"Made me unstoppable!" said the animal lover. "I had no idea where to start, even where I wanted to go. I just loved gorillas, that was all I knew. Eveybody told me I was foolish, except Sher. Now I work with gorillas every day! I've been to Borneo twice working with the apes, I've helped raise baby gorillas. It's better than I ever imagined."
-LM, NY who became a gorilla keeper
Housewife who turned off the critics inside my head, and became proud of who I am. I learned how to create a support team for myself, and now my products for children are in three major catalogs, and I'm designing new ones all the time."
-Reported by Melinda J., the Success Teams Facilitator helping her when she started her own baby products business
"I've always known my dreams, but I was really afraid to go after them. This program is like having Barbara right beside you, talking you through every crisis, showing you what to do everytime you're about to trip over those familiar old habits that always stopped you before. Now I've talked to some important producers, got some great talent to help me with costumes and filming and I'm producing my own one woman show."
-JJ, Chicago
"I just wanted a social life. My job is okay, but I was shy all my life and grew up without many friends. I have a good husband, very sociable, but I always held back Didn't know how to start. The program made it happen one, two, three, like clockwork. Now I have a big circle of really nice friends, we have great times at each other's homes, we all joined a cooking class last week."
-SB, bookkeeper, Brooklyn
"I always wanted to go to college, but I'm no intellectual and I'm so much older than the students. But she made me take my dream seriously, showing me how much I was going to bring to the project. Everytime I wanted to give up, her voice made me excited about my goal again and gave me new courage.This year I took my first class at a local college"
-JM, 57 year old construction worker, NJ
"I knew what my dream was, it had to do with dolphins, but it was so crazy and would require moving to Florida. My husband would just stare at me, as if I had lost my marbles. It took a little while, but with support I created a practical plan, and followed it step by step. First, I became an expert in dolphins! People call me for information, I run a small class at the local library. Then I contacted everyone who works with dolphins and got to know them over the phone. Now I've been offerred two jobs and my husband can't wait to move to Florida."
-a woman attending the Boston workshop
"I wanted to start my own business, but didn't have the time or the money. [Sher] taught me how to start small, so I could get started right away. And with no financial risk at all. I took one small step after another until I was solid on my feet, and started a low-maintenance service business that's doing so well that I had to hire two people to help me. By the time I quit my job, I was doing fine in the new business. "
-LM, (teaches computer skills to families in Indianapolis)
"My husband talked me out of everything. I just didn't remember who I was anymore. I was ready to leave him when I got the Dare to Live Your Dream tapes and realized I should try to build what I wanted right in the marriage if I could. And not leave unless he really stopped me. Because maybe I would leave and not know what to do. So I went after my dream without making a fuss about it, and built a wonderful practice as a knowledge broker. I got so much respect for what a great researcher I am, and had such interesting people over to the house, asking my advice, that my husband did a complete turnaround and started admiring me. He wants me to come work for him in his office. That's a real compliment from a man who could never give a compliment. But I think I'll stay on my own. I like having a world that belongs only to me, though he's always welcome to visit. "
-LL, San Mateo
"I wanted desperately to live in Italy. I speak Italian, I love to study. But I have an MBA and felt obliged to come back to the states and use it. I wasn't happy though. Through the program I set up idea parties and got great advice and connections. Now I'm building a program to teach young Italian women how to start their own businesses! I've never been more excited!"
-W. T., New Hampshire
"I'm an actress but I wanted to direct and I didn't want to live in New York. Now I'm going to start a non-profit regional theater for at-risk kids in my home town of Kansas City. "
-Kim in L.C.'s team
"I kept my job, which was okay but not very inspiring. Now, on my own time, I buy funny, ugly stuff and paint it until it's hilarious and beautiful, and I sell each piece to a boutique or local department store. Everybody want's my stuff, I'm making very good money, and I'm having a wonderful time."
-L.C.'s team
"I was an arts administrator and created great, successful projects but I was treated — and paid — like nothing more than a secretary because my personality is a bit retiring. Because of Sher's program I have started 4 programs on my own, including travelling art shows, and now I'm called on to be a consultant and I've been written up in a major arts magazine."
-Sara, Hawaii
"After a long time looking for an executivel-level job, I found one, but I was scared I'd screw up. As a woman, I never was sure how to get along with all the male games, even when the men were basically nice guys. Because of the program I went over my skills one by one, I checked out my feelings and found out where they were coming from, and I began to listen very carefully to the clues I was getting from the men. And I figured out exactly how to act! It was fantastic. I laugh when I think about it, but I can't tell you my secrets. Everything is great now."
-J.H., NY
"I've always wanted to travel, but somehow I never had the courage to actually do it. I didn't know dumb little things, like what to wear and where to stay and what to do. Travel books overwhelmed me. I felt like I should have started years ago and I was too old to be so stupid about it. But a friend gave me Sher's tapes, and I started reading articles in the newspapers about travel, and talking to people about it. Then one day a woman in the bookstore invited me to join her travel club, just a group of friends who get together and talk about travel. Now I've gotten all the advice I needed, and I've taken two trips, one with a person from the travel club and one alone! I'm very happy! "
-M.B., NY
"I just love to teach, but I didn't want to go back to school. Now I've learned how to be a speaker on the lecture circuit, and I'm writing a book! And I'm making good money too. I never knew you could do things like this!"
-H. H., Oregon
"I was stuck in a dead-end job, for more years than I want to admit. I just couldn't get myself motivated to get out. The program gave me a completely different viewpoint, and let me start small, with small steps, to look around and test the waters. I got three job offers, took one, and though it's not the perfect job, it has built my self-confidence enormously because everyone's so appreciative of what I do. I'm now looking for the perfect job!"
-S.O., NY
"My dream was somehow to affect the world, to make it better, to help stop violence. I just didn't know where to begin. I belonged to lots of organizations, but didn't feel I was making a difference. Now I have developed a presentation, and I take it to all the schools. It's full of games and simulations, and the kids really seem to listen to it."
-I.B., Brooklyn
"Well, I was embarrassed to admit it, because I have a great job and I've always been independent, but I wanted to find a good man and get married. I felt like admitting that was being desperate and stupid. Sher taught me to respect every wish, and made me see that I had the right to go after what I needed and wanted without ever feeling ashamed. Now I'm much more open, and I'm meeting some wonderful guys, and joining things. My friends keep pulling available men out of somewhere and having us over for dinner. They never did that until I dared to go after my real wish."
-M.K., D.C.

