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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4,435 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. Back about 20 years ago I would email Barbara and she would be encouraging. As a scanner I like to explore and have fun in my beach town. So I came up with this fun idea. Pirate Pete in Old Orchard Beach. ( I am a filmmaker ) Here is my first episode. Encouragement PLEASE!

    • Peter,
      Very nice idea. I love the thought to slow down and notice the beauty right around you. You pointed out quite a few interesting places or things to see that most people may not notice at all. Very well done.

  2. Dear Karla,

    have you thought of making Tiktok videos outlining the problem you are solving and describing the benefits of canine hydrotherapy as a solution? What about Instagram reels? Creating your own FB group for pet parents whose injured dogs might require the service? Joining FB pet groups and engaging? May be also asking group admins permission to offer service?
    I believe you can do keyword search on Twitter for the type of issue canine hydrotherapy is trying to solve and commenting/offering service?



    • Thank you for your ideas, Natalya. I am 60 years old and pretty tech-challenged, but maybe I could get one of nephews or nieces to help me! I did make my website by myself, but it is nothing fancy. I also know a teacher who was a practicum student in my classroom and she has a tik tok, so maybe she will have some time to teach me how to do that! Thank you so much for your ideas!

  3. Hello, old and new friends! I am hitting an obstacle with Paws in the Pool and need some ideas!
    Dream: To be providing canine hydrotherapy to a handful of dogs each week.
    Obstacle: I need clients.

    What I HAVE done:
    1. Wrote a personal letter to four veterinarians with a contact person each knows, and why that person thought they would be interested in my services. Put together a folder with my brochure, my business cards, and referral forms. The letter also included my credentials, the fact that I have insurance, and a link to my website. . The techs won’t let you talk to the manager, but one did say she would hand deliver to the vet. One of the vets has seen the work I did with my own Waldo and encouraged me to start the service, but has not responded since I did.
    2. I sponsored a charity run and got friends and my boss t-shirts from my business, and we all ran it and handed out cards to anyone that asked about it.
    3. I rented a booth at our Barktober Fest, and stayed all day, despite the torrential rains in the morning. I gave out about 75 cards and talked to many people. No other booth on my row had the traffic that I did.

    I am open to any ideas, critique, etc., other than being videotaped for the news. I have huge anxiety when I think of that. I have the following ideas:
    1. Get in touch with the local agility club and offer to do a talk.
    2. Offer to work with a client from the local animal shelter or a rescue for free.
    3. Contact the newspaper to do an article.

    I had one client lined up, and her dog became paralyzed before I was able to work with it and was euthanized. I actually had met the sweet dog and noticed that the form had something whited out that the vet had written and told the woman I needed to contact the vet prior to working with the dog. I was worried there might be an issue with the dog’s spine, and I don’t work with most of those issues, as it requires two or more highly trained people. I am actually relieved that I never worked with her dog, as I would have blamed myself.

    I thought of reducing the price, but there were many people (including myself) who paid that amount for underwater treadmill services before our local rehab. closed. Many vets here are not into alternative services, which is why I have only contacted a few that I know are.

