Barbara Sher’s 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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4,426 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. Dream: To take people on wellness retreats to beautiful parts of the world to experience healing, restoration and joy.
    Obstacle: I don’t have much business training/knowledge.

    • Hi Ellison,
      Can you tell me specifically what a typical day on the retreat would look like? I would love to go on a retreat :-).
      Do you want to do this alone or could you partner with someone who could handle the business portion of things while you do the retreats?

    • There is a gal who teaches this business and seems to really know her stuff: Sheri Rosenthal, Follow her on Facebook to hear when she runs her inexpensive intro course. Her longer courses include all of the legal documents and such that you’ll need. And she owns and runs a retreat travel agency for retreats outside the US that are sold to folks inside the US.

      • PATTY!!!!!!
        I was up til 430am working on my domain and emails. That was literally the time when I had no fear or hesitation about doing this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

  2. Wish: Since 2009 I have been developing a Mind-first theory of everything which identifies the mechanism–the ALL-gorithm!–by which all of phenomenal reality is propagated. Not quite a programmer myself (tech writing and core sciences background), I’m looking to partner with at least one software engineer to develop the ALL-gorithm into a valid foundation for existing and future AI (making it as human-like as desired) and a family of related products…and to help me license commercially.

    Obstacle: I have 0 professional connections. I have not been working for 15 years, and the people closed to me have very alternative mentalities and lifestyles. I have had to start from scratch with my science education, and am taking classes at the community college level…not exactly rubbing shoulders with people who might be interested.

    • How about taking a few Coursera courses until you spot the top-school professors you need to approach. And they don’t need to be software engineers, just kindred spirits, because if they get excited by your ideas, THEY have the professional connections.

  3. Wish: to launch an application to facilitate, promote and reward good actions.
    Goodeers social network aims to build a community where members are valued for their good actions.

    Obstacles: I already have a company , a website (beta version), multiple pages on social media and did quit my job to dedicate to this project…but i do not have the finances to develop the application and lack the network to find business angels/partners

    • Gerald, start small. Build a simple, local version. Proof of concept will help you find investors, whether those with big dollars or those on KickStarter.

  4. wish: online sales or potentially an in person network of stores moving through items

    obstacle: no luck online, tried numerous times over the coarse of almost a decade and the internet just doesn’t work well. I have a feeling it can but have tried all the suggested methods on any lists out there, I’d prefer to have the internet jump although maybe in person is worth the focus?

  5. I’m a single woman with moderate income and minimal resources. I live in Jacksonville, FL, and wish to move closer to my son and granddaughter, but I know I can’t do that overnight.

    WISH: I want to sell my house in 2 years.

    OBSTACLE: The house was built in 1958 and is in serious need of repairs and upgrades to maximize equity. I have the funds to purchase materials and I’m willing to get my hands dirty, but I don’t have the skills to do it properly and can’t afford to hire a general contractor or designer.

    • Hi Jessica,
      Do you want to have it all fixed before you sell, or would you rather move sooner than later? I wouldn’t worry about “designing”, as much as other things being in place.
      The house could be assessed properly, sold “as is”, (you could receive money right away for it), and move if you would rather be by your son and granddaughter sooner.

      • Thank you for responding. That was fast!

        I don’t need it all fixed, but there are key things like replacing the roof and repairing some minor floor damage before I consider selling. I’ve already secured the funds for these repairs and have a decent amount left over to start updating the house.
        I know these repairs and a small upgrade investment will greatly increase the value of the house and I want to get the most out of my equity when I sell. If I were to sell now, I wouldn’t receive enough to afford a sufficient down payment, especially in the current market.

      • For some reason my first reply did not save. Thank you so much for responding!

        I do not need it all fixed, but there are key repairs needed before I will consider selling. The roof needs to be replaced and some minor floor damage needs repairing. I have secured the funds for these projects as well as a decent amount to make some upgrades. I know this investment will provide a higher return with the increased value of my home and I want to get the most out of my equity when I sell. If I were to sell before making the repairs, I wouldn’t receive enough for a sufficient down payment, especially in this market.
        Thank you for helping me with a different perspective. I won’t concern myself with all the little steps, so that will free me up to concentrate on the important things.

