Friday, December 11, 2009


I just spent many hours on this announcement and 2 minutes ago sent it off to my heroic techie. Hopefully it will be sent out to my whole mailing list. I hope so because this is new and I need some reactions -- I even like those 'Out of Office' responses because they react so quickly! (Don't be shy about leaving comments if you have a moment -- even if it's to point out a typo. It's nice to know someone's there.)

Hi All

I believe this is a launch. Never used that word for anything in the past, though I'm sure I've launched things before. But there's something unusual behind this launch and I want to say it out loud to you. I'm doing this particular launch because, plain and simple - I don't want to market anymore.

I don't want to market anymore. I want to do the work I love doing but I don't want to sell it anymore.

Now, I know a lot of people don't want to market anymore, and I know that you have to do it anyway. Most of the time. But I've been doing my work and marketing it for a very long time and now I want to stop. Before I announce to you the change I'm beginning as of right now, I first would like to do some more complaining.

I don't want to send out lots of newsletters and emails saying 'Come to my party,' I simply want to announce it. I'll be happy to tell you when I'm running Resistance classes or IdeaParties on conference calls and give you the dates & locations for the spring and fall Scanner and the WriteSpeak program -- and then stop right there. After that I want to write newsletters about other things, marvelous things that I discover and want to tell you about.

I don't want to promote any of the books or audios or kits I sell on geniuspress either (and you might have noticed that I never have done so).

What pops into my head is what John Cusack says in the wonderful 1989 movie, 'Say Anything,'

I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed -- or repair anything sold, bought or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

That makes me laugh every time I read it. But here's my point.

To my great surprise, I'm becoming an old lady. Now, please don't write to tell me I'm not really old and all that stuff. I know, I know. Like all old people who were born learners and observers to start with, I know I'm getting smarter every year, and like all old people who are paying attention, I understand clearly what 'time limits,' means. As a result, I have a very clear picture of what I want to do in the coming few years while I'm still sturdy and bossy, and that is to tell you everything I know.

This is not a pitch. This is what I've been thinking, and it won't let go of me. So consider it the first of my announcements and you're welcome to ignore it if you like. You'll know if it's right for you or not.

Now, since I've never tried very hard to accumulate Wealth and build Empires, I'll still need income. But I'd like to be paid for what I teach, not for my marketing skills.

So, I want to announce some subscription/membership programs that will give you such huge discounts you'll come on your own and I won't have to do all the difficult, time-consuming stuff that I really can't delegate.

I'm also going to teach a year-long Master Class. This is big. This is about me trying to make sure that the best of my work will continue to be out in the world even if I'm abducted by aliens. It's designed mostly for coaches (you'll be certified when you complete the course) but I really hope to see teachers, parents and talk show hosts in it, anyone who helps people and wants to learn how to do what I do.

How to do what I do. I used to think it wasn't exactly teachable, that all I could do was let you watch me do it. But now, happily enough, I know how to teach it. Now people can learn it and use it to help other people. That's what feels really right at this time in my life.

If that looks right for you too, maybe you should be at this Master Class. I'm going to teach the most important of all the techniques I've developed, as well as showing you how to get a little bit famous, like I am. :-)

Everything starts in January of 2010. (If you've already signed up for any of my programs in 2010, you can still subscribe and get your huge & massive discount on those programs.)

Okay, here's what it is and here's the fee for each choice. (No, I don't do up-sells and I won't make you read 20 pages and click 10 links to find out what everything costs.)

(Toe In The Water) Level I Club - $600

If you want to learn as much as you can about knocking down the walls of your resistance as well as getting dozens of great brains to help you come up with ideas and info but you'd like a little anonymity and time to decide if you want to go further, this is probably the right choice for you. At Level I you'll be able to attend (or get the recordings of) all my Resistance and IdeaParty teleclasses in 2010 for free. I'm planning to do at least 10 of them.

You'll also be able to head over to and look at all the books, audios and kits and pick any or all of them (electronic or hard copy) for 50% of the price. (Incidentally, the prices haven't changed in years and I won't be slipping in there and raising them in advance, either.)

And if you'd like to halve the tariff for my new BigCheapWeekendWorkshop in NY in June (it's going to be terrific and I'm smiling as I think of it) you'll be able to do that, too.