    I don’t need, nor want, this to be my major income, as I am still teaching and now have a wonderful boss. I just want to help some dogs and their owners.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    • Hi, Karla! It’s Mary Ann, who almost met you in Sequim that time.
      I’m not the greatest advertising person in the world–in fact, I consider it to be an area of weakness in me. So I’ve been thinking on this for awhile. I really think we lost something when we lost the Yellow Pages. I guess nowadays the main networking thing, the way that the Yellow Pages used to be, is Facebook. I once ran an Idea Party locally to gather people so I could start a Success Team. And a whole bunch of people showed up. Half of them came because they saw the fliers that I was papering the town with, and the other half came because I advertised it on Meetup. But this was for an event, not the opening of a business. So do you know anyone who is good at setting up advertising on Facebook that would help you attract clients? Direct advertising is what you need to do, I’m convinced. Same idea as the Yellow Pages. I think writing an article for the newspaper is a good idea. Perhaps open with a “2 for 1” sort of thing, where you offer a special price for the first time around for dog owners to come and try you out. Dog owners with dogs who are older are, most likely, your target audience. So where do they hang out and how do you meet them? Places where dog chow is sold, and where other doggie things are sold? Pet stores? Dog training establishments? (There’s one here in Tacoma.)
      Dog owner/appreciator clubs? Like kennel clubs? Or places that people with dogs can join that organize dog shows, where the dogs get to go past judges to be seen and/or get to show off their fancy tricks? Are there any doggie daycare places? Dog grooming places? Are there ways to advertise at any of these places? How? Do any of them put out newsletters, print or electronic, to their customers? Can you advertise there?
      And, is there a way for you to get into a Success Team? This seems to be prime Success Team material, somehow. I don’t understand advertising very well, but the one thing I’ve learned is that you have to reach your target audience, people with pets who would benefit by your services. I don’t understand electronic advertising hardly at all, but what little I know seems that Facebook has taken the place of the Yellow Pages. Many newspapers aren’t appearing in print anymore, and even if they do, they’re not running classified ads worth a hoot. I ran frustratingly into this recently when trying to buy a car. But there are still a few rural ones, small ones, in this area, which do. If there are any in your region, I would definitely run a classified, with borders around it to draw attention to it.
      I hope that some others reply to your post who know much more about advertising than me, especially electronic advertising, and can shower you with ideas. You have hung into your dream, and have gone through thick and thin for so long, that you deserve some help!
      Oh, hey, I just came up with another idea. In this region, we have what is called SCORE, which stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. These are volunteers who mentor people who are trying to form businesses. It is run by the Small Business Administration. I was being mentored by one of them when I was trying to form my counseling practice, and it was helpful. And it was free. Quite a good service. And the Small Business Administration is a national organization, not just a State of Washington organization. So go scope them out. I bet if you get a SCORE mentor, and this isn’t terribly hard to do, that they can really help you with some advertising and ways to attract clients.
      As I say, I hope that others will respond to your post and begin giving you good ideas. C’mon everybody! Karla needs our help!

      • Thanks for the ideas, Mary Ann! Hopefully I will be out in that area again someday and we can finally meet in person!

        I think you are right, that I need to create a FB page. I like your idea about the Small Business Administration, too. I actually think I pay for some sort of marketing service through GoDaddy for my website. Now that I remember that i will have to look into it. I DID make the website myself, and it was fun learning a new skill.

        I really appreciate your ideas and cheering me on! I knew I would have a response from you at some point! Are you still liking Washington State? Take care, friend, and I will keep ya’ll updated.

        • Dear Karla,
          Oh, yes! Washington State is my home, and Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands and the glorious Cascade and Olympic Mountains are the greatest places in the world. And if you get to hating the rain, all you’ve got to do is drive East about 100 miles, on the cross-state freeway, and you’re in the desert! Plenty of recreational opportunity there, too. I hate the fact that the yellow pages are gone–it would make advertising a whole lot easier. But I bet that SCORE can help, and the good thing is, it’s utterly free.
          I’d love it to be able to meet you in person some day.
          I’m glad that you’re sticking with it. This is what it takes!
          How do you like the party idea? That might be just the thing!

    • Hi Karla,
      It’s been a while. I’m glad to hear that you’re still pursuing your dream.
      My first thought was to have a pool party – with dogs welcome! If you had a potluck pool party with healthy dogs and their owners, they would become great “word-of-mouth” advertisers for you. One pool party a month would certainly create some buzz. And if you let the press know about it, especially during August (slow news days / “dog days of summer”) it might even get on the air.
      Barbara used to give out a link to a free press release web site that walked you through the steps. It’s been years, but a Google search would probably help you find it.
      Anyway, something positive and joyous like that couldn’t hurt, and it just might help.
      P.S. I know Barbara loved what you do and always bragged about you. She would want you to succeed!

      • Using ChatGPT (AI), I just produced this sample Press Release for you, Karla. Feel free to edit and use as much or little as you feel would be helpful:


        July 26, 2023 – (City, State) – As the summer heats up, Paws in Pools, the premier canine hydrotherapy center in the region, is thrilled to announce their inaugural “Dogs are Welcome” Potluck Pool Party. This wet and wild event, set for (Date), aims to celebrate the proverbial “dog days of summer” and provide a joyous and fun-filled environment for both dogs and their owners.

        “We are incredibly excited to open our doors for this unique event,” says Jane Doe, founder and operator of Paws in Pools. “Our potluck pool party is a perfect opportunity for our furry friends to cool off during the summer heat, socialize with other dogs, and enjoy an afternoon of splashy fun. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic way for pet owners to engage with the community and share in the enjoyment.”

        Paws in Pools, renowned for their specialized canine hydrotherapy services, offers state-of-the-art pools designed specifically for dogs, ensuring a safe and fun environment for all breeds and sizes. The “Dogs are Welcome” Potluck Pool Party will provide an opportunity for dogs to enjoy these facilities in a relaxed, party atmosphere, while their owners exchange pet-care tips, stories, and perhaps a potluck dish or two.

