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  • IdeaStarter #9 Immune to the Idea Virus?

    Although this week we’re looking  at ways to nurture inspiration—the grandparent of ideas—it’s equally important to consider the factors that shut off creative thinking. As Dr. Phil likes to point out, you can’t solve a problem you don’t acknowledge. What makes it even easier for these idea [...]
  • Great Businesses for Bookworms

    Jan Dean and I became friends because of our mutual love of books. Several years ago, Jan was doing conferences and workshops in northern Texas on starting a home based business. She ordered Winning Ways, the newsletter which I publish, and promptly wrote me a charming letter telling me about [...]
  • Tips for the Apprentice Expert

    Write a one-paragraph biography of yourself such as you might see listed at the end of a seminar description. How can you describe yourself in a brief and interesting way? Make a list of 10 tip sheet subjects. Write one of them. Now make a list of all the ways you can use this list. Pick one [...]
  • Overlooked Excellence

    There are only two reasons I bother to set my alarm clock: an early flight or CBS Sunday Morning. Since my local tv station carries this unfailingly informative program at revolving times (it can start anywhere from 6 AM to 7:30 AM) setting my alarm is a calculated guess.  I am kind of a [...]
  • Keys to Unlocking Your Passion

    Finding our passion is really learning to hear the voice of our heart. This voice is never timid, lukewarm, or insipid. It doesn't use the word "should." When we connect with an idea, object, or person that generates passion, the voice of our heart exclaims, "That's for [...]
  • The Business of Uncluttering

    For years, would-be entrepreneurs have been advised to "find a need and fill it." Sometimes those needs are hiding in plain sight. A couple of summers ago, I decided to spend time uncluttering my life. I planned to go through every file, drawer and closet and get rid of anything that no longer [...]
  • Who Me? Take a Sabbatical?

    When funnyman Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel came out it enjoyed critical raves and enthusiastic sales. Although the author has long been recognized for his fertile comic mind, he told the Today Show's Matt Lauer that the book would not have happened if he hadn't taken time off. His sabbatical [...]
  • Odds & Ends

    The handouts are printed, the hotel has our room set up order, the Mystere tickets are booked. Everything that needs to be ready for another great Compelling Storytelling is in place. Alice Barry and I aren’t the only ones getting more excited as the days grow closer. Here’s a comment [...]
  • Kindness Appreciated

    About six weeks ago, I wrote about my trip to the Dale Chihuly exhibit in San Francisco. Nevertheless, I was surprised to open my mailbox this morning and discover a large package from Chihuly Studios. Since I knew I hadn't ordered anything from there, I thought it might be a belated birthday [...]
  • My Love Affair With Trader Joe’s

    Since my daughter Jennie moved to Austin, TX she’s loved everything about her new hometown except that there’s no Trader Joe’s. When I go to visit, I tuck several of her favorites in my suitcase, but they’re a poor substitute for having our favorite grocer available on a regular basis. For [...]
  • A Potential Diamond Mine in Your Back Yard

    Are you living in a place that you love, a place that attracts visitors? If so, you could be sitting on a logical profit center — the proverbial acres of diamonds in your own back yard. Hospitality is big business and there are wonderful small-scale opportunities to meet and greet guests who [...]
  • Shaping Up Your Office for the New Year

    Several years ago, I was having tea with friends at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara when the conversation turned to feng shui, the Chinese art of placement. I knew nothing about it and decided to investigate. I made several attempts to learn more by reading about feng shui, but found the [...]
  • Inspiration Galore

    Inspiring people were turning up everywhere this week. The January/February issue of Ode magazine arrived with its cover story called 25 Intelligent Optimists Who Are Creating a Better Tomorrow Today. Most of the people profiled aren't famous, but they're sincerely making a difference. If you [...]
  • Idea Starter #1 Get Moving

    Move around. Whenever I see Rodin’s statue of The Thinker, I’m certain that whatever he’s thinking about is not causing a creative rush. Sitting and thinking while hoping ideas will land in your lap is both grueling and ineffective. While our minds need to rest, daydreaming seldom spawns a new [...]
  • Putting the Odds in Your Favor

    Here in Las Vegas, we post the odds in our casinos. They are not in your favor. That does not seem to dissuade people from attempting to beat them, of course. I learned about  more favorable odds from my sister Margaret. Years ago, I was fretting about something--earthquakes or tornadoes, [...]
  • How to Support Your Wanderlust

