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Suzanne Falter-Barns on Living Your Dreams
Creativity expert Suzanne Falter-Barns channeled failure into inspiration after suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. Today, the author of How Much Joy Can You Stand? helps individuals tap into their soul purpose and realize their dreams. Her book and the web site it inspired have been featured in Self, Fitness and Writer’s Digest magazines, Ivillage.com, Msn.com and on more than 100 radio and television programs. Falter-Barns has also written for The New York Times, More, New Woman, Prevention, Parents, Cosmo Girl and New Age Journal. Falter-Barns provides her tips on reaching for your dreams.
What are some of the typical fears or questions people have in first 30 days of pursuing their dreams?
“Will I fail?” is the big one. What people need to do is remove the idea that if it doesn’t turn out the way they expect, it’s a failure. Having an expectation or criteria to judge the experience by is a big mistake. What people need to do is be completely open to whatever’s going to happen and hold the whole thing as a great, big experiment.
What are some common feelings experienced during the first 30 days?
There’s exhilaration for some people, but there’s also a feeling of helplessness. To overcome this, you should understand that surrender is a good thing at times like this. Continually remind yourself that you don’t know where this is going and maybe it will turn out to be far greater than anything you might imagine.
When people start to pursue their dreams, what are the most important things to do?
Knowing your soul purpose is really important. Tap into your sense of mission, because it’s one of the things that will keep you inspired.
For me, meditating is critical. If you’re not a spiritually motivated person, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes people write in a notebook as they get ideas while sitting quietly during mediation. What’s critical about this is that you get ideas that you wouldn’t ordinarily get that are really helpful. So it’s like being in your creative studio and letting your ideas fly. My personal belief is that all of the information we need is already there intuitively and we just need to dig it out.
Once people get that clarity about what they want to do, how should they proceed?
Sometimes it really helps to have a coach or a support who’s there for you to help you take these steps. If you feel like you just can’t pick up the phone and make that difficult phone call, or you can’t go to the job interview or make the financial investment required, it helps to have somebody back there, saying, “Yes, you can. Yes, you can!”
How can people really succeed during the first 30 days?
When you take these leaps, you get a whole lot of energy stirred up that’s very attractive—attractive in the sense that you attract people who want to help you. You might not find them if you’re not totally tuned into your gut. So if your gut is telling you to go to that networking meeting in the next city, then get in your car and go.
Why do you think the first 30 days is such a vital time?
You prove to yourself that it can be done. Even if you get no tangible results, if you’ve engaged with the question in the first 30 days and you’ve tapped into your intuition, you’re at least rolling on some level. You’ve proven to yourself that you’re committed and we look to ourselves for that kind of proof—we look to see what we’re capable of doing. The first 30 days is your testing ground and then the second 30 days might be the time when you get all the results.
What can people do to continue their progress beyond the first 30 days?
Just continue to go within that guided way; I’ve been doing that every day for 20 years and it’s been the backbone of my work.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
We’re all on a big path and that path is guided by what we’re supposed to be doing in life. At times of transition, I’m always checking to see if this feels right, if it seems guided, if my dreams at night are giving me a positive feeling or a signal about it.
“The best thing about change is...”
…it’s exciting. It’s fun. But sometimes it isn’t particularly fun. I’ve been fired from a few jobs in my life. Each time, it was a horrible afternoon. Then I started getting excited about what the better possibilities were and it always turned into something much, much better. So it doesn’t feel fun every minute. But, ultimately, it’s such a creative playground, you can just pull out your paints and arrange it however you want. That’s very exciting.
What’s the best change you have ever made?
I moved from New York City to the middle of the wilderness in 1998. And I did that because my family and I were tired of living in the city. It was really important because I got into a quiet place and my creativity just exploded. I really changed my life radically and it was so right.
For more information on Suzanne Falter-Barns, visit www.howmuchjoy.com.