Now, my math's not great but I figure you'll get at least $2000 dollars worth of goodies right there (and I expect to add more stuff -- like a CD of all my audio tips, for instance -- during the year). It's good stuff.

You'll get the most benefit (and make my life easier) if you sign up via Paypal before January 15. Ask everyone to give you cash for Xmas and you can probably make it work.

(Ready to Splash Around Big Time) Level II Club - $2400

If you'd like all the above but you really want to work with me face-to-face in a 5-day retreat in 2010, this is for you. At the same huge 50% discount you'll be able to attend one of the year's Scanner retreats (in some gorgeous locale). If you want to, you can sign up for the whole WriteSpeak program, too (which includes its own 5-day retreat). If you've ever wanted to be part of a really special community/support team, a retreat is where you'll find it. What happens after the retreats is as important as what happens during them. (Check out the testimonials on for Scanner Retreats and the WriteSpeak program and you'll see what I mean.)

For the Ready to Splash Around Big Time Level II Club you really do have to get in before January 15 because the next WriteSpeak Pt I Teleworkshop is January 16 and it's the prerequisite for the rest of the program). Now, my math, if this makes any difference, says that you will not only save the $2000 value of the Toe in The Water Club, but in addition, up to $3500 if you take advantage of everything above. (I'll send you either audios or transcripts for anything you can't attend.)

If you've already signed up for the April Scanner Retreat in France, or the Jan, Feb WriteSpeak program in New York and you want to subscribe at this level, that's fine. I'll be happy to get someone to figure out the math and make it come out right.

(Taking the Veil) Coaching Certification Master Class - $8400

Well, I don't really know much about taking the veil except from the movies. It looked all gallant and romantic with Audrey Hepburn, and wonderfully evil and powerful in The Blues Brothers so I'm pretty convinced of my own total ignorance here and I guess that's not really what I mean.

What I do mean is this: if you're ready to make a serious commitment to becoming the best counselor/teacher/helper/coach you possibly can be, by accessing and developing your innate talents and learning how to do pretty much everything I do, if you want to be part of a tightly-knit, supportive and brilliant community, and if you'd also like to make a better-than-decent living at it, then this is the right choice for you.
Some of you have watched (or heard) me guide someone through a 'self correcting scenario,' for instance, or take someone back to the source of their resistance (and often the source of their parents' as well) and you've seen the light bulb go on as they finally understood the true picture of who they are and why they do what they do, and how to change it in a profound way.

If so, you might be one of the people who wanted to know what was happening: 'How did you do that?' 'Why did you say this at this time?' 'How did you know that was the wrong path, how did you see the right path?'

If that kind of thing matters to you, the Master Class is for you.
Showing dedicated, talented people how to help others by fully using their gifts and showing them how to do everything I've learned to do and showing them how to make a better-than-decent living so they'll want to keep doing it for years and years -- that's how I want to spend my remaining time on this planet.

So as of today I pronounce that I insofar as I am able, I shall no longer market anything and all my newsletters and blogs will be about wonderful stuff I love to write about.

I'm going to put up some pages on Genius Press to spell out all the many details of this big new thing, like how to be interviewed for the Master Class and nice lists of what you'll get such as the Master Class will get free admission to the BigCheapWeekendWorkshop in June and you'll all get advance notice of any events I schedule. That sort of thing. I'll also explain that I won't be doing swaps or payments because they're too hard to keep track of, and how there's room for everyone in the Level I Club, but room for not so many people in the Level II Club and room for very few in the Master Class.

(Which is why I'm going to close admission as soon as I've hit the right numbers so I wouldn't stall about this too long.)

And there's got to be a whole lot more I need to explain.

But it's been a long day figuring this out all this and I'll never in this world get the extra information up on the website for at least few more days.


* You can say 'I know all I need to know, Count me in,' and go into Paypal and send a payment to my email address (if you don't have it, just hit reply to this announcement and me ask for it. I'll enjoy getting that kind of request.)


* You can hit reply and ask me questions, which I'd actually welcome because I know for sure I haven't worked out every detail and your bewilderment will make me aware of what's needed. As anyone in my WriteSpeak class will tell you, questions are very fine things.

I want you to use your talents and fulfill your dreams. I want that a lot. I think that's a good thing that I can do for you and for the world.

Okay, that's what I wanted to tell you.


