Honouring your multiple interests

This article includes some tips from fellow multipassionate ‘scanners’ (or multipotentialites) on how they are combining their interests to create a great life. Barbara Sher describes scanners as follows: “Unlike those people who seem to find and be satisfied with one area of interest, you’re genetically wired to be interested in many things, and that’s exactly what you’ve been trying to do.” This is how six different scanners from around the world are combining their interests (and their passing passions) into a satisfying life. 

“This year I sat down and listed all the things I wanted to do. I needed to make money whilst at the allotment, making art and walking the dog and doing something in the community. As a result, I’m dyeing local wool using natural dyes found in local plants and asking people to weave small patches on 3d printed looms. These are being joined together to make a blanket of colours throughout the year. I hope this will show the true value of artisan made pieces, and encourage makers to charge fairly for their work. I’m blogging about the process so if someone has one of my baskets they can follow the wool right back to the dyepot or farm. An unexpected side effect is that people recognise my degree in Computing and I’ve been asked to build websites for other people, something I enjoy and a useful supplement!” – Caroline Finnigan from happymakes.org

“I have a photography website – this lets me code, design, write, photograph, research, market, sell prints – tons of skills everyday! I also quit work earlier this year to travel – I get to learn language, eat new foods and fruit, learn how a new city and transit system works, everything is new and a challenge all the time.”– Shimona Carvalho  from www.sidecarphoto.co

“By alternating most interests for 2 hrs a day. By building my lifestyle on the foundation of travel (first by emigrating to Australia then by house sitting) so that provides heaps of excitement and thus other projects become ‘fillers‘”.  – Marianne

“I found a good-enough job that is more than good enough: while it pays well enough to keep me alive and fund my side interests, it also allows me to pursue interests at work and to switch interests every few years. Because it’s only a 9-5, 5-day-a-week job, it leaves plenty of time to do other things that I want to do, such as tutoring high school students, volunteer travel, designing board games, paint, train to be a yoga instructor, teach photography, coach rowing, and so on. Naturally, I don’t do everything at the same time, and pick up new interests while dropping or rediscovering old ones. I love doing things that allow multiplying of interests, for example tutoring high school students means getting to sharpen my science, calculus, French, art history, English, social studies, and so on in order to keep up and explain it to someone else. It’s never not both challenging and fascinating.
There are too many things I want to learn and not enough time to learn them all, plus as I age, I have less and less energy after a full day. I don’t have a plan, but when I get a sudden flash and see an opportunity, I jump on it. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to volunteer my photography for an NGO project abroad, so I found an organization that made these connections and was selected to go to Botswana. This year…I’ve got something else that sprung out of my head a few weeks ago that may turn into a 3-week assignment across Canada.
One of the things I discovered about myself is how much I enjoy the adventure of not knowing what’s going to happen next. This is what I enjoy about travel, about meeting new people, about starting on a new interest. I see everything as possible, so it’s only limited by how much I want to pursue.
The way this works for me is to never worry about having to make a living from all of my interests. This way leads to folly for me. I don’t have an entrepreneurial drive to see something through and then keep doing it over and over for years until it starts to see results. I don’t have the ability to pick something to specialise in and become an expert in: no matter how long I continue to photograph, and no matter how much I get paid to, I will always be an amateur.” – Margaux Yiu from margauxyiu.com

I let myself get excited whenever I find a new passion of mine, I allow myself to fully dive into it, and the really fun part about this is: I never know what things stick and what don’t. It’s like running through a field of flowers while covered in honey and later checking the kind of blossoms sticking to your skin. (That’s a weird image, but let’s pretend it’s pure poetry 😅)” -Steffi from oilonpaper.com

“My life since finding out that I am a scanner has been very interesting; to have learned that it’s not about final stage product as a goal but the learning and enjoying part of the project is a goal. It made me feel confident that I have achieved happiness. It doesn’t have to be complete product to show to others. It’s not only about admiration from the audiance, sometime it only about fulfilment of finding a solution for my projects.
I therefore started to not put pressure on my projects, working on each of them only as much as I feel like and leave it until nextime.
The funny thing is that when I started putting unfinished/in progress projects on FB, it has made people feel like they are joinnung me with my journey, I’ve got question from people on how to make the particular part of the project, which is the kind of question that makes conversation goes on and on. When I posted only the finished product, sometime people have less questions to ask!” – Patrick 

Does this idea of building a life that honours all your interests resonate with you? Do any of these tips inspire you? Tell us below!

