When I opened my mailbox at the post office, I found a note and magazine article from Sandy Dempsey. She said she’d been going through a stack of magazines and, “When I came across this lovely interview with Bill Bryson I thought of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”

The article made me smile, but I was genuinely pleased that Sandy had thought of me when she read it.

A few days earlier, I received an e-mail from Charles McCool, mastermind of McCool Travel, telling me that his family is planning a trip to Venice. Did I have any tips? Recommendations? Things not to miss?

Of course, I did, but it made me smile that he’d consulted me.

On Thursday evening, I had a surprise call from Vancouver resident Sally Laird. “Guess where I am,” she said. I thought a moment and guessed, “Las Vegas.”

“Yup,” she laughed, “at the Bellagio. Eating gelato.”

Sally is well aware of my fondness for both.

Then there was the inquiry from my sister Nancy wanting to know about Kiva and how to become a lender.

These sorts of things happen to me on a regular basis and I never get tired of people thinking of me when they encounter something they know I love.

My true loves are not a secret.

Anyone who spends time with me discovers my fondness for Bryson, Venice, the Bellagio, gelato, Kiva—and dozens of other things. I’ve probably posted links to articles on all those subjects on Facebook.

Anyone who visits my home can see that I live surrounded by images, books and other evidence of my true loves.

I’ve never seen the point of keeping passion to myself, although I was frequently advised to do so. “Oh, Barbara,” my mother would sigh,  “you wear your heart on your sleeve.”

She did not mean it as a compliment.

“In the moment of knowing  a love,” I once heard Ray Bradbury advise, “intensify it.” For me, sharing a passion is one way of adding intensity to it.

Passion is, after all, often contagious. Before I became friends with Georgia Makitalo, I knew nothing of the Romantic artists known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Before long, Georgia’s enthusiasm had me joining her on excursions to see their work in Toronto, Delaware and London.

I was only vaguely aware of architect Frank Lloyd Wright before my friend Jill McDermott began telling me of her passion for his work. We made a pilgrimage to his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Eventually, she and I made a road trip which included explorations of his buildings in Oak Park, IL and Fallingwater, his masterpiece in Pennsylvania. When Jill moved near his home, Taliesin, in Spring Green, I attended her first outing as a tour guide there.

Having passionate friends has consistently enriched my life. And passion is an essential  ingredient if you want to create a business that is worthy of your time and energy.

Quite simply, building a business with passion as the cornerstone makes the process so much easier. It’s obvious that passion pulls you forward, keeps curiosity alive, connects you with kindred spirits.

It’s the X Factor that makes you magnetic.

Best of all, you get to wear your heart on your sleeve all the time.

So how do you display your passion? Feel free to leave a comment and share.



It’s been ages since I’ve done a roundup of articles and resources that have been gathering in my files. Obviously, it’s time for a Weekend Excursion so you can explore them on your own.

There’s no real rhyme or reason or theme to this list of treasures except that they all delighted me in different ways.

Green and Growing

If you’re a subscriber to Winning Ways newsletter, you will recall that I recently did an issue exploring what gardeners have to teach entrepreneurs. Last week, I learned about an extraordinary English gardening writer named Beveley Nichols who chronicled his evolution as an amateur gardener.

After reading his book Merry Hall, I wanted more and came across a collection of his wit and wisdom called Rhapsody in Green. When I read the following passage, I realized he could just as well have been advising someone growing a business:

Gradually my impatient desire for immediate results, which is the besetting sin of all beginners, died down. I began to take a joy in the work for its own sake. Until you actually own a garden, you cannot know this joy.

Before and After

The other day, I received an e-mail from Connie Hozvicka sharing her excitement about taking the big step. Connie is a dynamic artist and her blog at Dirty Footprints Studio is always a visual feast.

However, her post I Want You to Hear Me took my breath away. Go read it for yourself and you’ll see why.

Expose Yourself

It’s no secret that I’m a raving fan of Seth Godin who constantly astonishes me with his regular blog writings. This one, called Expose Yourself, illustrates the importance of choosing your influences carefully.

