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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3,170 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. Dream: I want to be a songwriter and a singer. I want to perform with the greats of Americana Music and headline festivals. I want to produce my own albums and get signed by a reputable record label.

    Obstacles: I don’t play an instrument well, I don’t have contacts within the music industry and although I’ve been singing and performing for over 10 years, I took a break from music to go to college while studying something different.

    I’ve been a good writer my whole life. I know I just need a little guidance, maybe a cowriting partner. Someone who is open to collaborating with someone who is green (me) but who also has really great ideas. Obstacle – I don’t know where to find those people.

    • Don’t know where you’re located, but if you’re in the USA, there’s an interesting event that happens every June in Texas, near Austin. It’s called the Kerrville Folk Festival. It’s a mecca for singer-songwriters. Has classes, but the most interesting part is what happens every night when a thousand musicians wander around playing their music for each other.
      Might inspire you and you might find some connections.

  2. Hi All, my Wish is to be able to work part time and fully support myself working with and for a mainly Organic based Donation Center. I love being around food and products that are what I consider better choices for all people, animals, the environment and entire planet. Since Organics are still more expensive I always had this dream by getting 2nds, damaged, and donations… like food banks do, that more people who so far dont afford Organics can be introduced to them which increases demands, which increases volume of customer desire, which lowers prices ultimately. I have many details ideas of how these things may come about. Including why I would ask for the donations from Companies. It also includes Nutritional items of all areas, including supplementals, Infant and child care ( a major area of toxics and harmful based products ) health, home. pet and body care items. I’m a good organizer, multitasker, efficient with time and tasks. I work good independently and as part of a team. I also have about 2 yrs experience in a local Food Pantry with very good Personal Recommendation… I have always wanted to offer people better choices that they otherwise would not be exposed to. Obstacles: I dont know where such a place exists. Though I have many ideas, I have no clue how such a thing is created, or how to support myself if it was being created. I’m very polite and nice but still a bit socially autistic in certain areas though I work on it. It doesn’t show to where its apparent to others but it slows me down to new things.

    • I used to live in a small town that was about an hour away from the major whole food stores. Someone got the bright idea to negotiate having these major food stores give away their still good but not salable food to the people in my town. We used to send someone weekly who volunteered, but was paid for the gas to fetch the food – it arrived at the same time each week in an open area where it was unloaded by volunteers. Donation of a very low sum was collected informally to pay for the gas and other actual expenses at the time of the “food grab” each week. Before the “food grab,” the organizer reminded everyone to be polite and please stay to help clean up so we could continue to use this distribution area in the future. Older “frail” participants were allowed to go first, and then it was a free-for all to grab any food you might want – mostly greens and vegetables that were slightly damaged but there were some pies and always lots of bread. People also volunteered to stay and clean up, and the remainder of the food was donated to a local goat farm, except for the excess bread which was tossed out.
      I believe all that was done to “create” this opportunity was to ask the local food stores and be regular about having a truck show up to get the donation food each week. Other than that, the rest of the volunteers came from those who were getting the free food.

  3. I have this end fantasy of becoming a secular pastoral counselor and a nurse practitioner or psychologist.


    I feel like I need an academic bootcamp or prep school. some place that includes housing or more depth than most online programs offer and that it could be done solely on work-study that doesn’t rely on physical strength. Some place to go for a couple weeks to a few months at a time to bring my skill levels back up.