        • Yay!
          Time is the most valuable thing~ you can never recoup that or get more! The sooner you can be with your son and grandbaby, (your wish) that is the most important.
          The basics on the house are important, the design ~ (everyone has their own ideas and will change to suit them), so don’t worry about that. ~ Wishing you the Best.!

    • Hello Jessica,

      What if you sell the house now as it is, instead of waiting, and buy a similar house near your son and invest time and effort to fix that new one.

      Your son will live close, maybe he can help or knows who can help or think along with you.. that will be easier when you are not at a large distance


      • Thank you for responding!
        Because you and Ruthann provided similar answers, please see my reply above.
        I appreciate you!

    • Dear Jessica,
      After 10 years of successfully fixing up property and selling it, I can say that it’s time to get out a clipboard and a piece of paper, or 2 or 3, clipped to it, and start scrutinizing the house, and list down what you see.
      Any fixer-upper I ever tried to work on had to be structurally sound, or it wasn’t something I would even consider tackling.
      Is this a standard stick-frame house, or is it a manufactured home?
      So: Is the house sitting on a foundation, or is it on piers? If it is on a foundation, what condition is the foundation in? Does it have cracks in it? Are these superficial or is this a structural problem?
      Do the floors inside the house sit level, or do they sag or slope off-level? (If they don’t sit level, or slope off into one corner, or in a certain direction, this is a sign of serious structural problems.)
      Roof: Made of what? Is it a composition roof or is it tile, or slate, or what? If known, how long since last replaced?
      Does the house have a basement? Is it wet or dry? If not, does the house have a crawl space? What’s the condition of the crawl space?
      Is there standing water in the crawl space? (I once turned down a deal on a place with a lake under the house in the crawl space. This would only mean hideous, and I do mean hideous, mold and mildew problems inside the house in all the closet and storage spaces, in bedrooms, etc.
      If the house has painted siding, is the siding intact? Any broken or missing? Any signs of water stains anywhere on the siding? Any peeling or blistering paint? Where? Sometimes, water stains can only be from stopped up gutters or downspouts, and sometimes, especially when there’s blistered paint, this can be more serious, indicating structural problems.
      Chimneys: Do they sit level? Are they leaning? Bricks missing? If it’s one that runs up the side of the house and it’s leaning, this may mean major repair, beginning at the Bottom, with the foundation supporting the chimney! I had a house like this once where the whole chimney needed to be torn down and rebuilt!
      Gutters and downspouts: Are they draining as they should, and not clogged up? Are they intact?
      Windows: Any cracked or broken?
      Interior: Any smells of mold or mildew anywhere if the house has been closed up for a time? Any issues about mold/mildew getting into carpet padding or carpets?
      Floors: Any rough, buckling linoleum or any holes anywhere in floors or baseboards?
      Walls: Holes, buckling or bulging walls? (Serious structural problem if any of the walls are bulging or buckling)
      Plaster or drywall in need of repair? Any mold/mildew problems to the walls?
      Electrical: Is there a 200 amp service? (There should be!)
      Plumbing/sewer: Any leaks, overflows, problems?
      Is the property on a well or is it on city water?
      Ceilings: Are there any “popcorn” ceilings in the house? This will either need to be removed or sealed, and it can be sealed to make it safe.
      Light fixtures: All in good working order?
      Doors and door knobs: All in good working order? Good deadbolt locks on all exterior doors?
      Access: Good access, with no overhanging tree branches or bushes or shrubs blocking critical visual pathways to the sidewalk or street? Is the driveway an adequate width as well as length to get a vehicle in off the street? Is the garage or carport in good repair? Does any of it need painting?
      That’s about it. If there are structural problems, then it’s a sell-as-is property. It’ll be too much of a money pit to fix up. If it doesn’t have structural problems, but has things like painting and linoleum repairs, these are more cosmetic, and will add value.
      A house that sells has a nice, neat yard, bushes and shrubs that don’t hide the house, a freshly painted look or good siding, a way to park a vehicle, and a look from the exterior that it has been well maintained.
      Inside, it should look fresh and well maintained. Design isn’t all that important and can be too much, in terms of cost. If these basics are good and/or can be improved and brought up to standard, the place will sell. I once hired a landscaper to improve the yard of a place that needed it, and he did a marvelous job, that turned a small cottage into a jewel box. The place needs a decent roof, decent foundation, and decent floors. There should be no plumbing or electrical hazards, no standing water beneath the house, and no sagging or slumping and no pests. These are the basics. Property lines need to be clear and there should be no liens, encumberances, or encroachments. There should be a clear, clean title. And then, it should sell.
      Yard: As green as possible and lawn, if any, free of weeds, trimmed and mowed. Shrubs and trees: Trees and shrubs not overwhelming the house and not hung up in the power lines, or with the trees growing around and through the power lines.
      Porches: No sagging or slumping, or separating from the house.
      Sidewalks on the property: No large cracks or separations that could cause a tripping hazard.
      Stairs: Are they level? Hand railings need to be there, and need to be well maintained and not have missing parts, be wiggly, or be rusty.
      Pests: Need to be gone. No mice, rats, or any bug invasions.
      That’s about it. It’s optional but nice if the doorbell works.

