Recently I got an email with a familiar question. It said, “Your book is brilliant. Is there an update planned?”

I wrote back explaining, as I always do, that Making a Living Without a Job is about philosophy, not how-to, and updating isn’t necessary.

Upon further consideration, however, I realized that Winning Ways newsletter really is an on-going update to the ideas in the book.

Are you a candidate for this bi-monthly publication?

Here are some signs that it would be a perfect fit for you:

You’re interested in new resources and stories that inspire.

There’s room for one more on your cheering squad.

You sometimes catch yourself backsliding.

You’re overwhelmed by the avalanche of info on the internet.

You’re not sure how to recognize a snake oil salesman.

You suffer from Adventure Deficit Disorder.Y

You’ve discovered that inspiration isn’t vaccination.

You’re always on the lookout for ideas to add to your option bank.

You have no objection to being inspired.

Seeing WW in your mailbox reminds you that you mean business.

You love the notion of being a lifelong learner.

You know it’s important to invest in tools that will help build your dream.

You’ve learned that philosophy is more valuable than questionable success formulas.

You like having a permanent resource of ideas that won’t be forgotten on a computer file.

You’ve been repeatedly warned that self-employment is the place where there be dragons.

You know you’re a good investment.

Subscribe today and I’ll send you the July/August issue as a bonus. Your official subscription, however, will begin with September/October.  www.joyfullyjobless.com/winning-ways/

Last week I wrote an article for the upcoming  Winning Ways newsletter and mentioned that I’m not fond of the term self-help because it ignores the fact that it’s not truly a DIY project. It involves a teacher as well.

No matter what we call it, not everyone is getting the kind of results they anticipated. Here are some thoughts on how we can make the most of our personal growth excursions.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

When I first discovered the literature of personal growth and development, there weren’t many titles to choose from. Today there are thousands.

I always have a self-help book or two in my current reading pile, because there’s so much to learn.

However, the self-help movement has spawned plenty of dropouts. Why don’t all readers and seminar participants find this material helpful?

Here are some thoughts on that.

° Refuse to abandon skepticism. Hanging onto cherished beliefs is a guaranteed way to prevent growth.

“I tried that positive thinking stuff once. Didn’t work.” is the motto of the self-help dropout.

Simply reading a single book or attending one seminar is not going to produce visible change. It’s more a process of chipping away at limiting thoughts and behaviors that have taken hold over years.

Then there’s the woman I know who dismisses any personal growth suggestions with a quick,”I’ve already heard that.” With great discipline, I resist saying, “If your life doesn’t show it, you don’t really know it.”

° Exercises are too much trouble. Most of us think of reading as zooming from the beginning to the end of a book.

Self-help books invite us to slow down and take a slower journey. Exercises are like rest stops along the way, causing us to pause, reflect and apply.

° TMI Syndrome. It may seem like a good idea to gobble up as much information as you can.

Sign up for every guru’s mailing list. Be a perpetual seminar attendee.

However, too much information is as dangerous as too little. It causes confusion and leads to inaction.

° Right book at the wrong time. Personal growth is an evolutionary process and we expand our receptiveness one concept at a time.

Sometimes a book arrives ahead of our readiness. When that happens, don’t abandon personal growth. Try a different book.

° Miss the point. As Henry David Thoreau said, “A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”

Several years ago, I confessed to the participants in my Making a Living Without a Job seminar that I was mysteriously drawn to learning to play poker. A man, who looked as if he might have sat at a few poker tables himself, shook his head and said, “You won’t be good at it.”

I laughed and said I knew exactly what he meant. After all, when I was in high school my mother had warned me by saying, “Your problem, Barbara, is that you wear your heart on your sleeve.”

It was not intended as a compliment, of course.

Although I decided not to become a professional poker player, I have created a business that is all about letting me wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’ve been publishing Winning Ways newsletter for 27 years without getting bored. I’m certain my enthusiasm has remained high  because it’s a perfect vehicle for sharing the treasures I uncover in my own Joyfully Jobless Journey.

In fact, a really good business is simply a way to repeatedly share what we love with others.

So it always startles me when I get a friend request on Facebook from someone I don’t know with no profile picture, no biographical information, or, even, a mention of where they live.

In ordinary life, we become friends with people who share our interests or make us laugh or enrich our lives in some way. Over the years, my closest friends have all introduced me to new pleasures and inspired new explorations of things I knew nothing about.

That couldn’t have happened if they kept these passions private.

One of the things I love most about social media is that it becomes another outlet for sharing passions. Anyone of my Facebook friends who is paying attention knows that I am passionate about books, treehouses, and Venice, in addition to being fervent about self-employment.

So this month, I’m going to write about some of those passions on this blog and want to suggest that you consider how things that seem to have nothing to do with your business can actually inspire it.

