacks, and getting more exercise. I feel great and I am optimistic that I will be “bathing suit ready” for Rick’s and my 10th wedding anniversary celebration in Hawaii in May.

But even if you are already at your ideal weight, there’s a diet you may need to go on for your mental AND physical health.  This one isn’t about food. It’s about cutting back on negative thoughts and words — a “negativity” fast.

As discussed in my last blog, recent Harvard medical research proves that people who are optimists – defined as expecting eventual good outcomes, even if their present circumstances are challenging – are less likely to die of a number of ailments and more likely to live longer than their pessimistic peers.

Being an optimist requires a steady diet of positive thinking. This is important to remember, because “what we think about, we bring about.”  Whatever you expend your mental and emotional energy focusing on will inevitably grow stronger and more significant in your life.

This week, several of my clients confessed to feeling in a “funk” — mildly depressed, agitated, lethargic, not having the energy to take action on their own Big Goals. The root cause invariably had something to do with words – mostly other people’s words. Habitually spending your precious time around people who constantly complain, blame, gossip, express worry and fear, enumerate their ailments or are just generally crabby can definitely deplete your own positivity reserves.

Nowadays, such Debbie Downers don’t even have to be in your physical presence or on the phone with you. They can bombard you with negativity with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a smart phone.  But here’s the saving grace: They can only steal your sense of peace, joy and optimism if YOU allow it by focusing on them via social media, gossip sites, emails or texts.  YOU  alone decide what you let into your own consciousness — and also what YOU send out to others.

One client said he felt depressed after reading social media posts by people who are rabidly political, with views he feels are ugly and misguided.  But I pointed out that he doesn’t have to expose himself to their rants and he certainly doesn’t have to waste precious time that would be better spent pursuing his own success on trying to persuade them to change their thinking (which is almost always futile, by the way).  If you let yourself get upset and frustrated because you can’t change someone else’s mind, the only one punished is YOU. Your negative emotional reaction to what others say or do is only going to attract more negative people and circumstances to YOU because, as the Law of Attraction states, “energy attracts like energy.”

We should stand up for what we believe is right, of course. But you have to pick your battles in life.  You can’t let every annoying issue or person get you upset or steal precious time you could be spending on your own goals and loved ones. Today, there are seemingly limitless political issues being loudly, angrily “debated” on social media or incessantly spotlighted by the media.

I absolutely believe we need to stay aware and informed about important issues.  I rarely miss a national evening news broadcast and I read a daily newspaper.  But the national news reporting tends to focus on big issues that matter to most of us, not on “gotcha” gossip or minor scandals, at least not to the degree that social media, radio talk shows and local news seem to.  Whenever there is an important issue at stake, I pay attention to the facts; when it’s simply “gotcha” gossip, I don’t waste my time. That’s my “other diet” for the New Year.

I try to heed this quote from my favorite TV minister and positive thinker, Joel Osteen: “Your words are like seeds.  They have creative power.  In the future, we will all eat the fruit of our words.  Our words are going to produce exactly what we’re saying….That’s why we should say things like ‘I am blessed.  I am prosperous.  I am healthy.  I am talented.  I am creative.  I am wise.’ When we do, we are ….sowing good seed.  We are preparing our future for when we arrive.”

Because our words DO have great power, arguing, blaming, complaining, gossiping, mocking others’ opinions and comparing yourself negatively to others are among the common ways we unknowingly sabotage our own happiness and success.  If you allow yourself to be regularly exposed to the negative thoughts and words of others, you are letting weeds take root in your mental garden, and if you react negatively in return, you are watering those weeds. Not the kind of fruit you want to harvest, is it?

But if you take care to think and speak only words that are kind, measured, accurate, non-judgmental, encouraging and helpful, you are planting the seeds for a future crop of joy, fulfillment and success for yourself and lifting the level of discourse for the whole world.

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 to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“…we acknowledge humbly that we can never serve our veterans in quite the same way that they served us, but we can try. We can practice kindness, we can pay it forward, we can volunteer, we can serve, we can respect one another, we can always get each other’s backs.” – President Barack Obama

Holy cow, what a week!  I don’t care which side of the Presidential election you were on, I would bet that like me, you are feeling some degree of emotional, mental and physical hangover from the unprecedented rancor, bitterness, devisiveness and rage that rocked (and still rocks) our country from a relentlessly negative, personalized political battle unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.

In the aftermath of the election, I unexpectedly found my own way to regain a feeling of personal productivity and a sense of happiness, peace and optimism: I simply stopped focusing on the “big picture” of turmoil, uncertainty, demonstrations and a growing list of social ills that must be addressed by our political leaders on both sides of the aisle. Instead, I chose to focus my attention on the many small opportunities we have to make a difference, right where we are, each and every day. This Ah-Ha Moment came to me out of the blue by a seemingly-innocuous text message.

You will recall that my last blog was a reprint of a column by Bob Perks, a fellow coach and inspirational writer and speaker who lives in Pennsylvania. (I live in Southern California.) We have never met in person, but admire each other’s work.

In his “Three Taps: POW MIA” column (See “Three Taps” Blog 252), Bob wrote movingly about the symbolic meaning of each element of the “Missing Man Table” that is permanently displayed in his American Legion Post 672. I thought it was an important reminder for Veteran’s Day that we should never forget or take for granted the service of all the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces — especially those who never came home and whose loved ones never got closure. They are Missing In Action, and the symbolic empty table ensures they will never be forgotten.

Some fortunate Prisoners of War, like Senator John McCain, eventually returned home, but will forever bear the physical and emotional scars of their ordeal to protect the daily freedoms we too often take for granted, like peacefully and democratically electing our President.

