While I don’t have any hard evidence, I suspect that many authors have a box like the one in my office labeled Fan Mail. I truly appreciate my readers who have taken the time to let me know that they liked/learned/appreciated something I wrote.

Some fan letters are so unique that I memorize them. One of my favorites came from a reader in Houston who said, “I went to the bookstore to purchase a book on resume writing, but your book made such a commotion on the shelf that it wouldn’t let me leave without buying it.”

I’ve amused my self from time to time imagining Making a Living Without a Job dancing around in a bookstore singing, “Buy me, buy me.”

And, of course, I’ve had my own experiences being snapped to attention by a book that refused to be ignored.

One such encounter happened several years ago when I was browsing in a small bookstore in Minneapolis that specialized in spirituality and personal growth titles. I went into the store with nothing in particular in mind.

A few minutes later, I spied a book by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer called Creating Money. I picked it up and read the cover notes and scanned the chapter titles. I put it back on the shelf with the reminder that I already owned several metaphysical books on prosperity thinking.

A day or two later, I was in a larger chain bookstore still browsing for a new book to purchase. As I looked over the selection in the personal growth section, I noticed that Borders was also selling Creating Money.

I continued to resist.

A quiet weekend was coming and I still had no book to share it with. I decided to check out the offerings at my neighborhood Barnes & Noble. I don’t recall the section that I was visiting, but as I looked across the shelf in front of me, there sat Creating Money at eye level.

It was misplaced, as if someone had changed their mind and plunked it down as they were leaving the store. I recall thinking, “All right, all right, I’ll buy you.”

Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from the book. I’d read plenty of others on the subject and was quite happy with the changes I’d made in my relationship with money.

On Saturday afternoon, I sat down and began reading Creating Money. I couldn’t stop. I read it in one long sitting interrupted only by my need to sleep. I resumed reading on Sunday morning and finished the entire book in the early afternoon.

Surprisingly, it was not just a rehash of all the other books I’d read on building a prosperity consciousness. I felt my mind expanding in some new, healthier ways.

What happened next may have been coincidental—or a powerful demonstration about paying attention when good things come our way. At any rate, on Monday morning I had a large, unexpected windfall.

Of course, I was excited. I called a friend to tell her the good news and then promptly ran out and bought a copy of Creating Money and sent it to her.

Almost immediately, another windfall arrived. I gave another copy away and the same thing happened. Opportunities were coming from places I didn’t even know existed.

Maybe this is my new occupation, I mused. Perhaps I could just sit on a street corner handing out copies of the book and keep collecting windfalls.

I stopped myself from testing that idea, but I’ve never ignored another book that catches my attention.

“Wealth is not a matter of intelligence; it’s a matter of inspiration,” said Jim Rohn.

Frequently, that necessary trigger to inspiration is residing in a book that’s trying to get our attention. How do you answer?


Here’s a terrific article for all of you bibliophiles. Will the home library survive the surge of the e-book?






After my Joyfully Jobless News went out this week, I promptly received a number of messages. Instead of replying to the question I’d asked in the mailing (What is the most fun you ever had earning money?), these folks had a question of their own.

The gist of all those messages was, “What should I do?” A couple of them said, “I really don’t have any passions.”

Too many people, it seems to me, get trapped in their own version of Life Limbo. They know something’s missing, but continue to drag themselves through their days doing the same things at the same times with the same people.

That is not a recipe for personal growth. It’s only when we begin to question the less than satisfying choices we’ve made (as the writers of those e-mails did) that we can begin to move out of that limbo.

I wrote back to everyone and gave them a few suggestions for finding their own answers. Then I realized that they probably aren’t the only ones with those questions so I’ve added some things to the list and decided to pass it along here.

Start where you are. Often our greatest opportunities are hiding in plain sight because we have gifts that come so naturally to us that we fail to realize they could be valuable to others.

An honest and ruthless inventory of your likes, dislikes, talents and forgotten pleasures is a necessary starting point. As Agatha Christie reminds us, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Read this book. Barbara Sher is the master at helping people reconnect with their dreams. Her book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was is a terrific tool to get things moving.

Go for essence. Sadly, we’ve been conditioned to focus on form and that gets us in big trouble.

Learning the difference between essence and form was one of the most liberating things to ever happen to my own goal setting efforts. Here’s a brief explanation from the book Creating Money:

The essence of something is the function you want this item to perform, the purposes you will use it for, or what you think it will give you. Many things other than what you picture might give you the essence of what you want, so be open to letting it come in whatever way, size, shape or form is most appropriate.