    Been bitten by the travel bug and need a way to finance your dream? You don't have to win the lottery in order to see the world. Finding a way to fund your travel dreams can be a creative adventure in and of itself. While many might forego travel or spend years scrimping to save up for a big [...]
  • IdeaStarter #15 Refuse to Have Boring Problems

    During the bleakest time of my life, my neighbor John stopped by to see how I was doing. Relieved that someone cared about me (I told you this was bleak), I rattled off a lengthy list of my latest woes. When I finished, John put his arm around my shoulder, smiled at me and said, “Barbara, [...]
  • More Good Stuff to Explore

    Of all the Christmas gifts that Jack has received, there's one that he remembers most fondly. When he was still dreaming about being a writer, his sister gave him a copy of Writer's Market.   It was the first time anyone had encouraged his writing aspirations—and it made a big difference. [...]
  • Equipped for Chaotic Times

    Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Sun ran a brilliant piece by Tom Breitling which began, “The economic news is relentless. Home foreclosures. Teetering mortgage companies. Tottering airlines. Brands that once rode high are going bankrupt. Job losses. Dangerous levels of public and private debt. [...]
  • Friendly Fearbashers

    If you quake at the thought of going out on your own and setting up shop, here are some fearbashers that can reroute you back to the road to success. Do temporary work. March into a temporary help agency and get signed up for a short-term project. When you get an assignment, don't think of [...]
  • Change You Can Believe In

    When a word or phrase is used too often, it can lose its punch. Consider Joseph Campbell’s oft-quoted, “Follow your bliss,” which seemed breathtaking the first time we heard it. Today’s buzzword is, of course, change. It's taken a bit of a beating in the past weeks, which is a shame. When an [...]
  • Consistent Effort Leads to Consistent Visibility

    How do you become a household name? The simple answer: by relentlessly getting your message out, by generating publicity for yourself, by finding new ways to package information. While this can be a time-consuming activity, having a monthly goal can keep you moving forward. Here are some basic [...]
  • New Year, New Theme

    1. September 2008  Happy New Year! Even if you don’t consider September the start of a new year as I do, you can use this idea to start the new month or phase of your life. I wouldn’t dream of starting a new year or a new project without deciding first what my theme is. After all, a party [...]
  • Being an Entrepreneurial Villager

    My flight to London had barely lifted off when my seatmate and I began to chat. I soon learned that the handsome man seated next to me was a former art teacher who reinvented his life and now is a fulltime painter. Since English landscapes are his specialty, he was a frequent flyer to England. [...]
  • How to Spot an Inspired Entrepreneur

    ° They love innovation and ideas ° They ask "what if" alot ° They drop names of people they admire ° They study success ° They are not satisfied with the status quo ° They understand the power of practice ° They show up at gatherings of other inspired entrepreneurs ° They are tireless [...]
  • A Few of the Books I Loved This year

    This is the time when I traditionally pick my favorite title of the year. Looking back on 2008 (and my sagging bookshelves) I see that I had many new favorites in the past months. This is just a sampling of books that stayed with me long after I finished reading them. It was only a few weeks [...]
  • A Vote for Your Success

      At the end of the late night rally in Orlando last week, Barack Obama talked about stories and told the crowd, “Everyone here has a story. I want your stories to be heard.”   Marketing genius Seth Godin blogged today about lessons for marketers from the campaign. I’d been noticing how [...]
  • A Well-kept Secret

    Have you visited Inspiration Station yet? My plan for that part of the site is to explore different places from an entrepreneurial point of view. The current locale is one of my favorite places—Venice, Italy. I've been thinking about Venice since I wrote the pieces there, so I was particularly [...]
  • Book a Paid Adventure

    Peter Leshak is a writer and handyman who spends part of his time fighting forest fires. When a television reporter asked him about this dangerous and difficult occupation, Leshak shrugged off his concerns by saying, "I think of it as a paid adventure." Without doing anything nearly so [...]
  • IdeaStarter #6 Create a Garden for Your Mind

    Look up from the computer you’re reading this on. What do you see? Reminders of places that inspire you? Books worth rereading? Does it matter? You probably know what I think the answer is to that last question—and I'm not alone in thinking that it matters a great deal. In 1883 Claude Monet [...]