Subject: Testimonial: How I Became a 40+ yr old Dancer

Dear Barbara Sher,

I met you several weeks ago at DeAnza College. I thanked you for helping me become a dancer in my 40's, and you asked me to send you my story. Here it is.

I have held mostly clerical jobs most of my life. I have always known I was smart and could probably do anything, but never could figure out what that might be. Several years ago I mustered the courage to go to graduate school in sociology. I got A's but was miserable and finally dropped out after 3 years. I went back to word processing, feeling more dissatisfied than ever. I read several "do-what-you-love" type books, but they didn't help at all because I couldn't figure out what I loved except dancing, which was of course out of the question because I was too old.

I had been too old my whole life. I wanted to be a ballerina when I was 5, but my parents didn't let me take lessons for financial and other reasons. By the time I was 9, I believed it was too late, because I had heard that ballerinas had to start their training very young. When I was 18, I met some dancers who had started at 9 or 10, and I realized I had been wrong.. But I knew 18 was too old. When I was 25, I met a dancer who had started in college. I wished I had started in college; but now I was too old. And so on. I was always too old. I even signed up for a ballet class in my late 20's. When I didn't catch on right away, I chalked it up to my age and dropped out. In graduate school I started folk dancing. This was wonderful, and it didn't require years of training. But the fact that I liked it and was good at it only increased my resentment about the great ballet career I never had.

So whenever I would get depressed by my work situation, I would start feeling sorry for myself that I never got ballet lessons and that now it was too late. I put lots of energy into trying to think of other types of work that would make me happy, but I always drew a blank. I knew I had to "get over" this ballet idea and move on, but I was stuck regarding what to move on to. I thought about teaching folk dancing or ballroom dancing, but I didn't want to teach.

I think I was 40 when I read your book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was. (The title told me I had finally found help.) In my word processing job, I had become somewhat interested in computers. My partner had offered to help me go back to school in computer science, but after my graduate school fiasco, I was reluctant to plunge in again. I couldn't bear to try something new and be disappointed again. I was commuting by train to my job in San Francisco, about 50 minutes each way. I spent my commute reading your book and writing and reflecting. I had "aha's" in almost every chapter. Your assertion that I probably already knew, secretly, what I wanted to do made me realize I would have to deal with this dancing thing. I had always thought that if I were somehow miraculously to become a dancer, it would require dropping everything, risking everything, and plunging in. I wasn't about to do that, since I expected zero chance of success! But you urged a would-be writer to write a little before or after work, not to quit his job to write the Great American Novel. I don't remember the exact process, but in working through the book, I began to formulate a plan.

I would go back to school for one year and take computer classes — and dance classes "on the side". So I did. The computer classes were lots of fun, and the dance classes were life saving. I started with jazz and modern dance, then began studying ballet. I found that, as I had suspected, I seemed to have some talent. At first, this only increased my pain as I realized that maybe I really could have been a ballerina. I was grieving the life I never had. I had never felt so much pleasure and so much anguish over the same thing. But as time goes on, the pain has become much less and the joy of dancing has filled my life. This is a miracle!

