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.

(Your first comment below has to be approved, so it may not display instantly depending on the time of the day. Once your email address is approved you can post instantly. If you want your own profile photo to show up beside your comments, instead of the cute little design, upload your photo on Gravatar.com and give them an hour or so to make it happen.)

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2,563 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. I just finished my masters in clinical neuroscience and neuropsychology. While I love my field, I realized that I hate not being physically active. I love to hike and kayak and be in nature and would love to find a job where I can be outside all day. I live in London so nature is not exactly by my doorstep (though I do sometimes take the train to places where I can hike over the weekend).

    My dream would be to move into a van and drive around Europe and connect with isolated people who need any kind of help with small tasks (tidying up a garage, painting a shed, or anything else I can do in under a week). I wouldn’t want to get paid because I would want it to be accessible to the less privileged, but I would hope to get small donations such as food or a little money for gas.

    My obstacles:
    I don’t have a drivers license and zero driving experience
    I don’t have a van to live in
    I don’t have the money for a drivers license or a van and wouldn’t know how to get the money to sustain such a life style.

    If anyone has any ideas of how I can fix this, or has any other ideas on how I can do outdoorsy work near London (especially if I can somehow combine it with my neuroscience background), that pays enough to survive in the city, I would love to hear about it.

    Thanks and all the best,
    Josy

    • Josy,

      I used to be an Outward Bound Instructor. I would do courses, and then live out of my truck or in a tent on the base in between courses. There is an Outward Bound base in the Lake District. I know, because my (now) husband did an internship there years ago, and I visited him. When you work for an organization such as Outward Bound, you don’t make a whole lot of money, but you get in your nature time, have time in between (to travel in your van), and get free “room” and board while doing courses. Hope this is a little helpful at least!

    • What is your priority right now?
      – freedom to go where ever you want to go
      – being outdoors daily
      – working outdoors

      What is most important right now?
      If being outdoors is most important you can think of finding a job as gardener (and learn about plants, edible plants), work at stables if you love horses (really physically demanding and also very nice to be working with such spiritual animals) or become a dog walker or people walker (put an ad up to go for walks in the park with people with depression). Work at campings for being outdoors, leading summer camps (as assistent one don’t need certification or exp)

      If you can combine working with outdoors you’ll have money for your next step: getting a drivers licence. The experience you’ll get AFTER you get a licence, so don’t worry about that. 😉

      If freedom and travelling are most important. Find a high paying job commit to it for 6-12 months and, start taking drivers lessons so that you can save up for a van.

      If being outdoors is most important commit to daily meditation or walks in a nearby park, commit to hiking every weekend, find a community garden to work in.

      Just some ideas to get you thinking out of the box. Don’t discard them but do them in your mind and see where it lead to (in your mind). These are just stepping stones, not end destinations.

      I liked Karla’s idea too. I looked up what an Outbound instructor was and happens to be that we have them in Canada as well. So cool!

    • Have you heard of WWOOFing? Travel around to different farms, volunteering, in exchange for room and board? It’s fun! You learn a lot, are physically active and outdoors, and meet interesting people.
      It’s just one way to travel and help people out, outdoors.
      Europe has public transportation, so you could use that.

    • Hey Josy,
      I’m studying psychology. I’m not sure if my suggestions work for you, because they are more orientated on therapy, which might be slightly different from neuroscience… Anyway,here we go:
      I had a “friend” who used to work for an organisation that did therapeutic camps for youngsters. I think it was in America and I don’t know if they do it just in summer. But they were camping and providing a safe environment for youngsters to get well again.

      Something similar is adventure based conceling/outdoor education/experimental education (Erlebnispädagogik in German, there is no clear translation). A friend of mine did her training in this. She is basically working with children in woods or at lakes, training them in skills like climbing or building floats. But what she really does is teaching them how to work together, how to trust each other how to communicate, how to make sure they are safe. This workfiekd exists for adults too, I just don’t know a lot about it. Having an expert in the neuroscientific field could make those programs even more specific. You could offer this as a form of rehab.
      I also heard from similar rehab centres where people with (especially) psychological disorders go to a farm, the woods or a centre in the mountains, far away from society, to recover. A fellow student just joined an organisation that takes people on a 4-week group hike with therapy included. Even if you don’t want to work as a therapist, I guess your knowledge about the neuroscience could be very useful in the rehab process.