  6. Hello ,

    I just watched your Ted x talk “isolation is the dream killer” and boy do I do that to myself ALOT. The stories you shared are very inspiring and I am gonna give this a shot. Cause what do I have to lose ? Nothing and I might end up with something that I really want. So here it is. I am an actress in LA , I am working really hard on getting my career up but I lack connections that are a very important part of the job I have decided to do. What I would like is to meet successful people of my industry (such as producers , casting directors and directors ) and build a network that would give me the opportunity to get seen as an actress and booking professional parts.

    And I would love to help others in any way I can , I am a problem solver by nature so if I see a post that I think I have something to offer you bet you will hear from me.

    May all your dreams come true

    • That sounds great, Konstantina! And welcome to this wonderful place Barbara left behind when she died in May of 2020. I’m doing my best to keep the online part of her work alive, in partnership with her executor and a truly wonderful team.

      I don’t know your industry, but the question that I think might help is this: where do producers,directors, and casting directors give back to society? Where do they volunteer? Because meeting people while both being helpful together is one of the best ways to get around the gatekeepers and status barriers.

    • Hi Konstantina,

      This is not the help you asked for; I don’t know anyone in the industry, but I hope you don’t mind if I make a few suggestions.

      I googled your name and I can see that you have this great, natural intensity in your eyes. It gives you a very interesting and unique look and I’m trying to think of what kind of character would highlight that attribute. I don’t know what that character is…but do you know what I mean? This is what I think sets you apart, makes you stand out from other actresses.

      Every great actor had that one character that just “exploded” on screen. It was that character that shot them to the top of their game. Do you have a certain character type that you can say “yes, that’s it! I own that! I know her, I just know her.”

      I would love to hear how you are doing. Do you have a good agent?
      (Also please forgive me if I’m saying things you already know 🙂

    • ****************************************

      Aloha Konstantina,

      I’m a working actor and director in LA. (I currently live in San Diego, moved here from LA during the pandemic… now I’m looking for a cheap place to live to move back to LA! Did rents really grow that fast over the last 2 years?!? Anyway… that’s MY wish, I guess. lol.)

      As for your wish, I’m not a “high level” director… but I’ve been paid to do what I do and I love being part of this industry. 🙂 It’s a tough life, not for everyone… but if your heart’s calling you here, then by all means, KEEP GOING!! It’s a journey, not a race. “Every overnight success is 10 years in the making.” And other platitudes, etc. :-p

      But seriously, here’s a few tips for you and any other beginning actors who may come across this post.

      Tip #1: Self-submit EVERY DAY to ANYTHING that’s remotely interesting to you, that you feel you vaguely may fit the character breakdown description of. It’s okay if you’re not an exact match. Directors will literally re-write a character to fit you sometimes, if they love your energy and performance. If you want to focus on TV & film, then you definitely need to be on Actors Access. LA Casting (aka “Casting Networks”), Casting Frontier, and Backstage are good options too. But if you can only afford one, I recommend Actors Access. It’s like $70 for the YEAR and there’s TONS of new listings on there constantly. If you want to focus more on commercial work, then LA Casting and Casting Frontier are great for that (although you will find some commercial gigs on Actors Access too). Backstage has a little bit of everything, but to me feels like it’s more populated with either student projects or live theatre. But, of course, there’s overlap in all of them. If you have an agent or manager, great, but don’t wait or rely on them. Always, always, always be self-submitting to projects EVERY DAY. Casting directors will receive (literally) thousands of submissions per role. You want to submit for that role in the first day or two of it being listed, for the best odds. If you submit later, that’s okay too. But you’ve got better odds if you submit for it as soon as possible. Hence, be on those sites and self-submitting *every day*.

