This new year really feels new.

Find a happy person and you will find a project.

~ Sonja Lyubomirsky

Table of Contents

Postcard from Barbara

Passion Matters

Collaborators Wanted

Postcard From Barbara

This new year really feels new. Mine has gotten off to a rollicking start with a couple of unexpected delights. Besides getting the next issue of Winning Ways newsletter finished, January was enhanced by two personal projects.  Although I am not normally a mystery reader, I have been devouring the series by Louise Penny and am a bit bereft that I’ve come to the end. 

I’ve also been crocheting scarves for people I will never meet, people who are homeless and dealing with winter weather. As I told my friends on Facebook, there was a time, not so long ago, when the notion of crocheting 50 scarves seemed impossibly ambitious. I am now working on #54.

I had been trying to come up for a theme for the year and kept rejecting every one that came to mind. Nothing felt quite right. 

One day I came across a breathing meditation video and decided to give it a try. When the yoga teacher’s soothing voice urged us to expand our rib cage when we breathed out, I had my theme. Expand. But what did it mean? What did I want to expand?

Of course, the power of a theme is that it opens the imagination. It also simplifies decision-making. In addition to all the normal things, like producing Winning Ways newsletter, I’ve been challenging myself to see what areas of my life are ripe for expansion.

There’s a new Joyfully Jobless Weekend program that will launch in a couple of months and I’m wildly excited about it since it feels like my entire life has been getting me ready for this. I'm quite sure I'll be walking out of every session humming, "I was in the room where it happens.”

More details will be coming soon, but if you’d like to investigate bringing it to your area, check out the Collaborators Wanted below.

Whatever your plans for this fresh new year are, I am wishing you months filled with projects that make you happy.

Passion Matters

My definition of passion is learning to hear the voice of our heart. This voice is never timid or lukewarm or insipid. In fact, the emotion that it stirs is enthusiasm. When we connect with an idea or object or person that generates passion, the voice of our heart exclaims, “That’s for me!”  

Unfortunately, that encouraging voice has many enemies who are trying to drown it out. Our own doubts, fears and lack of confidence can dim it—and so can the opinions of others, a busy schedule and a lack of self-awareness.    

Even so, no matter how deeply it gets buried, the voice of our heart keeps trying to be heard. How can you turn up the volume?   

Accept responsibility for it. Finding your passion is a do-it-yourself project, one that requires constant monitoring of your feelings and imagination. While other people and experiences can help in this process, you must begin with the belief that you are unique in all the world—and your personal passions will reflect that.

Whining about it, repeating, “I don’t know what I want,” only takes you in the opposite direction. As they say in the personal development business, “You gotta own it.”

Make self-discovery a high priority. The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to hear your heart speak. This is a lifetime exploration that demands that you keep asking questions, trying new things and staying open to different possibilities. In other words, stay curious.

Follow your hunches. If your intuition is urging you to learn the tango, don’t dismiss it. Start looking for a teacher.

Remember how you felt as a child when you came running home from school excited about something you had done and everybody was too busy to pay attention? When we ignore our hunches we impose the same damper on ourselves.

Make a conscious choice to act on your intuition whenever possible, no matter how crazy it may seem. It is often in the midst of following a hunch that passion reveals itself loud and clear.

Dump your doubts. Anytime we have an unrealized dream in our lives, there’s a good chance we also have an excuse to explain why we haven’t done what we wanted to do. Sadly, many people treat excuses as the Voice of Reason.

How do you get around those doubts? One way is to acknowledge them—and then invite them to leave. It helps to realize, too, that many great achievements have been accompanied by great doubts. Taking actions despite doubts steals their strength.

Realize that routine is the enemy of passion. If you do everything in the same way at the same time every day, you may become efficient, but you won’t become passionate. 

That doesn’t mean you want to be a dilettante, dabbing at this and then dabbling at that. If, however, you aren’t experiencing passion as a regular event, it’s time to expose yourself to different people, places, activities and ideas.

Know that you are capable of multiple passions. In fact, studies have shown that the more sources of passion we have, the happier we are. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Passions can change at different stages of your life, too. As a growing person, you will probably outgrow some passions as you grow into new ones. Many people think they’re going to find The One Thing that qualifies as their personal passion, but people who live passion-filled lives know that passion begets more passion.

Collaborators Wanted

A couple of years ago, I zipped around the country doing three seminars that we called the Joyfully Jobless Weekend. Most of these fun events were organized by people who hadn’t done a lot of organizing, but wanted to bring the programs to their area. It worked beautifully. 

As much as I’ve enjoyed the past year of reading, writing and crocheting, I am so eager to get back to my natural habitat—a room filled with curious adult learners. The Joyfully Jobless Weekend 2.0 (title to be announced in mid-February) is already set to arrive in Seattle, Houston and Ajijac, Mexico in the spring. 

If you are looking for a project that will add some powerful entrepreneurial spirit in your area, send an email to and give you the details. Yes, you can add it to your portfolio of profit centers.

Buon Viaggio,  

Barbara Winter

P.S. On occasion, I may receive a commission or compensation when you participate or purchase a product or service I recommend. That being said, I strive to always offer useful content and resources in each issue of Joyfully Jobless News. 


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