Follow Your Fascination

I’ve been working on the next issue of Winning Ways and am writing about collectors and collecting. Everyone I’ve known who is a serious collector has a story to tell about how their passion for collecting perfume bottles or old coins or Disney memorabilia began with a mild interest and grew stronger as they explored farther.

So that was on my mind when I came across this short piece called  Innovation Begins with Fascination. Don’t miss the exercise at the end.

Loving a Writer

Steven  Pressfield has this advice for spouses, partners, and other caring folks who may be perplexed by their writer/entrepreneur/musician lovers. If you are feeling misunderstood, you may want to print out Loving a Writer to share with your beloved.

Just in Case

I’ve been raving everywhere about Sandy Dempsey’s amusing video about her adventures with Flat Barbara. You may have been within earshot.

However, if by some fluke this has passed you by, pay a visit now and see how Flat Barbara is learning about the Joyfully Jobless life. (Scroll down to see the video.)

Those of us who met Sandy Dempsey at Compelling Storytelling last June, have watched with delight as she’s begun moving in the direction of her dreams. Part of that is her The Dreaming Cafe blog which included this part of her story this week.


I have been sitting on the fence for months, undecided whether to attend the Follow Through Camp hosted by Barbara Winter and Alice Barry May 15th and 16th in Dodge City, Kansas.

Part of me desperately wanted to go and the other part had every excuse in the book…Dodge City is two hours from the nearest airport…Kansas has never been on my list of places to visit…it’s tornado season…I don’t want to spend the money when my job could be eliminated any day…I’m not ready for this step…and on and on.

Monday a friend and I were playing around with business ideas for both of us, when I said I needed to take things to the next level in my entrepreneurial quest. Then I began telling him about the Follow Through Camp. He said, “It sounds like just want you need right now regardless of what happens here.”

You know what? He was right. I have several business ideas and have been starting to move in the direction I want to go, but I need to take it to the next level. The energy, enthusiasm and support I will receive from attending the Follow Through Camp is just what I need right now. I have so much I want to do and I am so ready to take the next steps.

Monday night after work I made the decision. Within an hour of arriving home I made my hotel reservations at The Dodge House, made my flight reservations and a car reservation and submitted my workshop registration.

But  the story doesn’t end there.

When I had difficulty making my reservations online for The Dodge House I called the hotel to make them over the phone. But, I forgot to ask for my reservation number and they forgot to give it me. Instead of calling, I went back online to send a request for it to be emailed or faxed to me. I must have entered my email address incorrectly because the next day Charla Swift, the owner, called to tell me my confirmation kept bouncing back and could I confirm my email address.

I was very impressed with her friendliness and professionalism. I never had the owner of a hotel call me personally before. We had a nice conversation and I discovered she was actually calling from Colorado where she was visiting her sons, for the holiday.

Now, where she was calling from didn’t really mean a whole lot until later that night when I received Barbara’s Joyfully Jobless Newsletter. The newsletter closed with an invitation to attend Barbara’s ‘Making a Living Without a Job’ and ‘Establish Yourself as an Expert’ workshops in, can you guess, COLORADO! Both workshops were being held in Denver at the Colarado Free University on Saturday April 18th.

It was too much of a coincidence to let go, so just for fun I went to Travelocity to check airfares. I could hardly believe my eyes when I discovered they were having a special..Philadelphia to Denver, $218, round-trip, non-stop! I could hardly believe it myself, but since it was late I decided to sleep on it.

By morning I couldn’t forget it and told my husband about it. He said, “Is that why you are so happy this morning?” I couldn’t stop grinning.

I went online again and  there was the same deal. I didn’t have time to sit on the fence and ponder this decision. So, guess I’m headed to Denver, Colorado next weekend!!

Decisions are like dominoes, sometimes. Once the first one falls, more follow. My decision on Monday to attend the Follow Through Camp in Dodge City, Kansas, was the first domino to fall.The second domino fell  with my decision to follow the signs, invest in myself, and attend two more Barbara Winter workshops in Denver, Colorado.

I am kind of curious now…what will be the next domino to fall, the next decision, the next step in building my dream?


Most of the time we don’t see the obvious opportunity–if you intentionally create the connections, you’ll get more of them, and better ones too. ~ Seth Godin