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

Preventing Lifestyle Inflation

Barbara Making Peace With Money 2 Comments

Today’s thoughts on making peace with money come from my friend Georgia Makitalo.

Like many people, I had found myself spending my pay increase, windfall or tax refund many times over to the point where I put myself in a worse financial situation-and STILL had nothing to show for it.

What was worse, this financial stress had caused me to become severely stressed and I gained a lot of weight.

Enter Gail Vaz-Oxlade, author of Debt Free Forever and the Canadian show, Til Debt Do Us Part. I had accidentally discovered her show on MSNBC while flipping the channels. I was instantly mesmerized.

The transformation of these couples in financial trouble hit a chord with me. From her budget jars to her relationship rescue challenges, I quickly identified the money issues that I was ignoring with and started to implement her suggestions.

One of the first expenditures that Gail cuts is overspending on pets. i was totally guilty of doing this with my dog Angel. I would go into my local Pet Boutique and walk out with a three figure treat.

“Pets aren’t expensive. The pet lovers are using their pets as an excuse to go shopping.” Gail insists, “Do you really think your dog cares if he’s wearing a $200 sweater?”

Yes, although it was fun to dress up my dog in a sweater from Harrod’s, paying my unexpected car repair gave me more satisfaction.

With this success, I have taken this saving into other areas of my life as well. Before making any purchases, big or small, I hear Gail’s voice in my head “Is this a need or a want?” or “What else could I be doing with this money?” and “Am I setting aside enough to keep this new lifestyle if the crap hits the fan?”

Sure that new skirt fits like a dream—and is on sale—but I will put it back if it does not fit in my current wardrobe. Or do I REALLY need the latest and greatest phone, when mine works perfectly fine?

Lastly, I now use cash for EVERY purchase I make, although I do have a debit card. “When we spend cash we get two responses in our brain: pleasure at the acquisition; pain at having to part with the money.”

Gail Explains. ” When we spend on plastic, there’s no pain. So cash keeps us more in tune with both sides of the transaction; cash helps to keep us balanced.”

Gail is absolutely right. For a while, I did not bother with pulling out cash from my bank and used my debit card instead. This strategy did not work for me because this pleasure/pain duality was not satisfied.

With the debit card, I had overspent and that kept me from putting money into savings. With money taken out each week and put into Gail’s suggested “budget jars”, I am challenged to make that money stretch to the end of the week-and beyond.

The satisfaction I get from succeeding is far more gratifying than any extravagant night out.

Granted, I do treat myself every once in a while, but I save for these occasions, using Gail’s 4 simple rules:

• Don’t spend more money than you make

• Save something

• Get your debt paid off

• Mitigate your risk with an emergency fund and enough of the right kinds of insurance.

I still am dealing with paying off my credit card debt and my two student loans, but now I have a plan to pay off these bills in the next three years. And best of all, I feel in control of my life and my destiny and my figure is responding!

There is no doubt, I have had those dreams of winning the lottery and never having to worry about money, but if have learned that even if you receive such a windfall, this does not guarantee financial freedom.

Recently, I read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s cautionary tale, Peace and Plenty, that tells of her spectacular financial windfall with the success of her book Simple Abundance and then total financial loss.

Sarah had such a great success that she had a “checkbook with no commas” that was quickly spent down to nothing in a matter of a few years.

This eye opening revelation made me realize that like watching what I eat, I need to stick to these 4 simple rules-no matter how much money I made. And in doing so, I will succeed in my goal of living a stress free financial life.

A Month for Making Peace With Money

Barbara Making Peace With Money Join the Conversation!  

Much of Sunday was spent playing with my grandchildren. Their parents had a long overdue weekend away and I wanted to help out the lovely young babysitting couple who were beginning to look a bit bedraggled.

Four-year-old Zachy and I spent the better part of an hour playing with Legos. When he lost interest in building a Space Age helicopter, I began picking up the hundreds of tiny pieces that were hiding in the shag rug.

Zachy left the room, When he returned a few minutes later, he declared, “I own you.”

I laughed and said, “What do you mean?” Zachy, who is frequently the most earnest kid I’ve ever met, explained that since I was doing all the work, he needed to pay me.

“Oh,” I said, “you mean you owe me, not own me.”

I asked what he planned to pay me. He had already figured that out.

He left the room and returned with the ziplock bag that serves as his piggy bank. “I’m giving you some of my Chuck E. Cheese tickets,” he proudly announced.

