*

Archive for the 'Art & Creativity' Category

Powerful Creativity: How Making Room For Hobbies is The Ultimate Cure For Addiction, Stress, Anxiety, Depression and More

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Very few happy, healthy people are naturally born this way. Dig into their pasts and you will find that they have cultivated optimism by learning and applying techniques that help them transcend negativity and keep it at bay.

Throughout my book Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy I share a wide variety of ways to overcome adversity, build resilience and find joy. Regular exercise, good diet, relaxation exercises, and rest are a few of the many techniques covered. Holistic and self-empowered strategies to feed your soul and achieve your highest potential also including following your passion, engaging in activities you love and ways to bounce back from setbacks are also included.

As several reviewers noted:

“Loved the fact it is an easy read and is so incredibly comprehensive in its spectrum of tools covered: eastern and western/physical and psychological/science and esoteric. It’s hard to find books that capture this in one space–a comprehensive manual containing a tasting platter of techniques.”

~ Tina Drummond, Health and Safety Consultant, Wellness Motivator

“Cassandra has mastered the art of speaking in clear and simple terms and has presented Bounce as an easy to read, concise—yet completely comprehensive guide to overcoming all the obstacles that stand between yourself and your passion. She has taken a truly holistic approach and leaves no stone unturned. She lays out all the facets of overcoming your obstacles in a no-nonsense fashion and covers everything … Mind, body and soul … the physical, the spiritual, and the scientific. She evens touches on topics that may be considered ‘airy-fairy’ with believable and inspiring confidence.

 While Bounce is a concise presentation, do not be fooled by its quick two-hour read, it is incredibly comprehensive astoundingly holistic—and effective.”

~ Niki Firth, Amazon Review

Listed below are some helpful reminders of some of the many holistic coping strategies you’ll find in Bounce that you can call upon during times of current or anticipated need.

Physical

• Learn to listen to your body       

• Adequate exercise                 

• Physical touch/massage          

• Muscle relaxation         

• Sleep     

• Warmth

• Relaxation breathing                

• A healthy diet, i.e. reducing stimulants (coffee, nicotine etc.), increasing water, and eating organic non-processed foods

• Yoga

 

Behavioral

• Balanced lifestyle        

• Support groups / Counseling          

• Sharing with friends and family

• Humor        

• New interests / activities      

• Hobbies        

• Socializing

• Entertaining          

• Taking time out       

• Music / dancing / singing/creative expression    

• Meditating

• Yoga

• Being proactive and taking control of the situation

• Change careers

• Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

• Making time to do nothing at all

 

Cognitive / Perceptual (thinking)

• Rational thinking techniques to help change the way you interpret the stressful situation

• Positive thinking/cultivating optimism      

• Self-assertion training      

• Personal development

• Building self-esteem      

• Realistic goal planning      

• Time management

• Learning to say “No”       

• Priority clarification      

• Reflection

• Mindfulness

• Acceptance

• Hypnosis

 

Emotional

• Releasing emotions and expressing feelings (laugh, talk, cry, write in a journal, paint etc.)

• Learning how to “switch off”

• Taking time out          

• Solitude and space           

• Intimacy

• Counseling and support

• Challenging your emotional reactions to situations

• Passion/Joy

 

Social

• Scheduling time to spend with important people in your life

• Making plans with friends, family and loved ones in advance

• Sharing your experiences of stress with certain people in your life, especially letting them know the ways that stress has been affecting you, so they understand

• Practicing assertive communication within your significant relationships to decrease conflicts, while also continuing to find ways to show people around you that they are important

 

Spiritual

• Prayer and mediation—scheduling regular time

• Helping others (talking, writing, supporting)

• Reiki and other energy healing techniques

• Talking with a spiritual confidant or leader to explain any spiritual issues or doubts that you may have encountered

• Forgiveness (of self or others)

• Compassion / loving kindness

• Continuing to read and learn about your faith, belief or value system

• Connecting with others who share your beliefs

 

 

The above list is by no means exhaustive; however, you may note a reoccurring theme—the power of creativity.  Many people have that that making room for hobbies is the ultimate cure for addiction, stress, anxiety, depression and more.

Recently, after experiencing a tsunami of stress I realized my hobbies had been horribly neglected. But not anymore! What looked like a horrible situation of having to leave our home during renovations turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The accommodation we rented was owned by a wonderful lady and talented artist and jewelry designer.

I’m not sure how Anna Hamilton discovered that many years ago I had painted and exhibited my art but she quickly asked if I would be interested in exhibiting alongside her during the upcoming Koast Art Trail in The Bay of Islands—http://koast.org.nz/koast-artists-jewellers-potters-kerikeri/.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t say yes straight away. I hadn’t painted for years. “When was I possibly going to kind time to create? And where?” Everything was in storage. Nothing was organized. Everything was chaotic.

But Anna was persistent and persuasive. And my weary soul began to sing. I began to feel excited. I felt encouraged, excited…and Koast was still some few months off.

“Yes, “ I said. “I will do this,” I agreed, feeling a bit of fear and deciding to act anyway.

And then Anna asked if I had any paintings to share in her gallery?

And now I have three paintings hanging in her beautiful gallery. And I feel so excited. And all that stress and tiredness has floated away. And most exciting of all, I’m looking forward to creating a new body of work for the Koast exhibition in October.

 

 

 

 

So what is it about creativity? Why is it such a potent tool of healing?

It’s not easy to overcome many of the things that hold you back. But you can do it—if you’re willing to be strong and fight for your dreams. Within many of us lies an innate seam of strength, which, when mined skilfully, will produce an endless source of pure gold. Part of this strength is our ability to create infinite joy—and creativity fuels that.

As Buddha once said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

When you follow your bliss, do things you enjoy, seize the reins of control and take responsibility, you will empower your life, your joy, and your health.

 

Jumping with Joy

Joy has phenomenal energy and incredible versatility. In The Book of Joy the Dalai Lama shares that Paul Ekman, a longtime friend, and famed emotions researcher, has written that joy is associated with feelings as varied as:

• Pleasure (of the five senses)

• Amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh)

• Contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction)

• Excitement (in response to novelty or challenge)

• Relief (following upon another emotion, such as fear, anxiety, and even pleasure)

• Wonder (before something astonishing and admirable)

• Ecstasy or bliss (transporting us outside ourselves)

• Exultation (at having accomplished a difficult or daring task)

• Radiant pride (when our children earn a special honor)

• Elevation (from having witnessed an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion)

• Gratitude (the appreciation of a selfless act of which one is the beneficiary)

 

Buddhist scholar and former scientist Matthieu Ricard has added three other more exalted states of joy: rejoicing (in someone else’s happiness, what Buddhists call mudita) delight or enchantment (a shining kind of contentment) spiritual radiance (a serene joy born from deep well-being and benevolence).

When you tap into your joy, you tap into an unlimited reservoir of energy and enthusiasm.

The French take it further—of course! Jouissance, literally means orgasmic joy. It’s derived from the word from jouir (“to enjoy”). Jouissance is to enjoy something a lot!

One of my favorite creativity experts Mihaly Czikszentmihaly, refers to this as a state of  “flow.”

In a popular YouTube talk, he asks, “What makes a life worth living? Money cannot make us happy,” he says. Instead, he urges us to learn from people who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about this state of transcendent flow.

Many years ago I held an exhibition of the paintings I did after I participated in a Sumi Ink workshop in Maui with Max Gimblett. Our exhibition was held in Wellington, New Zealand with two other artists. We named the exhibition, Joy’ance. (One of the artists didn’t like the association with ‘orgasmic!)

 

 

Gosh, it was fun! And best of all I received wonderful feedback:

“Beautiful images for a dreary day”

“What a warm surprise: joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art!”

“Great to see and feel the enterprise and the energy.”

“Inspiring” 

“This has really made my day. I’m quite cynical—but you have achieved what I would expect from something like this (my sumi_e ink Gimblett inspired works). They are so beautiful and simple Their simplicity inspired so much emotion”

“Wonderful art in a wonderful city”

“What a surprise! Joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art.”

“Thank you, beautiful artwork! Love the bright colors – you have brightened up a dark, gloomy day.”

 

Find something that sparks joy and keep hugely interested in it by feeding and nurturing your jouissance every day.

It’s what I’m doing now—by planning my exhibition, reading books about art, and following some of my favorite artists. I don’t necessarily need to make my living from my art, but I do need to make room for creativity in my life. Do you?

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford

If you’re interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness and, overcome obstacles and elevate your success read the book here—myBook.to/Bounce.

