Idea Party


How Does the Online Idea Party Work?

You have a dream or a wish, and an obstacle to getting there. (If you don’t think you know your wish, work through my kick-starter and read this post. To learn why you must put logic aside to find your dream, read the following.)

The online Idea Party is here to help you – and the other fellow party goers – with your wishes and obstacles.

Voices from Success Teams and Idea Parties:

Having a team to report to and hearing what everybody did each week is very exciting. It’s kept me moving all year. In the past I made some good starts on my own, but found, every time, when the energy ran out, I ran out. Now it doesn’t run out.
Jade G.
Children’s Playroom Therapist, New York Hospital

I would do a painting a year, a sketch a year. If it was only me I know I would never do it. Having to tell you makes all the difference. It’s crazy why I didn’t do this years ago, it’s so easy all of a sudden.
Caroline R. Personnel Executive, Macy’s Dept Store

Post Your Wish and Your Obstacle Here!

And help your team mates out when you can. Use the Reply link to help, the form below the comments to add your own Wish and Obstacle.

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2,219 thoughts on “Idea Party

    • This is a good place to start, Pat. You can get to know us. Shy people tell me they like getting to know people online because it’s easier for them to talk, and they get to watch people at the same time..

      Which fears would you like to overcome first, Pat? And how does being shy make that hard to do?

  1. Wish:
    Learn to play the harp. It would be really cool to get good enough to play for hospice and retirement centers. Just started lessons.

    The smaller obstacle is lack of funds . . .I can afford 1 class a month but can practice plenty and supplement with you tube tutorials.
    The more complicated obstacle: (trigger warning for those with PTSD). I have PTSD around the harp (simultaneous to my draw to play). An old harp teacher/neighbor betrayed me in an unimaginable way, resulting in rape. I’m okay with playing but when the new teacher asks, quite innocently, about the old one, I have horrid flashbacks. I’d really like to keep my past in the past but have not thought of a graceful way to steer away from my new teacher’s questions without explaining what I would rather keep private.

    Nonetheless I feel really drawn to play and don’t want to allow a painful past to squelch what could be a beautiful future filled with the gift of music.

    Thank you for your ideas.

  2. My dream is to create a peer based critical reflection group. I want to replicate a process I experienced while attending college. The problem I have is I don’t know how to start – where to have it, how to promote it. I want it to be free, and I also want it to set it up so it grows, so I want to set it up in a way that it doesn’t have any overhead – no rental fees, no dues, no marketing costs.

    • You may wish to look into Google meet up groups. Try typing in MeetUps near (enter your zip code) to get a sense of what they’re about and how they work.

      You can create one that meets at a local Panera, library or other place. Just be sure to encourage that folks buy coffee or food proportionate to the time spent at an establishment to stay in their good graces. . It’s very affordable to buy a coffee even if not free.

      The beauty of the group is that, one you have a handful of members, people will look you up based on shared interest keyword searches. So, see if you can wrangle a few friends to join and kick off the first few meetings at least, just so newcomers feel that they’re not alone.

      Good luck.

  3. I love Barbara’s books and have put into practice some of her tips in the last years. Last summer for example I worked like crazy on mosaic projects during 4 weeks when we had to stay at home unexpectedly due to my husband’s cancer (he’s ok now) and then went to a local hobby market and sold some of the DIY stuff I developed. It was a great experience. After that I knew that I can do this and could even be successfull, but I would not want to make it a business right now. It is not challenging enough and my current more-than-full-time-job (research and teaching at a University) does not leave time for it.

    My current wish is more ambitious and that is why I could use some help and advice:
    I want to participate in an ancient mosaic excavation/restauration project. I love to make mosaics (I train myself in all kinds of techniques ancient and modern), but I am especially fascinated by ancient Greco-Roman or Byzantine mosaics.
    Obstacles are many:
    – I do not know people who do this kind of work
    – I do not have any special training in mosaic restauration or any other archeological training, however, I do know a lot about ancient cultures and history as a scholar in the field of antiquity.
    – War or unstable political circumstances in lots of the countries where this kind of mosaics are mostly found (Turkey, Syria, Israel/Palestine, Northern Africa…) and as a woman I feel especially vulnerable. I have been to the area for several times years ago, but I guess the risks have increased.
    – I have a heavy teaching load at my University nearly all year long, only the summer is free and I could perhaps negotiate 2 or 3 weeks when an opportunity occurs.
    – I am not young any more (50+) which means that I can do some physical work but not the usual student volunteer burden under the Near Eastern sun for hours.

    When I read what I have written it seems impossible to me and that is probably why I have never started to try to make this dear wish of mine come true. It seems too much and too difficult. Can you prove me wrong? I certainly hope so!