      Tip #2: You need a reel. I do NOT recommend *paying* a service to film you in a scene to “create” reel footage for you. Get ACTUAL footage from REAL projects. Casting directors can spot “filmed for a demo reel” scenes a mile away. While that may be better than nothing, I still generally don’t recommend spending your money on that, for most people. Instead, get booked on ANYTHING you can — even if it’s a student film — and start collecting footage for your reel that way. You need about 3-5 clips of about 20-30 seconds each, each one showing something different and unique. Different emotional range, character types, etc. You demo reel should ideally be between 1 to 2 minutes long. Eventually you’ll want separate reels for “comedy” and “drama”, but in the beginning, it’s okay to have one reel that combines both. Your reel should only include actual TV/film clips, not you doing self-tape auditions, being live on stage, or anything else. If you want to include those, add them as separate media files to your profile. But have a reel of JUST you acting in TV & film projects. Even if they’re student films. Pick the highest quality ones you’ve got, that provide unique characters/range. But the sad truth is, in my experience, about half the projects you do will never get you a copy of the footage, and of those that do, only have of them will be useable and worth adding to your reel. So act in as many projects as you can, at any level, paid or unpaid, to start collecting footage to begin assembling your first reel.

      Tip #3: Student projects are great! But not all schools are equal. I’d focus on USC and UCLA student projects. The other film schools are hit or miss, depending on the student filmmakers. But USC and UCLA seem to do a really good job, in my experience, of consistently teaching and training their students well. Even freshmen or sophomore year students will make decent films. Senior thesis projects are awesome. Typically student projects are unpaid, but they’ll often get you footage for you reel, and more importantly, you’re building relationships with up-and-coming filmmakers like yourself. The film industry is very much a relationship-based industry, as you know. The secret is, you’re most likely going to build relationships with other people at your same level, and you’ll help each other and grow together. If you’re a beginning actor, network with other beginning actors, directors, DPs, producers, etc. Then help each other get to the top.

      Tip #4: You don’t need an agent… yet. A lot of actors believe “once I get an agent, I’m set and it’ll be smooth sailing.” Nope. Because as a beginning actor, you’re most likely going to sign with a beginning or small-level agent too. They, too, are trying to grow in their careers. Like in my previous tip, you help each other grow. If you can get an agent or manager or both, fantastic. But the truth is, you don’t need one yet. Once you start consistently booking paid work and bigger and bigger projects (like independent feature films or non-union cable TV shows), then start looking for an agent if you don’t have one already. Eventually you will need one to access the bigger, union, studio-level projects. It’s extremely rare for the “big” stuff to list their openings to the general public. So you can’t self-submit to those bigger projects. You will need an agent to access those opportunities. But FIRST you need to prove that you’re able to consistently book work and do a good job on set, before leveling up to the bigger union projects. You’ll need a strong reel. You’ll want to have some relationships. Because at that higher level, now you’re competing with the best of the best — including name actors who’ve been in this business a lot longer than you or I have. So you’ll want to be ready to stand side by side with them and feel like an equal.

      Tip #5: It’s okay — even encouraged — to create your own content. Even if it’s just you and your friends at your apartment, filming it on your cell phone and uploading it straight to YouTube. Producers, directors, and agents all love to see that you WANT to stay busy and stay sharp as an actor, even if that means creating your own no-budget work. Some actors are quite lazy and have this attitude like they can just show up and be “discovered” and overnight become rich and famous. Nobody wants to hire those people. We want to hire people who are passionate about their craft and committed to being the best talent they can be. So if we see you uploading your own creative content to YouTube, no matter how low budget or crappy it is — that looks awesome on you! We have the resources and full crew to bring the production value. What we’re looking for is the passion and talent in YOU. And we can see that in a homemade YouTube video.