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

If you loved this post you may like to check out Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

http://www.cassandragaisford.com/true-stories-your-beautiful-mind-control-alcohol-discover-freedom-find-happiness-and-change-your-life-justin-rajs-journey-to-joyful-sobriety/

Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The other day while celebrating my partner’s birthday, and while seeking refuge from a considerable period of stress, I noticed a tourist deeply entranced in capturing an image of a local child with his Canon camera.

 

I took this snapshot on my phone and then showed it to him. He was very surprised and exclaimed, “You got me!”

 

The energy was infectious, pure, spontaneous joy – or as Deepak Chopra writes in his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing The Infinite Power of Coincidence—divinely inspired.

The man I spontaneously photographed was Suresh Lala, who I later discovered was on the last day of his trip to New Zealand from Mumbai. He also spontaneously reciprocated his joy by taking an image of me which he entitled, “Me photographing the photographer who photographed the photographer.”

“I shall certainly cherish this memory. Keep that high wattage smile going!” he wrote to me. Little did Suresh know that my partner and I have been experiencing a time of profound stress. Suresh’s passionate camera-presence was a gift to me, and immediately boosted my deflated spirits.

As I write, I am not sure where this coincidence will let. Yet it is remarkable that yesterday I also received my first truly spine-tingling review on Amazon India for my newly released book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More

 

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!

21 May 2018

Cassandra Gaisford’s book- Your beautiful mind – is the first book I read after completing my three day counseling session at a major alcoholic rehabilitation center in Indian state of Kerala. Her straightforward way of writing hooked me and motivated me to hold on to my decision- to quit alcohol- strongly. She handled the menace of alcoholism from the level of basics to the level of an expert in a language even a layman can understand.

‘Your beautiful mind’ inspired me to think beyond my alcoholic lifestyle, which wasn’t possible before and helped to transform my mind completely. She motivated me to take up my passions- reading, writing, stock market analysis- as fruitful additions rather than following self destructive addictions like alcohol, nicotine and drugs. Today, I can enjoy my life more and feels like I have been freed from a prison – a self created prison of addictive behaviour. Keep inspiring and keep up your great work, Cassandra!

Now, I am hoping to visit Mumbai too! And loads of other places in India too.

Thank you Justin Raj—I’m so thrilled to have been able to help. Justin’s feedback is even more significant because, as I share in my books, one of the main reasons I wrote Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, and also my follow-up book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, was following the desperate plea for help by a beautiful woman I met on a wellness retreat.

“I’m an alcoholic,” she sobbed, “I can’t stop drinking and they’re going to take my kids.” At the time I felt powerless, ‘How could I possibly help you? I wondered. What did I know about treating addictions?

Little did I know that my frustration and feelings of inadequacy would spur me to find answers. So to know that Justin, not only found self-empowered healing, but that in the process he also reawakened dormant and neglected passions is especially poignant. As he shared on his Facebook page and blog he is looking forward to replacing a negative addiction with a positive obsession with writing and researching and has rekindled his then-dormant blog.

Coincidentally – or what I call ‘go-incidentally’ my dream has been to visit Kerela one day. I hope we can meet!

Are you struggling with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed? Have negative addictions and substance abuse claimed your creative power? Below is a powerful reminder about the life-enhancing magic of creativity—a short edited excerpt from Your Beautiful Mind.

 

Powerful Creativity

Creative expression and communicating what you truly feel is one of our greatest joys and freedoms. It is a simple and effective way to inject more happiness into your life without needing alcohol. Creativity in its various guises is also a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy is such a potent and popular tool.

Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery and healing that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. People don’t need to have a background in the arts or any artistic talent to participate.  They need only to be open to experiencing and engaging actively to benefit.

I have trained in a technique called Interactive Drawing Therapy and have found it to be an incredible tool in my own life and in my sessions with others. The simplest of drawings, a line, a color, a scrawled phrase or word can powerfully access parts of the psyche we often repress, bringing it to light. In an alchemical process, wounds are spun into gold.

When I first trained in Interactive Drawing Therapy the teacher asked for a volunteer. No hands were raised so he picked me. What harm could it do, I thought, being as skilled as I was at keeping a lid firmly on my feelings.

“Draw an animal,” he said.

Sure, I thought. Great. Harmless. I drew a giraffe.

“Put some color on the page,” the teacher gently guided.

My giraffe became pink with green, purple and yellow spots. What fun I thought.

“Where is she?” the teacher asked. “Draw this on the page.”

I drew large grey and black rectangles, symbolizing office blocks, cars belching smoke, and a road, not unlike Lambton Quay, in Wellington, New Zealand where I went to work in a job I hated every weekday.

“Put some words on the page,” the teacher whispered.

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

And then it dawned on me, just as the words slipped onto the page. That giraffe was me. And the fact was I did stand out—naturally. I had always been different. And I had struggled unsuccessfully to belong.

“She can’t help but stand out,” my tutor affirmed. “It’s who she is.”

For me, this awareness was so new, so potent, so transformative, that I knew instantly there was work to do. I began to understand the deep social anxiety I had felt as a child and carried with me through adolescence—and with it the drinking to belong, to bolster the confidence I never felt, to hide the discomfort of living in my own skin.

I wonder, if you were an animal who would you be and why? Asking this question so directly, often yields substantially different, more rational, carefully considered choices, than those which arise through the techniques of tools like Interactive Drawing Therapy (IDT). The strength of IDT is its ability to access what is repressed, hidden and buried in the subconscious and bring it to light for healing.

Job stress, as we have discussed briefly, is a major reason many people over-drink. Again, drawing came to my rescue. I had become quite accomplished at pretending I loved my job—I couldn’t afford to admit the truth.

As I share in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue The Call for Change, “I was a single mum, the only one able to support my young daughter and myself. I used to go home with a brave face, but inside I was tired and depressed. My self-esteem was so low I thought no one would hire me. I tried to go to work, grit my teeth and bear it.

I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. But that wasn’t what my boss wanted from me. “You could make a lot of money here,” he said. “You just need to be more selfish.”  For a while, I tried to be someone else—motivated only by money, but every day my values were compromised, and the skills I loved weren’t used.

My job started making me ill. It got so bad I got shingles—a painful virus affecting the central nervous system. I felt trapped and unable to leave. My colleagues at work had similar experiences. It really was such a toxic workplace. Several people had heart attacks, and the amount of alcohol people consumed after work to numb the pain was staggering.

I needed a career rescue. In desperation, I agreed to see a career counselor. During my first session, I was asked to draw a picture. I drew a grey bird in a black cage.

“The door is open, but she’s forgotten how to fly,” I told her.

This drawing brought tears to her eyes. Although I didn’t understand why at the time, I can see now that she felt my pain at feeling so caught and trapped by my situation.

Through our sessions and the structured exercises we completed together, I rebuilt my confidence and strengthened my awareness of my skills, and most importantly, I learned how to dream.

The work the career counselor did with me was so important, so vital—saving me from despair. It led me to not just finding a job I loved, but later creating one that gave me a sense of purpose.

What she taught me literally gave me my life back. Happily, I can now serve others in this way too—as an author, qualified holistic energy psychologist, career counselor, life and career coach, and a trainer of other coaches who also aspire to make a difference in other people’s lives.

If you’re reading this book and recognize yourself in my story, if job stress or a toxic workplace is causing you to over drink, don’t wait too long for help. I promise that your happy place is out there—it may even mean employing yourself. Now, that’s ultimate freedom!

 

Therapy Can Be Fun—and Free!

Many addiction and rehab centers use art therapy as part of their therapeutic offering, and report that clients find engaging in creative arts highly satisfying and fun. It’s a playful way of relaxing and an enjoyable way to address some of the more complex aspects of rehab.

Creative activity provides a way to process some of the stressful emotions and anxieties that can emerge during treatment. After rehab, activities like painting, sculpting or drawing can be used throughout the individual’s life as a way to express feelings, explore creativity, and reduce stress.

Best of all, it’s a tool anyone can access, anywhere, at any time, and the effects are long-lasting. You can engage in creativity whenever you feel the need to escape the madness of this world.

But you don’t need to go to rehab or analyze how and why creativity works to understand it’s magic.

Art in all its guises heals and empowers. Have you ever wondered why silencing or controlling peoples creative expression is the first things marauding tyrants and dictators silence or destroy?

Leonardo da Vinci, a great scientist once said, “Art is the queen of all sciences communicating to the world.” Art permeates the inner and outer worlds and elevates our soul.

My grandmother Molly was a naturally gifted and self-taught artist. Her escape, when she needed one, was painting flowers and landscapes in oil colors.