        Attendees are encouraged to bring their dog’s favorite dish to share, making the occasion truly a potluck experience. “The idea of a potluck is to foster a sense of community,” adds Doe. “Everyone gets to contribute, share, and enjoy a diversity of dishes – and in this case, an array of doggie treats and goodies!”

        In alignment with Paws in Pools’ commitment to safety, professional lifeguards and dog handlers will be present during the event to ensure all attendees, both two and four-legged, can enjoy the party in a secure environment.

        Paws in Pools invites all dog owners and dog lovers to come and enjoy this unique celebration of the dog days of summer. Whether your furry friend is a seasoned swimmer or a first-timer, they’re guaranteed a pawsitively splashing time!

        For more details about the “Dogs are Welcome” Potluck Pool Party, please visit our website at or contact us directly at Get ready to make a splash this summer with Paws in Pools!


        About Paws in Pools:
        Established in (Year), Paws in Pools is dedicated to providing high-quality canine hydrotherapy services. Our state-of-the-art pools are specifically designed for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and health conditions. We’re more than a service – we’re a community of dog lovers dedicated to enhancing and improving the lives of our furry companions.”

      • That you so much, Jennifer! I love your idea! I really want to see this through and help some dogs! No need for it to be my income, as I plan to continue teaching for 7 more years before I retire from that.

  4. Maybe mention your name and what you do (or even how to contact you or provide a link to your videos) in the comments section of film clip videos on online, such as on YouTube, if that’s allowed. You could get zoom clients from all over the world.

    Maybe you could offer a few introductory sessions for free at locally-owned gyms, spas, salons, and dance studios. Or contact drama and film departments at schools and offer a few free sessions to professors and their students, and all faculty. Or to coaches intent on gaining an edge for their team.

    Or churches, domestic abuse and homeless shelter administrators, Toastmasters, chamber of commerce, as a community recreation class, or those online sites like (?).

    Or contact the sales manager of any company that has an on-commission sales force. Offer tips in the comments section of videos that attract troubled people (not in competition with a therapist who posts videos) or….that attracts go-getter self-improvers.

    Toastmasters might get you past your introversion obstacle. If you believe in your “product” and focus, focus, focus on how much you want others to benefit from it, your introversion will become a “nothing burger” in the face of your zeal and passion to help others! Introversion, moot point!

    Good luck. Hope you find a gem in this hurricane of a brainstorm. lol ⚡️⚡️

    • Hi L.

      Thank you so much for all the gems you threw at me :). I realized that there are so many little steps that I can take to get to my niche.

      I discovered teachable thanks to you and it looks very promising.
      The idea of giving free sessions to coaches had crossed my mind in the past …and now it’s time to get down to actually doing it.
      Additionally, I just joined toastmasters 🙂 .

      Thank you again for your time and very helpful ideas, L.

      Have a great day,

  5. Peggy McColl, Peggy McColl, Peggy McColl!
    The real queen of internet marketing (and a “manifestion coach,” as well). Her manifestation advice is free online, which is all anyone needs (if you have truly efficient manifestation tools, you can apply them to anything, including this). Or you can pay to have her mentor you one on one. Investment, not expense.
    Her internet marketing is a paid service. She also teaches a class on it. Really knows the internet marketing landscape and has successfully promoted books to bestselling status for a veritable constellation of self-development stars whose names you’d definitely recognize.
    You seem to be on the right track. Persist!
    Never, ever, ever give up, my friend! 🙂

  6. Hi Everyone,

    I found about Barbara Sher and her work a few days ago and I love her work. It’s very inspiring and I love that an idea party exists… that you exist.

    This is my first time posting here.

    My aim is to find clients that are interested in my work. I love doing inner work and love teaching it. My work consists in teaching how to meditate, how to work with destructive beliefs and patterns. I love using movies to explain patterns (archetypes.) When it comes to credentials, I am an archetypal consultant and I can facilitate the Work by Byron Katie.

    My obstacle is that I can’t find people that are interested in what I am doing and what I am offering. I am a very introverted person so it’s hard for me to go out and find clients. I would not even know from where to start. I tried creating a few videos ( ) on youtube but it’s not working. My marketing skills are inexistent. I really don’t know what to do and I don’t have the financial resources to ask for professional help.

