What if you can't have what you really want?

Tell us your wish, tell us your obstacle, and we'll try to come up with some useful suggestions to help you get into action toward your dream.

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What if you can't have what you really want?

Postby maestro » Sat Feb 15, 2003 4:32 pm

I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I make plans and then tear them up. I apply for jobs and then pray I don't get them. I think about developing income streams, but then the enthusiasm disappears and I can't even get started. I know what I really want. I want to be able to stay home, and focus my full attention on finishing my novel. Here are the obstacles: I need to earn a living. A decent one, since I live in an expensive state (California) Finding a roommate or shared housing would be difficult, because I have two cats who will remain with me no matter what. I've got a bit of debt hanging over my head, including a student loan debt for a degree that appears to be useless. I have looked into getting a novel advance, but the book needs to be further along before I can start marketing it. From what I read, if you're a new author you need to have a full manuscript to show. I have a full manuscript, but it's not ready to be read by anyone yet. Please, please do not tell me I need to put up with crap for the time being until I work my way there. I have spent the better part of the last 15 years forcing myself through miserable situations. I have forced myself to work in jobs I hated, to spend 3-1/2 years in a clinical psychology program that I dreaded daily, to make long-distance moves against my will (for my husband's career), to stay in an awful marriage because I had no where else to go only to be dumped out on my ass because he wanted someone younger. All I want is to wake up in the morning and not dread the day. I need a life that makes me happy. Not five years from now, or a year from now. Now. If I have to make myself take another job I don't want, or force myself through another miserable situation, I think I will go nuts. (Which I can't afford, since I no longer have health insurance.)
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Postby ajpor » Sat Feb 15, 2003 5:45 pm

YOu do need to earn money. Is there any job you'd be willing to take? In what field? As for the shared housing, have you thought of looking for a roomie via the bulletin boards in veterinarian clinics or vet schools? Pet shops and groomers often have bulletin boards, too. You'd find animal-friendly types, anyway. Would you consider housesitting or caretaking? jean
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Postby maestro » Sat Feb 15, 2003 7:08 pm

That's a good question. I don't know. A big problem is that I'm really, really tired. I've been through so many major stressors in the last few years that sometimes I just would rather crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. I know what I want -- finish the novel, start the film studio, etc. And in my better moments I want to dive in and get these things going. But then I can't move. I panic about the income and I end up applying for jobs I don't want (I've tried temp agencies too, gotten nowhere) and end up doing nothing, really. I seem to be dealing with a huge wall of resistance. All my life I've tried to do what I was "supposed" to do; i.e., have a professional career. What I wanted was a career in writing and film and theater. Now I feel like I'm at a crossroads, and perhaps that's why I'm stuck. Doing what I "should" do (as in, take yet another office job I hate) doesn't work; eventually I quit. And I'm haunted by the thought that if I want to change my life, and stop being miserable, that I've got to start doing things differently. But how? I seem to lack both the guts and the plan to get out of this rut. And so I stay frozen in place. Most frustrating. When I do come up with plans, I feel like there's no chance that they'll work out (I've run into a lot of brick walls the last few years) and I end up tearing them up and starting over. Perhaps that's just resistance talking. If so, how to I break this strangehold? I'm at the point where I can't do much of anything anymore.
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Postby Icandoit » Sat Feb 15, 2003 8:52 pm

Resistance is part of it. But some of it may be self talk...what are you hearing yourself say? Procastination is delaying the difficult and can be overcome by making very small goals...like working on something needed for only 15 minutes and no more. You are in conflict and one step might be to sit and ask yourself what you are willing to to do for your dream. And write what you are not willing to do. The other lady had a great suggestion, looking for roomate or caretaking. Fearlessness is earned...one step at a time. You can do it, if you write it thru, set some limits, think about the obstacles and believe. There really is a job out there that you could like to support yourself while you write...there is. But to find it you have to have faith. That causes your brain to act like a magnet...to see the opportunties. And faith has a lot to do with what you are saying to yourself. There are so many good counselors on this discussion board, so you have some support too. You can do it.
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Postby miway » Sat Feb 15, 2003 11:54 pm