Molly also loved to play the piano, the accordion, and even the banjo and sing for others. Perhaps it was her Irish ancestry which unleashed the happy, confident entertainer. I can still hear her beautifully manicured nail tapping along the ivory keys of the piano. Art banished her heavy episodes of drinking—when she sang, painted, created she never needed a drink.

I have a tiny painting of Molly’s in my shed, a small bunch of violets framed in a custom-made frame my grandfather made for her. Reg Fairweather (beautiful name) was a talented wood turner and furniture maker. This was a hobby, a beautiful retreat he found great joy and personal expression in.

I wonder now, was that his way of escaping and coping when my grandmother’s drinking got out of control? Or was it Reg’s way of coping or distancing himself from his own pain? At the time of writing, I’ve only just learned that Reg’s mother, my great-grandmother, died not long after giving birth. It’s a trauma that had until now, remained a secret.

“I write songs to deal with things I otherwise might not be able to,” a young woman once said about her budding music career, hobbies and dreams.

“For me to be happy is about pleasing only my heart and not worrying about what others think,” says Interior designer Olimpia Orsini about her magically surreal lair in her home away from home in Rome’s bohemian Campo Marzio.

“I love what a camera does,” says landscape photographer Alicia Taylor. “It opens up people to connect with you, it can take you on an amazing journey, and probably is the only time I feel I’ve got the guts to do something is when I’ve got the camera in my hands. I feel like it’s a key to the world.”

“Knitting saved my life,” the waitress at my local cafe told me recently. She told me how her hobby has provided the ultimate cure for her anxiety, and of the joy she finds in knitting for friends.

Without the anxiety of feeling different, author Isabel Allende, says she wouldn’t have been driven to create. “Writing, when all is said and done, is an attempt to understand one’s own circumstance and to clarify the confusion of existence, including insecurities that do not torment normal people, only chronic non-conformists.”

What do these people all have in common? They harness the power of creative expression to rise above the challenges of life.

Personally, I love to write paint, take photographs and have dabbled in a great deal many other things during my life—including making stained glass Tiffany-style lampshades, pottery, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch. You name it, I’ve tried it. They take me out of this world, out of my mind, into the realms of the divine. I find great comfort there.

Get drunk on creating—yes, please! It’s a positive addiction I’m happy to feed.

“I love the chaos. I do everything I’m not meant to do. I used to drink like an animal, but now I use my art to express the chaos in my mind,” says Sir Antony Hopkins about the joy he finds in painting. “I used to take myself so seriously. I have an obsessive personality. I do everything fast. I want to do everything I can because time is running out”, he says. “I want to express color. Maybe it’s reaching for some sort of divine.”

Don’t get caught up in the classical definitions of an artist when you think about creativity, you don’t have to be an artist, painter or sculptor to be creative. Expressing your thoughts or imagining what doesn’t yet exist and then bringing it into being lies at the heart of creative expression. You could harness the transformational power of creativity by:

• Imagining or dreaming what could be, for example, your life of sobriety

• Challenging the status quo, as I am in the writing of this book, or generating solutions and new ideas

• Designing new products or services, perhaps instead of drinking you will pour your heart and soul into creating something you are proud of

• Expressing thoughts and feelings, visually, that are too big or too difficult to put into words

• Or doing something else that helps you deal with life and creates joy in your heart.

One of the most liberating features of the creative process is that it triggers moments of vitality and connection.

“The arts address the idea of an aesthetic experience,” says Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity.

“An aesthetic experience is one in which the senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing, when you are fully alive.”

Being fully alive is part of the enchantment that creative expression holds. This transformational process connects you to your authentic self. But to free yourself you must act. As Shakespeare once said, “Joy’s soul lies in the doing.”

How can you harness the power of creativity in your own life?

In the next chapter, we’ll explore more deeply the transformational power of pepping up your peptides and changing the way you feel naturally.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

The Truth Every Perfectionist Should Know

Monday, May 14th, 2018

 

Perfectionism will keep you poor.

~ Carla Coulson, photographer

 

“All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible,” wrote author William Faulkner. “In my opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist. That’s why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off,” Faulker said. “I believe that all artists are possessed by this silly ambition: they want to do something no one else has done before. They want to create something that’s perfect. And they try, again and again, and they always fail. It seems to me that this is what truly motivates us. We keep on writing because nothing we write is good enough, or at least, as good as we think it should be. Or as good as we think it deserves to be.”

No story, no painting, no work of art is ever ‘finished.’ There’s always something to change, to add, to remove. Good art pulsates with living energy—just like we do. There’s always room for growth.

I know writers who have been “polishing” the same novel for tens of years. I was once one of them.

The challenge is knowing when to let go. Your task is to know when to stop editing and editing, reading and re-reading your work, over and over again.

The truth is if you overwork your creative project you can ruin its vibrancy, its essence, the energy that inspired you to create it in the first place. You run the risk of becoming paralyzed by perfection, becoming sick of your creation, and losing your passion.

Someone once said, “It’s like an itch you don’t have to scratch, because every time you read your story, you’ll always find something that needs to be changed. And if you feel like your story is perfect, just take a few weeks’ off and then read it again. Suddenly, it won’t feel as good as you previously thought.”

Adopt a new mantra—the good enough mantra. Remind yourself that your work is “good enough.” Know that you can always go back and improve it later. But for now, get things done, finish your work, and release your gifts and talents to the world.

Just like blowing bubbles, some projects will fly just for a few seconds, some will never get off the ground, and others will soar eternally towards the sky.

But working on the same project for much longer than is healthy is just as bad as starting a hundred different things and never finishing any of them.

I used to be afraid to let go of my work. I was terrified of what people might think of my books; I was worried they weren’t good enough.

I still care, but I care less. I think it was Leonardo da Vinci who said that those who don’t doubt their ability will never reach their heights.

We all want to be better, but I know from experience that advancement is made only by moving forward. We learn most from experience—not ruminating, overthinking, and over-perfecting.

If people like the books I write, great. If they don’t, then I know that I have done the best I can do right now.

I know from experience that I only get better at writing by writing a lot, not by editing the same project for two decades.

 

Mining for Gold

Done is better than striving for the impossible—perfect. Avoid over-working your projects—let your work go out into the world knowing it is as good as it can be right now.

Set a definite date for completion.

Adopt a growth mindset. Commit to continual improvement—in your new work and the projects that follow.

 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—his secret love and one woman’s passion and purpose behind telling his story

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer.

As you can appreciate, this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration, we all felt encouraged, emboldened, and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope.

Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects, but I was also reminded of the finality of life. This provided added motivation to crack on with my own writing projects.

For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz (released to great acclaim in 2018).

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival.

Sokolov used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“My book is the true story of the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that Dante-esque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married, and lived very happily for over 50 years, ” Heather told me.

After first meeting Heather I invited her to share her story and she generously emailed me the following:

“I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003. I was 50-years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays; he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier.

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita.’

Over the next three years, our friendship grew as, slowly, his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.

It didn’t matter. I fell under his spell.

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent? Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted, convoluted story I was starting to make sense of—the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me.

It was all of these things and more. I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honored and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov. It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay. He got to read it and loved it.

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died. At that time, I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years, but failed to ‘get it up’.

I took the option back and, after a rewrite, started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world. It did well, and was often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Award in 2016.

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told;’ that it was ‘Oscar bait’. But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment came when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium.

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion,’ I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign, a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up.

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.

I was getting no-where.

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California, who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain. In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow, I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary once said, ‘knocked the bugger off.’

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story. They have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries, and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.

And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it.

I am now 64 years old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully, in two or three years’ time, a film.

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me. Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way. I told myself it was The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story. I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.

A lot of very talented people/editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honored to have my name on. My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favorite screenwriters, William Goldman, who references the children’s book The Little Engine That Could.

‘Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.’”

 

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience, and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent!

Harper Collins came on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and, at the time of writing, major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

What’s also interesting about Heather’s story is that she adopted a growth mindset. She began with a film script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via Kickstarter and the Internet—and then an opportunity came knocking. But, importantly, success came because she put her work out there.

It’s a reminder to us all that you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset.

As Heather said, giving up on telling this story was never an option for her. Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich—most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.

Winners never quit and quitters never win, Heather’s brother John Williamson, a screenwriter, told me recently.

More good news came, too—her brother’s cancer has taken a “u-turn.” The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk, one of the tumors in his lung and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease.

Who knows what further miracles the future will bring? But we all agree—there is power in story and creativity!

Mining for Gold

Brainstorm or list as many ways as possible that you could finance your career. Seek suggestions from others to widen the possibilities. Ask your way to success.

Which of Heather’s success strategies could you experiment with? Going AWOL? Learning a new skill? Crowdfunding? Affirmations on the wall—or something else?

