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Learn from Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and me…


Lead With Your Heart - Not Your Head

By Valerie Young

If you've ever experienced the exhilaration that comes with a bolt of inspiration - especially when that inspiration involves a long-held dream -  you know that it hits you right in the heart. A big reason why most people never give their dreams even half a chance is that their dream quickly makes its way from their heart to their head. And soon as "logic" kicks in (and ultimately takes over) most dreams don't stand a fighting chance.

If you tend to talk yourself out of your dreams, you may want to take a page out of author Barbara Sher's book. No, not one of her best-selling books. Although Barbara is the best-selling author of some of my all time "find your passion" books including:

~ Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want
~ I Could Do Anything: If I Only Knew What It Was
~ Live The Life You Love, and
~ It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life After Forty

The page I am suggesting you copy comes directly from Barbara's own life. A few times a year Barbara travels to a small village in Turkey to "hide out" from her New York telephone and work on her books. In getting to know the local villagers she discovered that the older women had given up weaving the traditional kilims (colorful flat-weave carpets). The reason they put away their looms was that they felt ripped off by the rug dealers who came from the big cities to buy their kilims for their shops.

Their refusal to weave kilims bothered her for two reasons. "First," she says, "I hate to see ancient arts lost. Second, I hate to see women unable to send their kids to good schools because they lack money. (Been there, done that)." So, Barbara decided to teach them e-commerce. By selling their crafts over the Internet the women could sell directly to the buyer and keep the money themselves!

Barbara's father used to tell her she had "more guts than brains." Which is why, she explains, she wasn't the least bit phased by the fact that she was not an e-commerce expert and had no idea where to get the funding to launch such a project. What she DID have was "wild enthusiasm." And, this is what she used to propel her dream. Barbara admits, "...there were experiences that were demoralizing and almost stopped me." But she didn't give up. In the end, she was able to find people willing to help her get her project off the ground.

About a year ago her dream became a reality. Barbara opened the doors to the first-ever Kilim e-Commerce School for Village Women. Now anyone can go to the web site at and order their own custom-made kilim (you select the colors), meet the weaver who creates
it, and actually watch the weavers at work.

I had been a fan of Barbara's books for many years. But my first real connection with her occurred about seven years ago when I was first "wildly enthused" about my own project - leaving my corporate job to launch the Changing Course Newsletter . I tracked down Barbara's phone number through her publisher. I was a bit startled when I reached her answering machine. I remember thinking, "Come on Valerie; she's a successful author. She doesn't have time to answer her own phone."

I went ahead and nervously stumbled through my message: "I'm trying to start a newsletter for people who want to find their life mission and live it. I know you're really busy, but I am a big fan of your writing and wondered if you would be willing to contribute?" My message went unanswered.

Fast forward about five weeks later. I was standing in my kitchen on a gray, rainy Sunday terribly discouraged and very nearly close to tears. It was one of those days when my head was giving my heart a good talking to: "What a dumb idea." "It will never work." "Who would want your newsletter anyway?"

Suddenly the phone rang. In no mood to talk, I let the answering machine pick up. I heard a cheery voice apologizing for the long delay in responding. It was Barbara Sher. She'd been traveling the country on a book tour and was just getting caught up. Of course, she'd be thrilled to contribute to my newsletter. I nearly broke a leg lunging for the phone!

This experience taught me two things. First, sometimes we need to lead with our heart's desire because our "logical, practical" self doesn't always know what it's talking about. Second, dreams are almost always a group effort. You may be the head coach and the only player on the field but there are always people out there who are willing, if not to be on your team, to at least be cheering you on from the sidelines. So, if you need some help jump-starting your dream, ask for it. You may not always get what you want, but as the  Rolling Stones reminded my generation, "If you try sometime, you just might find that you get what you need."

I once again feel honored by Barbara's generosity. Those of you who have caught one of Barbara's appearances on your local PBS television station know that she has an audio program called "Dare to Live Your Dreams." The stations use it during their pledge times as one of the premiums they give to donors.

Barbara has generously allowed me to offer Changing Course readers this same life changing program. This 12-tape series will teach you practical, nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step methods to use your gifts and turn your dreams into reality. When you do what you love, work turns into pleasure. There is something you're supposed to be doing and you shouldn't waste another day ignoring it. The rewards are enormous. 

"My advice to anyone with a dream," says Barbara, "is to take action. Set a goal, any goal, and start doing everything you can to achieve it. I guarantee you life will change."

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

"Profiting From Your Passions" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.

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