Hey, maestro. I know how you feel. You have my full empathy. I think Barbara's books and ideas are wonderful and encouraging, but I think our culture is currently suffering from an overabundance of forced positive thinking. And yes her writing is so optimistic that even though she says you don't have to think positive, you actually do have to, to bother to put it into action in the first place. It gets your hopes up. You can do everything 'right' and step by step and there's no guarantee you're going to have a lovely life. The world just doesn't work that way. Life is not fair. And we are not in control of every aspect of our lives. Positive attitudes do not conquer all. Our own 'resistance' isn't to blame when no one will meet our efforts halfway to make something happen, or none of the suggestions we get actually pan out for us individually. Millions more people than usual are currently flat-out excluded from the US economy. Millions more have been churning ourselves through miserable jobs for years, 'paying dues,' earning less than we need despite great educations - educations we went into debt to get in the first place. Life is mostly frustrating and a huge number of people suck. Trying to force yourself to be 'positive' through all that is just an unnecessary burden. Sometimes the best you can do is keep doing what you have to in order to survive and to maintain and protect the best parts of yourself and hope that the next major changes in your life will finally be for better instead of for worse. Change always comes even if we can't effect it when we'd like to have it. Enjoy the stuff that's truly joyful and let yourself feel and express the rest of the full range of emotions when its appropriate, like now. Unfortunately, at least in the US, I don't think the economy will allow for everyone to pursue their dreams. Most dreams aren't profitable. This is why it really bugs me when people beat that 'capitalism is the best' drum. No it's not. It produces untold misery and exploits certain people for profit. It's no more utopian than communism. Hopefully, we can have these passions in our lives in some way, but yeah, I do think it's unrealistic for people to make a living at most of them. Maybe if you had started for it when you were a child, but by the time you're enmeshed in adult problems it's infinitely harder if not impossible. Most of the gurus who tell you it is possible make their livings selling books that tell you it is possible. Or 'coaching' others in some way for money. LOL For everyone one of those, how many more frustrated, debt-ridden writers are on boards like this? Or expressing the same frustration and misery elsewhere? Have you noticed that? I do, but maybe because writing is my particular dream. It's good to go self-help free for long periods of time. It's an elaborate blame the victim game. It just sets you up for self-loathing when you can't make this stuff happen despite your best efforts. Also, IME, when you become too healthy you just don't fit into this society anymore. LOL Hang in there. You will survive though you may not exactly enjoy it. These days, if you're having the kind of 'luck' I am, you won't get hired for any of these dreaded jobs anyway.
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Postby BarbaraSher » Sun Feb 16, 2003 12:53 am

"Unfortunately, at least in the US, I don't think the economy will allow for everyone to pursue their dreams. Most dreams aren't profitable." Boy, nobody can untie dreams from money. All dreams don't have to be profitable. You can make your money at a "good-enough" job and write your novel on your own time. (You can sell pizza during the day and be a great disco dancer in your real life) If it sells and makes you rich, great. If it doesn't, well dammit, you wrote a novel! What was your dream, anyway? Want the world to see your book? It's gotten very easy to self-publish small numbers of books. Also easy to publicize the by sending out emails. If your dream is money, there are better ways to earn it than using art. It's often bad for the art, and it rarely makes money. But I could tell you dozens of stories of people who have attained their dreams and are living wonderful lives -- some make money at their dreams, some don't. Untie dreams from careers for awhile and you might change your mind about what's possible and what isn't.
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Postby AVATC » Sun Feb 16, 2003 7:24 am