      Tip #6: Bring your unique energy. I firmly believe that each actor actually has “no competition” … IF you’re bringing YOU into each character and performance. Every human being has a unique essence, spirit, personality, history, lifeforce energy… A unique perspective and interpretation of each character. No one can compete with YOU because there’s only one of YOU. So when you audition, be sure to include YOUR unique energy and personality to the character. Play it how you feel it should be played, but bring the character to life *through* you. When we’re auditioning for a role, we’re seeing literally 100+ actors all come in, one after another, giving very similar performances to everybody else. But when you bring your unique soul into the character, it comes across — there’s a magic to it, the character feels more “alive” rather than just “a well-executed performance.” It makes you stand out as an actor. Doesn’t mean you’ll always book the role. But it’ll make you stand out, and we’ll remember you and invite you back for the next role you submit for.

      Tip #7: If a casting director keeps calling you in to audition for multiple projects, take that as a VERY good sign. It just means we haven’t found the right fit yet. But we WANT to find that fit for you. Casting directors LOVE actors and are championing for you. And we do not waste our timing bringing in people we don’t like. If a CD calls you back for another audition on another project, awesome. You’re in the home stretch. They’re just trying to find the right role for you. So keep being positive and friendly, keep thanking them for the audition, be yourself, have fun… and trust, if they keep auditioning you, it’s only a matter of time now.

      Tip #8: During the audition, I’m actually looking for 3 things. I can’t speak for all directors. This is just how I do it. First, I need to know you can act. Do I feel emotion? Do I believe you’re meaning and feeling the lines you’re saying? Second, if you pass that test, I’ll ask you to try it a different way. Even if you nailed the character exactly how I envisioned, I’ll ask you to try it with a different emotion or interpretation. Why? Because I need to make sure you’re not a one-trick pony — that you have range — and two, I need to see that you can think quickly and adapt on your feet, and follow direction, because very likely at some point on set, that’s gonna happen. So I need to see now, during the audition, that you’re capable of on-the-spot adjustments and can play it a variety of ways. And third, and this is the big secret, is I’m observing you from the minute you enter the room until the second you leave. I’m getting a sense for your personality. Are you easy-going, friendly, polite, respectful, professional, etc? In short: who are you in real life, when you’re not acting… are you someone I want I spend 12+ hours a day working closely with on set? If you pass all 3 tests, you have a very high chance of getting booked. And even if you don’t get booked on THIS project, I’ve made a note of “this is someone I want to work with on something, sooner or later.”

      Tip #9: I highly recommend every actor direct at least one short film. Even if it’s zero budget. Don’t cast all your friends. Actually list the roles on one (or all) of those websites I mentioned earlier. Hold auditions. Find a DP, sound mixer, and editor if you can too (or just do it all yourself, on your cell phone; but working with a team is very helpful and recommended, even if it’s a small team of volunteers). Film in a location where you don’t have unlimited time or outside where the sun’s moving against you (directors are ALWAYS racing against the clock). Then after you film it, be closely involved in the editing process, to see how all the pieces come together. Even if you have no desire to ever be a director. Because you’re gonna learn SO MUCH about what it’s like being a director — what they’re looking for, how they think, what they need… It’s gonna help you audition better. And when you’re on set, it’s gonna help you perform better. As an actor, you’ll think more about continuity. Or why you don’t want to talk over somebody else’s lines if the camera’s only seeing you. Why there’s a small pause at the end of the scene before the director calls “cut”. Lots of little things that will make you a better actor, and make your director’s life so much easier. And it’ll make the director see you as an experience professional, be grateful for you, and want to re-hire and refer you more. Plus it’ll give you more confidence and comfort on set. Help you anticipate the director’s needs before they ask. Help you stand out in the audition room. All sorts of benefits. (And why you should NEVER feel bad for not booking a part… you’ll learn that there were several great actors you wanted to cast, but only one spot to fill… and sometimes the reason you picked one actor over another is so arbitrary, and completely beyond the actor’s control.)

