Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

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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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3,538 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. I would like to ask if someone knows about a website in which I can share my donation campaigns to find supporters.

    I live in Colombia, which lately has been strike not only by the pandemic but also a wide nation protest.

    I was doing some work as a delivery for the apps but got into an accident and now I can’t deal with my mental health in order to be fully capable of doing any other job.

    My motorcycle requires repairs, but I don’t wish to keep doing deliveries. It isn’t worth it.

    I’m planning to study graphic design or programming, but I don’t have the means or the support to pay for basic expenses and much less for a career.
    Past tomorrow I will no longer have access to the internet cause I had to cancel my data plan. I don’t own a good pc or laptop that can keep up with the basic requirements for design neither programming (which is much less)

    I have no special skill that I can offer, I’m a simple financially poor person which happens to live in a country with dire situations. (it has been the same or worst along my life)

    I wish I can find supporters to help me achieve what I want in life.

  2. Hello.

    I think I need a solution party, really.

    The objective I have is to owner-operate minimum of one (or a network of several) beautiful hospitality properties that are enriching to people who are served and “soak” in the environment while they visit. My definition is not super-luxury properties, not economy properties, not “road warrior” properties or apartment-hotels, but instead a type of property (or properties) that delivers hospitality and setting that is truly and more-deeply enriching to people.

    This is not a whim. Over many years I carefully and successfully developed the experience in business, plans, and appropriate investment to acquire the first of these properties all while I was owning and managing a different business. Then I was hit by a bad actor who was an “insider”. Even my own credit got wrecked and my family very sorely hurt by this.

    BUT I don’t want to stay “down” after being knocked by one person.

    I need to find a way back into the field. The best situation I can think of is to find someone who would gift a deed to a property (as a benefactor) or someone who would 100% owner-finance a property to a person with good experience and capabilities who was thrown down a well.

    It seems quite unrealistic to try “fund-raising” an amount of finances that would be much more than most crowd-funding has practically ever been able to accomplish. (And it wouldn’t be for a new kind of camera gadget or razor blade, either.)

    So I think I need a “solution party” that could help me to form connections and open doors that would otherwise be impossible. So how could I connect with a solution-party that would have power to help?

    Have a nice day!

    • Hi, Tom. May I suggest some easier routes than looking for someone willing to hand you a free or no-down-payment property in the right location with the proper zoning? There really are very few of those in the world.

      Offer your services. Find someone who can profit from them. What you need from them, over the next few years, is enough money for a down payment on your own place and a chance to make such a name for yourself that people show up immediately when you open the doors on your own place. As a bonus, you will also get a chance to try out your ideas and walk away whole if they should fail.

      You can use hotels.com or booking.com to find a place that’s in the right location and the right market but getting low scores or needing to low-ball their prices. They bring the property and handle the financial risk, you bring the hospitality upgrade and the publicity. You take a portion of their added profits. Or a daily fee for your services.

      You set goals for your efforts and ways to measure them, both to check what’s working and what isn’t (for the place you will one day own) and to give you material to interest journalists and talk about on social media. Customer ratings on the website? And maybe on travel rating sites? Scores on a feedback questionnaire sent to every guest with your follow-up thank you card? Number of businesses or institutions you get to list the place for their visitors or to sign up for a corporate rate? Growth in bookings? Number of repeat bookings?

      I have run my own successful business for 31 years, and I credit my success to the time I spent before that working for other small business owners. I volunteered for every role and every special project. I learned from their mistakes and from everything I got to try because they needed success badly enough to invest in innovation. And I launched my business with a great reputation in the market I wanted to serve.

      • Hello Patty,

        Thank you for your reply.

        I too ran my own successful business since the 1990’s and worked within that industry beginning in the 1980’s. That is how I developed my experience and the equity required to invest in the hospitality sector.

        Although I must say that encountering an extremely destructive internal attack by someone with very high levels of access WAS an entirely new experience for me when that one happened.