I love the way Robert Weider puts it: “Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative person looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport.”

And then they wear it on their sleeve.

* Go to the library. Whenever I’m in a slump, a trip to the library never fails to get me unstuck. Every shelf is loaded with possibility. Browse in sections you don’t normally visit.

* Interview self-bossers. Choose the joyfully jobless, not just the self-employed. Let their passion rub off on you.

* Pay attention. Listen to the compliments that come your way. They may hold the key to a profit center. Listen to what people say is missing in the world for more clues.

* Play every day. Even if you aren’t yet running a business fulltime, do something—no matter how small—to move yourself ahead each and every day.

* Break your goals into 90-Day Projects. 

* Give your projects a theme. A theme helps you focus your mind and sparks creative thoughts.

* Pick an entrepreneurial hero or heroine and become an expert on their life. 

* Carry a notebook. You never know when a great idea will strike or when you’ll see something worth remembering. Richard Branson carries one all the time. So should you.

* Read a novel. Not just any old story, however. Read novels that feature entrepreneurs as main characters. Mysteries, especially, feature them. You’ll learn alot.

* Have regular tune-ups. One seminar does not finish the learning process. As Zig Ziglar loved to remind us you wouldn’t just bathe once and think you’d done it, would you? Keep going back to the well.

* Immerse, don’t dabble.  Follow your hunches and give them your nurturing attention. Take inventory on a regular basis to determine where you’re getting the biggest ROI on the time you invest.

* Acquire good tools. Use the best tools you can afford to do the best work you are capable of.

* Create an inspiring working environment. Your office or studio should be a place that rises up to meet you.

* Subscribe to Winning Ways. Read what successful entrepreneurs read. Build a library. Gather good information and ideas every single day.

* Memorize these five steps: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN LUCK 1. Get a hobby Find the thing that fascinates you most. You’ll recognize it instantly. It’s the thing you feel you have to do every day or the day is wasted. 2. Obsess Get to know it so well nothing about it is unpredictable, including its ability to surprise you. This part of the process will take approximately one lifetime. 3. Charge for it If you’re so crazy about it and so good at it, go pro! 4. Flourish If you’ve followed steps one, two and three, this is the easy part. 5. Succeed Do it so wildly that everyone tells you how lucky you are.

This week I’ve been getting ready for my upcoming trip to Sacramento where I’ll be teaching three classes at the Learning Exchange. As the enrollments kept climbing, I kept getting more excited.

Sometimes I hop on a plane and get to share ideas and information with people in farflung places. Sometimes I spend an hour on the phone sharing via a teleclass. Sometimes I’m on the other side of the desk taking a seminar or teleclass. Sometimes I am designing a new special event.

There’s only one thing that I’m doing all the time—gathering things for Winning Ways newsletter.

When I started my very first business, The Successful Woman, I knew I wanted to create personal growth seminars, but also realized that a seminar was just a starting point for learning something new, something important.

In my own journey, there’d been a lot of backsliding and I wanted my participants to avoid some of the long setbacks I’d endured while trying to figure things out on my own.

To this day, I have no idea how I came up with the notion of publishing a newsletter, but once I hit upon it, I realized that it was the  perfect vehicle for reinforcing new mindsets and adding resources as I came upon them.

Even though my early seminars morphed from personal growth into entrepreneurial subjects, a newsletter is still a perfect tool for keeping the learning going. Unlike books which are read and returned to the shelf, a newsletter keeps coming.

It’s kind of like getting a chapter at a time with an interval in between installments for testing and trying out things for yourself before moving on to the next thing.

Since I’m the kind of person who can’t keep good things to myself, sending out the best of what I’ve uncovered six times a year is efficient and strangely fun for me to produce.

Nevertheless, I remain astonished that Winning Ways is still a source of such creative satisfaction that I’m now celebrating its twenty-fifth year.

Equally startling to me is how pertinent the information remains over time. When I go digging in my archives I’m always surprised to discover an article or resource I’d completely forgotten, but can put to use again in 2011.

While I’m not so naive as to think all of my subscribers store every issue themselves, I do know that if Winning Ways was done electronically instead of as old-fashioned hard copy, it wouldn’t enjoy such a long shelf life.

One of the most frequent comments I’ve gotten from my readers is that Winning Ways always arrives just when it’s needed most. I used to think that was magically auspicious, but then I realized it wasn’t nearly so mysterious.

What day isn’t a good day to be encouraged on your Joyfully Jobless Journey? What day isn’t a good day to find a reminder in your mailbox that you mean business? What day don’t you need to feel connected to others on a similar path?

The only mystery, it seems to me, is how something so ordinary looking could pack such a punch.

If you’d like to add Winning Ways to your power tools, I’m extending my special offer for new subscribers until October 15th. Order now and I’ll include a copy of Seminar in a Sentence, my collection of quotes on creativity, success and entrepreneurship.