JadephotoHi there! I’m Jade, a creative business owner, art therapist, artist and certified Barbara Sher life coach based in the Inner West of Sydney. I love using art therapy and coaching to help people see themselves and their situations in new ways, and helping others create, connect and work towards their dreams.

If you would like help to design a life that uses all your interests, or work towards a long held dream I can help!

Check out my coaching page for info on how we can work together.

best wishes





Making a wonderful life as a scanner or renaissance soul

Now I understand that being able to do learn quickly and do many things is as valuable as doing one thing well.

You may have heard me speak before about scanners (aka multipotentialites, mulirenaissance souls, people who are into lots of things), but today I want to share some tips from people who identify as scanners on how they create wonderful lives to accommodate their unique way of being in the world.

I asked them “What have you learnt from Barbara Sher’s books/ from your own experiments with scanner living… which has made life as a scanner easier or generally better?”. Here is what they had to say:

“I’ve learned it’s okay to move on. I used to feel terribly guilty about getting bored with projects, work etc… Now I understand that being able to do learn quickly and do many things is as valuable as doing one thing well. I don’t move on too quickly, I push myself to complete some projects. But then I’m ready.” – Shimona Carvalho (from www.sidecarphoto.co)

I’m learning to be OK about who I am and how my brain works. I’ve felt a social pressure to identify an acceptable career path (no, you can’t be a surgeon because you’re a girl, no, not an engineer because you’re not strong enough, try again). Instead of chasing my own dreams I pushed them away because they were ‘wrong’. Being at home with the children has been challenging, but in a way, a chance for a new start.” – Caroline Finnigan (from happymakes.org)

“I’ve learnt to mix and match any hobby, career, interest in a structure that suits me. Writing down all I’d like to do and knowing I can fit it all in to a 30+ yr calendar. That now (50+ yrs of age) is the best chapter in my life to do all I want.” – Marianne

“I’ve learned two things, first, I’m not alone. I felt so isolated in my flitting around from idea to idea. Her recounting of schedule of classes at college reminded me of when I got one and marked all the classes that sounded interesting. I would have used FAR less ink if I had just marked the ones I didn’t want to study. The other thing I learned was it didn’t have to be all of something. I could have a taste, a small piece of chocolate of my dreams. One moment of perfect beauty that can sustain me for a while. I juggle by accepting merely that I have many interests and that’s okay and it is a super hero power.” – Done Dennison

“I’ve learnt that: A. It’s okay not to finish things
B. It’s okay to finish something once in a while
C. It’s easier to do things if you don’t make a production out of it. Don’t try to plan a ginormous 200+ hour project. Just do _something_, some small part, for 5 minutes.
D. Uncover what it is about exploring different things that drives you to do it, and then think of ways to create value for other people while doing that. This isn’t easy, and it’s taken me 10+ years just to sort out what fascinates and motivates me no matter what the topic. Figuring out how to turn that into usefulness for other people, though… So far, it means getting to teach or coach others on what I learned. That also happens to fascinate and motivate me. It also means getting to the front of any trend so that I’m the first person occupying that space, such that I can lead it while it’s still a new thing to other people. Once the area gets flooded with other people who have this knowledge or skill, I can leave it to find something else that’s new and unoccupied and needs someone to pioneer.
E. It’s okay not to be an expert in a field if you know D because D cuts across any field, any market, any interest.” – Margaux Yiu (from margauxyiu.com)

“What’s made things easier for me is knowing that there is nothing wrong with my losing interest in a subject once I got the hang of it. Also, I love to connect with like-minded people, which makes scanner groups so valuable—they are an awesome extension of Barbara’s books.” – Steffi from (from oilonpaper.com)

“My life as a Scanner has been better to the core (since discovering Barbara’s books). To know that I‘m not a dysfunctional human being and that someone understand what it’s like to feel the way I feel with various interests. Not feeling guilty everday made life much better and easier. Then the solutions in the book for many aspects of Scanner life started to make sense. The Scanner daybook which keeps all the ideas without fear of loosing them has been a great tool, and now it’s no longer the proof of failure to execute ideas / source to feel guilty like before!” – Patrick 

Are you someone with multiple interests who loves to learn? Have you read any of Barbara Sher books? What have you learnt that helps you thrive as a multi passionate scanner? Let us know below! 