After it ran, I texted Bob another thank-you for allowing me to reprint his column, and casually asked him what the “guys” (temporarily forgetting there are also women in the service!) at the Legion were going to do to celebrate Veteran’s Day.  His reply shocked me:

“I am doing a special Veterans Day performance at my Legion on Friday, along with food as best I can. I will open with patriotic music sung by me.  I cannot believe that the only thing my own Legion is providing is a free drink to each veteran.  I will feed their stomachs and spirit. I will also call on everyone there to tap three times wherever they are seated.”

I know Bob is on a very tight budget, and his determination to give them a proper celebration to honor their service touched me deeply.  So I went to my PayPal account and sent him a small donation to help with the refreshments cost. The next day, much to my surprise, I received this email from him:

Caroll, I have shared with many the fact than an “incredible friend” has sent a gift to our Legion’s veterans. “Stunned” “Amazed” “Grateful” are common reactions.

“Why would someone do that?” one asked.  Then I was pleased to hear him immediately answer his own question saying, “Most likely for the same reason you do, Bob. Tell them thank you.”

I was truly flabbergasted that my little gift made such a positive impression on a group of strangers whose service I can never begin to repay.  When I so easily clicked “Send Money,” on PayPal, it never crossed my mind that my gift would have meaning beyond the special food it would provide for them.

The next day, Bob sent me some great pictures of the sumptuous “spread,” which included his personally-prepared Fried Chicken Haluski (noodles, fried cabbage and onions), cole slaw and a half-sheet cake.  Another veteran sent 10 pizzas in honor of his late father, a Purple Heart recipient.  The room was festively decorated in red, white and blue, and “DJ Bobby” kept everyone rocking on the dance floor – including the 93 year old lady pictured above who came with her daughter who is battling cancer.

Bob said the parking lot was jammed, as about 150 Legionnaires and their loved ones (one for every dollar I donated) enjoyed the celebration and appreciated that a stranger cared enough to honor them on their special day.

This was the simple reminder I needed: Do not worry about what you cannot control.  Just look around you and see who can use a helping hand.  Red State, Blue State — We are ALL Americans. We ALL need each other.

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

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

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

November 6, 2016

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.” — Payton C. March

In honor of Veteran’s Day this Friday, I want to share with you this touching message written by my good friend and fellow coach, Bob Perks.  I have edited it for length and reprinted it with permission.  It made a big impression on me in the simple way it honors every man and woman who has served our country, at great personal sacrifice, in order to preserve their fellow citizens’ democratic rights and freedoms.  It is particularly meaningful to me because I was in High School during the era he writes about, and I had family members in that war.

This small, special group among all the brave military members who served can be easily overlooked because they never came home to a hero’s welcome OR a solemn burial.  Let us honor them, along with each and every individual who has served in the armed forces during peace and war — AND their self-sacrificing families — by demonstrating our deepest gratitude for the precious rights and freedoms they fought to defend: Let us VOTE.  

“Three Taps.  POW MIA”

By Bob Perks

In a corner prominently displayed for all to see is a simple table set for one.

The lamp stays lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Above it is the world-recognized POW MIA black and white flag imprinted with the words “You are not forgotten.”

This of course is in recognition of those who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

As you look at the above picture know these facts:

The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a place of honor, set up in military dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces and during occasions such as service branch birthday balls, in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members.

The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of U.S. concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue.

Table: set for one, it is small, symbolizing the frailty of one isolated prisoner. The table is usually set close to, or within sight of, the entrance to the dining room.

For large events, the Missing Man Table is set for six places: members of the five armed services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) and a sixth place setting reminiscent of the civilians who died during service alongside the armed forces or missing during armed conflict.

Table is round to represent everlasting concern on the part of the survivors for their missing loved ones.

Tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.

Single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood that many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.

Yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.

Slice of lemon on the bread plate: represents the bitter fate of the missing.

Salt sprinkled on the bread plate: symbolic of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.

Inverted glass: represents the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake.

Lit candle: reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

Empty chair: the missing and fallen aren’t present.

In the past year I have joined and now actively participate in American Legion Post 672 in Dallas, Pennsylvania. I serve on the board. I serve food to our vets as often as I can afford.

When visiting, I often sit at one end of the Legion.  It is a great spot to watch the members.

It was from that perch, I saw my friend approach the “Missing Man Table,” pause and tap three times on the surface.

At first I thought it was just a coincidence. Then I discovered that he did it every time he walked by.

I had to ask.

You must understand that soldiers from the Vietnam Era don’t often talk about it. I step lightly into a conversation and never ask direct questions out of pure respect.

I listen.

With John, I felt comfortable enough to question this routine.

“John, forgive me for asking, but I notice that every time you walk past our table, you stop and tap on it three times.”

John is short in stature but big in pride and attitude.  He walks slowly across the room with a slight limp.

He smiled, his face slightly blushed and said, “Oh, you noticed.”

Then as he sat up he said with a prideful look on his face, “It is in memory of three buddies.”

That’s it.  I didn’t ask anything more of him.

Like me, you can inject any possible scenario into the symbolic pause and three taps.

I will wait for a proper time when I can delve a little deeper.

It was in that single moment that he and I grew a bit.

I hold a greater respect for him and I believe John was pleased that I took notice.

I served during the Vietnam Era but nowhere near the war.  In fact, my time was really toward the end of the war and I remained stateside.

Those men and women returned to their country without parades, welcome home banners or any recognition for time served in hell.

The Table in my legion reminds us daily that many never came home.

I know of three thanks to John.

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

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

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