      Tip #10: This’ll be my last tip for now. But it’s an important one. Figure out and discover what you want to specialize in as an actor. Do you want to play certain kinds of characters? Do you prefer comedy or drama or horror or historical fiction or what? Is your soul called to live theatre or TV/film or commercials or industrial/educational videos or podcasts or what? Everyone’s afraid of being typecast, but I actually encourage you to do some soul-searching and typecast yourself. Figure out what you want to be typecast for, and start prioritizing that. Make your resume highlight and stand out for that. Have your reel primarily (or exclusively) only show that. Etc. Why? Because the reality is, we want to hire specialists. For example, I recently directed a series of comedy sketches. I had LOTS of super talented actors submit for a very limited number of roles. But you know who I auditioned and ultimately cast? Actors who had a strong comedy background. Their resume showed completing improv classes at a major school like UCB or Groundlings, all the way up through level 4. Their demo reels have a lot of comedy clips. Their headshots were a little quirky, goofy, playful, or character-y. Everything about them said “I’m an actor who does a lot of comedy.” That increases my confidence in hiring them. I don’t just want to know an actor “can” do the job. I want to know that this is their “thing”, their specialty, their passion. Because comedies are filmed very differently than drama or horror or any other genre. Comedies are *performed* differently by the actors. 90% of directing is proper casting. If a director casts poorly or takes a chance on an unknown, it could mean a lot of extra work for them giving you notes on set and requiring additional takes to get it right. On the other hand, if we cast somebody who’s well experienced in this particular genre or type of project, they already know the ins and outs. They know the nuances. They’re already masters at this specific thing. Which means less work for the director. Less takes needed to get the shot right. And that means, just maybe by some miracle, we may even stay ahead of schedule all day! Which means we wrap a little early, save a little money in the budget, and now the producer and studio is happy too! All because we hired a cast and crew who’s already well-experienced and specializing in this kind of project. So, figure out your brand. Decide what you want to be known for and specialize in. Start typecasting yourself. Build your whole resume, demo reel, headshots, etc around that central idea. Make it “obvious” that *you’re* the right actor for *that* character or project. If you want to stretch your creative muscles and do other kinds of projects, great, fine, do that too. But remember that this is a business. And if you want to work a lot, make it easy and obvious for a casting director to look at you and say, “oh, yeah, no question, they’re a perfect fit for ____.” Your resume, headshots, and reel are part of your marketing package. All marketing, in any business, is targeted and specific. If you want to do two different, unrelated things… fine. But you’ll probably want 2 different marketing packages, one for each brand. Don’t submit your “dark, serious drama” profile for a light-hearted family-friendly feel good comedy. Or vice versa. You’re an artist with diverse talents. I completely understand that. But if you want to make a living from it, you’re ALSO running a small business. And you wouldn’t advertise “we do everything for everybody.” That attracts nobody. But if you say, “I’m the best at ____ for these specific people/projects,” now you’re gonna start getting some business.

      I hope some of that’s helpful. I know your original question was about wanting to connect with established professionals, to open opportunities for you. In my experience, start at whatever level you’re at. (EVERYBODY starts as a beginner.) Find people at or just above your current level, work with them, and help each other grow. And find them by going to meetups, workshops, seminars, and other networking events. Meet them on set from projects you volunteered to be on or self-submitted for. Find them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups. But please, please, please… don’t “try to network.” EVERYBODY’s doing that. Instead, give a sincere compliment (like “hey, I really liked what you did in your last film” or “your scene in acting class really moved me” or whatever is genuine and appropriate), and find a way you can help them. Without asking for or expecting anything in return. Maybe, for example, you have a house that you can offer them to film at for free one day. Or you’ve got a blog/podcast, and you’d love to invite them on as a guest to help promote them. Or simply volunteer to be a PA on their next project. (That’s actually how I got my start as an actor.) And/or, helping them aside, see if you can find a common interest that’s unrelated to work. Maybe you both enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons or hiking or feeding the homeless… If you weren’t in the industry, would you still be friends with this person? If so, build on that. Actually be friends, for real… and maybe down the road, one day, you may help each other out career-wise too. Maybe not. Don’t ever expect it. Sometimes, just having a fellow friend in the industry to talk shop with is pretty awesome too. And sometimes — sometimes — those friendships open opportunities that no one else has access to, too. But if they do, be grateful and see it as a bonus… be friends with them because you want to be friends, period. “Everyone” in Hollywood is constantly trying to network, and it’s empty and shallow and can be spotted a mile away. But if you both go to the same church, have similar interests, enjoy talking about or doing other, non-work things together anyway… well, IF there’s going to be an “industry connection” that gives you a professional opportunity, it’ll be through one of those genuine friendships.

