My first meeting with Barbara Sher took place in the restroom of a Toronto hotel. She and I were both teaching seminars that day for the Learning Annex and I boldly introduced myself to her.

I had admired her work since I first encountered it in her book Wishcraft so I was more than a little starstruck when I made her acquaintance.

Several years later, I had the pleasure of spending several days with her when she, Valerie Young and I ran the Making Dreams Happen event in Boulder, Colorado. This time, Barbara and I shared a duplex cottage.

Since she preferred a heartier breakfast than the one served to the group, Barbara invited me to share her home cooked morning meal. It was a lovely bonus to spend time with her, of course, but it was even more dazzling to watch her in action during the seminar.

Besides sharing a passion for helping people create the lives of their dreams, she and I also became members of the Grandmother Club at about the same time. She went so far as to suggest we betroth her Leo and my Zoe to one another.

(I suspect that neither of our grandchildren would take kindly to our plan for an arranged marriage.)

Since our time together in Boulder, I’ve continued to be a fan of her work from afar. I am especially enchanted by the work she’s doing with the folks she calls Scanners which is both fresh and insightful.

If you’re a follower, too, you know that Barbara Sher keeps coming up with new tools, new books, new workshops year after year. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn of a delightful addition to her repertoire which she just announced.

If you’re looking for help in bringing your goals to life, see what’s happening at Barbara’s Club. Then follow the directions.

As she so eloquently reminds us, “You don’t know who you are until you do what you want to do. Then look at it. Your only job is listening to your genes, obeying the call of talent, respecting the desire and being true to it. You’ll create your fingerprint, your name, the footprints of your path. Get to work.”



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.

When I moved into my house in Las Vegas, I decided to use the master bedroom as my office since it’s not only larger, it’s also brighter, than the smaller bedroom. I especially liked the roomy walk-in closet which has been accumulating all manner of things for the past four years.

With the new year, the time had come for a makeover of World Headquarters. I decided to begin in the closet. There was a large, mysterious box that I hadn’t opened since the mover brought it. I had no idea what it contained, but decided today was the day to take a look.

It turned into a surprisingly nostalgic trip. The box mostly contained keepsakes and memorabilia. There was a collection of interviews I’d given, including one with a paper in Dublin, Ireland that I’d quite forgotten about.

Farther down I uncovered an extra set of CDs from the Making Dreams Happen event I did with Barbara Sher and Valerie Young. I’d been meaning to listen to that lively event again, so put  them in my car.

There was the oversized (faux) check I’d received the year I won $5000 in the Powerball lottery and a funny souvenir from a trip to London. I’d quite forgotten about two gorgeous portfolios I’d gotten at Liberty of London. (Not sure what to do with portfolios, however.)

The big attention-getter for me, however, was the manifesto I’d written about 25 years ago. A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, but for years, I only associated it with political statements, such as the Communist Manifesto.

But it has a broader meaning. Manifesto is derived from the Italian word manifesto, itself derived from the Latin manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous. Writing one helps us see more clearly what we’re about.

 Although mine was a bit lofty, I couldn’t find anything  that I disagree with. Here’s my declaration:

All change and progress begins with an individual.

 The potential contribution of each individual is enhanced when working in a loving, supportive, positive environment.

The free enterprise system remains the best vehicle for full creative development of every person.

 The freedom to pursue greatness should be accorded a place of high value.

 A creative enterprise provides abundant opportunity to crystalize ideas and ideals.

 The creation of a new age of abundance for all is totally possible now.

The abundant expression of our vision begins where we are, with us.

I’m thinking it’s time to write a new manifesto and I urge you to do the same if you haven’t done so. Clarify your values and let others know what matters to you.

Not only will it help you attract people who are in alignment with your principles, it will also serve as a guide when you stray from your path.

 I know. That sounds lofty, too. Important stuff does.