    Take care,

    • Dear Almaz,
      In addition to the comments that you’ve already received, I suggest the following:
      *Get an “elevator speech” going–a short 30-second to 1 minute speech that you can tell anyone about what it is that you do. When people hear about a new healing modality, the first thing they want to know is “What does it do? How might it benefit me?” So develop a very short little speech that tells people what this is and how it may benefit them.
      *Having done that, unless you’ve done it already, get some business cards printed up. Your name, some contact information, name of healing modality, and one or a couple of benefits of it.
      *Having done this, talk to all your friends and tell them this is what you do. Talk to anyone you meet and tell them this is what you do. Keep some of the business cards with you at all times so that you always have something handy to hand out. And tell everyone whom you hand the cards out to to tell their friends and tell their enemies!
      *Ask yourself, “Where am I feeling questionable or doubtful about myself in this role?” You have mentioned introversion and lack of marketing skills. I, too, am an introvert, who has discovered that the more I talk to people about something I am really passionate about, the more the introversion disappears. The passion sort of incinerates it.
      *Build upon yourself. By that, I mean add on some credentials and therefore become solider in peoples’ eyes for what you offer. In the first video, you are offering relationship advice. So, for example, it would be stronger to know and to offer to others that you are a relationship coach, rather to just say that you can offer someone else’s modality.
      The audience may not know who that person is, and will be likely to assume that you don’t have much in the way of credentials. And credentials matter to people these days. Becoming a relationship coach takes a bit of credentialing. I notice that you are offering videos
      on other subjects as well. Would it be fair to say that you would really like to be a life coach? It helps to strengthen you to know what you really are, and not just that you can represent someone else’s methods.
      That is good marketing.
      *Are there any metaphysical trade shows going on anywhere near where you live? It is not terribly hard to get into them, and having a booth there, and a business Facebook presence helps to promote you.
      *At every event where you are, have some sort of written handout that people can take with them. And your business cards, of course. And have a sign-up sheet handy for those who are interested in your work to sign up and get on your mailing list. You build a mailing list this way. These people become your valuable supporters. Keep them interested by doing more and more stuff, so that you can inform them monthly about what you are up to.
      Do speaking engagements that explain the work, the principles. Get a schedule of events going. And let your “constituency,” those on your mailing list, know.
      Possibly create an event with another person who can also present the modality that you present, and become co-presenters.
      These are a few things, and I hope they help.

      • Hi Mary Ann,

        I am going through your message and making a list of actions that I want to implement. They are very thorough and very helpful.

        The tip about how to offer more solid credentials was a real eye-opener for me.

        You are right, I definitely need to talk more about my work in my community. I need to remind myself that I have done it a few times in the past and it wasn’t as difficult as I though it would be… and the more I’ll do it, the easier and more fun it will become.

        Thank you for your all your tips, Mary Ann.

        Take care,

    • Hi Almaz I looked for your YouTube link but it’s not showing up. I’m quite interested in your kind of work.

  7. Thank you everyone for your suggestions! There were a few ideas I hadn’t considered before.

    Update: we are currently in Phoenix in a temporary living condition. My mom has started her job and is loving it. I am still job hunting and looking for more permanent living situations/possibilities.

    So far, things are going well (though we’ve only been here a few days). Wish us luck as we continue!

    Again, thank you for your help.

    • Good! I am glad that you have made it to there, in spite of my heat warnings to you yesterday. I know that it is part of your life experience. I think that now that you’re there, you stand a much better chance of finding work and of being able to settle in. It’ll open up to you if it’s supposed to, as things have for me over the years. House sitting, plant sitting, and pet sitting are tried and true ways of making a little bit of money and settling into a new area. I’m glad that your Mom is loving her job there. Good luck with it all. Keep us posted.

    • Dakota,
      I am SO happy that you all made it there and that your mom is loving her new job! Good luck, and please keep us updated!