    It’s been twenty years since I’ve last been in school. While I’ve made some other attempts during that time but life kept popping up out of nowhere and knocking me on my duff. And it’s not far off from the last time I lived and worked independently.. I moved to where my mum retired to help her during and after cancer treatments..and what was intended to be a temporary stay for me ended up with having a few health problems of my own, becoming trapped and isolated because mainly it just remains foreign to me. Also, because I don’t drive which is a necessity here. My self esteem has plummeted.. I’m not happy with my body but I can’t walk outside an autoimmune disorder has made my allergies extra sensitive that I break out in blisters if I stay too long outside. my dental is pretty bad I’ve been trying to get a tooth extracted at least once a month but it’s negotiating with all my other costs and I’m balding, which is another thing we can partially place on the autoimmune as I had one year where the majority of my hair except my upper eyelashes.. but some of it is just typical aging stuff. But then I spent a couple weeks too long in an induced coma and my recovery has been gradually getting better but it seems like my writing skills… namely punctuation has been wiped from my mind and as it just takes too long,I rely too much on my calculator for my books. then there’s the problems to fine motor control, which I had before but I don’t know. It’s inane stuff. I know it’s just excuses. Still, I could and I do push through all of that.. fantasy/dream aside – which the nursing part would require I use gadgetry because I can’t friggin’ take a pulse by hand anymore but I’m still decent with sciences.. I dunno, it just becomes frustrating and claustrophobic, panicky, even the smaller goals have their obstacles.. I don’t wake up depressed or anything but the future is looming over head and it’s overwhelming. I’m just tired. I don’t want pity. so, it’s like how do I do this on my own…

    • I know it might sound a bit unorthodox, but have you considered becoming an oracle card reader? It doesn’t take any degrees, but you’re essentially doing two of the three on your list – counseling people and being a psychologist. The public in general doesn’t care how you look if you have a good speaking voice if you use live streaming platforms to offer examples of what you have to offer. There’s Christian-based oracle cards that discuss historic Angels and what they mean if you have an objection to “occult” content.
      You could create a “stage name” on social media and try out this idea, without sacrificing your scientific objective orientation. Not using your real name is probably a good idea anyway, because people tend to use snap judgment in the other fields that you mention that will disqualify you from success. The reason I suggest oracle card reading is because you can do these things without showing your face, etc. and nobody will imagine it’s an odd thing. People will take the advice at face value without questioning it openly at the time.
      When you think about it, where did psychology come from anyway? The desire to know what will happen in the future. The idea that we might be able to do something to influence how future results turn out is a modern, humanistic idea that I believe started with Carl Rodgers in the 1960s.
      Anyway, go on where some people are doing such things already and check them out before you disqualify this idea. You might enjoy it, and people do make some money doing this sort of thing.

    • I wonder how important it is to you, that you’ll enter this as a paid job?
      In my country I know that they have trainings for volunteers. Not really as a therapist, but, f.e. as a volunteer visiting old/ill/dying people (that is similar to a pastors duty actually).
      When I was younger I was trained to be an paar-email-counsellor. (Which basically meant being there for the teens and encouraging them to get help in “the real world”.) We had about 15 trainingssessions, with little input and a lot of practical tasks. I felt prepared afterwards.

      So, does this wish require to give you money?
      If not, I would really encourage you to search your local community (or via internet) for volunteer trainings! With your compassion I’m sure you will do a great job!

      Or is your desire to study something?
      Hope to hear from you again! All the best! Lina

  4. I want to make USD 1700 tax free a month, but I have no creative ideas, I work in a call center for the minimum wage (USD 262) in my third world country and I struggle with depression and anxiety in a borderline disorder.

    • Wilson, perhaps you could share with us what your dream would be? I know there are a lot of people here that would be willing to help you someway shape or form. Keep your chin up!

      • That was my dream.
        To make more than enough, no matter what I do, to be able to succeed monetarily speaking. I got the rest figured out. I’m happy within me. If I get the material stuff resolve then the job it’s more than done. Obviously all within my moral and ethics (I have my own)

    • Hi Wilson
      To boost your income you could:
      – sell existing stuff you own online or in a garage sale
      – sell new stuff that you create eg if you like cooking, offer meals or cooking lessons; if you like fixing motor bikes, place an ad in your community etc.
      – teach: help others with improving their communication skills based on your call center experience
      – teach anything that you’ve mastered either online or in your community venues
      – check out free lance jobs for ideas that appeal to you:
      – what do you love to do most in your spare time? Make this something you can sell, teach
      – if possible reduce expenses to boost your net income
      – rent out a room
      – run errands for people
      – what jobs or careers do you admire? Find someone in that field and ask for advice
      – do a course or training to boost your skills and apply for higher paying jobs
      – what have you always wanted to try? Take a small step in exploring this as a career.
      Hope this helps, go for it!