To read more of my musings about scanner life check out these blog posts:

What to do when you have too many ideas

What it feels like to be a scanner

And this interview with me by Terri Connellan on her blog ‘Quiet Life’

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

Image credit: Pexels, artist unknown



What it feels like to be a scanner

Just before I start, let me clarify that I’m not talking about a heart wrenching look at a day in the life of my HP colour multi-copy device.  Although now I’ve thought of that it does sound kind of fun. No, I mean what it feels like to be a person who identifies as a ‘scanner’, a term coined by coach, author and speaker Barbara Sher to describe certain personality traits that are highly stimulated, motivated by a love of learning and seek novelty… and what that feels like.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
Walt Whitman

For me:

  • EVERYTHING* is interesting. Not an object in my already cluttered room does not hold a multitude of ideas pinned to it. I look around to tidy up and a simple thing – hand carved stamp of a sunshine face – needs to be put away but as I look at it it reminds me of the project to make more stamps, the project to photograph the artworks I made using stamps in different combinations to show how easy they are to make and use creatively, and that reminds me also of the idea of making an online course to show how I use the stamps.   I deflate a little. I’ll never get all that done today. Not as well as all look at all the other lively objects in my room and the invisible plume of ideas and projects they trail around behind them. This one brochure that I collected from an art museum, it lists places to go in my town. I could put it in the recycling bin but now I want to go to those places, and also send the brochure to my friend who is getting to know this city after being away a while. Or wait, I could make a list and then send it to him. But wait, a few of the phrases and pictures would be great for collage. Oh, best not do anything with it I’ll just leave it here on this pile on my desk.
  • I have incredible concentration once I get started on something. I dive in so deep to this creative task that you wont see me for days… well hours at least. I forget to drink water. I forget to go to the toilet. I forget to do whatever else I had planned for today. I am engrossed and transfixed and this blog post/ collage/ list/ brochure design etc has me now and I will be glued to it for the next 2 or 3 or 4 hours in my happy place. I come out slightly dazed – huh? what time is it? where am I?
  • There is a sense of possibility and beauty and interest almost everywhere. I am constantly getting inspired – thwack – another project idea, thwack another idea for art making, oh gosh look at that amazing beautiful something with lovely shadows that just needs its picture taken, oh wow look at that book that I definitely need to read and learn all about and maybe later also study and maybe get a PhD in or maybe interview people about or maybe go on a field trip for. I catch the updraft of excitement more readily than some people.
  • My ‘materials’ collections (for art and craft) are wide ranging and grand in scale, my book shelf has some funny combinations (from textbooks to hand made zines, from trashy crime fiction to fabulous literature, from books about systems thinking and sustainability policy and psychopathology to books on goddess archetypes, and printmaking, and vegetable growing and cake decorating).
  • My career… well, let’s just say I have squeezed in as many disparate topics and projects and experiences as I possibly could under my last ‘umbrella career’ (of environmental / sustainability management-policy- education and research) that lasted 15 years and intend to do the same thing in my current one (art therapy and coaching).
  • There is a funny dance with time taking place – when I am interested and focused on something I am turbo charged, I can get a whole lot done in just a day, time expands. The rest of the time I am panicked that everything has to happen today and that I am falling terribly behind. I forget tomorrow or next week or next year. I underestimate tasks so that I find I have put a whole week’s worth of activities onto my plan for a day. I get caught up in my projects and find myself running late to meet people because I now just want to finish what I’m working on and feel desperate like if I don’t finish it now I will never ever get the chance to work on it again.  I sometimes feel hampered by being in a physical body like I am slowed down more than I want to be, like I want everything to happen just as quickly as I can imagine it. You wouldn’t always guess this is going on above the surface, I can appear calm and even slow on the outside.

When I am happiest I am unstructured, emergent, led by delight, messy, productive and generous.  I like structure around me to allow a safe haven for the wild, expansive dance inside my own mind.

Under stress I become despairing and the light of hope gets buried. If life gets too busy and I don’t get time to play with my projects and express myself creatively I feel despondent like all the juice has gone and I’m left with a withered dusty fruit to eat.

How about you? Do you relate? Do you have a zillion creative projects on the go? Are you sick of people telling you that you ‘just need to pick one thing and settle down’?