      Another thing that came to my mind is Camphill. Do you know them? They are communities that live together, usually have animals, often sustain themselfes, harvesting, all that stuff. And they have the concept of living with people with disabilities. The disabled members of the community are treated with the same respect as everybody else. They do have a slightly strange philosophy but in my experience it is easy to just silently disagree. (They are just strange, not harmful.) Why it came to my mind is because they always accept volunteers, living there for several months or a year. I thought this could be something which you could do inbetween, while your still figuring out what to do. They provide food, accommodation and I think they pay a little. My friend used to do it and she did everything from milking cows in the morning, working in the fields, to taking care of the disabled members of the community. The live very close, I guess you would have to like the community aspect to it…

      I just realized that rehab in English might be a word drug related? In German we use it generally for people recovering from any diseases, that was the way I used it in this message. But the drug rehab field might be a field that uses nature a lot too.

      I hope you’ll find your way with your interests combined! All the best, Lina

  2. Barbara’s youtube videos and books have opened my eyes, but I still feel stuck.

    I’m in a boring job for which I’m way overqualified for plus the company and environment is toxic and goes against my values. I look for other jobs but I always get the same feeling that I’m overqualified for those as well, plus no one wants to pay me for my vast experience in customer service/admin work.

    When I stop and really get honest though, I realize that I don’t really want any of those jobs I applied for anyway. I feel ashamed to say sometimes that in my heart, I do not want to work for any boss or company again! I feel I can offer so much to the world, but I keep myself stuck here in a crappy job because I feel like with my family’s income I cannot take the leap to just quit. And yet I feel like my job is the thing stopping me from really living out my creativity.

    I love writing my truth and writing about things that others can relate to, so I write on Medium.com. I really like writing about the issues with bad management and workplaces that drain the souls from workers and how it hurts not only the company but also employees. I’ve also written a few mediocre fiction novels that I still haven’t published after years of them on my computer. It’s like I get to a certain point and I just stop cold. I’m a scanner and I jump from one interesting thing, like learning Japanese for a few years, to back to writing, and then to playing games or learning to create games, and then back to something else.

    I know that I’m the one stopping myself since anyone can publish their stories online now after some editing and beta readers, but I guess I’m just too scared to go through with it. I want out of this job so badly and I want to only create things that I want to create. But then my brain tells me that it is not realistic and I need the income that is steady so I stay, now for over 12 years and I hate it more and more every day. I thought I wanted a job that was mundane and predictable, but my job has become 99% busy work and it makes me feel so devalued and like I cannot get anything else.

    • Hi Sera,
      You could try the following: go frugal and document the process in a blog. All the struggles and failures included. Every dollar you save brings you closer to the day you can quit your job. It will be much easier for you to go to work every day when you see the finish line (like: a year’s living saved or so). Plus: you get used to needing less on the way.

    • Change jobs, to one similar in admin, but a healthier environment that you like the people you work with and appreciate what they are doing there. All companies need administration, so work for a company doing good work you are proud of and excited about supporting.

      Keep writing and sharing and scanning and learning and exploring

  3. Hi Everyone,

    I have an autoimmune condition and what really helped me level down pain was journaling and photography.

    I would like to create a course on journaling and photography for wellness or a workshop for people with chronic pain. This would be a creative expression to help people move beyond their pain and understand they are greater than their pain. I feel pain is a sign that something in your life needs to change.

    My thoughts were to create a Meetup Group but realized that’s not the best option due to cost and finding a meeting room space. Also, Libraries in my area limit use of their meeting rooms.

    The end goal would be to generate income for myself and grow the workshops and design the course and advertise.

    I need assistance in determining how to get started on a limited budget and price out the cost of the workshop and course. I have considered Thinkific and Teachable platforms for the course. But, am not certain that’s the best way to proceed.

    I strongly feel within my gut many people are looking for an outlet to deal with their pain and emotions. Any feedback you can offer would be greatfully appreciated.

    • Hi Necie, I have my own business and I am in a Business Boot camp group and I have seem people doing Meetups very successfully.

      You need a platform to find your tribe, that can be Meetup or Facebook, Instagram or every other platform there is, where your crowd hangs out. Mine hangs mainly out on FB (35+ females with horses).

      Sometimes you have to invest first (Meetup is I think 80 US) and you can ask people to pay for the workshop. You can also skip that for now and start a free Facebook group and advertising/business facebook groups to market your workshops and find your tribe.

      Libraries are a great way to start. I started in libraries with free talks about horse training and we started our Dutch school in Vancouver in a meeting room. It’s a start! a good one!

      Maybe you can offer your workshop from home.