You wrote: When I do come up with plans, I feel like there\'s no chance that they\'ll work out. I read a lot of books and listen to audio programs on goal setting and dream fulfillment. Even though the information is mostly stuff I know, I like the positive reinforcement. I think every one of them states in some way the idea that YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT! If you think that you won\'t succeed, you\'re right. If you think that you will succeed, you\'re right. I have quotes filling my wall that reinforce this idea, including: What you declare, you will achieve. (Anonymous) What you want to be eventually, you must be everyday. With practice, the quality of your deeds will get down into your soul. (Frank Crane) To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream. Not only plan, but also believe. (Anatole France) I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You\'ve got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything. You\'ve got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don\'t get it. So don\'t give up your dreams. (Barry Manilow) I think many people fall in the trap of thinking that if they are not pursuing their dream as a full-time, money-making occupation, it is not worth doing. I\'m here to tell you that you CAN achieve anything you want. I believe it was Howard Hunt who said you can have anything you want, but everything comes with a price. You only have to decide if you are willing to pay the price. I dreamed for years of doing voice-over work. It has been 11 years since I first saw Barbara on Oprah, when I bought and read her \"I Could Do Anything\" book. I have had a day job as a computer network analyst all of this time, and so many, MANY times I thought I absolutely could not bear even the thought of going there. It\'s an incredibly stressful and usually thankless job in a terribly negative environment. However, the more effort I put into voice-over, the happier I became in every aspect of my life. The happier I became, the less I felt stressed and overwhelmed by the day job. I found the day job was more bearable when I started decorating my cubicle with visual reminders of my voice-over aspirations. I still have my day job, but now I see it as a conscious choice I am making to fulfill my dreams rather than forced labor. I choose to be there because I like to travel and buy things. My voice-over work is picking up everyday **due to my constant efforts and positive attitude**. I make phone calls and send emails to former and potential clients while at lunch or on break at the day job. On weekday evening and on weekends, I do the following things: record and transmit auditions from my agents or potential clients; burn copies of my demo CDs; print the CDs, jewel case trays and jackets; assemble the CDs; write letters and package demos for mailing; record and edit work from clients; update my web site; design my next mail-out; send more emails; study French so I can be multi-lingual; research legalese and write responses on a trademark dispute; serve as newsletter ad coordinator for one professional organization and web committee member in another. Obviously, I don\'t do every activity in a single day or even a single week. I\'m not getting where I want to go as fast as I want, but make no mistake -- I AM getting there. At some point, the voice-over work will be enough to replace the income from my day job and allow me to quit the day job. It will be so nice to have 1 full-time job instead of the 2 that I have. However, my busy schedule and lack of free time is the price I have to pay in order to maintain my current standard of living (my choice) and still attain my dreams. My sister-in-law dreams of publishing a novel. She has a day job as a software developer, but she writes EVERY DAY, in every spare moment she can, whether at break or lunch during the day job or in the evenings. She meets with critique partners on weekends and uses email through the week to send her work and reviews of their work to them. You know what? She has a novel at the first draft stage. She is going to finish it and submit it for publication. I\'m looking forward to the day I perform her audiobook! :-) You CAN have what you really want -- IF you are willing to work at it everyday and maintain a positive outlook. I know I\'ve written a lot, but I have 4 more quotes to share with you: Whatever you are by nature, keep to it. Never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed. (Sydney Smith) Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains. (William Penn) Do what you can where you are with what you\'ve got. (Theodore Roosevelt) If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it. (William Arthur Ward) Let us know when you finish your novel! Good luck! Karen ------------------ Karen Commins www.AVOICEAboveTheCrowd.com [This message has been edited by AVATC (edited February 16, 2003).]
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Postby Icandoit » Sun Feb 16, 2003 9:52 am