In other words, if you focus on the essence of what would bring you joy, you may find it arriving in a surprise package.

Ask this question. A couple of years ago I tried a little experiment that has now become a regular part of my life. It begins with the simple question, “How can I make it better?”

This isn’t about changing the world; it’s about taking action on the things right in front of you that you can do something about. Robert Pirzig explains it this way: “The place to improve the world is first in one’s own head and heart and hands and then work outward from there.”

Once you get in the habit of looking for opportunities to make things better, you’ll dazzle yourself with all the ways you can make life sweeter.

Create a Passion Quest project. Give yourself 90 days (or more) to simply explore with an open mind and heart. Take notes. Notice when you are so engaged you have no sense of time passing.

Try new things that catch your fancy. Revisit neglected pleasures. Cross things off the list that no longer fit.

Invest in yourself and your dreams. A wonderful starting place for that is to add the Making Dreams Happen Audio Program. This program was recorded during the four days that Barbara Sher, Valerie Young and I spent in Boulder, CO sharing what we know about bringing dreams to life.

You can have the benefit of this terrific event for less than $100. I relisten to it regularly and never fail to find new insights and ideas.

Say thank you. When you ask for—and receive—help, it’s perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that with some sincere gratitude. Apparently,  not everyone knows that.

Last week, Vibrant Nation reprinted my article on Outsmarting the Money Dragon.   Not surprisingly, it generated a number of comments.

The article begins this way:

Every so often I am asked some variation of the question, “Do you ever worry about money?” The truthful answer to that is, “Not anymore,” but getting free of the Money Dragon had little to do with earning more money and everything to do with challenging my belief system about money.

Allowing the Money Dragon to rule your world is a surefire invitation to sleepless nights and perpetual poverty. Banishing that monster starts by answering some important questions.

Do you live in a world of scarcity or abundance?

Many people create scarcity by focusing on everything they don’t have. Author Sondra Ray points out that if you have any money anywhere — even a few coins — you actually have a surplus. How many people give themselves credit for that?

Thinking abundantly comes from a healthy self-image, knowing you have options, and an understanding of the role that attitude plays in creating wealth.

Most of us arrive at that state through conscious work, eliminating thoughts and words of poverty. Books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Creating Money can help us get rid of our own blocks and limiting thoughts.

You may have to work more diligently than ever these days. In case the Money Dragon hasn’t been scaring you lately, the media is quick to remind us that it lurks behind every corner, in the alley and may turn its fiery breath on us all at any moment.

It matters not that Warren Buffet, who long ago tamed his own Money Dragons, offers a cautiously optimistic forecast. Plenty of people have a vested interest in keeping the Money Dragon hovering in the shadows. After all, money has been one of the most effective ways of controlling others for centuries.

As long as we participate and allow ourselves to be controlled by money fears (whether imposed by others or generated by our own thinking) the Money Dragon will continue to breathe over our shoulders.

As I have frequently said, “Self-employment is where we go to examine our relationship to money.” If we aren’t willing to honestly examine our limited scarcity thinking, we can’t expect to prosper in our businesses.

For many of us, this has been an uncomfortable part of the curriculum. When I first realized that my own belief system about money was hindering, not helping, me, I got busy doing something about it.

I read books, attended seminars, created projects that stretched my thinking and, ultimately, my bank account. I stopped avoiding people who had a reality of abundance and began to seek them out.

In one seminar I attended, the leader challenged us by asking, “Who has a problem that they had five years ago?” It  was a genuine wake-up call as I realized that any problem that becomes a regular part of our lives turns into an excuse for not living boldly.

So why, I’ve been wondering, do so many people insist on keeping the Money Dragon around as a pet? They feed it, nurture it, haul it out to show others why they can’t do wonderful things.

“Can’t you see I have this Dragon to feed? How could I possibly go to the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree…even though I see More Money is one of the themes?”

If you’ve got one of those Money Dragons hanging around, here’s a way to start releasing it back into the wild. Define the problem and avoid blaming yourself, your parents, your previous choices.

Take personal responsibility for changing your attitudes and, ultimately, your situation. Explore the connection between setting goals and generating cash flow—and take responsibility for that as well.

A great way to build your goal-setting muscle is to invent a small project — one that really excites you — and create the funding for it in a totally new way. Then work up to a slightly larger project. Not only will you realize more of your dreams, you’ll build a larger Option Bank for yourself in the process.

You might even decide to acquire a new pet—one that’s worthy of sharing your joyfully jobless life.