Read the BBC review of Heather’s book and meet the man who inspired this unexpected love story—http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42568390

Check out Heather’s Kickstarter Campaign here—www.kickstarter.com/projects/thetattooist/the-tattooist

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

 

 

 

Do you have a secret you’d love to share? A story of passion, hope, and survival? Or have you always dreamed of writing a book someday?

 

  • For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.
  • For anyone who wants to make a living from books.
  •  This is the book to make your dreams a reality.
  •  Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

 

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Daily Habits of Prosperously Productive Creatives, Writers, and Artists

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

 

“We often assume that great things are done by those who were blessed with natural talent, genius, and skill. But how many great things could have been done by people who never fully realized their potential?” writes James Clear on his popular blog.

How can you pull your potential from within and share it with the world? By doing the work!

Professional authors have found that creating and committing to productive daily routines maximizes their output and minimizes their stress.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day,” says author Jim Rohn. “Top performers in any field, including writing, tap into something that goes much deeper than intelligence or talent. They possess an obsessive devotion to do the work that needs to be done,” Rohn says.

James Clear once profiled a few masters of their daily routines on his blog:

Novelist Haruki Murakami says, “The repetition itself becomes the important thing.” He gets up at four a.m. and works for five to six hours. No excuses. “I keep to this routine every day without variation,” he says.

“I write every morning,” said Ernest Hemingway. “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. “There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.”

In 1932, the famous writer and painter Henry Miller created a work schedule that listed his “Commandments” for him to follow as part of his daily routine. This list was published in his book, Henry Miller on Writing.

Several of Miller’s tips that resonated with me include:

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is at hand
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it
6. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only

Some of the many daily habits I schedule include regular meditation, Morning Pages, and writing first thing in the morning until 12.

These routines and the many other little things I regularly do, when taken together, make an extraordinary difference to my energy levels and productivity.

 

Mining for Gold

What daily habits and routines would make a tremendous difference to your mindset?

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor
Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Staying happy and motivated is like caring for delicate roses, you need to nurture your fragrant dreams every day and be vigilant in keeping predators away. As a coaching client, who suffers from reoccurring bouts of depression, said recently, “Changing my view from one where I am trying to motivate myself, to one where I am inspired by the things that motivate me will help me achieve my goals.”

Successful people don’t force themselves into submission, instead, they harness their love and enthusiasm for their projects to lift them higher. Successful people also know how to bounce back from inevitable setbacks. Guided by the  wisdom of Leonardo da Vinci, here are 6 things successful people do to become and stay motivated:

 

1.) HARNESS THE POWER OF PASSION

 

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.  It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

Sadly, when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, the things that you love are the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that feeds your soul you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me”. Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

2.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN SIGHT

 

There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Beginning with the end in sight is a powerful way of strengthening motivation, persistence, and perseverance. The future does belong to those believe in the beauty of their dreams and schemes

Every extraordinary achievement starts as someone’s daydream. Dream big, become audaciously obsessed, and fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles!

Let desire propel you forward by acting as if, seeing as if, feeling as if, tasting as if, touching as if your success has already been achieved.

Jessie Burton’s empowering words, “Always picture succeeding, never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things seem to be going in the moment,” may inspire you as much as they do me.

Her advice reminds me to watch my tendency to visualize and picture failure. Sometimes when I embark on an inspired quest I tell myself messages of failure, and as a result, I feel failure. This is hardly a formula for success!

Jesse Burton, the bestselling author of the highly acclaimed books The Muse and The Miniaturist, is very inspiring to me because she is so honest about her own battles with mental health—including anxiety.

Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, and Julia Cameron, playwright and author of phenomenal bestseller The Artist’s Way, all understand the transformational power of keeping words, thoughts, and feelings in journals. As did Leonardo da Vinci.

He was a prolific recorder of all things that interested and excited him. He maintained over 13,000 pages of scientific notes and drawings on natural philosophy, life, travel, and mysteries.

“Preserve these sketches as your assistants and masters,” he once wrote in his journal.

His notebooks not only log his interests and the things he witnessed with his own eyes, but it was also a medium by which he channeled his intuition. They also helped him shape his vision for future creations he wished to transform from his mind into tangible reality.

Whether you keep a passion journal, dream board or store your vision in your mind, visualizing your preferred future is an essential tool for your success.

 

3.) BE AMBITIOUS

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, loss. Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.

Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines. As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.

“Dream big,” encourages James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world. “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a #1 thriller.” 

Given that science has barely even begun to explore the real potential of the human mind, it’s a funny thing how easily we persuade ourselves of its limitations and settle for less.

You’ve probably caught yourself thinking about a big dream, some inspired course of action, and at some point talked yourself down by saying, “I could never do that!”

Or perhaps you’ve come up with a bright idea about something and then shelved it because somebody said dismissively, “You can’t do that!” or “That’s crap.”

Or perhaps, as I have so often said to myself before reconnecting with my millionaire mindset, “I can’t do this. I can’t write this book. It’s too big. Who do I think I am trying to write such a complex book?”

But how do you really know what you are capable of unless you try?

Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist, once said: “Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations. Improve your dancing, practice a lot, and set a very high goal, one that will be difficult to achieve. Because that is an artist’s million: to go beyond one’s limits. An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”

Thinking big demands a long step outside the comfort zone of what you know.

It can feel scary to contemplate stepping out of the space where you feel you know what you’re doing and you feel fully in control.

It can feel frightening to explore what it would be like if you were to leave the comfort-rut and attempt to climb toward a new summit. You don’t know for sure where it will lead. But everyone who’s ever made a success of anything started with a big dream.

And you can, too.

Tim Ferris dreams big by adopting and cherishing his beginner’s mind. Rather than succumb to the fear of failure, he changes his mindset, and affirms his love of variety and challenge and being a perpetual debutante.

“Think small, to go big” encourages Gary Keller in his book The One Thing. “Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do.

“It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make a focus.”

When you think too big, achieving success can feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and complicated. Calendars can become overloaded and success starts to feel out of reach. So, people opt out and either quit or settle for less.

“Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much, and in the end, accomplish too little,” says Keller.

“Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.”

 

4.) PLAN FOR SUCCESS

 

God sells us all things at the price of labor

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Planning and effort prevent poor performance. This is such a powerful message when it comes to our goals, especially if you’re someone who equates planning with feeling controlled. You may be looking to the future thinking, “Someday! Someday I will achieve that.”

How can you be assured that things will happen if you don’t plan your action steps effectively, efficiently and productively?

So many people end their lives disappointed that things didn’t come to fruition. “Why didn’t it happen for me? Why, when it happens for other people.” Successful people don’t sit at home waiting for things to happen. They go out and conquer things.

If you’re sitting back waiting for ‘someday’ you have a problem—you think you have time!

Successful people set goals and start breaking them down into bite-size chunks. If you want to generate $100,000 out of your business in a year what do you need to do to get there? If you want to start a new relationship, or improve the one you’ve got, develop your success strategy. Your efforts will be repaid in exchange for your labor and your courage to try.

Planning for success also means planning for possible failure. As Oprah once said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

Planning to for success also means showing up! Successful people don’t spend their time thinking and strategizing about success.

To be inspired is to be in spirit, and inspiration has to find you working or it won’t come out to play. Eighty percent of success is empowering your mind, body, and spirit by showing up.

Showing up requires the ability to balance creativity with flexibility and discipline.

To be disciplined is to be committed, devoted, able to control your SELF in accordance with, and sometimes against, your desires.

You may be a genius, gifted or have an IQ of 160, but if you lack self-discipline and follow-through your success will be limited.

Leonardo affirmed the importance of this by writing reminders to himself of the superiority of doing to knowing.“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough: we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

 

5.) CHASE THE LIGHT

 

Darkness steeps everything with its hue, and the more an object is divided from darkness the more it shows its true and natural color

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

What’s your default position when things go awry, obstacles challenge your resolve, technology goes belly-up or unforeseen demands on your time derail your plans?

Does your mood darken? Setbacks are normal foes you’ll meet on the path to success, but how you greet them will determine the outcome.

Keep your thoughts light. You may need to bring out the big guns to wage war against doubt, despair and other dark, heavy thoughts. While they’re often part of the journey to success, you will need to slay them to stay motivated and optimistic.

Leonardo would turn again and again toward the things that created light. He didn’t ignore the shadows, but he didn’t allow his palette to be overloaded by darkness.

Acceptance, optimism, willpower, grit, stubborn determination and a resolve to persevere are critical skills to cultivate, as is flexibility and the willingness to adapt. Sometimes it’s all too hard and you need to hibernate. You can take a lesson from nature in this regard.

