Barbara Winter‘s Joyfully Jobless Newsletters have been landing in my inbox for a couple of years now, inspiring me and countless others with stories of how she and many people she influences and encounters make a living without a job. So, I was delighted when Judith Morgan suggested Barbara for a Gratitude Daily interview and Barbara said YES! I am very happy to be able to share her thoughts on gratitude with you.
Julia Elmore: Tell me about yourself and what you do.
Barbara Winter: I’m Barbara Winter and I’m a writer, speaker and self-employment advocate. As my website says, I’ve spent the past thirty years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” However, I’m not an evangelist. I see my business as providing ideas, information and inspiration to those who are or desire to be joyfully jobless.
JE: When do you remember first consciously feeling gratitude?
BW: I grew up in a difficult household with an alcoholic father so I believe my first conscious feelings of gratitude involved bad things that didn’t happen. During the early years of my adulthood, I think I forgot to be grateful most of the time. For years, I focused on what I didn’t have rather than all the goodness that was around me, but totally neglected. I am most thankful that I learned to shift my focus.
JE: What does GRATITUDE mean to you?
BW: I think it’s an awareness of all the good things and people that touch my life. To me, gratitude is about appreciating what I have while working diligently to keep making things better for myself and those I’m in contact with.
JE: How do you integrate gratitude into your daily life? Is it a conscious thing or does it come naturally?
BW: I’ve begun picking 5 things from my day and giving thanks for them when I turn off the light and get ready to sleep. I’ve also noticed that when I do that, I am less inclined to suffer from insomnia. I suspect it’s because I’m reminding myself that all is well — and tomorrow will also include many good things.
JE: Do you have a regular gratitude practice?
BW: I also started a gratitude journal several years ago after hearing Oprah talk about it. I discovered a huge bonus with writing things down: if I’m having a difficult day or feeling discouraged, I can page through my journal and see visible evidence of all the blessings that have already shown up for me.
JE: How does it impact on your daily life?
BW: Gratitude is a basic ingredient for treating others with kindness and for running my life from a creative position, I think. If I’m feeling cranky, it’s a signal that I’m focusing on the wrong things. By the way, it took me years to figure that out!
JE: Does gratitude feature in your business?
BW: A business is a continuing opportunity to experience gratitude. The most exciting and rewarding things in my life have come about because of my business. I meet wonderful people who inspire me and have realized my big dream of having a passport full of stamps because of my business.
JE: What do you love most about what you do?
BW: I think I already answered that, but would add that I love the continual creativity and personal growth.
JE: What are you grateful for today?
BW: Besides the freedom of being joyfully jobless, I also am most grateful for my three grandchildren and that I get to be an integral part of their lives. I had no idea that small children could be such fabulous teachers.
JE: Who should I interview next and why?
BW: If you haven’t met her yet, I urge you to track down Eli Trier, an artist from Bristol who spent a year creating a marvelous Gratitude Project which became a book. You can track her down at http://elitrier.com.
You can find Barbara Winter online at http://www.joyfullyjobless.com/
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with someone you think will love it too.
I would also love to hear your views and experiences, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Gratitude Daily begins November 2. If you would like guidance and support in creating your own gratitude practice, sign up now and join a group of like-minded folks in sharing the things they are grateful for every day.