  5. Wish: To find a business partner who loves to take care of the specifics of a business. Ex. completing a business plan, finishing touches on policies, paperwork etc, the back office stuff that makes the business run smoothly.
    I’m not very good nor interested in this part of the business. If I had my wish this person would be a partner to me so I could be the public face. I’m currently bootstrapping my CPR certification business and have been slowly building, but time is limited because I work full time in healthcare. I’m not sure where to look for someone who would want to invest in a business like this. Location isn’t an issue because of the wonderful internet. Ideas of a place to search or introductions would be great. I don’t know who to ask and where to look. I’m on Facebook and Instagram but those aren’t exactly the best platforms to find people.

    • @Jason

      I’m willing to be your operations (business plan, policies, problem-solving, paperwork) business partner! In fact, I’m looking for someone willing to be the *public face*!

      I use ConTeXt (an advanced form of LaTeX) for very efficient document creation (facilitating biz plan, paperwork, documentation, etc). I’m a geek, all in for technology, productivity, operations (DevOps).

      You can email me at

          • Hi Jason, I haven’t gotten any email from you for the last 6 months since I replied to your “Sounds like we should get a call started to get to know each other a bit better. … Let me know when you’re free.”

            For anyone else wanting to collaborate on Chinese language learning, you can email me at or look out around , where my company will be publishing books on how to learn Chinese truly effectively (schools don’t do this for you because they’re blindly driven by commercial agenda).

            I’ll be unsubscribing from all notifications coming via this makeshift forum. Too many unthreaded posts, and also too many unresponsive exchanges. You won’t be able to contact me via this makeshift forum anymore.

            Jason, in case you somehow lose access to your email account, here’s my email reply in full:

            Hi Jason,

            I should be free this Thursday (your Wednesday) to chat. Skype?

            If you’re in Georgia, I should be 12 hours ahead of you. So, anytime your Wednesday evening (my Thursday morning) is ok for me.

            Just a recap of my brief intro on Barbara’s site:

            I’m a software engineer by trade (advanced level, DevOps, Linux, algorithms, stat maths and data sciences, etc). In short, I do software a lot faster and cost-efficiently than typical software folks. Once you see how I use ConTeXt and Git for document creation and versioning, you’ll see that I’m atypical (most folks don’t dive deep into microtypography). Things that excite me: people with ideas and drive (work smart and work hard), ingenious tools created by people and nature, operations problems to tackle, etc. I like to dive deep into technical problems. For eg., I’m currently enjoying myself crafting books/notes on competitive sailing techniques (I have a Physics background).

            I’m also a linguist. I speak well. I teach English grammar (modern logical take) effectively to specialized groups (starting with the engineers in my teams). I can do some marketing work, but I only have 24 hours, and I really love technical puzzles. Also, I don’t think I’m good-looking enough to be the public face. That said, I have a trustworthy face; I am trustworthy. I can do sales well enough if you want to venture into Singapore/Asian markets. In short, I’m not socially inapt. I’m still a technical geek, though, and I really love listening to technical folks.

            To say that I’m addicted to technical puzzles is an understatement! 😛 I started teaching this group of world-class sailing coaches, and they were having problems phrasing their lessons on advanced sailing techniques in English. I ended up science-ing the whole thing and exciting all the coaches (“oh, ah, so that’s why this technique works”). I’m wondering if my work will make some impact on Singapore’s chances at sailing competitions.

            So yeah, gimme all the operations work, the technical research, the business obstacles, etc.

  6. WISH: Gainfully support my family owner-operating full service country inn.
    I studied for it, prepared for it, wrote the business plans, assembled the down-payment, and finally committed to it!
    If I owned the property or the finance to buy it cash, I’d positively begin tomorrow.