To help you plan, here are the dates I know about so far:

The WriteSpeak Part I Teleworkshop: January 16, 2010, from 11 am to 5 pm (or so).

(I may schedule a second Teleworkshop before the retreat. Watch this space.)

The WriteSpeak Part II Retreat: February 12 - 17, 2010 in New York City.

The Scanner Retreat: April 6 - 11, 2010 in a medieval village in France

Another Scanner Retreat in Europe in the fall, when the weather cools down.

The Big Cheap Weekend Workshop, probably June 25-27, 2010 in New York City.

Okay, now you know everything I know.
Posted by Barbara at 9:20 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why can’t scanners stick to anything? Why won’t they make up their minds? Do they fear commitment? Do they have learning disabilities? Are they hopelessly immature, shallow, afraid of hard work?

If not, why don’t they do something about it? Having so many interests is difficult by itself. Being criticized by people who don’t understand, and being worried themselves that they’ll never accomplish anything is not a great feeling. Until you understand what makes a you tick, the stress can be overwhelming.

So why don’t Scanners do something about it? They do. At least, they try.

Most Scanners really try. Many go to career testing services but, for the most part, the expectation is that they’ll use their greatest talent to follow a path of specialization. But that doesn’t work with a scanner:

“On every aptitude test I come out above average on everything, there is no one outstanding peak - they are all pretty high. This can be really difficult as I never know what to choose.”

Counselors explain that their clients have to choose a direction or they can’t take another step. But Scanners can’t choose one direction. It’s like telling a parent to choose one child to feed. It’s just not possible. A parent will find a way to feed all her children. And a Scanner is driven to follow every path that interests her. There’s nothing else a Scanner can do.

There are at least three reasons for this:

First, Scanners can’t have fewer interests. They’re designed to do more. Holding them back is like tying an athlete to a chair.
One woman said it clearly:

"I need my entire “system” of mind and body to be completely used. I enjoy doing different things at the same time. I feel good when my body is working at its limits. My mind is only happy when I'm learning different things at the same time. If I have to slow down or use only one part of me at a time, I get bored, worse than bored – I feel like a part of me is dying on the vine.”

Second, Scanners don’t want fewer interests. They light up when they see new things and want to investigate them. But, you might protest, we all want 5 desserts after dinner too, but we don’t get them, we grow up, you control ourselves, right? Wrong. Scanners want it all not because they’re spoiled, but for the same reason all your muscles, not just your arms or your legs, want exercise. They love variety because they have brains that process experience quickly and are ready for new subjects sooner than others. They have special abilities in many areas, they’re built to use them. That’s why somewhere inside a Scanner, although they hate to be stuck and don’t know how to justify their behavior, they secretly refuse to choose. They know they’re being stubborn. What they don’t know is that this stubbornness comes from intinctive integrity.

Third, a Scanner sticks his nose into many areas because he can. Scanners are smart and multi-talented, they’re divergent thinkers who don’t want to narrow the universe down to one formula but would rather help expand it. They don't typically need as much stability as most people because they're as secure as small children and just as curious. While most adults find change disruptive, even threatening, scanners thrive on it. They don’t mind being beginners as much as most adults, and while some are driven to master an an interest, as soon as they do, at least to their satisfaction, they're finished with it. The part that mattered to them is over.

What draws a Scanner, and why do they move on before they’re finished? What makes a Scanner tick?

Well, you could say they're a lot like bees when they go after honey.


Whenever someone tells me a scanner lacks focus, loses interest too easily, can’t find their passion or make up their minds what they want to do, I ask them to consider the honeybee. I’m pretty sure no one in his right mind would ever accuse a bee of lacking focus or losing interest too easily. No one says bees can’t make up their minds which flower they want to be involved with or that they seem unable to find their true passion. We assume that when a bee leaves a flower, it’s got a compelling reason to do so. Plain and simple, if it stayed at a flower for two seconds or twenty seconds, we understand it needed that amount of time to get what it came for.

Any bee that stayed at a flower after it had emptied it of nectar would be seen as derelict in its duties. When it comes to passion, I think we’d all agree that a bee seems very dedicated to its task — but it’s not passionate about any one flower, it’s passionate about gathering nectar. If you missed that point, you’d really misunderstand a honeybee.