Successful people resist complaining and victim talk—they know it increases toxicity in your mind and body, hampering your progress. Instead, they throw their energy into positivity and strive to engineer and implement solutions, no matter how small.

They also ask for help if too much darkness creeps in, and, rather than suppress, numb or try to ignore problems they peer into the darkness and look for the gift.

The astoundingly innovative and talented British architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, faced unimaginable obstacles on her road to success, including battling the predominately male industry who viewed her curvaceous designs with destain. “Having to fight hard has made me a better architect,” she once said.

6.) SAVVY SOBRIETY

 

Here again, many vain pleasures are enjoyed, both by the mind in imagining impossible things, and by the body in taking those pleasures that are often the cause of the failing of life. Extremes are to be avoided

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Alcohol and success don’t make good marriage partners, but they’re often fatally attracted.

While there’s no evidence that Leonardo was a teetotaller, he was a clever man. Experience would have told him what we all know—too much booze muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit.

Many successful people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve, however, often takes extraordinary willpower.

Spiritual guru to the stars, Deepak Chopra, gave up drinking, saying “I liked it too much.”

Julia Cameron, the author of The Artists Way, fought her way back from alcoholism. Others like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it.

Drink to success? Destroying your career, ruining your relationships, sacrificing your sanity, and taking your life is a massive price to pay to celebrate success.

Benefits of not drinking are many, including:

  • Authentic happiness
  • Increased memory and mental performance
  • Better control of your emotions
  • Increased productivity
  • Sweeter relationships
  • Improved confidence, self-esteem
  • Stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams
  • Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

The choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the toll it exacts. Consider trialing sobriety—take the 30-day challenge. Experiment with living an alcohol-free life.

Do you need help to moderate or quit drinking? Consider purchasing any of my books in the Mindful Drinking series, including Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

Hooked on a feeling—trust your gut to choose and grow your purposeful business

Monday, January 29th, 2018

 

“There is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

What do Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson have in common? The answer is, they trust their intuition. Each one of these people credit this wise “inner guide”, in part, to their personal and professional success, as is the case with so many other successful people.

Just like love, intuition is challenging to define, despite the huge part it plays in our everyday lives. Steve Jobs called it, “More powerful than intellect.”

While Webster’s defines intuition as “quick and ready insight,” you may know it as: a gut feeling, a natural mental skill, a sixth sense, an inner knowing, a feeling, an instinct, a hunch, a premonition, wisdom from a Higher power, a still, quiet inner voice, an inner compass that points you to success and abundance; a gift from Spirit. But however people define it, we all intuitively know just what it is.

“Intuition is a resource that, if nurtured, can lead to increased sales, profitable investments, creative inventions, successful hires, advantageous negotiations, bigger profits, and increased accuracy in forecasting business trends,” writes Lynn Robinson in her book, Trust Your Gut.

You are born with this inner knowing and when you listen to it and act on its wisdom you are guided unfailingly towards your hopes and dreams. Whether you act on your intuition is another thing.

 

Why don’t some people listen to their intuition in business?

In a world that seems to value logic and facts over emotions and feelings, to follow one’s heart, or listen to your intuition, can seem foolhardy to many people. Perhaps this is because intuition, like spirituality, can’t be seen or scientifically measured.

Many people may tell you that you need to think rationally and use your head, not your heart, in order to gather the “facts” and “evidence” you need to make “sound” decisions.

But the truth is that your mind can’t always be relied on, especially when you are about to make big changes in your life. The rational mind likes to play it safe.

It can “fool” you into doubting your abilities or make you catastrophize about how things will turn out. Things can get out of control and the smallest concern becomes a mountain of anxiety.

“If I start my own business I won’t make any money, I’ll lose my house, I’ll be out on the street, the kids will starve,” and other similar negative thoughts. Thus the unhelpful, self-sabotaging script may come into play.

This is where intuition can help. Your ‘in-tuition’, is your inner teacher, your wisest counsel, your most supportive ally.

Some of us have the ability to tap into intuitive guidance more easily than others. But, like any skill, the more you practice using it, the better you will get.

Listed below are just a few reasons why intuitive intelligence is a skill you should master.

Trusting your gut in business will help give you:

  • Confidence when you have nothing to go on, and no concrete experience or information on which to base your decision.
  • Clarity in the face of a tsunami of choices and possibilities.
  • A faster ability to make the right choice, rather than becoming bogged down in months or years of analysis.
  • Awareness of self-employment opportunities you may not have considered.
  • Inspiration to get going.

 

The Infinite Intelligence of Your Subconscious Mind

“The infinite intelligence within your subconscious mind can reveal to you everything you need to know at every moment in time and point in space, provided you are open-minded and receptive”, writes Joseph Murphy in The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.

“Within the subconscious mind, you will find the solution to every problem, and the cause for every effect. Because you can draw out the hidden powers, you come into actual possession of the power and wisdom necessary to move forward in abundance, security, and joy.”

Sounds great! How do you gain this knowledge? By tapping into the power of emotions and listening to your own infinite intelligence.

This is where the subconscious mind rules—it’s the storehouse of emotions, unlike the ego and conscious mind that rationalizes everything it can.

The rational mind has its place, of course. The trouble is, all too often it dominates, very often talking us out of or into things that rob of us of joy and fulfillment.

 

Is intuition better than concrete, measurable facts?

That depends! Some decisions require logic and analysis. The rational information necessary to easily make the right decision may be readily available or easy to source.

But there are times, especially when launching a business when you have nothing, or very little, verifiable information. That’s when knowing how to access, listen and act on your intuition can be most helpful.

When I launched my first product, a set of 40 inspirational cards which I named The Passion Pack, in 2011, my business partners asked me, “Do you think it will sell?” I had acted on an inspired idea without any market research. I honestly didn’t ‘know’, but in my heart, I felt The Passion Pack would inspire others too. “Yes!” I answered, more confidently than I truly felt.

And my intuitive hunch proved right. When speaking at a conference of teachers and educators about the power of passion, I briefly mentioned my idea, and we were swamped with advance orders before we’d even finished producing The Passion Pack. I’d never even thought about marketing it to schools.

In 2016 I listened to my intuition again and released The Passion Pack as a book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love. It’s available in print and paperback from Amazon if you are curious >> getBook.at/Passion

 

Steering you the right way

President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington writes in her bestselling book, Thrive: “Even when we’re not at a fork in the road, wondering what to do and trying to hear that inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way.

But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life.”

 

Tuning in to Your Intuition

Listed below are some tips and strategies that will help you feed, nurture, and tap into your inner success coach:

The body barometer. The body never lies. Your body language is one of the primary ways your heart and intuition guide you. When you are in tune with your intuition you are more likely to experience:

  • A feeling of limitless energy
  • A feeling of weightlessness and lightness
  • A feeling of being happy and motivated
  • Excitement, zest, and animation.

These signs are all clues to your passion. Passionate feelings are the ways your intuition guides your decisions about what is right, given who you are and who you want to be.

Action Questions

What signs does your body give you when you are being true to yourself?

What warning signs does your body give you when you are off track?

Meditation—for cultivating inner power

“Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree,” says French Buddhist monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard. “It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.”

Quietening your overactive mind through mindfulness training techniques like meditation is a wonderful way to boost your intuition. Meditation helps you to take control of your mental chatterbox and create some quiet space, so you can hear the voice within. This changes how you respond to what’s happening in your life, and increases your ability to tap into a higher level of wisdom when making decisions.

Science has proven that when people meditate they alter their brains in a good way—lowering stress levels amongst many other important things. Ridding yourself of self-limiting thoughts, controlling your reactions, discovering an inner contact with a creative source, and having more creative insights are just a few of the other benefits that can flow. The whole experience is primarily one of wholeness, rightness, and power.

Steve Jobs, a lifelong practitioner of meditation, confirmed the connection between meditation, creativity and business success: “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things—that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more.

“Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline. You have to practice it.”

There are many forms of meditation, including breathing meditations, walking meditations, Buddhist Meditations, Transcendental Meditation and more. Whichever form you choose, the main thing to remember is that its benefits are only a few breaths away and the only thing you need is your attention.

Meditation can be done in short bursts of time, even while on the bus or train. To really be of benefit many people recommend meditating first thing in the morning, and towards the end of the day, for 20 minutes each time. You may already feel pressed for time but the benefits of creating some space in your diary will pay dividends.

 

Surf The Net

Meditation can shape our brains for the better. Watch this video on YouTube—you’ll see the incredible results verified by science. http://youtu.be/m8rRzTtP7Tc

I’ve been meditating for over 25 years now and love it. And while it can be challenging to find time during busy or stressful periods, it really is the key to boosting creativity, harnessing intuition, building resilience, and creating a calm and happier outlook in general. These are all important factors in maintaining the energy and focus to create and sustain business success.