      Thinkific and Teachable
      I found them very expensive and choose to offer my online courses at first with the free version of Zoom and record them. You can contact me if you want to hear more.

      • Hi Sandra,

        This is very helpful information and I appreciate the Apple tip. There is an Apple store 30 min away.

        I will be sending you an email within 48 hours. Things have been hectic last couple of days.

        Kind. Regards

        Necie

    • Hi Necie, I have my own business and I am in a Business Boot camp group and I have seem people doing Meetups very successfully.

      You need a platform to find your tribe, that can be Meetup or Facebook, Instagram or every other platform there is, where your crowd hangs out. Mine hangs mainly out on FB (35+ females with horses).

      Sometimes you have to invest first (Meetup is I think 80 US) and you can ask people to pay for the workshop. You can also skip that for now and start a free Facebook group and advertising/business facebook groups to market your workshops and find your tribe.

      Libraries are a great way to start. I started in libraries with free talks about horse training and we started our Dutch school in Vancouver in a meeting room. It’s a start! a good one!

      Maybe you can offer your workshop from home.

      Thinkific and Teachable
      I found them very expensive and choose to offer my online courses at first with the free version of Zoom and record them. You can contact me if you want to hear more about how to start an online course or in person.
      hippologic@gmail.com

      • PS Necie, I was in a MeetUp once that was held at an Apple store. The Apple company person told us that Apple has FREE meeting space (usually stores after hours) for community meetings. So if you’re planning to do your workshops for free you can check that out.

        Hope that helps

  4. I want to start simple (and finding this post was step 1). I have quite a few struggles that I’d like some IDEA help to overcome.

    First, I want to quit my job and be creative full-time. I’m a Scanner and a Jack of All Trades (but I do master some). I can be very good at nearly anything I put my mind and passions into, some of which are crochet, knitting, sewing all the way to graphic design, motion graphics, website design even to things like writing (I’ve done blogging and have 3 published books out).

    This brings me to my many obstacles:
    1. Money – I have a family of 5 that I’m the sole provider. I would only feel comfortable quitting my “day job” if I have $10k (6 months) of emergency savings. My family is very bad at saving money, so this goal can never seem to get over 10%. I’ve recently started an LLC with a business banking account which has helped tremendously. I’ve considered loans as well to help with my small business venture(s), however recently we took a trip and racked up my credit cards so my credit score nose-dived again. Plus I really don’t want more debt (still paying off those student loans for that degree I never finished).
    2. I’m a Scanner. Yup.. my biggest downfall. The secret to success for all of my ventures is “consistency” and it’s the one thing I can’t master. In all my research I find people telling me to be consistent and eventually it will pay off. I’ve gotten paydays for some ventures around $500, but it’s nowhere near the $10k I NEED.

    • Before you try self-employment, try this. It will make self-employment a lot easier, I promise. It did for me. I’ve been successfully self-employed as a creative Scanner for the last 29 years and successfully for a few years at a time during the 16 before that (each time going back to do creative work for a company where I could learn more about how to succeed on my own).

      Start by being creative as close to full-time as you can at your current job. One of the best examples I’ve heard of: a hospital janitor took it upon himself to swap the prints on the walls of the hospital rooms frequently, so each patient would open his or her eyes to the perfect environment for recuperating. If you work in an office or a shop, you can create graphics for company mugs or decorate the lunch room. If you answer a phone, you can spend your day finding different ways to answer and create a bit of happiness for those who call. If your job requires a uniform, you can spend your spare moments inventing a variety of hair and shoe decorations to complement the uniform, through trial and error.

      The upside to this is that you don’t need to be at all consistent in your creativity. As long as the job you’re paid for gets done, you get paid and you have a great time. When it’s your own business, you’re going to lose some of that freedom to be inconsistent.

      The next big step: if you’re not working in a small business, or you’re not able to be creative in the small business you work for, change jobs. If you’re going to support yourself and four other people, you’re going to need to know a lot about how businesses make money and survive the inevitable tough times. The safest and least stressful way to learn this is as the paid employee of a small business owner, an employee who jumps in to help with as many different aspects of the business as possible. An ongoing business with employees is in a much better position than your own new business to survive your first attempts at creating advertising or forecasting revenues for a new product or service or doing collections or interviewing prospective employees or checking vendor shipments or smoothing things over with an unhappy customer. Learn on their dime, and welcome instruction from those who are already in the risky position you’ll soon be in.

      In your spare time, hang out with other self-employed people. You won’t survive without a network of people who understand what you’re dealing with. Money-making creativity with lots of variety is a delightful lifestyle, but only with people in your life who understand or are able to help you through the tough spots when they’re doing well.

