7 nuggets of wisdom from Barbara Sher

patty-joe-barbaraToday I had the happy privilege to hear Barbara Sher speak on her telesummit.

Here are the notes I took:

1. You owe your gifts to the world. If you don’t share them you’re selfish and stingy.

One of the things I really love about Barbara is her bluntness. She doesn’t mince words and statements like these sometimes have a bit of a sting to them.

And yet…is there any better counter-argument to the voices in our heads that say things like: Who am I to be doing this thing I love to do? (In public? For money?)

She also extends this thought to marketing – that it’s selfish and stingy not to let the people who need you and your services KNOW about you so they can get the help they need.

2. Afraid of success? Don’t worry. You probably won’t be that successful!

A lot of my clients express a real fear around “putting themselves out there” and becoming more visible. (I understand this fear only too well!) It feels vulnerable. Like everyone is looking at us and judging us.

She reminds us that we will grow into it – and that she – the world famous Barbara Sher of best sellers and Oprah appearances can walk her dog in Central Park and not be recognized.

3. There are 3 stages of excitement. Don’t give up when you reach the second.

In the first stage, you are a genius. You’re in love with your idea and over the moon excited. Her advice for this stage: write everything down – in story format – so you’ll remember it later.

In the second stage, you crash. You lose all that energy and start to think your idea is stupid. You may feel depressed. Her advice in this stage: enjoy it and indulge it.


According to Barbara, this crash is a necessary part of the process and if you indulge it (instead of trying to fight it or work through it) you’ll soon become bored with it. You’ll have gotten the necessary rest you need for the third stage.

The third stage is where you get to work. You see your idea for what it really is (and it’s good!) but you’re not in that manic excited stage – and you’re rested from the down stage. You can settle in and do the work. Her advice for this stage: read what you wrote in stage 1 and start taking action.

(This is all closely related to the small business roller coaster.)

Which brings us to resistance.

4. There are reasons and excuses for not taking action

Reasons are valid. You have some sort of problem or challenge that is preventing you from taking action. Reasons are problems that can be solved. If not by you, then by other people.

You know you have a “reason” when after being presented with the solution, you say “great!” and you implement the solution and move on.

You’ll know it was an excuse, when, after getting the solution you find another “reason” to keep you from moving forward.

There’s an underlying fear here.

5. You need to be nicer to that scared kid inside of you

Feeling fear or resistance is normal. Resistance is your friend when it prevents you from jumping off a cliff – but NOT when it prevents you from writing your screenplay.

Beating yourself up isn’t helpful.

When you’re resisting, you need to get curious with yourself, not judgemental. What’s going on? Where is the real fear?

Sometimes the fear lies in the NEXT step you need to take – not the one you are currently resisting.

6. Not having time is an excuse

5 minutes a day is all it takes to keep a dream alive. Everyone can find 5 minutes a day. (I recall “even if it’s in the can with the door locked” to be her exact words.)

Doing what you love does not need to mean that you have to do that thing for money. It’s OK to have a job that pays the bills so that you get to do the thing you love.

7. Isolation is the dream killer

Overcome resistance by forming a success team to support you. Ask for help and ideas. If you have a “reason” getting in the way, your team can help you solve it.

Convene a “blockbuster” meeting. Get on the phone with your buddies – commit to working on a specific task for an hour – then check in afterwards and report progress.

Just knowing that someone else cares whether or not you’re taking action can help you move through resistance.


  1. Cori on September 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you so much, Patty. That was very helpful.

    • Patty K on September 14, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      You are welcome, Cori!

  2. Terri on January 7, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Just sent you and email tonight via your contact page. Came to your blog to subscribe and browse around. So glad I did! I haven’t read Barbara Sher’s books but they are on my list. I have read her e-book that available publically for free. Great stuff. This article is very helpful with something I am currently working on. I got through #1 and 2, started in on #3 and bam, just exactly like Barbara says, people crash! Boy did I! Exactly like it is stated there. I lost all energy for the project, seriously thought my idea was utterly stupid and got so depressed I was near immoblile. Love her advice, enjoy it and indulge it. I am already feeling hints of energy to get back to the project. Yay. Wow, I’m not alone. In fact, that Barbara talked about it and you are wrote about tells me many people go through this. I’m normal!

    • Patty K on January 9, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Terri…

      Thanks for contacting me and commenting here!
      Barbara is brilliant – and WE are not alone. Lots of us ride this particular rollercoaster.
      Glad to hear that you’re feeling those hints of energy. I just went through this process so I know *exactly* how it feels.