There has been a lot of discussion about the concept of Idea Parties lately after Barbara Sher’s recent TEDx talk.
As a follow up, I’m very exciting to be co-hosting (with some other Barbara Sher coaches) an online idea party, for free, for anyone who wants to join, beginning 1st Feb.
[Click HERE to connect with the online Idea Party on Facebook.]
‘What the heck is an idea party?’ I’m glad you asked! According to Barbara:
Idea Parties are a sensational way to get to know the best, most interesting, intelligent and generous people in town. They give you a friendly and stimulating way to do some first class networking. Never underestimate the difference it can make in your life to meet someone who can hand you a piece to your puzzle. You could find out something that changes your life in this best and oldest way of socialising. – Barbara Sher, 2016 ‘How To Throw a Terrific Idea Party’ – free downloadable booklet from her website here.
The format, for this online Idea Party, is that you share both a WISH and an OBSTACLE in each post you write. In the comments the rest of us will come up with ideas for how you could make your dream come true despite your obstacle, and suggest practical ways to get started. You can ask for ideas on multiple dreams, no problems, just keep it to one dream per post to make it easier for us to help. And of course your inputs and ideas for other peoples wishes is also welcome.
‘Where do I find this mystical magical online Idea Party?’ Well this one is in English, being hosted on Facebook and is open to anyone – you can join the group here. It will run between 1st February and 7th February, and again 3 more times throughout the year.
Getting your two pieces of information ready
Just like any good party there are a few things you need to bring. In this case it’s not your best cocktail dress and a plate of food to share, its a wish and an obstacle.
According to Barbara Sher, these two pieces of information turn anyone into an instant problem solver and ally – even people who don’t particularly care about your achieving your wish. It’s as if we are hardwired to nut out problems, and we LOVE to generate ideas, so with these two pieces of information you transform people around you into idea generators.
Out of interest, these same two pieces of information are very useful if you ever choose to wok with a coach, although a coach will sometimes help you get to this point if you can’t articulate your wish or haven’t yet named the obstacles. In my experience there can be a very powerful cyclical process of going deeper and deeper to uncover the ‘real’ wish and the ‘real obstacles. But an Idea Party is a great place to go if you have already identified a wish and just want help to get moving towards it.
So… getting ready for our party to get started, I thought it might be useful to explain in more detail what is a WISH and what is an OBSTACLE.
Naming your wish
In this idea party what we want you to share with us is a WISH (I always wanted to join the circus / I’d love to travel more/ I wish I had a pair of shiny red shoes and the courage to wear them/ I really wish I could sing in a choir/ I would love to publish my book/ I want to get a part time job teaching piano/ I really want to go to bonsai classes)…
….also share with us the OBSTACLE that is stopping you from doing this thing (I have no idea how to find a job in the circus/ I have no money/ I don’t want to look like a showoff/ I’m too scared/ I don’t know any publishers and anyway how do I know if its any good/ I don’t know how to sell my talents in a job interview/ I’m too scared to go alone).
* * For example: ‘I really want [WISH] because [heart of my WISH] but it’s too hard right now because [OBSTACLES]”
* * For example “I really want to go to Bonsai classes because I want to be surrounded by bonsai trees because I fid them so beautiful but it’s too hard right now because I’m too scared to go alone and there’s nowhere that teaches it in my area”
More about WISHES
What you can see from these examples is that the wish/ dream can be BIG or SMALL (although of course if they are our dream they are all big to us). The main thing is that it is a real heart yearning, not a ‘should do’ on your list that someone else expects of you. It should be the kind of wish you feel is almost too precious to share, you love it so much, and really wish you would move towards it, only it seems way too hard and scary and impossible.
When you tell it to us, remember to share with us the CORE of the dream – what is the feeling or benefit you want from this dream. e.g. “I really want to go to bonsai classes because I love the elegance of bonsai and would love an affordable way to have a bonsai tree at home that I look after for the next 20 years and it grows old with me”. This helps us see which part of the dream is most important – in this example the important thing is that you get to make and own your very own bonsai, and that you get to spend time around bonsais in general. It might be that we can think up some ways you could get to the ‘heart’ of this wish without actually attending a class – like visiting a Japanese garden during your lunch breaks at work, or finding a way to babysit other people’s bonsai’s, or seeing if there are cheap bonsai’s for sale on Gumtree/ Craigslist – these fresh perspectives are part of the fun of an Idea Party.
If you are having trouble finding a WISH, think to yourself:
– what am I always drawn to?
– what in my heart of hearts would I really love to be, feel, own or do?
– which famous people’s lives get my heart racing and feeling a bit of envy?
– if I was to die tomorrow which of my projects would I feel sad that I’d never had the chance to do?
– what would I love to do if I had the perfect encouraging family, all the resources in the world, and no one would tell me I was silly?
– what is the very heart of the dream, why do I want it / which part of it makes me happiest?
More about OBSTACLES
And what you can see from the examples above is that the obstacle can be INSIDE YOU (how you feel, information you are lacking, skills you don’t have yet) or OUTSIDE YOU (lack of funds, no contacts in that field, you live in a remote community where there is no school to study that thing – etc). Or a mix of both. That’s perfectly fine – all of these are good obstacles to share. But whatever the obstacles are it’s really important for us that you share with us what your particular obstacles are – otherwise we wont be able to help come up with ideas to overcome them.
For example… you ‘really want to climb the sydney harbour bridge but are terrified of heights’ is a very different proposition to you ‘really want to climb it but don’t want to climb it alone and have no friends in the area’. Do you see why that makes a difference if we are going to help you come up with ideas? We need to know the nitty gritty of your obstacle.
Also check our Barabaras Sher’s wonderful books, including Wishcraft (which she has made available free online) if you really want to get geared up, but don’t worry if you don’t have time, we’ll share what you need to know right here as well.
If you have any questions about the Idea Party, or how to participate feel free to drop me a line, or just join us over at the FB page and see how it works in action.
Hope to see you at the party!
About the facilitator
Jade Herriman is a Barbara Sher coach and transpersonal art therapist. She works with clients to help bring more creativity into their lives, plan for their professional development, manage big life change and go after their dreams. She brings a playful, flexible and creative approach to serious issues, and draws on many years of experience working in organisation in project management, policy and research roles to bring practical solutions to her clients.