“Hmmm, I’m not really a big fan,” I said. He wondered why. “Well, I don’t like their pizza,” I explained (but avoided adding that I wasn’t crazy about the noisy atmosphere either).

That did not deter him. “You don’t have to get pizza,” he said. “You can use these tickets for the games.” His eyes lit up at the thought of all the fun he was offering me.

I thanked him and took the tickets which I returned to the ziplock bag later.

As so often happens, Zachy got me thinking. I had already decided to spend this month writing about money on this blog, but after this little encounter I realized that so many people are owned by money.

The good news is (as I’ve been pointing out for years) that self-employment is where we come to develop a healthy relationship with money. For most of us, that’s a lifelong project that involves challenging years of negative money messages.

While I’m not about to challenge Suze Orman to a debate, I am going to spend this month sharing ways that you can create abundance, prosperity and ease in the financial area of your life.

And I promise that you’ll never hear me use the popular expression, “in this tough economy.” Prosperity thinking is much bigger than that fear-filled slogan.

As Coco Chanel reminds us, “There are people who have money and people who are rich.” I’m thinking we can be both.

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Here’s a money smart idea. Join Terri Belford and me for the upcoming Obstacle- Busters Mastermind on September 14-16 in enchanting Albuquerque. Register before July 15 and you’ll save $100 on your enrollment.

 


Small Change, Big Payoff

Barbara Postcard from Barbara Join the Conversation!  

Janice von Rabe is a woman on a mission to share her passion for football with other women who are perplexed by the game. When she attended the Obstacle-Busting Mastermind in January, she got enthusiastic from the group for her idea to teach seminars demystifying the sport.

Like most new entrepreneurs, Janice is facing some challenges. For starters, she’s a bit of a technophobe. Mention Web sites, Facebook or blogging and her body language changes.

She sometimes shudders when urged to participate in cyberspace. A passerby might think she was being forced to drink castor oil or eat worms.

Every couple of months, Janice drives from her home in Long Beach to have lunch with me. When she arrived last Saturday, she was carrying a colorful striped case which she had adorned with a bright pink fabric flower.

The moment we sat down, she opened the case and whipped out her brand new MacBook Air. Janice was giddy over her new tool, exclaiming, “It thinks like I do!”

She went on to rave over the helpful folks at the Apple store and told me about all the fun she was having with her computer. Obviously, I was listening to a convert.

Two days later, Janice was on the monthly conference call with other participants from the Mastermind. Like the others on the call, she was excited to share her progress.

Mary Anne, one of our Canadian participants, talked about the changes she was making on the road to launching her new enterprise. She began by telling us about the things she was eliminating from her jam-packed schedule.

Both Janice and Mary Anne reminded me that often we have to let go of something before we can move forward. Sometimes it’s an intangible, a limiting belief that keeps us stuck.

Other times it may be a time-consuming obligation that no longer satisfies. Or a computer that doesn’t think the way we do.

Sometimes we just forget that we have to eliminate what we don’t want in order to make room for something more satisfying, more appropriate.

Not making progress the way you’d like? Maybe it’s time to eliminate something.

Take a look at this eye-opening list of The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) and see if there’s a clue to what needs changing.

 


The Company You Keep

Barbara Alternatives 1

When a man in one of my How to Support Your Wanderlust classes told us that he was interested in writing travel essays, I asked him what it took to be a successful writer of travel exposition.

Without hesitation he said, “You can’t be a good writer without being a good reader.” I’ve heard many other successful writers say the same thing.

On a road trip, I happened to hear John Tesh’s radio program. He had e-mail from a 15-year-old boy asking how to make it in the music business. Surprisingly, Tesh didn’t suggest more practice.

He said his best advice was to listen to great music everyday and study what other musicians do.

In a fascinating appearance on the OWN’s Master Class, Simon Cowell talked about his early days working in the music business. Cowell said he was a sponge soaking up the advice of those around him who were more experienced.

This advice seems so obvious to me that I’m always surprised to discover that everyone isn’t an enthusiastic student of success. When I ask participants in my Establish Yourself as an Expert seminars to name a favorite expert, I am often greeted by silence.

When I edit manuscripts, it is often apparent that the would-be writer is not an active reader.

Would-be entrepreneurs have never had a conversation with someone who is successfully self-employed about how they got started.

Years ago, Timothy Galway wrote The Inner Game of Tennis and cited studies that showed that players could noticeably improve their game by watching great players in action.

Galway suggested that our subconscious minds absorb useful information and details without our even being aware of it.

So where do you want to succeed? Study those who have done what you want to do.