        Some of your suggestions are interesting.

        I am limiting my objective to acquisition of an existing property that is in some sort of active operation. Even if it involves a retiring couple who no longer invest the same energy but have kept the doors open. I believe it would not make sense for me to build from scratch and carry debt service while building up entirely new clientele.

        Since the acquisition is limited to a going concern, that wraps around some of the concerns about zoning and location. It also helps a little that I’ve been through the entire process with permitting and regulatory authorities to transfer a property that is a going concern.

        The property would also by definition have an existing business identity and reputation as a when stepping into it. Although I have done some work toward repositioning a property or two within an existing marketplace.

        Yes, you are right that there are a limited number of properties that fit the overall description. Many hobby properties exist but once those are eliminated there is a comparatively small pond remaining.

        The suggestion about testing ideas is an interesting one; at the same time as a consultant I have been very cautious about ensuring that my clients get very solid work.

        I cannot see clearly how strongly that a path of building a reputation in B2B consulting would then later help directly to bring transient B2C guests but I will think about these things some more and I do believe you have given some interesting ideas to consider more.

        I did not mention in my prior post that the adverse event that knocked me down actually took place –after– I had obtained all necessary lending commitments and approvals for acquisition of a property of the kind I am describing. So when looking at the situation from that vantage point, the single direct barrier standing against my entry to the field is “merely” cash.

        • Tom, cash is hardly ever a “merely.” As Barbara always pointed out, cash is just something you can trade for what you want, and it’s always best to see if you have something you can trade to get what you want more directly, before you sell your soul (take on a toxic job or a toxic partner) to get that cash.

          About the reputation building, don’t build the B2B reputation. Use what you are doing for another property (whether it’s a stepping stone or one you have your eye on acquiring) to get publicity that names you as the person responsible for the improved hospitality. When you launch your own place, reference all of that good publicity about your keen sense of what makes a place enjoyable to spend time in. You could even get started by contacting folks who review vacation destinations to ask for their help in locating places with great bones that are not living up to their potential. Then, when you send them news of your successes, you can begin with gratitude for their assistance in finding the right place. You might even ask their input as you plan each step, giving them a personal connection to the place and to you when it’s time to review what you have accomplished.

          I agree that looking only at going concerns knocks out a lot of the non-hospitality-related work of going after this goal. And it gives you lots of very helpful search engines (reservation and travel apps) you can use to make the job easier.

          I am so sorry you got snookered on round one. It happens way more often than it should, and it always hurts a lot. May you find a great strategy to get where you’re going without a sugar daddy.

  3. I want to start an interior decorating business. I’m 62 and I don’t want to take any training or go back to school of any kind, if I can avoid it. I have a lifelong interest and natural talent. I’ve helped friends and family with decorating over the years and I get compliments on what I’ve done with my place. I don’t know if that’s enough, but I’d like to find out 🙂 I don’t know a lot of people, I’m a little shy, but I live in a town that is quickly becoming a tourist destination and a lot of people are moving here either to live or to turn their place into Airbnb. I thought about making an Instagram account and posting photos of decorating ideas that I like and offering my services for free for a year, to build my own portfolio and reputation, and get experience. What do you think, is this crazy?

    • Why not find a place where you can apprentice, even for low pay? That would help fill in any “swiss cheese knowledge” gaps, let you observe a real business working with real (i.e., demanding / picky) clients, and help build your credentials.
      Is there an interior decorator in your area whose style you admire? Or how about a company that stages homes for realtors?
      A free web site (like Weebly), a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and also Pinterest would be great.
      Are there any community groups that you could join that would be natural partners for your type of work?
      Maybe you’d like to organize a “white room” decorating contest?
      Or buy Ikea pieces and come up with several hacks and offer an article on that to your local free newspaper?
      Maybe volunteer to talk to Women’s Groups or church groups or on a topic that would help promote your services? (The talk could be free. Something like: “Five ideas to freshen your home decor for the upcoming season.” or “Decorating Tips Using Color, Texture and Scale”, “How to Make Your Airbnb Rooms Look Like a High-End Spa on a Limited Budget”, etc. – Team with a local photographer to show them how to take great photos of their rooms “after”. )
      Even ask about partnering with a favorite high-scale furniture store to provide decorating services.
      Think about your ideal client. Where do they hang out? What do they read? How can you meet them or reach them?
      That’s just a few ideas to get you going.
      Best of luck – and please keep us posted!