In his heart every scanner feels the same as a honeybee about what he’s doing. But we’re not in the habit of thinking about it the same way. We simply assume that Scanner's have a problem if they don't devote themselves to a single specialty as long as we believe they should - usually for their adult lifetime or at least until the job is ‘finished.’

But if we don’t know why the Scanner is involved with this subject, we really have no way of knowing when he's finished. We can’t pretend to be helping Scanners to develop their considerable talents unless we’re willing to grant them the same benefit of the doubt we give a honeybee.

Somebody's sure to ask if this is why they get tired of relationships so fast; maybe being a Scanner is the reason they don't want to stick with anyone very long. The short and simple answer to that one, at least in the many cases I've investigated, is no. First, because in each case their are so many other reasons for the problem. Second because many people who ask the question aren't Scanners at all. And third, because I've queried many Scanners and most of them say they want one thing in their lives to be stable -- preferably their source of affection and companionship.

I'll talk more about that another time, but for now, don't bother explaining Tiger Woods' behavior by saying he's a Scanner. No way he's a Scanner :-) And don't fill up the comments with questions about that when I really want to answer other questions about Scanners. Or have I just told you to ignore the elephant in the room. Sigh.

Incidenetally, it never comes up at a Scanner retreat, even the ones we have in France :-) You can find out about the next one at or ask me here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


When I said I don't have extra, unused stuff in my house, here's the reason. This is from an article I wrote in Real Simple but it originally came from Live the Life You Love, and there are lots more amusing but potent ways to dodge that kind of clutter - like getting rid of the stuff your grown kids have left in the garage by telling them you're moving to Spain and they can come for it or if they're too busy (they will be) after a week they can easily find it all at the local Salvation Army store.

In the book you'll also see that the only reason to get rid of clutter is to have open space in which you can create better clutter, Quality Creative Clutter. The kind I realized in my last post that I will never get rid of until I'm comatose (and not making any promises even then). We could call it "How to create open space in which to make a really big mess that's so awful that if you don't quit procrastinating you will feel as if you have sand in your speedos."

But here's the short version:

Toss 10 Things
Never waste a perfectly good day on a one-fell-swoop anticlutter campaign.
Instead, use this absolutely guaranteed, humane method: Wherever you are
at a given moment, find 10 things to throw away. Brushing your teeth?
Open the medicine chest and find 10 disposable objects—antique medica-
tions, someone else’s hair-care product, the shampoos you pinched from the
hotel on your last business trip. Reaching into a kitchen drawer for a cheese
grater? Pull the wastebasket closer and play basketball. Your home will be-
come more spacious and airy within days.
Barbara Sher
Real Simple Magazine

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


See, I have a lot of stuff, but I long ago cleared out everything I wasn't using or wearing and, in spite of that, my place, almost every room, is piled up with papers and books and a few magazines

I get brave and throw most of them out, too, every month or so -- but it's not easy because I remember being stuck in Turkey with no TV or radio and nothing to read. I'm aware that this isn't as serious as real traumas, but for someone whose list of Things I Must Always Avoid has 'Boredom' very close to the top, it's enough to have left a mark. (On that trip I did find one copy of the New York Times Book Review and read it over and over, even writing little sermons on various sentences.)

Okay, so I have a lot of stuff but none of it can be thrown out anymore. Hardly.

So organizing is the obvious choice. But that's where I run into a huge problem. It's not that I don't like to be organized, I do. I crave it. I even have a place for everything and frequently, sometimes twice a week, put all the things that aren't part of an active project into their proper place.

And I simply hate disorder. It's not indifference to chaos that stops me. I am disturbed by chaos.

The problem, in one sentence is this: only chaos will drive me to action, precisely because it is so disturbing.

If I want to remember to take a piece of paper or a book to another room, I simply throw it on the floor near the door. There's not a chance that I'll leave it there when I leave the room because having books and papers on the floor drives me crazy.

But a perfect, peaceful, beautiful, quiet orderliness will stop all my action, precisely because it's so lovely.

Instead, I sit in front of my computer and I'm surrounded like a drummer with three drum sets, by everything I could possibly need so that's it's often difficult to find room for my mouse to move its cursor (Note: I have a mouse pad the size of a large TV screen). I do this so I never have to stand up to get anything because that would break my train of thought. I sit surrounded by noisy, ugly clutter, but I have everything at hand and only stand up when I want to stand up.

