Since 1977, I have been sending out a newsletter called LEARNINGS. Here is how I began the first issue: 

This newsletter—LEARNINGS—is my way of sharing with you what I am learning. Often I learn something with one client that would have been useful with another client the day before. In order to bridge that gap of time and also to bridge the gap of space that separates me from clients and other friends outside Cleveland, I will share my learnings with you regularly in this newsletter. 

That statement feels amazingly accurate more than 35 years later. The only real change is that I moved from Cleveland to London and then on to the Crook of Devon in Scotland. 

In the earlier newsletters, I shared one or two learnings each time. Then I read a wonderful book by Michael Phillips called The Seven Laws of Money. He describes the Taoist approach to creating Seven Laws about anything.

I like that approach except that instead of announcing Laws, I prefer to share Learnings. I’ve now discovered Seven Learnings about all sorts of things, including Journaling, Love, Retreat, and Diversity. The latest Learnings starts here; the rest are in the Learnings Archive. 


LEARNINGS Number 8: Summer 1982


LEARNING: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost: that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them”. 

Thoreau reminds us that when we design our lives we must attend to the whole castle. Some of us may need to focus more on the foundations and some more on the towers, but we all need to take our dreams seriously. 

Thanks to the encouragement of those who ordered the new edition more than a year ago and have regularly asked bout its progress, the 1982 edition of HOW HIGH IS YOUR CASTLE? is now available. Irene McCauley has redrawn the CASTLE and I have revised and expanded the WHY (dreams and values) and WHO (support teams) sections. 

CASTLE is designed to teach you six basic skills of Career and Life Design in one day or less. It is also the basis for a full-length program when used with the CASTLE HANDBOOK. The back of the CASTLE poster has a series of exercises to answer these six questions: 
WHAT do I want to do? 
WHY do I want to do it? 
WHERE do I want to do it? 
WHEN do I want to do it? 
HOW do I begin doing it? 
WHO do I want to do it with? 

As you answer each question you also learn one of the six basic skills of Career and Life Design. You transfer your answers to the CASTLE on the front of the poster so that you can see your complete life design. 

If you want to own your own CASTLE, just use the enclosed order form or write to the address below. 


LEARNING: Many people who use the CASTLE want more. 

Despite my continuing efforts to design carefully condensed programs that introduce Career and Life Design, some of you want more. So I expanded WHAT WHERE WHO into the CASTLE and now I am preparing a new edition of the CASTLE HANDBOOK. It contains pages of forms, exercises, and checklists, plus guidelines and suggestions for those of you who use CASTLE in your classes and workshops. 


LEARNING: If I risk being just a little bit serious about my dream, others will help me by taking it even more seriously. 

For many years I have dreamed of living in London “someday”. Two years ago I risked dreaming about living there within five or ten years. Stuart, George, and others encouraged me. When I began wondering about going in year or two, more people took me seriously. Sonia said “When you go…” rather than saying “If…” and Allan lined up two weeks of work there. Then George and I did so well in Switzerland in March that we got invited right back for September and I began to realize that I had enough work lined up to make the move. 

I spent the last week of April working in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where some of my ancestors landed when they came from England. In that most appropriate place, I made my decision: I will move to London in September. 

I have often seen people put energy into trying for something. My experience of London is that instead of trying, I was focusing and risking. As I began to focus more seriously on London it almost seemed to come to me. But not all the way: I did have to risk the final leap. And for that, as often before, I found encouragement in the words of Montrose: 

“He either fears his fate too much 
Or his deserts are small 
That dares not put it to the touch 
To win or lose it all” 


LEARNING: I must really be in business if I can use a headline like that. 

Since I will be living in London this fall, I have made arrangements with Marianne Erdelyi – my longtime colleague and support partner – to keep things going on this side of the ocean. Those of you with eagle eyes noted the address on the envelope; since I will soon be leaving the Chesterfield, Marianne’s place will become the North American office of Castle Consultants. 

Marianne will work with individual clients, distribute CASTLE materials, and lead workshops. I will join in when I am back in the States, as I plan to be several times a year. 

Marianne has been working with individual Career and Life Design clients in addition to her consulting work here and in Europe. She has worked with people from Polaroid, Digital, Exxon, and Shell Canada. Recently she received the highest presenter rating in the history of Management Centre Europe. 

Marianne is a dynamic, sensitive, caring, and skilled professional. She is also a wonderful friend. If you don’t know her yet, do come to our one-day workshop on 17 July so you can meet her. 


LEARNING: Designing my life means making choices not only between what I want and don’t want, but between what I want and what I want even more. 

Almost two years have passed since I sent out a newsletter. In that time I have moved from Cleveland to Kent to Cincinnati to Cleveland again. Three of my relatives have come through major surgery and the end of my marriage felt like major surgery to me. I have completed five years in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, three years with the KEDS Race Desegregation Assistance Center, and several years of work with individual clients. I have lived through some painful choices – some made more painful because of the loss of so much joy. And now I am moving to London, designing DREAM CHECKS and CASTLES, and enjoying life again. 


LEARNING: The best gift you can give me is to believe in my dream. 

Those of you with good memories will recall the story I told in LEARNINGS #6 about effective dreaming. Several years ago I mentioned to my sister Fran that my dream was to own a piano someday. That Christmas she gave me a check for ten dollars and a card saying: “A contribution toward a not so impossible dream”. I started a savings account with the check and eventually bought myself a piano. 

What happened was quite simple. Fran took my dream seriously. That led to my favorite line: A goal is a dream taken seriously. 

A few months ago I began playing with a new idea. My friend Lisa took me seriously and encouraged me. Then I found a banker who took me seriously. And now I have a very special checking account with checks that say: 

“A goal is a dream taken seriously” 
Castle Consultants Dream Account 

Now when I want to support someone’s dream, I just write them a dream check for ten dollars. 

Do you remember the old TV show about the millionaire who gave people a million dollars and then watched what happened? As I recall, most people had a difficult time or even got into real trouble. I think that is because they were OVERpowered instead of Empowered. Then dollars won’t get you your dream; it WILL get you thinking about taking your dream seriously. That is empowering. 

I cannot afford to give DREAM CHECKS to everyone yet, but if you like the idea you can come to the 17 July workshop (the cost of the workshop includes a DREAM CHECK). Or you can send me ten dollars and a sentence about your dream and I will send you back a DREAM CHECK. Or you can just catch me in a good mood and perhaps I’ll write you a DREAM CHECK on the spot. 

Someone asked me if I wanted the money back someday. No. I would prefer that you pass it on. After all, I am simply passing on what Fran gave me. I gave my friend Linda a DREAM CHECK two weeks ago and already she has given one of her clients a check. Imagine a world in which we all encourage each other’s dreams. 

And what do you – or I – get out of writing a DREAM CHECK? Well, every time I write one I simultaneously chuckle with glee and feel the tears of meaning in my eyes. More I do not ask. 

LEARNING: The best gift I can give you is to believe in your dream.