    • Dear Dakota,
      Another thought has come to me, in regards to helping you get income, and then suitable work. Again, based on experience. When times have been tough for me, and I needed work to establish myself, or to survive, I have turned to the temp agencies. I’m from Washington State, and I found out that the University of Washington has its own temp agency, something I didn’t know until someone informed me of it. So I got work that way, and one department liked me so much that they wanted to hire me on at a fairly lucrative salary. But I didn’t like them. They were engaging in germ warfare research. Ugh, Horrrrrors! However, I learned some much-needed job skills on that job, and within a short time, I was able to use and amplify those skills on another job much more suited to me–working as the executive secretary for a park with an excellent outdoor recreation program for kids and adults. And park rangers, too. I was working full time at the germ warfare job, and one sweet morning, I picked up the phone and called in well. “This is Mary Ann, and I’m calling in well.” “You’re doing WHAT?” “Calling in well! ‘Bye!” And I hung up, and immediately went in hot pursuit to see if there were any openings at the park. There were! By 2:00 that same afternoon, I was interviewing, and 3 days later, I got hired for that job. I had never been an executive secretary before, and so I was scared, but I just sat down and started to punt. Good writing skills and superior organizational skills were things I brought to that job, plus recent training that I had in clerical work from working temp for the University of Washington for about a year helped me land that job. It expanded, and I got some ranger patrol duties, too. That was cool!
      Temp agencies want to hire people. They want warm bodies to do things. So you are likely to be put to work fairly quickly, with a lot less hassle than having to submit an advanced resume, go through background checks that you have to pay for, and three sets of interviews before being hired. Check to see if colleges and universities have them. In my experience, they are easier to get hired by than the big temp agencies, like Kelly Services. The pay won’t be great, but you’re gaining experience, and references. And it’s a foot in the door.
      I’ve had jobs working for a pet store, working at a B&B, getting hired as a professional baker, (I had prior cooking experience), and lots of clerical experience, all working temp. It isn’t all clerical work. And it’s a “crash landing” situation. You’ll be able to call in well some day and get a real job. By the way, what’s your dream job? Hematologist? Wildlife safari guide? Spider wrangler? (No kidding! Barbara Sher actually found this job title in some movie credits once! I don’t know what movie it was.) It is fairly easy to get hired as an extra in the movies. I personally know one movie and TV actor who started his career by doing just that. Professor of Astrophysics? Astronaut? Inventor? Founder of an Indian Cultural Center? Well, you get the idea. Sometimes, temp agencies who like your work will want to hire you on. And if you like them, then you’ve got a job. This can be a good way to get a foot in the door, or at least survive. Be dreaming into what it is that is your Right Livelihood while you’re at this. Doing what you love, which you’re talented at. And other people are benefiting. And you are being paid enough to definitely not worry about how to pay the rent. Rent?? You’ll probably be looking for a house. So dream big! Barbara Sher wrote much about this, especially Wishcraft, How to Get What You Really Want. She spent her life helping thousands of people to define and get their deepest dreams met.
      As I say, in spite of my heat warnings, I am definitely glad that you are there. Relocating like this is never easy, and it takes lots of bubble gum, duct tape, baling twine, and prayer. The bubble gum isn’t for pleasure. It’s real handy if you’re driving down a dangerous, really gnarly stretch of unmaintained dirt road, and you connect with a big rock which gouges a hole in your oil pan. It comes in mighty handy to be chewing it madly and stuffing it up into the hole to prevent all the oil from draining out. But, it’ll turn into a dried-up brick if you store it in the glove box in a hot climate. In that case, you’ll have to keep it in a cooler place, where it can still be useful. Best to keep a couple extra quarts of oil in the vehicle. But that’s a whole other story!
      I see that this relocation, painful as it has been, is a golden opportunity to build your dreams. Purpose and talents fit together like a hand in a glove. Do what you love doing. And run with it.
      I am glad that your Mom and you are there. Please keep us posted.

    • Bravo, and best of luck with the job and housing hunts!

      And thank you so much for the follow-up. I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

  8. I recently found Barbara Sher and bought one of her books and I love it so much! I’d love to be part of this online idea party.

    I’m 26 and my mom and I are roommates. We have a shared dream and have reached a dead end in every way when it comes to accomplishing it:
    We want to move to Phoenix/Scottsdale AZ (from out of state) and start a fresh life.
    Our obstacles: we don’t qualify for even the cheapest smallest rent with our income and we don’t do well house sharing so that’s not really an option for us.

    She has her dream job lined up in Phoenix, I’m still job hunting long distance but time is running out and no housing options have worked out. And it’s not for lack of trying on our end. Even our back up plan fell through (live in our camper while we continue the housing hunt).
    We don’t know what else to do. I found this online idea party and decided to try it.

    • Are you looking at jobs that would bring in enough income, along with your mother’s dream job income, to rent a place? If so, let us know what you’re looking for, so we can offer ideas of where to look and how to land the job.

      Could you go there as house sitters on her income while you look for work and a place to rent there? This article looks helpful for getting started:

      Do you have things you could sell now and replace after you’re settled in and working? It cuts down on moving costs and gives you some cash to pull this off.

      Have you looked through Barbara Sher’s Idea Book ( for other things you can do to raise cash quickly?

      Could you continue to work for your current employer remotely from Phoenix?

      I hope you get lots of ideas from this great group.

      • We need to make 3x or 3.5x the rent to qualify for anything. My mom’s dream job isn’t enough for that even though it is decent money. Her income is too high to qualify for low-income housing either. I intend to split the rent with her once I land a job (I’ll take any job) but so far employers aren’t even willing to talk to me until I am living in the area (Scottsdale).