      • Wow Jennifer! Thank you so much for all of those great ideas! There is a lot of food for thought there and I look forward to sitting down and really thinking about them and figuring out next steps. Much appreciated!

      • Really great suggestions (as usual), Jennifer! And best of luck to Catherine. Sounds like a fun career.

  4. Help create a low cost Summer camp for Visionaries, TED/TEDX, or ?? in historic 4- 1880s buildings I am renovating in the Driftless Zone of SW Wisc. (see Mysteries of the Driftless Zone on youtube)- can email more details

  5. Hi Ashley,

    I think that you should move forward with your desire to write these novels fear, or not. Ask yourself what is the worse that can happen. Not finishing what you started? How the finished product turns out, or how it’s perceived by critics? None of that matters. It’s a work of art and self expression.

  6. I want to finish the first in a long series of middle-grade fantasy novels and get it released but I am afraid my ADHD, fear of failure, and possible dysgraphia will stop me. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Ashley! You could try letting your fear out – the way you would let out a puppy that’s been inside for too long. It may feel intense, but try to be fully present and really experience your fear and after a while you may see it stating to recede. It’s important to take all the time you need and it may help to write down the thoughts that come up. Try not to judge the thoughts (or yourself), just observe. Most importantly, try not to see fear as an obstacle because it may actually help you figure things out and move on – it did for me. Good luck!

    • Barbara Sher had a great remedy for fear of failure: write a dreadful first draft, one that even you will groan at. That’s not so scary to do. And writing gets a lot easier after that. For the dysgraphia, consider a subscription to otter.ai, which lets you dictate your text.

    • Hi Ashley,
      Have you read the book “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. She’s a published writer and has written this humourous book about writing and strategies to get over fear and writer’s block and other things that hang us up when writing. I’d suggest reading it, if you haven’t already. You might find inspiration in there to keep going, and have a few good chuckles too.
      It sounds like you’ve already made a good start, I hope you keep going!

  7. I hope to be able to be part of this wonderful group, but without having to go through Facebook ( as you
    know most social media can be useful in some ways, but it can also be a waste of time.

  8. I wish to have clarity on what is my purpose in life is. And, I have my GI Bill to pay to get a Master’s Degree. I just don’t know what to take.

    • You don’t need a purpose in life, Glen. Find ways to do what makes you happy. And don’t require that those ways be what you do to pay your bills until that becomes the easiest, happiest path.

      • Hi Glen,
        I agree with patty. Work should be what we do to pay our bills, and not necessarily where you will find meaning to your life. Meaning in life is found in development of relationship with our creator and, others. It’s a good idea to start with those closer to us such as family members, and searching for a mate if you are single. Some may feel that having children is too much work, too expensive or too much trouble but in reality becoming a parent and raising a child is the most amazing joyful blessing one can hope for.
        Now for the easy part;. There are some professions that would allow you to help others and that can be meaningful in itself such as counseling, teaching, or social work. A MSW degree it’s very useful and it opens many areas that you could work. Obtaining a master’s and teacher certification along with it is useful it can open some doors for you to teach in foreign countries which can be very exciting and allows you to travel and enjoy other cultures. I think some research and conducting some informational interviews in those careers areas the may appeal to you, and take your time to make a decision as to what you going to go into don’t feel rushed and don’t allow schools whether they’re public universities or private school to sell you on whatever program they have. instead do your own research and you make your own decision as to what path of study you will choose. I like the large public universities as they have a great many resources available to students.