I’d love to have you along. Here’s what some of my readers have to say about the newsletter.

I am reading your newest issue right now.  I absolutely must renew every year as I LOVE reading them.  I save every issue in a file after I have read it. Great stuff! ~ Micheal, Ohio

I get a lot of publications, but Winning Ways is the only one I read cover to cover as soon as it arrives.–Jack, Georgia

Your last Winning Ways was topnotch! The Smart Investing article is a gentle reminder for me to put my money where it matters. For years that felt selfish. Now it feels smart! ~ Maureen, Colorado

Thanks for filling my mailbox with such inspiration. ~ Jen, New York

Thank you for your wise and inspiring words. Please keep sharing your passion for living life to the fullest. ~ Paul, Canada

I subscribe to many newletters which pertain to self employment, self publishing, mail order, marketing and so forth and have been doing so since the early 1970’s.  I rarely renew past five years because of the drop off in quality and rehashed material.

I have renewed Winning Ways for a number of years now because your newsletter, much like your book Making a Living Without a Job, is excellent material which I constantly refer to.  Both are excellent “idea generators” for me and have helped me immensely over the years. You are to be commended for your excellent, thought provoking writing.~ Tom, CT

 

 

 

“The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win,” says Robert G. Allen. “Preparing usually means doing those kinds of things that failures don’t like to do. It means studying and learning. It means reading books, going to seminars. It means not being afraid to corner experts and ask foolish questions.”

When I first discovered the world of self-help books, I knew I was preparing to win. For the first time in my life, I was encountering advice and ideas that I knew could make a significant difference.

I was determined to be a model student. However, I quickly discovered that personal growth and new directions are accompanied by a fair amount of backsliding—no matter how committed the student.

When I opened my first business offering personal growth seminars for women, I realized that more than a single workshop was needed. I wasn’t planning to create an on-going series, however.

How could I keep the learning going?

Although I had never considered writing, I got the idea to publish a newsletter. My reasoning was that a newsletter would have some advantages over a book: it would arrive at regular intervals, could contain current resources, and it could combine information with inspiration.

I had absolutely no idea how to produce such a thing, but a long conversation with Brian at my local print shop convinced me that it was possible to turn myself into a small time publisher.

So I began writing The Successful Woman newsletter (which later became Winning Ways). I notified my friends, who kindly sent in orders. I offered it to my seminar participants. I began to get all sorts of publicity.

What I hadn’t anticipated was how much I would enjoy creating those mailings.

Picking a theme, doing research, interviewing people doing interesting things, offering ideas for creative self-employment kept me digging deeper to find useful things to share. The most valuable discoveries are then condensed into a resource that can be read quickly and used for future reference.

Behind the information, the intention was always to encourage and support. It still makes me smile when a subscriber writes to say, “Winning Ways arrived just when I needed it most.”

What many of us fail to realize is that what we need most (in any sort of new undertaking) is reinforcement. Often that involves repetition and revisiting concepts that we’ve heard before.

That’s exactly what a newsletter does best.

As Winning Ways begins its twenty-fifth year of publication, I am as convinced as ever that an old-fashioned, print newsletter is a valuable addition to our Joyfully Jobless toolkit.

Happily, I have many readers who feel the same way. Here’s a tiny sampling from a few of them:

I am reading your newest issue right now. I absolutely must renew every year as I LOVE reading them.  I save every issue in a file after I have read it and have gone back and re-read them. Great stuff! ~ Micheal, Ohio

I get a lot of publications, but Winning Ways is the only one I read cover to cover as soon as it arrives. ~ Jack, Georgia

Your last Winning Ways was topnotch! The Smart Investing article is a gentle reminder for me to put my money where it matters. For years that felt selfish. Now it feels smart!  ~ Maureen, Colorado

Thanks for filling my mailbox with such inspiration. ~ Jen, New York

Thank you for your wise and inspiring words. Please keep sharing your passion for living life to the fullest. ~ Paul, Canada

I subscribe to many newletters which pertain to self employment, self publishing, mail order, marketing and so forth and have been doing so since the early 1970’s.  I rarely renew past five years because of the drop off in quality and rehashed material.

I have renewed Winning Ways for a number of years now because your newsletter, much like your book Making a Living Without a Job, is excellent material which I constantly refer to. ~ Tom, NJ

If you’d like to join these satisfied subscribers, I’d love to have you along. Just click on this link and follow instructions.

And if your order is received before the 4th of July, I’ll give you a 20 % discount at checkout. You’ll pay only $29 for a year of 6 issues plus I’ll send you the current issue as a bonus. (Sign up as a new subscriber at $36, but you’ll only be charged for the discounted rate.)

After all, it might show up in your mailbox just when you need it most.