        Thank you for the idea of house sitting, that is one we had not thought of! We were hoping to camp either in a camp ground or our friends property but age limits, HOAs, and overbooking have chased off those possibilities.

        We have already sold almost everything we own and our home as well. We are currently renting a room from a family member in our home state.

        We are both currently unemployed, technically. Our previous jobs ended a little too early (so remote work isn’t an option either).

        We are willing to live cheap and small, we just need someone to cut us a break when it comes to paycheck stubs (because we don’t have them yet) and 3x the rent.

        We might end up hotel-ing it for a while but if we don’t find housing (and me a job) quick, we’ll be in trouble.

        I appreciate your help. Thank you for your response.

        • Dakota,
          Try a farm volunteer situation like wooffing. Especially if you have a camper, a farm would probably be willing to let you set up camp on their property in exchange for a few hours of work. You’ll have the privacy you need by using the camper and they can leave more space for volunteers. It can get you in the state and leave you enough time to search for the job you need.

        • Dear Dakota,
          As an adventuresome soul who has “jumped off a cliff and flew” many times, with practically nothing, relocating across state lines and knowing nobody, I can say that it isn’t easy. I did not have a camper–never did. I just had my camping gear, a vehicle that ran well, and a “grub box” in the back containing about a month’s worth of very simple groceries, if I rationed them carefully. In one move, I was outfitted like this, and had $100 to my name plus my musical instruments, a violin and viola, which I could not stand to put in storage, and besides, it would have ruined them. I was headed to a small island in a county completely composed of islands, and coming away from an area where finding work of any kind had become impossible. And the frozen, 30 below zero, 20 feet of snow climate was also impossible.
          I was also in this “bind” that you have experienced where you need to have a local address to get started. So, as soon as I landed on the island, I started driving around all over the place (it was a Saturday), looking for a post office that was open. I found one, on the south end of the island, and promptly rented a P.O. Box, thereby establishing an island address! I had a job interview scheduled for Monday morning, saying in the description that I needed an island address. So now, I had one! I stuck my fist in the air and shouted, “Aha! I feel like Robinson Crusoe! A beachead has been established!
          Then, I knew I needed a place to sleep for the night, and establish that. There was a state park nearby. I went exploring to see how crowded it was and to see if there were any sites that didn’t have to be reserved well in advance. There were some. I knew that I couldn’t go there until night, when they wouldn’t be any longer collecting fees, because until I had a job, I couldn’t pay the fees! So I snuck in there late at night and snuck out early in the morning, before 6 a.m., so the rangers wouldn’t catch me.
          I prayed hard, went to the interview, got hired on the spot to clean cabins at a resort. Like you, I was willing to take any job, and this is what it takes to stay afloat in a small island community. I interviewed for another part-time job that afternoon, and got hired on the spot to be a prep cook for a restaurant in another resort. I had never been a professional cleaner nor a professional cook before, so I was entirely faking it until I could make it. That same night, the community theater on the island was having auditions for the musical “Oklahoma.” I auditioned and won the role of the fiddler in “Oklahoma.” I was driving back to camp late at night, and thinking, “Good God! Two jobs and an audition in one day! I guess the angels of this place just want me to live here!” In the mornings, going off to my first day’s work of cleaning cabins, I was jubilantly singing songs from “Oklahoma” in the car. I soon found a more permanent place to pitch my tent on some private land, as a labor exchange situation, in exchange for a place to camp. More permanent, and a lot less risky than sneaking in and out of the park had been. Ahh! Coming up in the world! I soon got a place to crash on someone’s couch, (a new and wonderful friend that I had met) and that was much better than sleeping on the ground, and it lasted for awhile. Meanwhile, because I wasn’t paying rent, I was saving up laboriously for the steep rent and deposit that I was going to have to pay to get into a place. I had a place picked out, and $400 to go to save up for it. Island jobs kept changing, and this was unnerving, and I had to keep “job jumping” and interviewing like crazy to keep afloat. It was very unnerving. About 6 months after I came to the island, I had enough saved to get into the steep and very cramped apartment. And then I really got lucky. I found this place, this rusty old single-wide trailer, with wood heat and a broken furnace. What attracted me to it was that it was on the edge of a meadow, with a pond, and a gorgeous setting, because it was also on the edge of the woods, with ferns and orchids growing out of deep moss, and a trail going to the beach. And the rent was still steep, but less! Wow! I found a friend from the resort who desperately wanted to move out of impossibly cramped quarters, and we became roommates. It was a pretty happy arrangement. I kept that arrangement going for a number of years, moved to another place once. Established my own cleaning contracting business. There were a lot of wealthy people there, needing help cleaning their houses. I was trained by one of the best professional cleaning companies, the Clean Team. They’re still in business. So I was a contractor, not just some mindless person swizzling a rag around. I built the business to $26,000 a year, and added an employee whom I was training. Life was good.