Now I am 43, and I have been dancing for 2 years. I call myself a dancer because that's who I am, even though I don't do it for a living. The amazing thing is that I don't mind not doing it for a living. The fact that I am finally actually dancing has broken the bitter spell and freed me to enjoy my new field, computer network administration.

My plan was to hedge my bets — study computers and dance, and hope one or the other would work out. Instead, I have both !!

Thank you for inviting me to tell my story. And a ***million*** thanks for writing that wonderful yellow book which changed my life!

Best regards,


W.B. from Washington 10/98

Barbara Sher

I hope you never get tired of hearing stories about people whose lives have been changed by your book Wishcraft, because here's another such.

In 1984 someone gave me a copy of your book (I forget who it was). I read it and did the exercise and was very excited by the whole process.

A couple of weeks later I was going to my bank and saw on the wall a poster for a local amateur orchestra concert. The ticket price was only $6, but at the time I was in extremely bad shape financially and couldn't even afford that low price. So I called the number and asked if there was anything I could do for them as a volunteer to earn a free ticket. They offered to let me be an usher. which I accepted, and got to hear a very nice concert for free.

Now you need to know that I was at one time a student at Juilliard back east, a composition major, but had never had an orchestral piece of mine performed, although 18 years had gone by since leaving there. I had a vague dream of someday having an orchestral piece performed, but had not done anything concrete about it. Had I not read your book, it would never have occured to me to try to get a free ticket by ushering, or to turn an ushering job into a dream, but I did.

Within 18 months I was general manager of that orchestra. By the time I had resigned eight years later, they had performed three full-length orchestral pieces which I composed for them, and that in turn led to many other opportunities. All thanks to exercising a little "Wishcraft." You cannot possibly have any idea how thankful I am that somebody gave me your book, and that I read it and did the exercises. I know it's a cliche, but it's true: you literally changed my life.

Thank you more than you can know,




L.B., the Artist in AZ

Hello Barbara

I think you're going to enjoy this letter.

I've just completed my 3 months of a "practice dream" and here's what happened.

"Goal//my Art will be in museums and galleries throughout the country....big art success"

*Someone heard about my pursuit and gave me 5K for this goal — it was a friend of a friend.

* I entered the 2nd biggest show in the country at the L.A. ArtExpo and was voted 2nd best new artist.

*At this show a Japanese dealer bought 18 pieces of my Art — I'm now showing in Japan...

*From the show, months later someone bought a piece for $2600 — nice start..

*Someone offered me 30-40K for my career — as a partnership

* A piece of art was bought for Sedona, AZ permanent town collection

* A new friend gave me 10K for my career.

* I'm showing in Vail, CO and Los Angeles, CA and Scottsdale AZ and some individual pieces are priced at 5K.

Now for the Real Life dream I was going for: It was Organic Farming.

Thanks! L.B.


Date: 6/3/99


"Your book was the most valuable book I ever read. I became a professor in Mexico and lived a beautiful life for 2 1/2 years as a result of a Success Team."

G. S., MD


Arsinoe Goes To Rome


I picked up my first copy of "Wishcraft" shortly after it was published. I was looking for something to read on the beach, and your book was the most promising of the choices on the drugstore rack. At the time I was a full-time caseworker in Child Protective Services in the South Bronx. My dream was to become an art historian, but from my family background that seemed as unlikely as saying "I want to go to Hollywood and become a movie star."

It was a difficult time, too--family illness, and the death of two friends left me depressed. I was attending graduate school part-time, but funds were very tight. One simple idea in that book hit a responsive chord. I realized that I could be an art historian by doing the things that art historians do. It was a new thought to me.

Starting the very next day I began to write reviews of exhibitions, organize shows, and give gallery talks at the local museum. At first I did all of this without any pay, just for the experience. Eventually I got my first university teaching job.

In 1987 I began to think that I would like to live in Rome and open an art gallery there. Of course I didn't know anything about how to do this. So I started an online "Wishcraft" group on the old SOURCE network. Two years later, with the help of a lot of friends, I moved to Rome and started a small, non-profit exhibition space not far from the Spanish Steps. Another biggest bonus of that first online Success Team was that I met my life companion, who followed me to Rome.

The years in Rome were the best in my life. It is hard to imagine anyone being as happy—doing work that I loved, and in a supportive relationship. There were hard times, too—the worst was when my companion, David, died. Three years ago, I returned to the States, largely because of family reasons. Now I am the Director of an art gallery at a major university. This period, too, has been deeply satisfying, because I am doing work that I love.The next step, I think, will be to have my OWN gallery. This will be a big step, but autonomy and risk-taking are important to me right now. When I can, I would also like to buy a small pied-a-terre in Rome, the city that captured my heart.

Thanks, again, for the help and support that you have given over the years.



Basics I In the Press I Buddy System

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