  4. I work full time in a government job which I enjoy, but I would love to do that part time, and run a part time or side business which really excites me or makes me happy. When I was younger I had lots of ideas (florist, horse trainer, calligraphy, author, actress, jewellery maker) but as I have got older these things don’t seem viable as business ideas. Either I don’t have enough experience or can’t afford to retrain. Anyone feel like this? I would love to start an online business but it would need to be flexible due to my change of shifts in my current job.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Someone once told me I didn’t necessarily need a lot of experience, or to be an expert in something in order to put it out there – I just needed to know more than those who were interested, or I just needed to present things my unique way, or share my own story – those things in themselves can make you valuable to others. And that’s all you are doing in a business – bringing value to people.

      Perhaps your situation could be perfect for now – stable job that supports you and which you enjoy. That could be a great base from which to experiment with a business – maybe trial something at a good manageable size, put it out there and see what happens? If it looks viable, then you could think about how you might transition away from the government job and more into your business.

      I hope that helps – good luck (and would love to hear what happens)!


  5. Hi All,

    I am Derek, I live in Atlantic Canada and work as a research and development specialist for/on medical devices.

    My Goal: Is to work in Germany (specifically the life sciences/pharmaceuticals/biochemistry). I have been working on this pretty constantly for over 2 and a half years. I love the country and the lifestyle I can have there and many other reasons. I have not been sitting idly by. I practice writing, reading, and speaking everyday from multiple sources. I also have lived in Germany for 3 years, so I know I am capable of living there.

    My Obstacle: That I am not certain, but is likely a mix of the following: not sufficient language skills, not enough work experience, no contacts in the required fields/companies. The first two I am working on through my current job and learning German every night. The last one I am trying everything I can and that is how I arrived here.

    If anyone can help I am happy to talk, if not I am still happy for your consideration. I think that covers everything I can currently think of. Thank you for your time and patience.

    Derek Lamont

    • Hi Derek. Lots of Germans speak English so I don’t think your language skills will be a big problem. And you’re bound to get better at the language once you’e living in Germany.

      For making professional contacts I usually recommend networking on LinkedIn, But for German contacts in particular I suggest you join instead, (or as well) because It’s very popular in Germany and other German speaking countries.

      • Thank you, I have been trying to update my Xing profile. So it is much better than linkedIn for Germany. That is good to know thank you.

    • hi Derek,
      what kind of job are you looking for? do you want to work at a university or at a industrial business (like a pharmaceutical company)? or does it not matter as long as it’s in Germany?
      I know some people working in your field you could get in touch with.
      as for your language the field you mention English is often required or even spoken.
      as for the work experience: in Germany it’s very important to introduce yourself well (telling them in your resume/an interview how good you are in your job and why the company you are applying to is the best employer).
      do you have your CV in German? did any German look it over? if not I could do that for you.
      Are you already applying for jobs in Germany? do you know where to look for jobs (on the Internet)?
      do you know how to write a German resume?
      when I know in more detail what you are looking for I can recommend some search engines. and depending on your responses I can recommend some websites giving you some help how to write your resume.
      Cheers Lena

      • Hi Lena,

        I would interested mostly in a research based position, primarily in industry (I have given up on a PhD and want job security). I do have flexibility because I want to be in Germany, so I am willing to compromise.

        I do have some old examples of German CVs and a German did look over them, but they were far removed from my field so may have missed the mark. I also have a German resume (following the same reasoning as the CV), and have based my English on off it.

        I have not started applying for jobs yet as I am updating my Xing profile, and trying to see what/if there are Canadian-German agencies like mybiocareer or the ZAV can do anything first. Not that I am opposed to applying for jobs, just trying to be orderly because just applying for jobs did not work last time.
        I was thinking of starting with recruiters and then in May move to job applications. I am always willing to look into recommendations.

        Is there a preferred way I could send you a CV to look at or critique, or even for ease of conversation.

        Thank you for your reply and help.

        Derek Lamont

    • Hi Derek,
      did you consider working in the German speaking part of Zwitserland? There are quite some pharmaceutical firms there, especially in Basel (Hoffmann-La Roche, Novartis, they call it “Bio-Valley”). My sister is working there and from her and her husband I understood that unsolicited applications are quite normal there.
      Good luck! Brigitte

    • See if there’s a local group in your area that gets together once a week to practice German, watch German films. Some colleges open their groups to the public. It’s a good way to practice with others and may expose you to newfound friends from Germany who might later help you network during your job hunt.