      • David,
        What a wonderful, kind, and generous reply!
        I’ll never be an actor, but I devoured every word!
        So much of what you wrote applies to breaking into any new career.
        And, even at 73, with 40+ years of work experience in my given field, I learned something new. When you talked about directing a film and how it makes you a better actor I realized I need to explain more about my vast experience when I’m applying for contracts – and how that makes life easier for those doing the hiring. So thank you for that.
        I copied everything you wrote and am saving it to re-read and/or share in the future. Hope that’s okay with you. Good advice is hard to find. Yours was damn good advice.
        Thanks for opening your heart and giving so freely. Your friends, coworkers, and family are blessed to have you in their lives.
        Warm regards,
        Jennifer Blair
        P.S. Barbara would have loved you.

        • Aww, THANK YOU Jennifer! And yeah, totally… feel free to share that with anybody it might be helpful or beneficial for.

          I only recently discovered Barbara, from her TED talk. I got super excited and starting googling her, and was instantly sad to discover she’s no longer with us on Earth. I wish I could’ve seen or met her in person. All my life, I’ve been passionate about helping others find and following their dreams, passions, and calling in life too. I feel she and I are kindred souls. And at the same time, I needed to hear and be reminded of her message too. I’m so glad she answered her calling and followed her happiness — I’m so glad she repeatedly shared her message with anyone who’d listen. Even after she’s gone, she’s still helping people…

          • David,
            Barbara had many friends who were actors or in the business. She once told me about when she first came to NYC and had a small part in a play. How excited she was! After opening night, they stayed up all night talking, too excited to sleep.
            There are lots of Youtube videos of her still around. You can feel her energy, warmth, and humor.
            She had a beautiful mind, and the greatest joy you can imagine was brainstorming with her. Such a dance of ideas! And my God, the things she came up with! It makes me smile just to think of it.
            And I do believe you two have kindred souls.
            So happy you dropped in.

      • Oh, how I wish there were a way to pin a comment to the top of the Idea Party. This is such a phenomenally helpful reply, David, and there will be many more who can benefit from it. The best I can do is give us a way to find it again. I am going to edit your comment to add a few stars.

        – Patty Newbold, President of Barbara Sher Online LLC

      • Hi David,

        Wow. Thank you so much for your valuable input. I think you just freely offered advice worth a lot of money in terms of its value, and I stand corrected by much of what I wrote.

        Such common sense advice that can be applied in so many other areas of life.

        I hope you find a great place in L.A., you clearly deserve it.

  7. Trying this again because I didn’t include my Obstacle:

    My obstacle is what would be some simple ways to get started and make impact? I am all over the place trying to do too much at one time like an octopus with many arms and .

    Do I create an e-commerce store to find a distributor that sales yea and drop ship after I receive orders? Or, focus on selling my motivational card decks, bookmarks and meditation MP3’s, or create a new website or just create a group on

    I desire my own life style brand focused on self care and having virtual tea parties where multi cultural women and I come together over a great pot of tea with healing medicinal properties to improve our health, write, pray, recite poetry meditate and I provide self care kits consisting of motivational card decks, inspirational book marks, meditations on demand, health and life coaching.

    For now this would be virtual tea parties and everyone would pay a fee to participate and I will have the tea and tea accessories shipped to them.

    This would be geared towards women feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of life and going through changes and personal transitions and seeking balance and connection.

    • Dear Necie,
      I have thought long and hard about this one. At first, it seemed that you were too much “all over the place,” and then, after sleeping on it, I see that I was wrong. I have been completely re-visualizing this much as you’ve expressed it. And what I was seeing was this gathering of women, possibly in a retreat center, writing, praying, reciting poetry, meditating, and, of course, you leading some guided meditations or visualizations, and being a health and life coach. Beautiful! That’s your content outline for a beautiful retreat time. And then, you could either go from retreat center to retreat center presenting these, or continuing to do it at one retreat center, or doing one of these gatherings and then doing your health and life coaching ongoingly after one of these weekends, because there would certainly be people interested in working with you ongoingly after being at one of these gatherings.
      Wow! Beautiful! Not too “octopusy” at all. And you’ve even figured out how to make it happen virtually!

  8. I would love to guide others into discovering what makes their heart sing with joy and inspired motivation, while working with others to serve the greater good. I am a Certified Life Coach, and began in 08/2012. Thank you for all that you do.