Ask open, generative questions. Intuitive information reveals itself more easily when you ask yourself open questions such as, “How can I begin to bring more money into my life?” or “What business or self-employment opportunity could I choose that will be both fun and financially rewarding?”

Don’t try and force a reply. Your intuition will reveal the answer in a variety of ways.  There’s no one right way to receive its wisdom. It may come in the form of a hunch, a gut feeling, an inner voice, an image, or in a dream.

What questions do you want answers to? Prompt your intuition by writing down some good open questions. For instance, if your biggest concern about going into business is handling the legal and taxation matters, you could ask, “Where can I find someone to help me deal with legal and tax stuff?”

Pay extra attention over the next three weeks to special “go-incidences” or insights. For example, as I edit this book, I am also releasing another book to help people who are suffering from alcohol addiction. The title of the book is Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, and one of the chapters is called, Hooked on a Feeling. I walked into a local cafe and the song, Hooked on a Feeling by the band Blue Swede was playing on the sound system. What are the odds!

The lyrics of the song also inspired me to write a chapter titled, High on Believing—spirituality, and faith is such an important part of peoples’ recovery. Maintaining a believing mindset is another critical factor in achieving goals of any kind—something I cover in my book, Millionaire Mindset

Create some space. If you’re constantly stressed and always wishing for more time, money, freedom, or energy, you need to create some time for “sacred idleness.” All those signs of stress are signals from your intuition that it’s time to slow down. Take a comfort break. Give yourself the rejuvenating gift of some time off to reflect on your life.

What do you truly want? What fills your soul? What can you let go of? What are the blessings in your life? These are all questions to ask your intuitive guidance system. Listen to the answers, reflect, and act.

Listen to inner wisdom now, pay attention to intuitions, feelings, and hunches. They’re not random responses generated by the brain and nervous system to keep them busy, but data from the unified field that surrounds you.

“Everything we ever need to know is in this field, to be revealed at exactly the right time. The more deeply we pay attention the quicker the messages are received and the more effectively we can act upon them,” says intuitive astrologer, Sarah Varcas. “There is a lot of information available to those willing to listen, watch and learn.”

Hot Tip! Taking the time to meditate, write, and dream new dreams will pay off in a big way and is an important step in creating the abundant, peaceful and prosperous life you deserve.

Action Questions: How Can You Meditate?

What steps can you take to learn more about meditation?

How can you create some space for “sacred idleness” in your life? What can you let go of?

Call Upon Your Archetypal Symbol

Another way to embrace your intuition is to call upon archetypal symbols. According to renowned psychologist Carl Jung, archetypes are inherited memories represented in the mind as universal symbols and can be observed in your dreams.

Jean Wiley, a self-employed Professional Intuitive Astrologer agrees. “10 years ago when I was really struggling with how to find my voice, swimming in that river of conformity, and hiding so much of myself for so long, what I would do was dream of David Bowie.

“He didn’t come to me in my dreams, but he was my symbol. He was everything that was authentic and envelope-pushing, and innovative and interesting, and thumbed his nose at everything that was conventional and conforming. And I would dream about David Bowie and I would wake up in the morning and I would feel better.”

Action Question: Who Can You Call Upon?

Who could you call upon to give you courage, direction, and strength?

If you’re looking for additional instructions on how to connect with your archetypal symbol I recommend the advice of Deepak Chopra, and especially his incredible book The Spontaneous Fulfilment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence.

I would also recommend Lynn Robinson’s book Trust Your Gut: How The Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business

 

What and Who You Truly Want to Become

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking,” said Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. It already knows what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

The reality is that many people spend their lives ignoring their real calling, their passion, and their true path with heart. Decisions based purely on the analysis of the cold, hard, objective facts ignore what it is to be human, to be fully alive. If you want to wake every morning looking forward to your life, then getting in touch with your emotions is a vital part of any decision-making and planning process.

Intuition is the Gateway to Your Authentic Self

“Your sixth sense is your authentic self,” says intuitive author and business psychic Sonia Choquette. And this authenticity is the thing you want in business. It’s what attracts others to you, and it’s what sets you apart in the crowd. There’s no one else like you in the world. When you trust your intuition, you trust your SELF.

Intuition is the language of the soul speaking through the heart. Your intuition may not make logical sense, but it makes heartfelt sense and speaks to your need to be whole and have integrity. Intuition rather than logic offers a way to break out of old struggles, mindsets and limitations, and reach the clouds.

Look For and Heed the Signs

There’s a lovely scene in a movie called Man On A Wire about a high-wire walker Philippe Petit, who, while reading the newspaper in France, experienced a lightning flash of insight.

Staring down at an article about the proposed building of the World Trade Centre he knew what he wanted to do and become—the first, and the only man, to walk across New York’s World Trade Centre, supported by nothing but a wire stretching across the twin towers. 1,368 feet above Manhattan!

At the time, the buildings, later destroyed in the 2011 attacks, were still only in the concept and design phase. But Philippe ripped out the newspaper cuttings and set about planning how he would make his dream come true.

Inspirational people are like vitamins for our souls. Philippe’s pursuit of passion is inspiring on so many levels. Not only did he succeed, but he also excited so many others.

Barry Greenhouse, for example, an insurance executive at the time, served as the inside man, spicing up his life in the process. His intuitive daring and courage also captured moviemakers, who later brought this amazing feat to international screens.

The film of Philippe’s quest was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Festival. In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Philippe Petit’s, and the movie’s success is further testament to the power of passion and listening to your intuition.

You may not have such ‘lofty’ or death-defying aspirations, but if you listen to your intuition you will summon the courage, drive, passion, and fortitude to pursue your own path with heart. Perhaps you too will inspire people and meet with the success others only dream of.

What can Philippe teach you?

  • Listen to and follow your intuitive spark of excitement
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams
  • Minimize distractions—maintain absolute, unswerving focus
  • Be playful, whilst being safe
  • Let go of your safety net. Trust your skill and preparation
  • Commit your all—put everything on the line if necessary
  • Do what you love
  • Practice. Practice. Practice
  • Design a fail-proof strategy
  • Leave nothing to chance—this is your life we’re talking about
  • Just do it!

Trust Your Gut to Grow Your Business

Lynn Robinson, an international expert on intuition in business, speaks from personal experience how trusting her gut attracted clients overnight and gave her the confidence to quit her job. She writes in her book, Trust Your Gut:

“My fledgling intuitive consulting business began 20 years ago as the result of intuition. I walked into a funeral service for a friend who had just passed away. I heard an inner voice saying, “Sit there.” My attention was drawn to an empty seat next to one of the few people in the room I didn’t know.

Always a believer in trusting these auditory messages, I sat next to her. The short version of the story is that my seat-mate turned out to be a reporter for The Boston Globe newspaper. She wrote a story about my unusual consulting business. As a result, over 300 people called me to request my services and my new career was born.

When I met the Boston Globe reporter, I was still working as an operations manager for a software company. Gaining over 300 clients virtually overnight might be some people’s idea of a dream come true. To me, it was anxiety producing. I was fearful of giving up my “normal” job, with benefits and a weekly paycheck, to be out on my own as a consultant. “Could I keep both jobs?” was the question I asked myself as I drifted off to sleep.

When I awakened in the morning, I had to laugh. In my dream, I was out on a lake in canoes. Yes, plural! I had one foot in one canoe and the other foot in another canoe and they were headed in opposite directions! I took that as a very clear sign that I wasn’t meant to begin my consulting business while holding on to my day job. I gave my notice that day and never looked back.”

Listening to your inner self is a very important part of re-creating and strengthening your authentic or true self.

Knowing how to slow down and tap into your intuition or “inner knowing” will help you not only gain greater self-mastery and control, but also give you some essential tools to have on hand to help you ride the winds of change and to strengthen your sense of self.

 

What You’ve Learned

  • Intuition is ‘knowing’ without having any idea why you know it. It’s different from thinking; it’s different from logic or analysis. It’s knowing without knowing
  • Many successful people trust their gut and act on their intuitive guidance in business
  • Your intuition is your inner guide and is more powerful than intellect. It will help you make good decisions
  • Intuition is a resource that, if nurtured, can lead to great business ideas, increased sales, profitable investments, creative inventions, successful hires, advantageous negotiations, bigger profits, and increased accuracy in forecasting business trends
  • Trusting your gut in business will help you have: confidence when you have nothing to go on, and no concrete experience or information on which to base your decision; clarity in the face of a tsunami of choices and possibilities; the ability to make the right choice faster, rather than becoming bogged down in months or years of analysis; awareness of self-employment opportunities you may not have considered; inspiration and courage to start
  • Strengthen your intuition by tuning into your body barometer, meditating, resting, spending time in nature, and asking your higher Self open generative questions.