best to you [This message has been edited by Icandoit (edited February 16, 2003).]
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Postby Icandoit » Sun Feb 16, 2003 10:01 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Icandoit: <B>Well miway and I can agree to disagree. I do agree with Barbara that not all our gifts, talents and abilities are meant to be income. But I do know a few things about development and capitolism. The system can be exploitive, and we need to take responsiblity to assert ourself or pay dues until we decide to leave that exploitive situation. Secondly, this economic system certainly needs maturing. For now we live in cycles and while the principles are there to be learned from to create economic stability, even in our infancy, as the oldest democracy in existance, we have more strength and a better chance of making our vision a reality, even financially successful if that's a goal, than any other system in the World...which is statistically proven. Anyway, you do not have to choose horrible jobs to support yourself while you write. And it's true, many writer's are selling themselves cheap, because they have to eat....but this system ultimately separates the wheat from the chaff, the naive from the shrewd, the narcissistic from the giver, and the mediocre from the proficient. And the market will take the best available for their customers. Knowing your market, where you want to compete, who the leaders are in the field, including fiction writers), etc., then studying to prove yourself; developing your talent through those touchstones opportunities can make you marketable. Of course you need to be honest about your measure. You need to be willing to hear honest feedback about your talent from those who matter. We cannot all be superstars in everything, but you are unique and maybe would preferred in a neighborhood, city, regionally, nationally or even internationally...but you have to sow and cultivate, nurture to locate that measure...or then again maybe it should be a hobby, something you just enjoy doing...period. I have coached and know public speakers who aspired to greatness, but the talent just wasn't there. Then there were others who had outstanding potential but no ambition to pursue their talent's heights. And then there are those who are pretty good, but are so determined, so committed, so resourceful in who they are and what they want, they go to the top of their field. "Nothing in the world can take the place of persisence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of eduated dereliscts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." Calvin Coolidge In my opinion Barbara Sher's work is not about positive thinking. It's about discovering what you've been given and sowing accordingly, and that creates a wealth and contentment that money can't buy. (I've proofed read 3 times...that's it! LOL) [This message has been edited by Icandoit (edited February 16, 2003).] [This message has been edited by Icandoit (edited February 16, 2003).]</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Icandoit » Sun Feb 16, 2003 10:02 am

Best to you
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Postby simonebernhard » Sun Feb 16, 2003 2:22 pm

AMEN to you AVATC! I am positive Image that you (and your sister-in-law) will reach your goals with your excellent grasp of what it takes to acheive them WHILE YOU KEEP YOUR DAY JOB... Maestro, it is so true that your attitude towards The Job From Hell will change if you look at it as the way to "support your habit" (art, writing, music, whatever!) Miway wrote: "You can do everything 'right' and step by step and there's no guarantee you're going to have a lovely life. The world just doesn't work that way. Life is not fair. And we are not in control of every aspect of our lives. " I am not trying to be rude but I must strongly disagree with these statements. We are not in control of every aspect of our lives, but WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR ATTITUDES. Your beliefs create your reality! If you think everyone is out to get you, your experience will reinforce that. If you think the universe is supportive, life is unfair then you die, a higher power provides, sinners burn in hell, whatever, you will have those experiences! If a pickpocket goes to Paris, all s/he sees are POCKETS! Rant over. And of course Barbara is right as well, the joy that comes from pursuing your dreams and reaching your goals spills over...does it matter that you are not getting paid for it...YET?! Is everybody paying attention? SSB [This message has been edited by simonebernhard (edited February 16, 2003).]
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Postby alwen » Sun Feb 16, 2003 3:23 pm

http://www.appreciative-inquiry.org/AI-MoreInfo.htm I don't know if this website will be any help or not. I did find it thought-provoking. One of my hobbies is the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). And one of the things I've learned (aside from lots and lots of history that seems much more interesting than it used to in school) is that most of us Western 21st century folk live, literally, like kings. Hot water, running water, CLEAN water, whenever we want it. Music to our own personal taste at the touch of a button. Closets full of clothes fitted to us. More food than is even good for us. Shelter that is heated, cooled, screened against bugs. There was a poet, I believe Maya Angelou, who was at the point of suicide, and someone very wise in her life handed her a note pad and told her to write out everything she was grateful for, starting with the facts that she could see the pad and knew how to write. I do this all the time. I do believe what you concentrate on (concentrate, concentric, circles all made on the same center) grows in your life. Start with basic stuff. I can see. I can hear. I am basically healthy. The cashier in Wal-Mart smiled at my kid and me. It was a beautiful day. Suzette Elgin Haden says "Whatever you feed, grows". She is talking about verbal responses, but it has been true in my life for much more than that. When I was struggling with infertility, I spent some time on the alt.infertility Usenet group, and lots of time bemoaning my conception problems, worries, and fears in my "morning pages". Finally I reached a point where I said, "This is not doing me any good." I threw out bunches of "how to conceive" hints. I quit keeping a morning-temperature chart. I made a list that said "Ways I can feel fertile and creative in my daily life". I had to turn away from the problems and embrace all the possibilities of my childless life. You do not have to put up with crap until you get there. You have to keep looking toward your goals, avoiding the crap. It's like -- it's like grapevines. Here in Michigan, we have grapevines at the top of 50-foot trees. They sprout up towards the sun, put out a tendril, wrap it on whatever will support them, and grow 6 inches. Put out another tendril. Grow towards the sun. Put out another tendril. I want you to know that I completely feel for the miserable place where you are, because I have been there. And all I can say is, look for the sun that is in your life right now, and reach out for whatever support you can find.
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Postby ajpor » Sun Feb 16, 2003 4:57 pm