      And please, please, please, don’t borrow money to live on as you launch your business, or you’ll likely have every last little bit of creativity sucked out of you.

      • Thank you, Patty. This is a great idea, but I don’t think it will exactly work for me. My main sources of revenue are going to be authored e-books, affiliate marketing, blogging, paid videos, graphic design, and website building. But mainly writing and videos will be a primary passive income stream for me. I understand your meaning about being creative daily, which is pretty much what I do until I burnout. I currently work my full-time day job, brainstorm or answer emails in my lunch breaks for my own business, and then work on making new products for my business at night and weekends.

        Being creative is not an obstacle.. it’s more my curse. But I love it. My obstacles are being able to secure a 6-month “emergency savings” to fall back on in bad times and being consistent with my own business so it can flourish.

        • How about starting to create that primary income stream of writing and videos now? Besides your day job.

          Then as your income grows you can decide to save your 10 K or be able to work your job a few hours less a week when your business grows (then you won’t need the 10K, but it’s still a good idea). Just ask your boss and don’t assume it isn’t possible. I know a doctor (a specialist even!) and a paralegal that work part-time. In those 2 professions it’s normal for everyone to work MORE than full time, yet they made it possible.

          Having my own biz I can tell from experience it will be way more fun and relaxed when there is income while your building it.

          Stress over money can be absorb all your energy so that’s not wise (maybe it can put you into action short run, but long run it’s very stressful)

  5. Hi!

    I’m struggling, because there’s something I believe is really important, in which I believe I could make a difference, but which I don’t really want to get involved in, because I haven’t found a way to participate that feels like “me.” If I don’t get involved and things go sour, I’ll feel angry with myself.

    Here’s what I tried to write as my dream & obstacles, until I got stock when I realized that my obstacles mostly amount to, “I don’t want to do this.” I appreciate any insights or suggestions!

    DREAM:
    I want to help a particular US political party win the 2020 Presidential election, because I believe it is hugely important. What I can offer is:
    (1) behind-the-scenes operational support — setting up & improving databases; being a liaison between the techie and non-techie folks; designing & delivering training; facilitating meetings; etc.
    (2) advice on how to appeal to — or at least avoid alienating — swing voters and people who lean the other way politically, based on my experience in a bipartisan organization that maintains a strict left/right balance in all levels of leadership
    (3) time — I’m currently working half time and don’t necessarily need to be paid for this work.

    My obstacles:

    – I’m reluctant to work on a team with enthusiastic Party supporters, both because I expect many of them to have extreme positions or to see things in black and white, and because I have a lot of resentment against the Party. There are several reasons, but the main one is that I think the two-party system is harmful to the country. (I plan to work on various reforms to weaken the power of the two major parties, but that’s a separate effort.)
    – I don’t have many contacts in the Party
    – I don’t live near Washington, DC, although I do live near a state capital
    – I’m afraid I’ll get dumped into a role that I don’t find fulfilling and that doesn’t use my skills
    – I haven’t “paid my dues” by doing much campaign work in the past, so there’s no reason for the Party to trust me or want to give me much responsibility
    – I don’t enjoy political campaigns — the money (which corrupts even the most well intentioned candidates), the negativity, the long hours and intensity, and even the rah-rah team-spirit stuff, which can be manipulative

    This makes me think that I need to find some way of contributing that doesn’t involve working directly *for* the party or candidate. Maybe there’s a consulting company that focuses on helping campaigns be inviting to swing voters, or something. That brings up its own obstacles, but it feels like it could be more on the right path.

    Any thoughts? Do you see a different way I could be looking at this whole thing? Thank you!

    • Riley,

      Just a quick thought, probably because I always vote person, not party. Maybe choose the candidate that aligns best with your values and go after trying to work with THAT person’s campaign in some way. Right now it is exciting to me because there are several candidates I would be happy with. Of course that will change as the months go forward, but it might be a way you can get started towards your bigger goal. Hope this might be helpful…

    • Dear Riley, our political structure is so different, that I cant really understand your struggle. But I wonder of you could not just make contact and explain what you have to offer. I guess they would just let you know if they are interested or not? It seems to me that you actually have the skills. Maybe they’ll just accept you without much questions? Also you will not know how extreme they are until you made contact with them. And if they make you uncomfortable- you can just walk away. No one can stop you.
      I think just writing them, getting in contact, might answer a lot of your questions…
      Maybe you can let us know where your train of thoughts is right now?