Unlike those people who seem to find and be satisfied with one area of interest, you’re genetically wired to be interested in many things, and that’s exactly what you’ve been trying to do. – Quote from ‘Are you a scanner?’ by Barbara Sher 

For more information on being multi passionate/ a renaissance soul/ jack and jill of all trades / polymath or SCANNER please do check out the work of Barbara Sher, especially her great book ‘Refuse to Choose’. You might also like the various Facebook groups for scanners including ‘Scanners Look What I just Made!’, ‘Scanners – check out what I just learnt!’, ‘Scanner Tribe’ and ‘Scanners and Renaissance Souls’. Might see you there!

To work with me to uncover your dreams and bring them gently into the light – no matter how quirky you think they are or how diverse and numerous they are – just drop me a line to arrange a free 30 minute introduction session, and check out my coaching packages for some options going forward.

* Ok not everything. Trains, and accounting and how to hook up the TV and many many other things are on my ‘not interesting’ list. Barbara Sher makes this point in her book ‘Refuse to Choose’ – that we often say or feel we are interested in everything (and therefore can’t possibly get around to doing all of them), but if we begin to really list our interests there are great big areas we usually AREN’T interested in – so this narrows things down, and reduces the feeling of overwhelm.

10 Books in 2016 challenge!

Calling all book lovers…
Anyone want a reading challenge? How about 10 books in 2016! Yes, I’m aware that 2016 is (more than) half over, but surely we can squeeze out 10 books between now and end of December, even if we haven’t started any so far????

(Think of this as the very late New Year’s resolution for those of us who were busy and distracted at the start of the year but want to cram now and not feel bad come December 🙂 )

This is your happy invitation to dive right into some of those creativity books you haven’t read yet, or maybe the self-help pile, the art therapy texts, the Barbara Sher books, the illustrated gardening books, the crime fiction or the graphic novels (or is that just me?? LOL).

Yes audio books count! Yes half finished books count (as half a book!). Yes even re-reading counts!

Who wants to join me?

And we can report back on our progress as the year unfolds.

Reading is one of my great pleasures, and helps me refill my creative well, as well as stay up to date in my professional fields. And articles are GREAT, and books are something else again.

And if you manage to read more than 10 – awesome! And if you read less – also awesome! Reading some, and trying totally counts.

So launching the not very elegant but as far as I can tell not yet taken hashtag of:

Let me know below if you’ll join me 🙂


And please excuse the extreme overabundance of blog posts this week – I had a little tech glitch which made me post two in a row. This one however is just down to sheer excitement.

What kind of books?

Completely up to you!

  • Any genre
  • Any authors
  • Books in any language
  • Fiction or non-fiction
  • Audiobooks are fine
  • Work related or non work related books are fine
  • Short books are fine
  • Short story or poetry anthologies are fine
  • Illustrated books, ‘coffee table books’ and graphic novels are fine
  • Rereading old favourites is fine
  • Finishing half started books is fine

How to join?

This is free, and just for fun, and to help us all reach our reading goals and feel good about what we’ve read for 2016.

To join please comment below AND either sign up to my blog or my mailing list. I wont over email you I promise (as evidenced by my zero newsletters so far!!). This way I can give a few prompts along the way to encourage us all. Then.. just get reading! And anywhere you want to share a photo of the book you are reading or a cool quote from the book you are reading, or an update on how you are going against your goal just use the hashtag #10books2016

UPDATE: I have created a new facebook group for members of the challenge! Come over and join us here: https://mobile.facebook.com/groups/1183969815002504


Viva le bookish folk!

Join us in an idea party!

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”

ideapartyMore 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 

JadephotoJade 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.


Coping with the festive season…creatively!

Today I talk with Doret about surviving Christmas, getting things done, and how to weave your creative projects into busy daily life. Doret is a South African based writer, language teacher and coach and specialises in language coaching, daily-life-structuring and recommending story books.

So Doret, you specialise in helping people organise their daily lives – can you explain a bit more about what that means?