 

What’s Next?

To succeed in business, you need to be visible and capture the mind and hearts of your customers. Marketing is one way of making sure people know who you are, what you do and how to find you. It’s not a dirty word. Done well, it’s an art.

Are you ready to show your work?

 

This is an edited extract from Midlife Career Rescue: (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late” by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop—getBook.at/EmployYourself2018

 

How I put more fuel in an empty tank

Friday, November 17th, 2017

 

Recently, someone asked me, “Have you always been a hamster on a wheel?”

Her question certainly got me thinking how seldom it is that I stop and take a break. Many people who love what they do find it hard to stop. In fact, very often working is how I relax. I Iove writing—it’s like a meditation to me. I love creative expression, and I love encouraging others. I love what I do for work so much I find it hard to stop and take time out just to be.

Most of my life I’ve struggled with taking time out. I love being busy 🙂 But several things changed my thinking and altered my perspective. I began to feel fatigued and feelings of despondency crept in—including increasingly negative evaluations of the effectiveness of the work that I do.

If these feelings are something you can relate to, know that they are red flag warning you that’s it’s time to cut yourself some slack and take a break. I did just that when, in September,  I went to Bali with my mom. For three blissful weeks I went off the grid—no writing, no social media, no digital gadgets whatsoever—other than my camera. It has been so long that I did something just for fun, as a hobby, that I had forgotten how much I loved it.

So, in this end of the week Kickstarter, I’m sharing a few timely reminders from The Happy, Healthy Artist: Worry Less, Improve Your Health & Create a Sustainable Creative Career

 

Excerpts to soothe & inspire…

PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Jessie Burton, the author of The Muse and The Miniaturist, powerfully sums up how anxiety can sneak up on you and the importance of protecting your health—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Below is an extract from the vivid account she shared on her blog earlier in 2017:

“I looked my mental health in the eye and did not do enough to protect it. I burned out again, I suffered dehydration and a viral infection, but far worse, my anxiety came in huge and truly awful doses and, in the end, I had to cancel a few events. I am well aware of the places I had to cancel events, and one day, I hope to make up for that in those places. It wasn’t many, but I did feel terrible.

I truly love having readers, and I did the best I could, a four-month publicity tour, two continents, five events in three days kind of thing, but by the end of September, the scrutiny and analysis, repetition and a sinking of myself led to physical damage and a deep sense of alienation, panic and an indefinable loss.The thing I want most to do in the world is write, and I agonized that if writing led to this kind of struggle, then what was the solution?” she asked.

Balance. That is the solution.

***

STRESS LESS

Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil…It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time. ~ Margarita Tartakovsky, blogger

AS JESSIE BURTON’S experience illustrated when you are under too much pressure, take too much on and don’t take time out, you tend to live your life on overdrive and on the verge of burnout. When you’re stressed you are less effective, make more mistakes, suffer more and are prone to illness. Very often people turn to “medicine”—chemical highs, alcohol, and prescription drugs—to manage the symptoms.

But the reality is that these only offer temporary relief. They mask symptoms which, left unresolved, can set fire to everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Fortify your resilience. Stop, take a break, rest, eat well, stay away from negative people, cultivate optimism, exercise, do things you love, play, spend time in nature, experience the quietness of solitude, and experiment with other effective stress management techniques.

***

AROMATHERAPY FOR MENTAL ALERTNESS

 If you believe in aromatherapy…it works! If you don’t believe in aromatherapy…it works! ~ Cristina Proano-Carrion, aromatherapist

ALONG WITH YOUR skills and capabilities, it is your state of mind that determines how productive, successful and happy you will be. There are many ways to empower your mind—working with essential oils is one of the most effortless. The sense of smell is the most basic and primitive of all our senses and is of vital importance to authors.

The process of smelling is called olfaction and is incredibly complicated, taking place in several areas of the brain including the limbic system which itself has approximately 34 structures and 53 pathways. The limbic system is linked to sensations of pleasure and pain, and emotions— both positive and negative, including fear and confidence, sadness and joy and other feelings that can either erode or boost productivity and prosperity.

THE FOLLOWING BLENDS are also great ‘pick-me-ups’ for your weary mind:

Alertness:

Ginger, 6 drops

Grapefruit, 5 drops

Juniper Berry, 4 drops

15 ml of a carrier oil

Energizing:

Lavender, 8 drops

Lemon, 2 drops

Orange, 6 drops

Rosemary, 4 drops

 

All excerpts from  The Happy, Healthy Artist: Worry Less, Improve Your Health & Create a Sustainable Creative Career available from Amazon as an ebook or paperback here—viewBook.at/HappyHealthyArtist

P.S.

I’ll be sharing my strategies for a stress-free Christmas and holiday season with a journalist from the New Zealand Herald, who interviewed me recently. It’s a super important topic – so many people find it hard to switch off.

See this blog about the importance of a digital detox-https://buff.ly/2z5x2cF

How to develop more grit and perseverance – consult the oracle

Monday, November 13th, 2017

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all

~ Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel had to overcome obstacles to success just like you and I. She suffered many hardships, including the death of her mother when she was young, being abandoned by a father who didn’t love her, growing up in an orphanage, and the stigma of her early years which plagued her throughout her life.

She suffered extreme poverty, self-doubt, low self-esteem and craved love. People jealous of her talent also spread malicious rumors and tried to undermine her success.

But she didn’t let obstacles stop her from doing the work she loved. The pursuit of excellence born from her experience, fueled by her determination to be an independent woman, and the desire to liberate others, ultimately led to her success.

Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit is an inspiration to young and old. Have you ever wondered what sustained her throughout her life and career?

Tarot and other subjects such as astrology, alternative healing, psychic phenomena, spirituality, and a fascination with the Goddess legends, captured Coco Chanel’s interest.

She, like many people, found great wisdom, peace, comfort and healing from an eclectic array of spiritual rituals.

As the astrologer, Jessica Adams, shares on her website, “Coco Chanel used the Lenormand oracle card deck to help her in business—as well as in her personal life. As my friend, Justine Picardie explains in her acclaimed biography of Chanel, ‘the cards still rest where she left them, lying in a moment frozen in time, in her apartment in Paris.’”

Coco was taught the precepts of Theosophy by the first and foremost love of her life, the English playboy, Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel (CBE).

Theosophy is defined by some sources as, “A collection of mystical and occultist philosophies concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of, the presumed mysteries of life and nature, particularly of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe.”

My first experience with psychic phenomena and the tarot was when I was a teenager in New Zealand in the late 70s. A friend had given her baby up for adoption and asked me to come with her to visit a psychic for a reading.

I remember feeling both apprehensive and excited. I was amazed that the reading revealed such true things about my life, and I knew then that there was something special about tarot cards.

Like Coco, it’s a fascination that stayed with me throughout my life and which continues to provide inspiration courage and fortitude—both personally and professionally. No one knows exactly how tarot cards originated. The earliest Tarot deck dates back to the 1400s Renaissance Italy.

‘I’ve come to believe that a lot of wisdom was incorporated in the tarot. I feel, as others do, that the ancient keepers of the old ways or earth-based spirituality, wanted to pass on information,” writes Karen Vogel in the introduction to her Motherpeace Tarot Guidebook.

‘As warfare increasingly became a way of life in the Dark Ages of Europe, old ways were lost as whole cities and civilizations were wiped out.

‘It was more and more difficult to pass on oral and written traditions since whole cultures were destroyed and ancient libraries burned. One of the traditional stories about the origins of the tarot is that the wisdom keepers in these cultures were the storytellers, artists, and healers.

They chose between writing a spiritual or philosophical text or putting the knowledge into a game. They decided that a game in the form of cards would last longer, be more accessible to everyone, and easier to hide.’

By the time of the Renaissance Christianity had dominated Europe as both a political and religious powerhouse. Millions of women, who were often the healers and spiritual leaders, were murdered during the Inquisition. Those who threatened Church authority or knew about ritual and healing, either died or went into hiding, taking certain information with them. It was in this atmosphere that tarot began and subsequently spread all over Europe.

Of all the psychological theories in the West, that of revered Swiss psychologist Carl Jung stands out as most applicable to Tarot.

Jung wrote about Tarot on several occasions, seeing it as depicting archetypes of transformation like those he found in myths, dreams, and alchemy.

He described its divinatory abilities as similar to the IChing and astrology, and late in life established a group who attempted to integrate insights about a person based on multiple divination systems including Tarot.