      All the best, Lina

    • Follow your heart. Take one action. Trust your gut. Take one action. Don’t overthink it. Take one action. Stay in your own lane. Get an accountability partner who is actually in action doing their dreams and goals. Live rom your own principles, core values and beliefs.

  6. I want my own successful and scalable online t-shirt company that provides me with at least double my current income, so I can be my own boss and work in a more creative field.

    Obstacles:
    I feel overwhelmed because I don’t feel like I have the technical expertise, marketing knowledge, or the accounting/legal knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills to run a successful business as I don’t have a business background. I feel like there are so many skills I need that I don’t have that require years of education or experience that it will take me years and years to make my dream a reality.

  7. I want to live in ZIP code 75229.
    For the coming 5 years, I want to live in a home that is close enough to my younger daughter’s new high school, to where she can walk to school (this school does not offer bus transportation); and that is also in walking distance to the bus stop from where my older daughter is leaving for school in the morning and is dropped off after school by her school bus.
    The new high school and the bus stop are 14 min walking distance apart.
    My commute to work would then be cut more than in half and the time I currently spend driving (dropping off, picking up, commute to work) would reduce itself drastically. This would give me and the kids more flexibility in their school life and in my work and family life and be beneficial for my health.

    Obstacles:
    – Homes in the desired ZIP code Dallas, TX 75229 are out of my price rang. I am qualified for way less.
    – I don’t have the money to buy a home in that neighborhood
    – I don’t have the money to fix up /repair/remodel my current home, so that I can sell it at a high value. – – Nor do I have the money to float our expenses between selling and buying a new home.
    – common sense that I don’t want to be ‘house-poor’.

    • Hi, Astrid.
      I love that your dream will improve your life (and your daughters’ lives) in such an immediate and concrete way!

      One possibility would be to figure out how much more it would cost to rent a home in 75229 than you would gain (after expenses) by renting out your current home without fixing it up first, and then to see if you can find ways to cover that gap for 5 years. Here are some possible ways:
      – Use GoFundMe to raise some of the money needed
      – You and/or your daughters could use some of the time saved to earn extra money
      – Rent out your current home on AirBnB, if there’s enough demand in your area to ensure that it would be more profitable (after expenses) than renting to a long-term tenant
      – Rent a 75229 home with an extra bedroom, and rent that room out:
      > on AirBnB (again, if there’s enough demand),
      > to a friend or relative,
      > to a college student
      > to an exchange student
      > etc.

      Best of luck with your dream!

        • Astrid, I have been an Airbnb host for 3 years and it does make me more income than renting out my home. Although, you have to calculate for damaged things, full time renters do more damage than Airbnb guests if you are wise about who you take and make clear house rules on what you don’t allow. Always be completely honest about the condition of your listing and price your place accordingly, so it doesn’t impact your rating. Also, add an additional cleaning fee. For my 5 bed space, I charge $149 cleaning fee and if you and your daughters do the cleaning, this can be extra income for you to pay towards renting in your desired area.

          I would be happy to give more advice if you are interested.

          • Hi Cheri,
            Thank you for your advise.
            Airbnb sound so appealing, but I am not sure if I can fill the gap with it. The current house is a 2 bedroom house, and i could easily make a 3 bedroom out of it. I looked at the airbnb prices in our current neighborhood. How can I find out if airbnb is running well in our current neighborhood and how much I can realistically make off of it. woud I need to contact other host in my neighborhood?

  8. Dear Barbara’s clubmembers. My name is Rosa and I would like to be part of the solution with you. I live in The Netherlands. My wish is to have control over my sleep cicle. Because I can not sleep nor wake up on time I can not make any appointments and therefore cannot meet my needs socialy or being able to do volenteerwork. 20 years ago I had an accident in the past with braininjury and crushed joints. Ive lost all ive learned at school and could not finish it after the accident. Since then Im mostly at home and I live alone. I live on wellfare, but was never able to pay for education. I wish I could have an education, I wish I could get checked by an neuroscientist, I wish I could sleep and wakeup on normal hours.. Thank you sh Barbara Sher for this opportunity. Have a good day & night. Greetings Rosa

    • So sorry to hear about your accident.
      Can you explain the reason you are not able to see a neuroscientist/surgeon?

      • Yes Rosa, can you answer Darlene’s question?

        And why are you living alone? That seems like a very bad idea. Isn’t there some way you can share your home with some nice student who can help a bit and provide some conversation and companionship? Being so along always creates depression.

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