  6. Goal: to work as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company or other international consulting firm. Why I want this? First, it’s what I will be doing every day: consulting is very challenging, and creative, and people are very intelligent there. And second – it is a great system where you can develop professionally and personally: there are trainings, and coaching, and a clear career path you can follow. Plus the money, and the opportunity to see the world and international businesses.

    Obstacle: Honestly, I have a good basis to reach the goal: education in finance, internship at PwC (also international consulting, but a little less prestigious), experience at an international oil&gas construction project. But I’ve graduated from a local university with a modest GPA – and they want people with top academics. I already got rejected 2 years ago – now I can try once again, but I am afraid they will throw my CV out again. I need to know someone from the company to get a fair look at me and my abilities. An insider would help by internal recommendation, or spreading a word about me, or advice on how to prepare.

    I am from Russia – but I would accept help from anywhere in the world!

    • Hi Evgeniya. I used to work in the Moscow office of McKinsey, so know a few people there and also know who could help you prepare for the interview process.

  7. Reading your book has really helped me to see a different perspective! I don’t know how I will do it, or how to stop thinking the old way instead of like a scanner: yet I am so willing to try!

    My wish is that I have a job where I am happy and not keep getting hired over and over again by different companies only to be disappointed and miserable. I want to serve others and not have the red tape, and mean attitudes from others that often show up in organizations that help the needy. I have contacted a few and even one that might be a good fit. I fear that the same thing will happen again. I usually down play all I have accomplished because I sound to good to be true. I don’t mean this as a boast. I mean that I seek to assist others and I go out of my way to achieve that.

    My obstacle is my own mind set and the ability to do this process differently so that it will produce a different result. I am a Jack of All Trades type of scanner. My home and my family are most important, as well as my faith. Can you help me?

    • This is exactly how I feel, and you’ve described my situation precisely. Here’s what is coming up for me and maybe this will help you:
      I recently realized that my mindset needed to be shifted with regard to my work. I under-employ myself because of fear (choosing jobs that aren’t a stretch so that I won’t make mistakes or fail). I have begun questioning how I interact with people and I’ve been witnessing when I go to fear, instead of love.
      This lead me to think about what type of work I truly want to do, instead of what I am qualified for. Another thing that I wasn’t doing was networking assertively. I was thinking “Where can I get a job? What am I qualified for?” rather than, “How can I be of service? What gifts do I have to offer?” That small change in mindset has helped me approach people differently. Now, I show up curious and interested rather than somewhat desperate and single-minded. It’s been interesting to see how much my mindset has shifted the outcome without a lot of extra effort.
      In the end, I have decided that I might be of better service as a freelance admin/strategist, instead of a admin assistant within a company. I want more agency, more freedom to look at the bigger picture, and I want better pay. From there I can hone in on something (depending on what more folks want/need) and move toward that (right now I do so much that it’s hard to see what’s the *most* valuable, but I’m researching that now).
      I wish you good fortune and pleasant paradigm shifting!

  8. I have several wishes, but I’m going to list the one that feels the most inconceivable one to me here. I’d like to find a life partner I am trully compatible with and where there is a strong mutual attraction. In my early 40s, ended a long-term relationship a year ago. Other wishes I have seem more straightforward in terms of figuring out ways to get it. But finding a partner, and finding love, has never been straightforward. Unlike with other things, coming across a such a person, seems as arbitrary as luck or the lottery, and the outcomes are not related at all to amount of effort. Have been online dating and putting myself out there and haven’t come across anyone that is compatible or want the same things I want.

    OBSTACLES: Live in a relatively small city where there are not many men in my age group to begin with, making finding someone difficult. The dating scene at this age is a different ball game. Most of the men in my age group are coming out of divorces, and are gun shy about commitment again, have different commitments and want different things than me. My confidence has been stripped from my experiences so far in dating over the past year, and with a depression I’m coming out of (lost a few family/friends in a short span of time, miscarraige). The possibilities for love seem more restricted given these circumstances, if not hopeless. I don’t know what to do anymore, or what I can do. I know that people often say to focus on your life and making that better and you’ll naturally attract someone you are compatible with, but I have never found that to be the case. I’ve always had to go out and look specifically for it, it never came to me. Even before the depression when everything was going great and when I was younger and probably more attractive, even then finding someone compatible was tough. Given my circumstances now, it seems near impossible that I’ll find love. Anyways, writing this was tough for me but I’ll put it out there.

    • There is a man named Matthew Hussey. He coaches women on how to find happy fulfilling relationships, how to find men, where to look for them, and everything you have just described. He has weekend retreats for women, blogs, sends you emails, all that stuff. He’ll inspire you. You can find him on youtube.
      Not to worry. Help is at hand.
      Good luck. All the best.


