The hard part isn't knowing exactly how to do the thing. 
It's caring enough to decide that you should
Bernadette Jiwa

In This Issue
Postcard from Barbara
As Jeff Walker, one of the top entrepreneurial and marketing trainers in the world, reminds us it's the time of year when entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs are busily thinking about the future. 

What were the ups and downs of the year coming to a close? Lessons learned? Mistakes we don't want to make again? What do we want to start? What do we want to quit?  

It's hard to avoid and certainly is worth the time to pause from the holiday busyness and begin writing down answers to those questions. It also occurred to me that there are some simple gifts that we can give to ourselves that can make the coming year richer, happier, smoother. 

Most of these gifts require a small investment of time and a few involve investing a bit of money. Best of all, most of them are gifts you can give to yourself over and over again. Take a look. 

Be Your Own Santa
Give your year a theme. Surprisingly, it can take a bit of courage to do that. I've used themes for over a decade to keep me on track and keep me thinking creatively. A theme can also be a focusing tool and helpful in decision-making.

Lest you think a theme is petty, consider how well they've worked. For instance, a party is just a party until you give it a theme. Once you do that, ideas begin popping up that fit your event. Same thing happens with your business, personal life, spiritual journey. 

Specialize in firsts. We've all had decades of being trained to follow a routine. (Thanks, Industrial Revolution.) Consequently, it takes effort and energy to come up with new activities and adventures. Challenge yourself at least once a week to do something you've never done before. 

It can be as simple as trying a new food or as accessible as jumping in your car and getting lost on purpose. If you need a reminder of how dangerous following a routine, read Fredrik Backman's delightful A Man Called Ove which introduces us to a cranky man who has spent his life keeping his life predictable.

Get inspired. Inspiration is a highly personal thing, of course. Each of us has to discover for ourselves what inspires us, what makes us feel more alive, more creative, more competent. 

As I've been reminding everyone for years, inspiration isn't vaccination. We don't just get it once and keep it. We have to go back to the well and refresh it on a regular basis. 
Stop and pay attention when an inspiring story pops up in front of you. Here's one that appeared on the evening news. 

Fill your workspace with things that inspire you. Inspiration really exists everywhere, but we have to be willing to notice.

Keep reading. As Jim Trelease warns, "People who have stopped reading base their future decisions on what they used to know. If you don't read much, you really don't know much. You're dangerous." 

Read for ideas, read for information, read about inspiring people, read fiction. Mix it up, but don't pass it up. 

Get help. Often taking the next step requires working with someone who can help you get there. For example, if you're a coach wanting to add author to your bio, you could contact Jennifer Manlowe who specializes in helping folks get published. You can investigate for yourself here. 

It may take a bit of detective work to track down the right expert, coach or webmaster, but helpful people can make a huge impact on the growth of your business. 

Take inventory regularly. I'm a fan of the 90-Day Inventory. At the end of each quarter, take some time to see where's you're at. What needs more attention? What is working beautifully?

Whole Life Leadership Coach Steve Coxsey has created a brilliant list of questions you can use to review both your personal and business lives. You can find it here.

Show up at seminars. Thanks to a cranky immune system, I had to cancel most of my events this year. Since meeting rooms are my natural habitat, not being able to show up made me a bit crankier. 

Happily, things are almost back to normal and I have plans to make up for lost time-and frequent flyer miles. The Learning Exchange in Sacramento is expanding their programs to Phoenix and I'll be on there on January 21 with Making a Living Without a Job and Establish Yourself as an Expert

If you or someone you know is in the area, I'd love to meet you. You can find details at Learning Exchange Phoenix. 

No matter where you live, stay on the alert for learning opportunities and make them a regular activity. Your future will thank you.

Allow amazement. I was so not expecting this astonishing story when I turned on 60 Minutes last week. After seeing it, I was even more astonished that I'd never heard it reported anywhere before. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Whether you've seen it or not, take 13 minutes to watch how creativity ended a 52-year civil war. 

Don't be stingy. Give yourself gifts from that list as often as possible. Give them to others, too. 

Have a wonderful holiday season and extraordinary new year.
Buon Viaggio,
Barbara Winter 

P.S. On occasion, I may receive a commission or compensation when you participate or purchase a product or service I recommend. That being said, I strive to always offer useful content and resources in each issue of Joyfully Jobless News. 

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