Absorb the lessons of success, not failure.

Be a keen observer. Identify with excellence at every turn. It will make a huge difference in your ultimate results.

The amusing Quentin Crisp once noted that it’s no good complaining that you really wanted to be a ballet dancer if you continued to spend your life as a pig farmer.

C.S. Lewis said it a bit more elegantly: “Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet you must get into the water.

“If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.

“They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very cente rof reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you ; if you are not, you will remain dry.”

 

In Business to Inspire?

Barbara Inspiration Galore 3 Comments

When I first moved to Minnesota, I used to joke that there was a church on every corner. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but it seems that most major thoroughfares are dotted with them.

For several years, there was a church that I passed almost every day. Like most churches, it had a message board out in front. Unlike most churches, this message board actually contained messages.

Even more unusual, the messages were changed a couple of times every week so there was always a new one to check out.

Some of the messages were attention-getters like the one that said, “Satan loves a dusty Bible.” Others were funny. My favorite one said, “Trouble sleeping? Try a sermon.”

Mostly they were lovely philosophical reminders to be kind and to contribute to making the world a better place.

One day I was pondering some troublesome problem that had me stumped. As I passed the church, the sign board declared, “Love is the answer.”  I burst out laughing. That was exactly what I needed to solve my problem.

One day I called the church and said, “In case no one has told you this, I want you to know how much your message board is appreciated by those of us driving by.” The secretary said they’d gotten many positive comments on it, then added that the senior pastor went out at 5:30 in the morning to change the board.

“Please thank him for me,” I said.

Several months later, I passed by the church again and saw a gathering in the yard. A fancy new message board had just been installed. It had a burgundy and charcoal frame and was lighted from within.

It was pretty spiffy, but I noticed that the message simply listed the times of their services. That’s the way it stayed. I hardly noticed it anymore.

What’s the point of posting the times of their services? Those hours never change and surely their members already know when services are held.

If the point of posting them is for the convenience of nonmembers who might want to join them, I’m not sure there’s any obvious reason to pick this church over any other.

I’ve tried to imagine what happened here. Maybe the senior pastor retired and nobody else wanted to do it, I thought. Maybe not enough people let them know that they liked the effort.

Or perhaps, and I hope I’m wrong here, the church forgot that it’s really in the inspiration business. Most likely, somebody decided it was too much bother to keep the messages up and in making that decision lost an enormous opportunity to contribute some random good.

“The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don’t,” writes Stephen Covey, “is literally the difference between night and day. I’m not talking about a twenty-five to fifty percent difference in effectiveness;  I’m talking about a 5000-plus percent difference, particularly if they are smart, aware and sensitive to others.”

What Covey is talking about seems to be a big secret: if we want to get great results we can’t wait for others. We have to practice generosity first.

As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once told an interviewer, “It’s not our customer’s job to lie awake nights figuring out how we can serve them better. We have to take responsibility for improving.”

We always have the choice of creating a life that is grim or glorious. If you want to make this coming year the best one you’ve ever had, take the challenge now to discover and share as generously as you can.

Whether you’re repairing small engines, teaching yoga or designing Web sites, you’ll find there’s no shortage of opportunities to inspire and encourage other people—if you are so inclined.

Inspire them by your joy, inspire them by your commitment, inspire them by caring about their success. When you’re focused on ways to be generous, you’ll be dazzled by all the abundance you’re getting back.

Avoiding Groundhog Day Syndrome

Barbara Goalsetting with Gusto 3 Comments

Twenty-two years before the movie Groundhog Day subtly illustrated the boredom of a repetitious life, I set my first goal.

My goal? To never have two years of my life be exactly the same.

Not yet thirty, I had already reached a point where my life was frighteningly predictable. I realized that if I didn’t do something about it, I was going to keep having the same year over and over again until my life came to an end.

Despite growing up in an environment  that frequently warned not to expect  too much in order to avoid disappointment (a classic example of twisted logic), from the moment I heard about goal setting, I became an enthusiastic practitioner.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t terribly successful at accomplishing those early goals. Over time, however, I discovered there was much more to the process than simply wishing for things that I didn’t have.

Here are a few things that have made a positive difference for me.

* The real reward isn’t at the finish line. While visualizing the things you want to accomplish is certainly a fun part of the process, the big prize is what you become by making a commitment to be, do or have something that’s missing from your life.

When we set goals, we’re issuing a challenge to ourselves to stretch, grow and overcome. Keep moving in the direction of your dreams and you’ll grow in ways you can’t imagine at the outset.