I have to say that I'm not the most positive person in the world, first off. Nevertheless, I agree that our attitudes are hugely important to our experiences. Thank you, simonebernhard, for the pickpocket in Paris comment... I love it! That's brilliant! YES! While I appreciate Barbara's work and the idea that a positive attitude is not necessary to achieve a given goal, I think a positive attitude--that is, an attitude of expecting the best and noticing/being grateful for all the good in our lives--serves to enhance our delight in our good as well as help us to draw more. I would also agree that our dreams do not have to be our day jobs. Writing fulfills me more than I can say--but it's not the published stuff that does it--it's the fun of the stuff I write for me and for 'maybe.' So it may be that you can't write totally fulltime yet, maestro. Now, I wouldn't even BEGIN to suggest that you abandon your dream, but you also have to live. The good news is that there are ways to manage. Have you considered being a sitter in a hospital? Many people pay others simply to sit in a room with their ill relatives. If you were willing to sit during the quieter night hours, you could write as the patient slept. If you have any experience nursing or caring for ill people, you could charge more, I would guess. Elderly people sometimes want someone just for nights, too, in their homes. I'd check with hospital registries and agencies dealing with elderly if I were interested. Just today I was speaking to a recent widow who is afraid of being alone. I suggested she seek a boarder among her friends' familes. Would you consider a similar arrangement? Talk to everyone you know about what you need. It may be that someone knows someone who would love to rent a room--even to a catperson!--for extra money. And if that catperson is a friend of a friend of a relative or whatever...it makes people feel more secure. The fact is, you need income of some kind. The task you have before you is to find jobs that pay you for basically being who you are doing what you normally do. What a great job that would be! But if you can't find that, you look for whatever will give you the most freedom to write... What about petsitting? It would take a few hours a day, but if you appeal to an upscale clientele--perhaps by offering some incredibly chichi perks like painting dog toenails or whatever--it would bring in cash. Then there is delivery service. If you deliver newspapers, you have several hours a day to work but the rest of the day is yours. Take driving a schoolbus. You're committed to making two runs, but the rest of the day... Or substitute teaching. If you haven't been arrested, you can probably get make fair money for a few days' work a week (only it isn't the steadiest way to earn money and if you don't like kids, it's probably hell on wheels). My point is only that there is a way, not to tell you what to do. Cheers, jean
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Postby jcjm » Mon Feb 17, 2003 6:55 am

I know how you feel. Many of the people on this board do. They have different circumstances, but similar frustrations. One of the ways I have found to get moving in the right direction is to do something Barbara suggests in one of her books. THINK IN POSSIBILITIES, NOT AVAILABILITIES. How I do this is to start by clearing my head of all negative and positive thoughts. Maybe just play some music with a song that stimulates the brain. They say that classical music does this. After I have cleared my head, I then ask "if you didn't have to do anything (go to work, make a living, take care of the kids, your parents, etc. ) what would you be doing right now?" The rest of today, tomorrow, the rest of this week, and next week. Amazingly when you put it that way, it looks do-able. So, what keeps me from doing it? Getting distracted by the things around me. Requests for favors, working overtime, cleaning the house, washing the car, balancing the check book, and all the little things that take time but keep you in the same place. (no forward movement). So, my 3 suggestions to help you move forward are. 1 clear your head. 2 write down what you would be doing now, today,tomorrow, the rest of the week and next week, if you had no commitments. 3 do as much of that as you can. If you do this on a regular basis you will keep moving forward.
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Postby ebrazley » Mon Feb 17, 2003 2:44 pm

Sounds to me that you are a perfect candidate for a success team. You need the support and the voices to tell you "We expect this from you, at this date." Someone to kinda gently force you, until you're able to force yourself. Are there any teams in your area?
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