(Aside, off the subject, because it popped into my head and is too good not to share with you is my favorite quote by Mae West: A shady type of guy, sitting behind his desk with a cigar in his mouth and the phone to his ear, tells her to sit down. And she answers him - please imagine the Mae West nasal voice and that cynical smile always on her lips - "Thanks. I'll sit down when I'm through standin' up.")

Okay, that smile gave me courage to continue.

I have many kinds and colors of file folders and binders and many dividers -- numerical, alphabetical and monthly - Jan, Feb, etc. I also have different colors of paper and a fine, heavy 3-hole punch, many varieties of index cards and blank books, paper clips, staplers, the works. When I decide to set up a new organizing system I never have to go to the store because I already have everything. And I really love to sort and organize my papers.

But if I put things away that are part of an active project, I might as well throw them out the window, because once things are orderly and my desktops and table tops are visible, I feel -- deeply in my mind, heart & soul -- that my job is done. Only the oddest impulse will drive me to look at anything that's safely in its folder or binder. It's all for 'later.'

For instance, I have baskets near my computer with scraps of paper in them, notes, almost always important (I coldly, without conflict, throw out notes to myself that are no longer important), things I want to remember, things I have to do, and I've put them in this basket so I'll go through them and even do them. It's a messy little basket so I'll be motivated to look at a few scraps of paper, but most of the time, because they're so nicely in one place, those notes stay in those baskets for many months.

And the papers for my next retreat are neatly stashed in a 3-ring binder, and that's okay, because I can grab it and take it with me. Well, some of it. There's always more than there was before, and the new stuff is something I'll need. (No, I really will.)

It's not my fault that there's always more new stuff. New stuff announces itself at every retreat because each retreat designs itself to fit the people who are at it. Sometimes a great exercise just doesn't fit, you can feel it, and another one you never thought of before will do the job perfectly. Me, I'm just following orders.

So, in addition to a nice binder, there's also one huge fat sloppy file drawer full of Scanner stuff. There's another huge, fat, sloppy file drawer full of WriteSpeak stuff um, plus a line of orange binders about 5 feet long on my 'work desk. (haha) I'm in the middle of a project to organize it chronologically this time but after about 12 hours of sorting on Sunday, I got tired of the project. Oh, I even have these 'tubs' which I can label and do some quick tossing of books and sheets of papers when I run out of steam for a real organizing project.

Now, why are the file drawers sloppy? Because the notes and scraps that weren't thrown away are all different sizes. That's what happens when you write down things by hand because you're far from your computer. Ideas do not always come in 8 1/2 x 11 form.

There's a third big project and it's kept in whole bookcase full of pink binders. And that's for the next book I'm writing.

One problem is that everything always comes first and everything has to be on top. Somehow, this seems essential. Not actually doable, but completely central to the entire effort of getting things done. Sometimes I use those clever time-organizing ideas I wrote about in Refuse To Choose, and sometimes I devise new systems right in the middle of the task. (If the task takes more than one day, you can change that 'sometimes' to 'invariably.' )

All I can say in my defense is that I do a lot of pretty good organizing with some things:

1) I always know where my keys are (and most other things,too)

2) I never miss a plane and almost always go to the right place

3) I'm a great suitcase packer and always have everything I need for whatever it is I'm going to do (except a hairbrush - I always forget the hairbrush)

4) There's nothing left to give away or throw away in any of my drawers or my kitchen shelves or my closets or my bookshelves.

But if you were an organized person looking at me in my environment you'd have to feel like you were watching a drunk walking on a high wire. You would be frightened. You would turn your eyes away and try to breathe slowly.

I confess all this so you'll understand a number of things. For one, how I come up with so many useful tossing and organizing systems (Check Live the Life You Love for the best tossing ones). In addition, if you are one of the organized people I want you to understand that some of us can't ever get organized or, if we do, it's only for a little while, during which we stand around not quite knowing what to do because we don't know where everything went.

I also tell you this so you will forgive your friends who are like me and find it in your heart to avoid judging and instead, honor their courage as they go through their often productive days leaving absolutely everything out like I do, right in my face, in a ghastly disorder that makes me nervous until I'm so miserable I just do it.

Yes I do have a place for everything, but I can never put it away because I'm not done yet. Ever.