* Ink matters. As Patricia T. O’Conner reminds us, “An idea in your head is merely an idle notion. But an idea written down, that’s the beginning of something.”

Every goal setting system I’ve ever studied begins with the admonition to write them down. You don’t have to publish them online (unless you want to) or show them to anyone else, but writing them down is still step one.

* Size matters. Many people fail at their goal setting attempts because they timidly set goals that don’t ignite their imagination. Other times it requires a bit of reframing to get us excited about doing the work.

I just rediscovered that myself.

Because of respiratory problems, I have avoided stairs for several years. When I decided to buy my second floor walkup condo, the stair climbing was an issue, but I thought I could manage.

For the first few weeks, I dragged myself up the stairs, often telling myself that this exercise was good for me. I still arrived at my doorway breathless and cranky.

One day, I realized that the steps weren’t going away and unless I wanted to become a recluse and live on pizza delivery, I needed a different approach.

Now when I arrive at the foot of the stairway, I remind myself, “I’m training for my next trip to Venice” (where stairs are unavoidable). Climbing those stairs is more enticing now that I’ve connected the activity to a more exciting project than just getting the groceries upstairs.

* Beware of deadlines and timelines. Countless projects have been abandoned  because they haven’t come to fruition in the time we anticipated. When that happens, we may be tempted to call our efforts a failure and give up.

But too often what we call failure is simply running out of patience.

While self-imposed deadlines can keep us focused, they need to be treated with caution. After all, how can you predict how long it will take to accomplish something you’ve never done before?

If you’ve ever remodeled a house, you know how ineffective timelines can be. Effective goal setters are more apt to embark on a new endeavor with the attitude of sticking with it for however long it takes.

* Make space for the new. Metaphysical teacher Catherine Ponder introduced me to the idea of creating a vacuum. In Open Your Mind to Prosperity, she writes, “You must get rid of what you don’t want in order to make way for what you do want. Substance does not flow easily into a cluttered, crowded situation. Substance does not flow easily into a cluttered, crowded mind.”

Ironically, letting go of what we don’t want often requires courage. Whether it’s conflicting goals, lack of confidence or a crowded calendar, elimination is an important part of the process.

* Take inventory every  90 days. What’s working? What isn’t? Have your priorities changed? Do you need to make room for a new project or spend more time on an old one? Are you working on things that no longer matter?

Goal setting, after all, calls us to evolve and reinvent. Checking in regularly prevents hanging on to goals that no longer serve the person we’re becoming—and alerts us if we’re settling for the same day over and over and over.

* More tips. There are many good books on goal setting. My favorite is Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. Whether you’re an experienced goal setter or just a beginner, this belongs in your library.

Pick a Number, Any Number

Barbara Review & Rewind 3 Comments

You don’t have to be a math whiz to put numbers to work for you. Assigning a number to a project can help you focus and, also, give you a finish line.

Open-ended goals have a way of never reaching completion, but attach a numerical addition and getting started is much easier. Here are a few ideas to borrow.

Pick a number under ten and use it as a goal setting guide.

For me, it’s the number five. You might prefer three or six. Then instead of thinking, “I need to get more clients,” set a short term goal to get three (or whatever your favorite number is) new clients.

Of course, you can repeat this exercise as often as you like, but your chances for success increase enormously when you work with a smaller number.

Years ago, when I was floundering around trying to get my speaking  business launched,  I met a successful, but unhurried, seminar leader who told me her business plan was, “Do one, book one.”

As soon as she finished a program, she’d spend time marketing her services until she’d booked just one more. It’s been a policy I have used ever since with great success.

Stumped about your next steps?

Challenge yourself (and your subconscious mind) by asking a idea-generating question such as, “What are three ways I can grow my business right now?” Or “Who are four people I could collaborate with?”

Write a tip sheet.

Don’t forget how useful numbers are in writing tip sheets which can be turned into articles. Six Ways to Get More Exercise is an easier article to write than one called How to Get More Exercise.

Using numbers also is a reminder that when you write a tip sheet the intention isn’t to tell everything you know.

Numbers work equally well for subtracting things from your life that you no longer want.

Instead of trying to unclutter your life all at once, for example, get rid of nine things a day until the job is done. It’s far less overwhelming if you break it down into bite sized chunks.

Go through the junk drawer and throw away nine things or toss out nine magazines or find nine things in your closet you never wear and put them in a bag for the thrift store.

Assigning a number to necessary, but not necessarily pleasant, tasks can break through procrastination and get positive momentum going.

