Meet Barbara Winter


Barbara J Winter is a pioneering self-employment advocate, writer and teacher who has spent the last twenty-five years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” Helping others discover the Joyfully Jobless life is her favorite occupation. To readers of Read more

Benvenuto!


Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass Read more

A Week of Riches

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The first goal I ever set for myself was to never have two years that were exactly the same. I had found it frighteningly boring to spend my time going to jobs in the same place at the same time with the same people.

I wanted to welcome surprises and unexpected delights. Self-employment has made that possible in ways I never dreamed it could at the beginning of this journey.

Although much of my work is done at home, I’m always working on new projects and have found all sorts of ways to mix things up. Even so, the past week managed to surpass some of the others in terms of variety and pure enjoyment.

It began on November 14 when I joined my sisters Nancy and Becky in Santa Barbara for a splendid evening listening to author Alexander McCall Smith.  Not only was he the first speaker I’ve heard talk while wearing a kilt, his extraordinary storytelling skills kept us laughing for ninety minutes.

This was even more special since I’ve spent the past several months reading his 44 Scotland Street series. Obviously, I’m not alone in loving McCall Smith who is stunningly prolific. He also has something like 25,000,000 copies of his books in print.

The next day, my friend Judy Miranda fetched me and we headed to Phoenix for the second Fund Your Life Overseas Conference. Judy has an import business called Global Hand Artisans and is devoted to selling handmade goods she uncovers in places such as Guatemala.

Despite the long drive, it was great fun to catch up with her since we hadn’t seen each other for sometime. In the interim, we had both added some new stamps to our passports so we had many travel tales to share.

On Sunday, the 16th, the conference began and it was 2 1/2 days of non-stop talking and learning. I met old friends and made new ones. I talked to attendees from all over the country.

Equally fun was seeing speakers, some of them already expats, who shared great how-to information on creating portable businesses. I did three talks aimed at helping participants build their entrepreneurial mindset—something that’s as useful as a passport if you want to see the world and get paid at the same time.

We headed back to California on Wednesday morning after stopping for breakfast at the home of Judy’s friends. Judy had lived in Phoenix for many years and loves reconnecting.

As we were sitting at the kitchen table with Sarah and Larry Soller, I was surprised to discover that Larry was also an ex-Minnesotan. Even more intriguing to me was finding out that we were English majors at the same college at the same time.

Larry also was active in theater and spent many years as a college theater professor himself. Although he no longer teaches on a regular basis, Larry is active doing voiceover work and is an enthusiastic volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

The entire week was a glorious reminder that the world is full of people who can enrich our lives—if we take time to find them and pay attention. Or as Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”

Try Giving Yourself Away

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I was startled when the Starbucks barista handed me my coffee and said it had been paid for. “Who is my benefactor?” I asked. She pointed to a young woman with a slightly Goth appearance who had been ahead of me in line.

Although she and I hadn’t spoken, I suspected she’d been eavesdropping on my conversation with the fellow who was part of a group headed to a church camp, as was she.

I went over to thank her and discovered that random acts of kindness seemed to be her specialty. She modestly accepted my thanks and said she was […] Continue Reading…

Who Would You Want on the Train?

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An old adage says, “Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you are.”  We all need living models of success—even if we have to look long and hard before we find those people who inspire us to do more and be more.

When we don’t  actively look for people who inspire us, we lose the capacity for genuine appreciation. That spills over into under appreciating our own gifts and achievements.

Whether you’ve got such a list of people or it’s time to start one, here’s a little exercise to help you pay closer attention.

For years I’ve been […] Continue Reading…

A Few Things I Didn’t Know 50 Years Ago

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I headed into my birthday week thinking it was time for a fresh inventory. As I was pondering this little project, I realized (once again) what a surprising life I’ve had. It certainly has exceeded my early expectations.

I played around with that a bit and began to wonder what my expectations had been fifty years ago. (No one is more startled than I am that I was an adult fifty years ago!)

Back in 1964, I was 22, newly married and in my second year of teaching high school English and speech. I was still living in the small town […] Continue Reading…

A Simple Tool to Sharpen Your Focus

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If you are a reader of Joyfully Jobless News, this may be familiar.  When I came across it again the other day, I decided it was worth a second visit. This simple idea has added enormously to my productivity and fun.
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The sky was overcast and the wind was frigid, but there we stood huddled together with hundreds of others for three shivering hours. It was our second day in Amsterdam and we were in line to see what we had come for—the Van Gogh Museum.

My siblings and I had been planning this trip for months. Hundreds of emails hammered […] Continue Reading…

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

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The message I got about work when I was growing up pointed out that there was good work and bad work. Good work meant you didn’t have to sweat.

Nobody mentioned that sweat-free work probably would involve sitting at a desk all day doing repetitive chores.

It wasn’t until I became obsessed with the role of work in our lives that I began to challenge such limiting notions. Eventually, I came to think that the best work called us to use our minds, bodies and spirits.

That, of course, is also why the concept of having multiple profit centers appeals to so […] Continue Reading…

Cost or Contribute?

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Life often seems like an endless series of decisions to be made. Chai latte or decaf Americano? Take a walk or sit at the computer? Plant roses or zinnias? Start a business now or wait until you get fired?

Given the fact that we are called upon to make decision after decision everyday, it would seem reasonable to assume that most of us would have given thought to how we make decisions. We’d have our own decision-making tools that we could employ when needed.

If we l lack such tools, too many decisions are simply based on habit. (Chai latte yesterday, […] Continue Reading…

Why Self-help Doesn’t Help

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Last week I wrote an article for the upcoming  Winning Ways newsletter and mentioned that I’m not fond of the term self-help because it ignores the fact that it’s not truly a DIY project. It involves a teacher as well.

No matter what we call it, not everyone is getting the kind of results they anticipated. Here are some thoughts on how we can make the most of our personal growth excursions.
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When I first discovered the literature of personal growth and development, there weren’t many titles to choose from. Today there are thousands.

I always have a self-help book or two […] Continue Reading…

Listening to a Wise Man

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During the years that I lived in Santa Barbara, I always looked forward to the annual writer’s conference. Although I never attended the entire program, I often showed up for the evening talks given by successful writers.

The highlight for me was opening night when the legendary Ray Bradbury was the conference kick-off speaker. He was so popular that he held that distinction for years.

Members of the audience were often treated to personal information such as the fact that he refused to travel by air and would only go places that could be reached by car or train.

It was also […] Continue Reading…

13 Ways to Take a Creative Excursion

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Julia Cameron calls them Artist’s Dates. Sarah Ban Breathnach calls them Creative Excursions. Whatever you call them, they are worth making a regular event in your life.

“The Artist Date need not be overtly artistic,” says Cameron, “think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”

The purpose of such solo events is to take time every week to make a visit to a new place to gather ideas or just […] Continue Reading…

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