      • Hi Patti,
        I’m wondering if my response to your question asking what is my obstacle went through all right? Thanks.

        • You sent it by email, Sharon, which doesn’t work to share it with the group here. But I am the webmaster for this site, so it reached me. Here is what you wrote:

          The obstacle is that I’m currently limited in my ability to develop my career and establish financial freedom through the usual channels.

          I was a Lay Missionary for sixteen years, and developed into being a Medical Missionary, after which I then became self employed as a Certified Life Coach from 08/2012 until 04/2020.

          Being a Scanner, and not recognizing that my experience counseling other Lay Missionaries to find out what they were happiest doing, is what turns out to be what I’m here to do! This lack of realization got in the way of my ever developing a clear niche’ as a Life Coach.

          I haven’t been able to locate and connect to my previous Supervisors and Colleagues to request professional references, and wasn’t able to gain employment. My sincere condolences in Barbara’s passing Patty. I was just recently guided back to her profound teachings, and I would most welcome any opportunity to help bring her guidance to others. Thank you, Dr. Sharon Martin.

          I landed in “the system” dependent on SSI at the beginning of June, 2019, and then became displaced in April, 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic!

          I have managed to become resettled and stable since September 2021, and I am enrolled in a government program that provides a monthly stipend that along with SSI meets my financial needs. This program is designed to place me into a training and development site to work part time.

          From my research and understanding, I will need to become employed full time in order to break free from SSI, otherwise (SSI) will take 1/2 of anything they consider as earned income each month after the first $85.00.

          • I don’t know of any full-time employment for life coaches. That’s more of a self-employed lifestyle. And right now, you need to get back in the game, with a dependable salary and benefits. My recommendation would be to put whatever talents you have to work for someone who can provide all of that. While you do, keep a journal, because you’re going to have lots of great lessons and anecdotes of value to the folks you will provide life coaching to.

            Put in your hours at a “good enough” job that gets you back up and running and try adding one coaching client at a time. And maybe start looking for clients among those lay missionaries who have already built up some wealth and now want to do good, rather than those already living in poverty. Why? Because your talents will serve a lot more people if some of them can afford to pay you enough to live on.

      • I’m returning to this original question asking what is my obstacle Patty, because after several days of working through Barbara’s processes and some deep contemplation I feel that the information that I shared with you may have caused you to misunderstand what I was trying to convey, and I’m finally ready to actually get to the point.

        I do appreciate your thoughtful suggestions though, thank you.

        I’m currently semi-retired from my successful career as a pioneer in holistic health in Homeopathy, Reiki, EFT and Life Coaching, and I’ve always had all of the money and resources that I need for contributing to the greater good and for doing whatever makes me happy. …

        But, after recently becoming re-introduced to Barbara’s workI and recognizing how strongly I resonate with the methods that Barbara developed that seem so effective, I would be grateful and honored to
        promote and work with them in service to others.

        My obstacle is in understanding how to navigate the online platform for accessing and utilizing her material apart from her many excellent YouTube videos, most of which I’ve watched and taken notes on. There was something about a kit, that caught my attention, but I’m not sure how that works or how to locate it again.

        I’m considering the possibility of hosting a Mastermind Group Success Party that also includes accountability. I organized and hosted a Mastermind Group for students and alumni during my online coaching certification program, and we all enjoyed it very much and helped each other in formulating and initiating our professional intentions and goals.

        I would start and develop it as a free service pilot program, and see if it would develop into my next professional incarnation, and see me through my semi-retirement happy and possibly even more abundant.

        I would appreciate your feedback and your guidance regarding the protocol for whatever is required to do this in a way that Barbara would whole heartedly approve.

        (I’m using this more casual, fun email to communicate with you because I’m only seeing the option to communicate by email, and not seeing how to post on the board for now.)

        Thanks for your patience and for understanding.

        • i have been seeking for a group for a long time now, and don’t know why it did not happen because i tried. I did not like the random comments on facebook but would be more comfortable with a group of intentional and engage group. If you seek I can be part of the first 4 members of the team they request.
          I think the world needs collaboration and having each other’s back more than ever and being committed to the process unravelling and revealing golden nuggets
          let me know.

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