          In another interstate move when I knew no one and had only borrowed money to make the move, I crash-landed in a small mountain hamlet in North Central New Mexico. I housesat for 6 weeks, then had another housesitting job for another week and a half, and then, got referred to someone wanting to rent a house. I looked it over, rented it with my house sitting money, and got my stuff out of storage and moved in. No idea where a job would come from. I got hired by someone up in Taos, 55 miles away, one way, to work in their B&B, cleaning rooms and making them up for guests. The pay was awful and I was getting paid weekly, which was really getting paid weakly! And the people were mean. By September, I re-invented the wheel and re-established my cleaning business. I got enough customers to quit the B&B immediately, so I did. Glad to be rid of it. From then on, I worked as my own boss, cleaning places and driving all over the place. Met some very interesting people. I lived 11 years in the Southwest before returning to Washington State in 2014.
          I joke around that my life hangs together because of 4 things: Duct tape, bubble gum, baling twine, and prayer. And heavy duty on the prayer. I have been giving you my personal history here not only to indicate how I coped, and strategized, but the sense of optimism that I kept maintaining. Even when I didn’t know what the next step was going to look like, even before it manifested, I knew what it was, generally. And I always said Yay! when I’d accomplished the tiniest step. Like getting a P.O. Box rented. Hey, it was an island address, and it got me a job! The job got me connections to a place to put my tent and a friend who eventually became a roommate. The island began to bloom with more friends, utterly unknown at first, and a place to crash and then an apartment and a much better place on the edge of a forest, with a trail through beautiful woods to the beach. The air of optimism plus the “heavy duty on the prayer” helped to deliver things to me. Now I’m no Bible beater. I’m just utterly convinced, through many examples of personal experience, that prayer definitely helps.
          And, now, I feel guilty, because I know that both of you have your hearts set on establishing yourselves in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. In the summers, the Southwest turns into a furnace. How are you with heat? And I do mean heat. In June, July, and August, daytime temperatures are in the triple digits. Up in the mountains at 7,000 feet, it cooled off at night, but in the lower elevations, from 5,000 feet on down, it doesn’t cool off, and nighttime temperatures are around 97 or 100 degrees. It doesn’t cool off much. One day, I came home after work and my little casita was 119 degrees in there and there was no AC. My old jalopy didn’t have AC either. I got dizzy and passed out, and was out for 3 1/2 hours. When I got up, I went and looked at my face in the mirror. It was beet red. I’d been having heat stroke. You can die of heat stroke. It is very dangerous. The only cure is to hydrate and cool down through the application of water, all over your body. It takes a minimum of 4 liters of water to stay hydrated during the day. I also used to carry a quart-sized squirt bottle of water around with me. In the car, I would squirt myself all over, my head, hair, face, arms, body, legs–dripping wet. In 20 minutes, I was dry and getting too hot again. So I’d squirt myself all over again. And again. In this way, I coped. Temperatures right now are up around 123 degrees farenheit in Phoenix. People are being warned not to move there. Whewee! Are you up for this?
          I feel guilty, because I could easily be criticized for trying to poke a hole in your dream, and cast gloom and doom on it.
          As climate change intensifies, the Southwest is getting hotter and hotter, and they have been enduring a very ferocious 10 year drought. There have been vast wildfires, and some towns have run out of water completely, and have had to be abandoned. This has been going on in New Mexico.
          I’m not really trying to tear your dream down. But I just want to warn you that this is what you’re in for. I had a cousin living in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it was worse over there. One hundred thirty degrees in the summer time. I wouldn’t survive it! But Phoenix is a bustling metropolis, and people do live there. I just want you to know and consider what you’re getting into, and factor this into your plans. You cannot always count on air conditioning to be there for you. There are rolling blackouts in California now, in summers, when the power grid goes down from too many people trying to operate their air conditioners all at once. And it gets hot there too. All I’m saying is know what you’re getting into and be prepared to survive on your own without AC, as I had to do. Desert living in the Southwest is very different, and if a person isn’t used to it, it can be shocking at first. I’m just trying to sound a fair warning, and not pop the bubble, so to speak.
          In my view, when one is faced with every obstacle, and they simply seem insurmountable, it is sometimes necessary to ask, “Is this really for us? Is the Universe trying to tell us something?” Perhaps it is. Perhaps not. But if you go exploring, just be prepared, especially for heat.
          Lots of heat.