That makes me sound really organised, doesn’t it? I hope no-one who’s seen my desk or “calendar” reads this! Often people who are going through a big change like retirement or relocation or a job change, feel a bit lost in their new life. So many things to try, so many things they miss, so many “shoulds” and often the day ahead has the same blank threatening glitter as the blank page in front of the writer. So when people are caught somewhere between the overwhelm of all the possibilities and the floating lack of structure in their day, I help them to try out some changes in habit. Now “routine” and “structure” sound very rigid, and it can be a pleasant surprise to find how fun and creative the right solution might be. For instance, keeping a sketch book next to the toilet to remind you to do a little drawing or taking your laptop to the local library instead of a café. A coach once told me to re-structure my research project as if it were an expedition and I finished a chapter I’d been struggling with for months! But of course, tossing out all sorts of ideas is only the beginning. I think the accountability that a coach provides, makes an even bigger difference. Something simple like a weekly deadline to send a coach an email to say “I’ve learnt two pick-up lines in French today”, can be more effective than saying to yourself “I’m going to be disciplined and try harder this week to spend an hour a day on French.”

What are your tips for surviving and thriving through the holiday season?

Think small. This works for both pleasant and unpleasant disruptive times. When your schedule at work is too hectic to allow any painting or when you have to spend two weeks travelling and you are too tired to write, I would give you the same advice. Try to write a haiku on the days you can’t get any other writing done. That way your creative gears stay oiled, you keep some sort of handle on your writing life during even the most chaotic times and afterwards I have something pretty to show for it – even the lamest little poem or sketch tells you something when you look back afterwards. So think “funny haiku contrasting snowy Christmas scene with the summer weather we have this side of the planet” instead of “I don’t have time for all this tinsel while my novel is rotting in a drawer”. The incessant commercialism, the frantic dashes to tired malls, the squabbles and explosions over endless days of trying to make the day perfect for too many different people… slouch into a corner and text a haiku to a frazzled friend. Apart from keeping creative endeavours rolling while you’re stuffing your face, this works well for other holiday problems too. That little sketch you scratch on a napkin becomes your little breathing space. The little note you make in your book about a funny spelling error you saw in the supermarket aisle becomes your crutch. The string of haikus on your phone becomes a glittering little present to yourself and your friends on the receiving end. Plan ahead… buy presents early… prepare dishes ahead and freeze… are you kidding me? But 5-7-5 syllables, that I can do.

How do you think learning a language can enrich your life?

Through my work as a language teacher, I’ve become increasingly interested in the side-benefits of learning languages. And especially learning little bits of languages, because I think people often become discouraged when they think about “fluency”. I think that learning even a few new words pay off. Not just for communicating but for the sheer entertainment value they add to your life. It can also be surprising what a translation of your personality and your wishes can teach you about yourself and what is important to you.

Why does Barbara Sher’s work appeal to you?

The first of her books I read I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was (Isn’t that just the best title?) made me sit bolt upright. Not only was this woman different and entertaining, but it felt like she knew me. Her take on things is practical, funny, clearly set out and doable. As the originator of “Success Teams“ and the term “Scanner” for people with many interests, it’s no wonder some people call her “The Godmother of Coaching”. Since her first book shoved me in the right direction, I have read most of the others and I love her new channel on YouTube as well as her subscription service Hanging Out with Barbara Sher. I guess another reason why her work appeals to me, is because her straightforward practicality and humour fit well with my personality.

What’s one thing you’d recommend to someone who has a goal they want to get done in the new year?

Get company. Rustle up a support group or get a coach or join a Success Team.


Great advice! Thanks Doret. I think I’ll be doing some haiku myself – maybe in the queue at the post office, or in transit to my next Christmas get together.

To all readers of this blog this year, clients, collaborators, fellow art therapists, bloggers and beyond: I hope you have a wonderful, warm, restorative holiday season and a New Year filled with creative possibilities.


About the interviewee

Doret is a South African based writer, language teacher and coach and specialises in language coaching, daily-life-structuring and recommending story books. She helps people daunted by the task of brushing up a language, learning a new language or adapting to a new life phase. She writes about books, languages, her expeditions and life-long teaching on her blog The Dusty Shelf Academy.

About the interviewer 

Jade Herriman is a Sydney based transpersonal art therapist and coach. She draws on over 15 years experience working in government and higher education as a sustainability professional, researcher and facilitator. Jade integrates the principles of client centered counseling and group facilitation with art therapy processes and her own experience of creative practice. Jade runs a variety of creative workshops and offers individuals art therapy or coaching, both face to face and remotely.