Pick a number, any number, and then pick one of the projects listed below.

*  Ways to get into the conversation

*  Books to add to my library

*  New profit centers to design

*  Things to study

*  New adventures to schedule

*  Self-bossers to invite to  breakfast

*  Fresh marketing tools to create

*  Media interviews to book

*  Nonessentials to eliminate

*  Ways to support other entrepreneurs

*  Articles to publish

Or add your own projects to the list—and then get busy making them happen

Feeling Left Out on Labor Day?

Barbara Alternatives Join the Conversation!  

Although the Labor Day holiday has evolved into a weekend that commemorates the end of summer, it began with a very different intention. In an attempt to appease unhappy workers, President Grover Cleveland proposed a holiday to honor their accomplishments. It was quickly and unanimously approved by Congress.

At about the same time, the United States began to evolve from a rabidly entrepreneurial culture to an employee culture. By the time you and I arrived on the planet the conventional wisdom about the importance of finding and keeping a good job was firmly in place.

Having a national holiday to shine the spotlight on laborers undoubtedly has also had the benefit of keeping workers on the job. After all, it’s a public statement that job holders matter enough to have a special day of their very own.

So where does that leave the joyfully jobless? Yes, I know we know we are diligent and committed workers. I also know that our relatives may regard us as slackers. We are not the ones for whom Labor Day was intended.

Several years ago, a self-employed friend joined her former coworkers for drinks one Friday evening.  Although she was looking forward to seeing them, she soon felt bored and disconnected from the conversation.

“The only thing they talked about,” she told me sadly, “was their desire to stay in their jobs until they reached top pay.”

What was this lofty goal that kept them going back day after day? A whopping $17/hour. “That seems to be their only goal,” my friend reported. She never attended another of those gatherings.

However, she did make a diligent and consistent effort to connect with other self-employed people. Instead of finding herself in conversations about top pay, she now was spending time with people who were going places, doing things and making a difference.

“Sometimes I just need to be reminded,” she says, “that being self-employed is a wonderful choice. These days I find myself sharing ideas, getting good advice, and being inspired to set bolder goals. While I really cared about my coworkers from my old job, I know that encounters with them don’t leave me feeling the way I do after hanging out with my new creative friends.”

“Be with those who help your being,” advised the Persian poet Rumi. I often wonder how much happiness, accomplishment and joy would be unleashed if everyone adopted Rumi’s advice.

Since the beginning of 2010, I’ve spent the bulk of my time working on the upcoming Joyfully Jobless Jamboree in Austin, TX. Right from the start, our idea was to create a two-day event where self-employed folks could be with those who help their being.

When we discovered the second day of the Jamboree just happens to be National Boss’s Day, we knew that was a holiday we wanted to celebrate. According to Wikipedia, National Boss’s Day has traditionally been a day for employees to thank their boss for being kind and fair throughout the year.

Alas, many people who have a boss would have a hard time finding little worth celebrating. On the other hand, we who are the boss need to take time to acknowledge the ways in which we’ve been kind and fair to ourselves this year.

So while we won’t be parading through the streets of Austin and no politicians will be stumping at the Jamboree, we will be whooping and hollering and redefining for ourselves what Top Pay means.

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Breaking News: We’re extending the Early Bird enrollment until Labor Day, September 6th. Go to http://jjjamboree.com to take advantage of this saving. It seemed a fitting way to participate in the holiday.

However, the special room rate for the Jamboree at the beautiful Lakeways Center expires on August 31.

Should You Listen?

Barbara Power Tools 9 Comments

Like Rick Steves, when I have to fill in the occupation line on a form, I write, “teacher.” Even though I do other things, I’ve always thought of myself that way. I even have credentials to prove it, although the things I teach have nothing to do with the diploma I earned.

In the past decade or so, more and more folks have taken up the teaching title, using their experience, rather than academic credentials, to build a platform. Adult learners like to learn from teachers who have street smarts, not just book smarts (although I hope teachers have both). I even wrote a piece called Teaching From Experience: How to Get Started to show others how to put their expertise to work.

But getting started in teaching isn’t what’s on my mind today. I’m more troubled by bad teaching after receiving this story from an entrepreneurial friend of mine. We’ll call her Joan. Last year she applied for and received  a grant for artists. As part of the requirements of the award, she had to take a class on running a business. Here’s her report:

In that business plan class that was required for my grant, the person teaching it had an unsuccessful business and kept telling us about it. She was pretty hostile towards me when I asked her a question about approaching things differently.