          • Mary, that is quite the story!
            Thank you for sharing your concerns and your thoughts on prayer.
            I had wondered if there were too many obstacles for this move to be reasonable (or “right for us”) too, but we still decided to go though with it.

            In response to your concerns: don’t worry, we have plenty of experience with the desert and we have several friends in the southwest so we’ve been keeping up on the current climate situation. Currently we are in a temporary living situation here in Phoenix. We do have AC but also, the heat doesn’t bother us as much. Neither of us handle cold very well, but heat? We can do heat. And we know how to be carful with it too.
            Thanks again.

    • Hi, Dakota!

      Could you look at sites like couchsurfing and see if you can get free accommodation for a bit? And look at bartering options in and around Phoenix/Scottsdale. May be some farm work in return for free accommodation. I know people do it for European stays, but the site name escapes me at the moment. Look at Trustedhousitters too. May be you can find a series of longer-term animal sitting opportunities. All the best!


  9. Hello 🙂 I just found Barbara Sher and i love every word she is saying. I really want to join a Idea Party and inspire and get inspired. When is the next one? Thank you so much.


  10. this is not a wish / obstacle, but an invitation to a Weekend with tipps and tricks to make your dreams come true with life coaches trained by Barbara Sher herself. And to a life- Ideaparty via Zoom – in English and German.
    Get reay, and regeister, to make your dreamscome true 🙂

    Meet us online and get inspired by short presentations and finaly by watching the premiere preview of a documentary , remeber her.
    We cordially invite you to join us!

    Saturday, May 6th, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in German (CEST – German time zone)
    Sunday, May 7th, 2023 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in English (CEST – German time zone)

    Online via Zoom, access data after registration (see below)

    Lectures, small workshops and win coaching vouchers

    We came up with a Red (Common) Thread that contains the core statements of Barbara Sher’s “teachings”:

    • (Re)discovering wishes and dreams
    • Concretising, planning & implementing a dream
    • Dealing with obstacles & resistance
    • Isolation is the Dream Killer: Support through ideas & inspiration during Blockbusters, Idea Parties and above all Successful Teams
    • Scanners: We explain what it means to be a Scanner and how Scanners can use their talents creatively and productively.

    As a special highlight, we will show excerpts from an as yet unreleased documentary film about Barbara Sher.

    Throughout the day there will always be an opportunity to get tips and ideas for your own wish.


    Participation is free; Donations are welcome!


    More details soon.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Astrid Meyer and the wonderful Orga-Team
    find coaches:

    Online Idea Party via Zoom with Barbara Sher Coaches – in English
    Friday the 12th of May 2023 From 7 to 9 pm German time
    A Zoom Idea Party
    Please register by email at if interested

    In German: Thursday May 11th, 6 – 8. pm CEST

    • Dear Astrid,
      I am having a beastly time signing up. It won’t work. It won’t accept any password I try to send it, the one for this platform or any other. And then, if I hit “Forgot Password,” then Google wants to send me some notification or other to a non-existent phone number before I can sign up!
      I don’t have a smart phone. My technology at this time consists of a
      land line and this computer. I have no idea what in the world phone number it thinks I have. This is just my luck with systems like this. Two things are axiomatic with me, it seems. There is not a system on Earth which will accept any password I give it; I can never be found in anyone’s system; and finally, I fry any computer I get in front of, including this one! Constantly! Computers, Beschmuters!!
      (Sigh!) So can I sign up at all, or What? I want to be there. It’ll be fun.
      And how many hours are you away from London? One, two, or three?
      I know that they are 8 hours ahead of us. (Pacific Daylight Time–think Seattle, and then you’ll have it about right for where I live.)

      • Dear Mary Ann,
        I am sorry, to hear that you face problems with registration and any techstuff.
        There is no need for any password or login

        Just send an E-Mail to

        with your name and date (saturday or sunday)
        and your will then get the ZoomLink and hand-outs via email

        so we hope, the zoomlink will work for you.

        it is TimeZone Berlin/Brussels (London + 1 Hour)

        We are looking forward to meet you. It will be amazing!
        We choose the time on sundy hoping it would be fine for people worldwide.

        good luck!!

        • Dear Astrid,
          I still can’t get in this way, so what I’m going to do is send a regular email from my existing email account, and I hope that you get it. It won’t be sent from this platform.

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