Blog Post No. 31
28th April 2016
Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne 2016
Renata’s Coaching & Counselling blog: Barbara Sher on achieving your goals and dreams
Barbara is one of the best coaches I have ever seen
In this blog I am going to describe some of the valuable insights and advice that Barbara Sher gives to her audiences in her ‘You Tube’ videos.
Barbara is a speaker, career/lifestyle coach, and best-selling author of seven books on goal achievement. Her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages. She explains why finding your dreams reveals your unique talents.
This insight can help people who are struggling in jobs they don’t like and who have become unsure of what they want to do with their lives. Her advice can help people who don’t know what their talents and unique gifts are. What she says can also help people who know what their talents are, but have a resistance to doing anything about it, and can’t understand why.
About Barbara Sher
I came across Barbara Sher’s video extracts a few days ago, and although I had heard of her, and read one of her books about twenty years ago, I didn’t really know her work at all.
The great thing about seeing someone on ‘You Tube’ is that you can hear some of their main ideas right away and get a strong grasp of who they are. And I was really impressed by her. She is very authentic and genuine, and she has created some very powerful coaching strategies which can help people struggling with the challenge of expressing their talents, in a world which may disregard them.
Here’s a relevant statement she makes:
“Americans think if it don’t make money, it don’t count! Try telling that to Leonardo Da Vinci or Einstein!”
That is one of the most empowering quotes I have heard for a very long time. It’s not just the United States where that view prevails. (It explains why one of the most important and difficult job in the world, which is being a mother, is so underrated and devalued in many cultures. It doesn’t earn money, so it’s not rated; being rich, having lots of cars and houses, is considered the real deal instead. Even if the money results from raking muck! Very sad!)
Why you must do what you love
This heading is the title of one of her ‘You Tube’ videos, and she states this principle as follows:
“If you’re doing what makes you happy you are contributing your talent to the world…you’re doing what you were born to do, and what your species in the world needs you to do, and you can do better than anyone alive.”
(There are obvious reservations to be added here. For example, if you are a sadist, and you are really enjoying hurting other people, that is not your calling! So we are talking about doing things within moral limits here).
Barbara Sher describes her mission as helping people to do just that. But she states what the obstacles might be, very clearly:
# It might not make money, or not make money right away.
# You might have the attitude that it would be being wrong and selfish to do it.
# You might be resistant to doing it.
# You might be in an isolated situation, and not know how to do it.
# You might not know the right people or have the right information.
# You might need the support of people who would say, “Did you do it yet? Let me help you.”
She does point out that, although it’s your obligation to do what you love, you may have to practice it in different ways:
# Full time if you were born rich.
# Part-time if you have to hold down a job.
# “Don’t insist that it turns into a career”.
A goal achievement formula
In her ‘You Tube’ clip entitled “Isolation is the dream-killer” she describes the amazing events that took place in some of her ‘Success workshops’ in New York, where people came to the front of the group and told the group what their dreams were.
She asked people to describe their wishes, and then asked them what the obstacles were. So the formula was:
“What is your wish?”
“What’s your obstacle?”
Because this exercise was done in a group setting, the other members of the group were able to help with possible solutions to the obstacles described by whoever was sharing their wishes or goals.
Some of the ways that the participants helped each other were truly moving, and heart-warming, and the group helped lots of people achieve their goals.
She describes one client whom she had, who found it incredibly difficult to think of what they loved, and Barbara tried all sorts of questions out on her and had nearly given up on her ability to help the client.
Barbara had a policy of not charging the client if she was unable to help them, and was on the verge of not charging this particular client for the session, because she had been unable to help her identify her dream goal in life.
But then she noticed that, as the client picked up her bag as she left, she had a book with her – and it was all about gorillas! So Barbara asked her why she was reading the book, and the facial expression of the client completely changed to one of extreme happiness. She loved gorillas, she declared, but couldn’t see how she could achieve her dream of working with them.
Barbara thought this was very significant. But the client said to Barbara: “But doesn’t everybody love gorillas and want to work with them?”
Barbara said, “Come back into the room and get out your cheque-book – I’ve just helped you find your dream job”.
The virtue of persistence
Barbara had tried dozens of ways to identify this client’s ideal job and had almost given up when she spotted the book. This illustrates something about the flexibility, creativity and persistence of a good coach in trying to track down what is going on with the client.
The client does not know what to tell the coach or counsellor. The counsellor or coach does not know which questions to ask. So they have to keep going until they ‘strike gold’!
This is one of the main things I love about this kind of work!
Barbara’s ‘You Tube’ videos are full of amazing examples of people’s goals and how they had given up on them, but sometimes, when they told them to other people, things changed.
Humans are natural problem-solvers
In Barbara’s TEDx talk in Prague in 2015, she explains that we are all natural problem–solvers. We can all listen to someone’s dream, and let it pass us by. We see no reason to intervene in what the person has told us.
However, if that person then tells us what the obstacles are to getting the dream, then our problem-solving skills are hooked, and we’ll automatically come up with all sorts of creative ideas.
So if we want to get help from others regarding our dream, or vision, we have to tell them the obstacles. Try it and see!
Barbara says, during her 2015 TED talk,
“Never laugh at anyone’s dream“.
This talk is full of great examples of how people can get what they want.
If you can’t share your dreams with a group, she recommends that you get a coach or a class.
What Barbara’s talks (and her books) do is show you how to achieve your goals. She also has considered and explained the inner resistances we may have in following our goals. She explains how nature is not the least bit interested in us achieving our dreams – nature just wants us to be safe and not have any feelings of anxiety.
She considers that there’s always a resistance to going for what you want, but you can’t let it stop you. That’s why you need a group of people who believe in you, or a coach or a class.
“You can’t arm-wrestle resistance”, she says.
I hope you take the time to look at her ‘You Tube’ talks, if you don’t feel that you have got your dream job, or treasured goal, and want to reshape your life.
I’ve just treated myself to three of her books from Amazon, so I’m looking forward to their arrival!
That’s all for now.