Several people in this  group thought that they were creating businesses that were not going to succeed. Then why do it? Or why not tweak it so it DOES succeed? One guy was going to open up a store with hard to  find magazines.  And he was convinced it would not  work.  

 So I offered up suggestions. Why not make this a trendy get together spot? Why not specialize in certain teas or coffee cake or something like  that? Make it a hangout so shoppers hang out there and buy a few hard to find magazines? Why not offer local readings or travel shows or something else to get folks out  there on a regular basis. All I heard was crickets.

The lack of energy in the classroom was so stifling!  But they were totally riveted when Kathleen spoke of how she lost her business….and how she had to take on a real job and go to business school etc. That was the only  language they seemed to understand.  This woman’s  bitterness should not be passed along to others!

What I found amazing in all of this was she did not point out what a windfall this $4000 grant was…and did not have the creative vision to see how each individual could take their ideas and create something really special.  

When I read Joan’s story, I thought of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s warning: “A disgruntled dreamer makes a risky mentor.”

Being a lifelong learner is a good thing. In fact, it’s one of the things most cherished by the joyfully jobless. While some classes and workshops will be a better fit than others, be smart about which information you invite into your own enterprise. Building a business is about nurturing your dreams, not dismantling them.

Should you find yourself in the presence of a card-carrying dreambasher, do what Joan did: plug your ears.

 

When Disappointment Happens–You Need Tools For That, Too

Barbara Power Tools 3 Comments

A reader sent me a message today asking if I’d write about dealing with—and I quote— the heartbreak of starting a business. Would I!  And I’d start by dumping the word heartbreak. Let’s tone it down a bit and call it by its proper name, disappointment. There’s a subtle, but important difference there. Heartbreak stops us in our tracks; disappointment is a setback that invites us to rethink our plans and actions.

As the writer so aptly suggests, we do need tools for dealing with disappointment or it will get the upper hand. So let me begin with a personal experience.

After years of being self-employed, I thought I’d gotten used to dealing with the ups and downs that are part of it. Then a big project was rejected and it caught me completely by surprise. I had been calmly confident that the project would be sold and was stunned when it was turned down. My first shocked response was, “How could he be so stupid?” A couple of hours later I was enraged. I wallowed. I wept. I wanted revenge. It had been years since I’d felt so hurt and for the first twenty-four hours I felt utterly powerless.

Amazingly, within a matter of a few short days, I was on the road to recovery determined that this would merely be a delay, not a defeat. Since disappointment is sometimes part of the territory for any risk taking entrepreneur, I looked back at what I had done that helped me pass through it with such speed. The next time you receive a blow, try these proactive ideas for getting back on your feet as quickly as possible.

 Allow Yourself  Time to Feel Bad

There’s no point in pretending that you aren’t disappointed when you are. Cry, scream, yell if that’s what you feel like doing. Take to your bed if you’re really upset. Rant and rave. Avoid anyone who will try to cheer you up before you’re ready to be cheered. Do not remain in this state one minute longer than necessary.

Call on Trusted Friends

I let several people know that I wanted and needed sympathy. They were all wonderfully empathetic and assured me that I was terrific and my rejector was obviously a creep that didn’t deserve to work with me. They each loyally took my side and let me know that they believed that my project was valid and would find a happier home elsewhere. My spirits began to lift immediately.

I assume you realize that all of my supporters were also joyfully jobless and experienced at dealing with disappointment themselves.

 Feed Your Soul

I came across a quote from Edmund Burke that fit my needs: “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.” I tried to visualize myself thanking my rejector.

I found I didn’t have enough imagination to stretch that far, but I could visualize him (after my inevitable and very public success) slapping his forehead and saying, “How could I have been so stupid?”  The very thought of that happening accelerated my recovery.

Choose Something Better

Shakti Gawain said that whenever something didn’t work out as she had planned she immediately affirmed that something better would take its place—and it usually did. I have had plenty of personal experience where my initial disappointment was overshadowed by something grander, something I would have missed if I had had my first choice.

As I began to get specific about what it would take to have an even better achievement than my initial goal, I started to relax and get excited at the new possibilities. With that in mind, another round of unexpected events began to occur. This time, however, they were more appropriate than my original plan. I even began to feel gratitude for the original disappointment.

 Don’t Forget This

Imagine a novel or movie which goes like this: once upon a time, someone started a business. It was an immediate success. They lived happily ever after.

That’s a story that would be boring to read and just as boring to live.