    OBSTACLE: 1. Don’t own the property, 2. downpayment’s gone, 3. ruined credit.
    After committing a nervous partner refused to sign, without the property itself there was no income from it, without income there was no livelihood, without a livelihood the downpayment went and then the credit was ruined. My family has become consumed with fighting for survival since then and rather very much losing at it. I’m still the same person who prepared to operate the facility, (maybe another battle scar or two), but now in a disastrous situation rather than a thriving one who would be actively supporting a family and happily caring for people as guests at my property.

  7. I am an immigrant on H4 visa with Ead card and mother of two, my dream is to get out of abusive relationship with my husband and stay in usa in order to give my kids a better future but what’s stopping me is visa situation.

    • Wow! This is a really complicated situation. I do believe that there are special solutions for an immigrant woman who marries an American that ends up being abusive. Unfortunately, this kind of result happens way too often. I think that is how there ended up being laws made to deal with this. Sorry, but I am not knowledgeable enough to give specifics, but someone in Legal Aid could probably advise you at no cost, or could at least give you some better ideas.

    • Hi. Would you email me with your city/state of residence and your email address? I work for a law firm in New York City which has a huge Immigration department. If I know a little about your situation, I will ask the immigration lawyers for advice. If they cannot help you directly, maybe they can give you some direction for where you can go for assistance.

  8. my wish: Making a really great living helping people make their dreams come true. This looks like teaching, facilitating, speaking, workshops, working with a team to me!
    My Obstacle: I don’t have an audience. Yet.

    • just make an advertisement for an idea party or an announcement of a workshop in your living room (a sheet in your local school or university or where ever you can make announcements). Be sure that the right people will come to you.
      good luck!

      • Thanks for the reply!
        I made the advertisement tonight : )
        How do I be sure that the right people will come to me?
        a friend of mine and I are hosting our first Success Group at our local Panera. I was planning to hand out flyers and let all my peeps know about it.

        • Super! congratulaions! You made the first step!

          You can be sure the right people come because of the law of attrction. Your unconscious attracts people with similar interests. I saw this happen so often at Barbaras workshops.

          Beste wishes!

          • Sorry, Ulrike. I don’t believe in the law of attraction and what I’ve seen in my Idea Parties and workshops wasn’t anything I would call the law of attraction, just the desire to solve problems that always happens when you tell people your wish and your obstacle.

            I’m sure you mean to be encouraging, however, which is thoughtful and kind.

        • Dear Janet,

          I am sure, there will be the right people – at least in my success teams (I run 7 succesteams in my town until now) it was amazing, that people who where by chance in the same group, were perfect fit together 🙂

          do you have a clear picture of who “the right people” ?
          my suggestion: create an Avatar of your ideal clients:
          and list, which problems they have, that you want to help them

          for example: people on their step from work life to being out of job and spending the time after 65 with their hobbies and grand chrildren
          or women around 40-50, when kids leave home, starting now their second carreer, oder people looking for an ideal job, or those, who want to finally open their book store or write a book in a house at the seaside, …

          having this ideal client in mind, it is easier to make the text for your flyers and advertisements. to attract “the right people”

          but by the way – in my success teams, we always had different dreams to make real, and this was also very good for mutual support, but it was good for me to have people of almost the same age / my age in one group.

          good luck
          Astrid Meyer

          • This is a very interesting approach that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. I appreciate you sharing your expertise and experiences.

        • Advertise in any places where curious or creative people or problem solvers gather. And master the art of dealing with wet blankets: turn every “can’t do that/won’t work” response into a new design problem for the group.

          Also, stop people from continuing to talk as soon as they have revealed a wish and an obstacle. A bit of quiet right then gets the idea factory up and running.

    • I love the word “YET” To me it denotes hope that the near future holds some exciting and positive possibilities coming! I use “yet” a lot.

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