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Barbara Winter’s 8 Steps to Launching a Fresh Start

fresh-startMy friend Barbara Winter is an Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneur. She’s been teaching people how to live “joyfully jobless” for almost three decades. Whenever her newsletter arrives in my inbox (Barbara Winter’s Joyfully Jobless News) or my snail mail post box (Winning Ways), I make sure to set aside conscious time to read her wisdom. It’s wise every time, and it always sparks my own.


Sometimes a fresh start simply involves a new project.  Other times, it may be more dramatic with big changes in direction. Either way, you’ll make progress more quickly and keep your inspiration high if you take these steps.
1. Sharpen your focus. 

A change of scenery may be helpful. Step away from your ordinary life and go to a quiet place where you can contemplate without distraction.
Don’t just think about the form your new idea will take. Identify the essence of what matters to you. Essence includes the nature of the thing, its qualities. Are you longing for more joy? Laughter? Serenity? Simplicity? When you are clear about the essence, your options expand dramatically.

2. Take inventory.

What’s getting your time and attention now? What would you like to eliminate? What distracts you from where you really want to go or be or do? Eliminate the nonessentials. This might involve canceling regular activities that waste your time. Or it might involve rearranging your schedule with higher priorities being given more attention. Remember that it’s difficult to move forward if you aren’t clear about where you are now.

3. Do your homework. 

New projects involve new learning and discovery. Take a class. Locate others who are doing what you’d like to be doing. Build your own resource center. While this is an on-going part of your project, at the outset be committed to laying down a firm foundation.

4. Begin with the end in mind.

Steven Covey’s advice on getting a clear vision of your final destination is critical to your success. You probably wouldn’t go to the airport and say, “Send me somewhere.” You’d maKe that decision first. Same is true with any new adventure.

5. Make friends with your mistakes.

Of course, you’ll make them. As the old saying goes if you aren’t willing to make mistakes, you can’t make anything. The trick is to see them as your teachers, not your enemies.

6. Give it a name.

Putting a title on your project is magnetic. After all, a party is just a party until you give it a theme. Then your imagination gets busy. Same is true for all sorts of new endeavors.

7. Gather evidence.

Want to travel the world? Get a current passport. Physical evidence reminds you that you’re serious about succeeding. Give yourself credit for even the tiniest steps. You could even start a new journal to record your progress. It’s a visible reminder of the action you’re taking day by day.

8. Celebrate victories.

Send yourself a congratulatory card. Invite a supportive friend out for lunch. Take pictures of yourself moving forward. This may be more challenging than you realize, especially if you were raised to downplay your achievements. Remember that celebrations are meant to be fun. Wasn’t that why you wanted to embark on a new endeavor in the first place?


The Turn of the Wheel

back-to-school-4Do you keep track of the year by inner anniversaries? I do. And back to school is always a time of renewal for me.

I don’t know where I got it, but I always assume I ought to be able to wear wool the day after August ends. It’s back-to-school. It’s fall, and it’s time for the weather to cool down in my interior world. It never happens this way, but I still have the inner expectation that it will, and am surprised every single year when it doesn’t.

Still, September does mean back-to-school. New clothes, new books, new writing implements. New start.

As you know, I’ve been studying Chinese Face Reading and Energy Clearing as well as Nine Star Ki, the oldest system of astrology in the world. Part of Nine Star Ki is the cycles of time. I’m in an 8 year—which means I have to/get to “sit in the soup,” not knowing, not clear, waiting till I know and can take action. Compound that with my approaching second Saturn Return, and am I in it!

And yet … and yet …

I still feel something new today as I write. It’s Labor Day. School starts tomorrow.

I can’t wait.

Still Waiting?

Correct CarrotStill waiting on guidance?

So am I.

Consider the carrot.

When a farmer plants carrot seeds, my friend, what’s important is happening under ground, in the dark, in a rather mysterious way.

Still waiting?

Don’t dig up the carrot seeds!

Be still. Wait. Let them take root and deliver in their own good time.

When it looks like nothing is happening in your life, like you’re not being guided to anything let alone what you want, hold still. Know that while you are waiting, something you can’t see is happening.

Things, people, circumstances, all manner of things are aligning in ways that you cannot begin to understand. It’s too big and mysterious a process.

I personally love carrots. While I’m still waiting, I’m remembering their valuable lesson.

Good things happen in the dark!