    • Hi Ali,

      would you be open to being with a man in a different age group, be it younger or older than you?

      All the best,

      Julia 🙂

    • I had similar experiences. What helped me was to get involved in groups that I found to be fulfilling with our without a partner. After a long run of dead ends with online dating, I decided to stop giving my time in areas that weren’t mutually beneficial. One day it just dawned on me that my friend who I had gotten to know for the past year in one of my interest groups is a really awesome person and that the friendship had a potential for romance that I had not considered before. We’ve been together for 2 years since. It had been the best relationship of my life and I made several other valuable friendships in the group along the way. I think that it helped a lot to have been able to “do or homework” by getting to know each other for a good stretch without pressure of rushing.

      You may find that a different path works for you, but I mention it as it’s a harmless, possibly free experiment that can be rewarding in many ways, regardless of whether romance results.

  9. Dream: find a nice job I enjoy, and which pays a decent salary. (Side dream: to earn more than I spend. Another side dream: I am an artist and want to support myself while I build my own business.)

    Obstacle: I’ve picked the wrong career early on and now i feel like i have no useful 21st century skills… I’ve spent my twenties terrified of committing to the wrong thing, and so basically spent them gaining a string of (mostly useless) qualifications – I sort of never really left school. I now have a teaching qualification and a doctorate. I spend half the week teaching on a casual basis in a university, half the week supply teaching in schools (this is the kind of job that makes you think ‘I really need a new job’…) and one day a week trying to set up my art business (update website, work towards sending drawings to a gallery…). I’m also a writer. I apply for office jobs I would like, but I don’t have enough ‘office’ experience for any of them. (I haven’t spent enough years sitting in an office chair, basically, and others have.) Full time university jobs don’t want me (there aren’t many out there, and I am not a dedicated researcher like they would want me to be…..). I don’t enjoy working in schools, having to discipline kids… My work is seasonal, I earn very little money, teaching is very draining, and I feel sad about it. I try to keep my art goals in mind, but every time I have a bad day of supply teaching (like today) I just wonder what on earth I’m doing with myself.

    I apply for jobs and go for interviews and I just don’t get anywhere. I try to be happy with what I’ve got… Sigh. I just really, really would like a nicer job, one where I don’t have to shout and one where I get paid a decent and regular wage…

    Thank you for letting me take out my frustrations on here 🙂

    • disciplining children – yes terrible, having to shout, terrible.
      Apart from new ways maybe there is also some possibility to change your way of teaching and working with children. Maybe some training of alternative teaching to get new ideas even in a regular school?

    • Can you teach adults instead? I was thinking of maybe training people in corporations or adult classes. That is, if teaching children is not to your liking.

      You can teach all kinds of things in different venues. You can have a blog, you can make videos and put them up on youtube. What do you teach? To have a doctorate in anything is to have serious credentials.
      You could be using them to get passive income. That means you put up a video on the internet, get advertising fot it, and have money come in from that without having to slave away.

      Simon & Schuster publish educational books. They may need people with an educational background. For editing, writing, whatever. You can still be an office drone if that’s what you would like, but you may be able to do it in a publishing house. Use your degree to get in.

      What is your art business concerned with? Would you rather be an artist? An illustrator? I don’t understand what you mean by an art business. Can you be specific?

      Thank you.


      • Teaching an art-related class for adults seems like a good solution. You can invent a course of art-therapy or “stress-free art for complete beginners”.
        If you are an expert in language or local culture, you can market yourself abroad. Like a native speaker teaching English. This would work well if you would like to live in another country, but you can also look for a temporary contract, or online teaching opportunity.
        I am from Russia, by the way. If you are interested in contacts of Russian universities, or language schools, or companies – I can help you in your search. I have no big connections, but a couple of friends who are English teachers, and people I worked with. Plus I know Russian, of course. Email at e.kubryak (at) if this idea interests you.

        As previously mentioned, be as specific as possible about your credentials and talents. Knowing them will give people (and you!) how you could use them.

        • Hi Angelique, I too wonder what kind of art you do and definitely think you should consider teaching your type of art, at least part-time. Not sure where you live, what country, but here in the U.S. there are many venues, just think outside the box of the typical classroom setting… you might want to consider adult education, or public libraries, even large arts and crafts chains like Michaels Crafts usually have a space in each store to teach all kinds of art. Also consider local arts leagues and local YMCA, type organizations. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you have a passion for creating art, persue it! Also, more and more museums provide interactive programs with the public. Don’t be afraid to explore your options. And don’t rule out social media like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. to promote your business and webinars to teach what you know. Good luck!

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