    • Hi Glen~

      While there is certainly no need to dwell on “finding a purpose,” I DO find journaling helps me to get clear on what it is that I truly want to spend my days doing and what talents and skills align with those wishes. My own journey to clarity inspired me to create a free challenge for others looking to find work that checks as many of the boxes as possible. If that is something you might be interested in, you can access it here: https://jennieoconnor.com/dreamjob.

      Wishing you luck!

  9. Hello everyone,
    I am a 30 year-old cabin crew from Turkey and I don’t feel so good nowadays. I have been meaning to change my job. I find it so hard to keep going and I feel so lost about what kind of a job would be suitable for me. The pandemic makes it even more difficult. I feel so worried about everything. I feel so indecisive and even as I’m writing this, my brain hurts. I have a tendency to have anxiety and depresssion and it is rare for me to feel just ok. I receive therapy, I love my therapist but I am not sure if I can keep seeing her. Money became an issue nowadays. I am not sure if this therapy style fits my situation the best. I have a very turbulent character I’m afraid. I burn out so easily! I read about CBT but we don’t use that in our sessions.
    I have certain abilities that I like using. Certain passions… Here are some:
    1. Communicating in English is one, talking to many people from around the world.
    2. I love being in a nice place in the nature but not for long! Love a change of scenery every now and then.
    3. I love babies. I just do 🙂
    4. I love solitude. I am an introvert and love being one. I love being home.
    5. I love good stories(whether in music, film, and literature) and keeping a diary.
    Obstacles are many:
    1.I am very absorbent of the energy of the people and unfortunately I may get stressed out and burned out easily.
    2. I find it hard to open up. To start something new. I don’t feel very self confident.
    3. I keep worrying about money all the time. I love my independence too.

    If I quit I have to vacate my apartment. I may buy a car and feel more independent.
    I just wish I could live in a place where I would feel safe and in control. Where I would work hard at times and enjoy that hard work. My heart aches in a bitter sweet way when I see people leading a happy life in a nice village. Also those who live off grid, those who live simply. I envy the owners of some permaculture homesteads who host volunteers from around the world.

    I sent my resignation letter but I feel so scared. I would love to try doing some new things (visiting farms, travelling) but I fear I
    May lose my motivation. I wonder if I will ever be able to work and earn a living again. I feel so stuck!

    Thank you for your time and support in advance!

    • Hi Berna~

      First let me say it must be overwhelming to have all of these feelings inside you at once! Step one might be to take some slow, deep breaths, do some guided meditations or spend some time in nature. It’s hard to make progress when your brain is spinning–I’ve been there.

      Some lovely, FREE meditations that I enjoy are from Tara Brach. They focus in large part on self-acceptance, and are especially helpful for dealing with overwhelming emotions like anxiety and fear. Take a look here: https://www.tarabrach.com/new-to-meditation/

      To your point about wanting to feel in control, that is such a slippery desire. While it is common to all of us, the truth is that very little outside ourselves is within our control. All we can do is control how we react to situations, people, and our environment. A book I invite you to listen to is “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie. I say “listen” because the chapters are formatted as conversations, so it’s very easy to take in in audiobook format. I consider this book life changing for me.

      Lastly, I offer a FREE challenge on my website for folks trying to figure out what career path to pursue. It involves journaling (which it sounds like you already do) and helps you gain clarity around your values, strengths and curiosities so you can either design a job that suits you perfectly or find one out in the world that lights you up inside. If you’re interested in checking that out, you can find it here: https://www.jennieoconnor.com/21-days-to-your-dream-job-challenge/

      I wish you the best of luck and feel free to write back if you have questions about any of this!

    • Hi Berna
      The five abilities you listed are five that I have too. I really liked reading your post. I felt ‘not alone’ there are people like me about =)

      As an introvert, I have started to honor that. I schedule in rest time into my week instead of forcing myself to always be around others most of the time.

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