Jessica Adams also notes, “This connection with astrology is not something that the house of Chanel shies away from today. In fact, I vividly remember Karl Lagerfeld’s illustration of the zodiac sign Sagittarius, decorating my horoscope column in Vogue Australia.”

Astrology also played a major role in Lagerfeld’s campaign for the perfume Chance, where a lion plays a key role. The ‘Chanel-Leo’ is very important when understanding the house of Chanel, the woman who created it—and the fragrance.

Jessica Adams also suggests that one of the cards in Coco’s Lenormand deck inspired one of the secret ingredients contained in Chanel N°5, “…this card shows a beautiful green tree, seven love hearts, and the message… ‘A tree far away means good health—when near—illness there will be, many trees close together means things will turn out all right, you’ll see.’

As we now know, a naturally occurring tree moss is one of the secret ingredients in Chanel N°5 fragrance. A coincidence? Or did Chanel bring together astrology and the Lenormand, when choosing her blend?”

Your Challenge

Experiment with tarot—either have a reading with an experienced tarot card reader or study the cards and their meanings for yourself

Feed your curiosity—take note of the places and circumstances where tarot, astrological symbols and other mystical and occultist philosophies are used—in business and life

How could you blend astrology and tarot into your career and life?

He who has a mind to understand, let him understand

~ Mary Magdalene, in The Gospel of Mary

 

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

How You Can Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and Unlock Your Creative Potential

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Whenever I’m in a slump or needing an inspirational boost I turn to people who are smarter or more skilled than me for good advice.

I’ve done the same with qualities I’ve wanted to develop, like patience. “What would Mother Theresa do now?” I asked many years ago. Mother Theresa wouldn’t shout! She wouldn’t lose her cool. She’d send loving kindness and smile. And that’s what I did whenever I got frustrated.

Leonardo da Vinci was super smart! As I wrote The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, I applied the strategies I’m sharing with you to help me finish this book and make progress with my historical novel, Mona Lisa’s Secret

If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company, Leonardo’s been there. I’ve been there too—as have many successful people. Guess what, getting in your own way is normal!

I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find them in the pages of this book.

Dig into The Art of Success and let Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as he calls forth your passions, purpose and potential.

Through the teachings of Leonardo, extensive research into the mysteries of motivation, success and fulfilment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a holistic psychologist, The Art of Success will help you accelerate success. Together, Leonardo and I will guide you to where you need to go next and give you practical steps to achieve success.

I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank-teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers. I even spent time in prison—on a work assignment.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy. Leonardo was luckier—he was encouraged to pursue his natural inclination. My hope is that after reading The Art of Success you will too.

Whether your calling is the world of commerce or seeking answers in the stars, it’s never too late to be yourself.

Step into this ride joyfully and start creating your best life today.

Here are just a few of Leonardo’s success strategies:

 

THE POWER OF PASSION

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilised by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve and tenacity.

As Leonardo once said, “No labour is sufficient to tire me”. Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

Your Challenge

What will passion do for you?

The really important stuff is not in my résumé. It’s what has gone on almost unnoticed in the secret chambers of the heart

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

YOUR SOUL’S DESIRE

Men who desire nothing but material riches are absolutely devoid of that wisdom which is the food and the only true riches of the mind.  So much worthier is the soul than the body, so much nobler are the possessions of the soul than those of the body

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo described himself as an inventor—it was fundamental to his success. He was a visionary, always searching to understand what was and what could be.  In his quest to create and invent he sought knowledge and wisdom above all else. He sought to fill  his soul and he sought to be of service to the world, advancing science and other realms in the process.

Acquiring material riches wasn’t high on his list of priorities. In life as in chess, forethought wins. Decide what you really want, what you are prepared to give up for it and what your priorities will be.

Your Challenge

If you’re struggling to clarify what it is you really want notice the times your soul comes alive. Notice what excites and interests you, and keep these clues to passion in an inspirational journal.

Passion, love, bliss or joy—whatever name it goes by—is hard to define but easy to see and feel. Your body will change quickly when the richness of your soul finds you.

Here are just a few of her clues:

  • A burning desire, hunger, sense of excitement or feeling of inspiration
  • A state of arousal—a racing heart, light-headedness, sweaty palms, butterflies, breathlessness
  • A feeling of limitless energy
  • A clarity of vision
  • A sense of purpose and caring deeply
  • A feeling of contentment

I don’t believe you can ever really cook unless you love eating

~ Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef

 

LEAD DON’T FOLLOW

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo combined what he loved with his vision and talent for fulfilling future needs. The threat of war made him design things that would protect cities. The desire for faster travel propelled his quest to find a way for man to fly. Illness and death drove him to understand the human body.

He once said, “The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.”

His creations were original, and many artists of the time copied him—including Raphael. Many of Leonardo’s designs were spectacularly ahead of his time. So many of his ideas were impossible to build during the 15th and 16th centuries with the tools available and Leonardo’s financial constraints. However 500-plus years later he’s still regarded as a leader.

Your Challenge

Don’t chase the market. Create a need, or fulfil anticipated ones. Don’t be deterred if at first you don’t succeed. Do what you dream about and wait for the world to catch up. No one really knows what, or who, be the next hot thing.

Persevere with your vision. Let the beauty and imagineering you love be the work that you do. Cocoon yourself in the protective magic and power of creative, lateral, blue-skies thinking. Read and learn about other leaders and pioneers. And become the lead character in your own book of life.

You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Become Audaciously Obsessed: How Passionate Obsessions Empower Your Productivity and Prosperity

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

 

 

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be

~ Patanjali, Yogi and Mystic

 

Nothing boosts productivity more than a healthy obsession. A healthy obsession can be a liberating and clarifying catalyst to your true calling and career direction—especially for people in the mid-life zone. With maturity comes renewed confidence and determination to pursue, and write about, the things they are truly passionate about.

Passion, some say, can be difficult to find, but if you’re awake it will find you. Stay open-hearted and open-minded. Don’t be like so many adults who fail to discover it all together, and in the absence of any encouragement, give up.

“People pride themselves upon their willpower, their indomitable courage, upon the fact that nothing frightens them,” writes T. Lobsang Rampa, in his classic book You Forever. “They assured bored listeners that with their willpower they can do anything at all.” But the truth is there is no greater power than imagination, passion, and the incredible power of love.

“The Last Supper soon became my obsession,” writes Spanish author Javier Sierra in his book The Secret Supper, a dazzling historical thriller.

His novels all have a ‘secret’ common purpose: to solve historical musketries based on real documentation and extensive field research. Javier’s passion and his obsession have made him a bestseller author throughout the world.

Similarly, Joe Medeiros, a writer, and producer, known for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, developed an obsession for Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic portrait of the Mona Lisa after reading about its theft from the Louvre.

Medeiros’ obsession had a singular focus—discovering the truth. He first learned that the Mona Lisa was stolen when he was 25 and spent the next 30 years trying to discover the thief’s motivation—a simple Italian immigrant named Vincenzo Peruggia who worked as a house painter in Paris.

When asked why he was so fascinated by the story, and why he devoted over 35-years to his quest Medeiros said, “The fact that that I couldn’t solve the mystery. I wasn’t able to write it as a [fictional] screenplay] but once we started to make the documentary, everything started to fall into place. And I always wanted to know, was he crazy? Did he do it for patriotism, did he do it for money, did someone commission him? I had all these questions and that’s what kept me at it until I found the answers.”

Because of my own obsession with The Mona Lisa, and also with discovering the truth, I came across Medeiros’ wonderful documentary and have since reached out to him to help me with my research for my novel of historical art-related fiction set in Renaissance and modern-day Florence. (formerly known with the working title of Mona Lisa’s Secret).

Learn more about Joe Medeiros’s 35-year obsession here—http://www.monalisamissing.com/single-post/2015/07/19/The-Story-of-the-Film-A-35YearLong-Obsession.

Even better, visit his website and follow the links to view his fascinating documentary >>http://www.monalisamissing.com/ 

Passionate Obsessions Empower Your Productivity and Prosperity

A healthy obsession can lead you to many things, including:

• A state of divine flow—enabling you to write with mind-blowing productivity

• Your point of excellence—unleashing dormant talents and natural gifts

• Rocket-fuel tenacity to persevere and succeed

• Mentors, helpful allies and similarly obsessed people who will cheerlead and elevate your success

• A legion of devoted fans who are drawn to your impassioned writing

• Your passion and life purpose—spreading seeds of joy and inspiration and benefiting others

• Your life niche—creating a breath of fresh air and giving you a competitive edge

• True bliss—leading you to your vocation where being paid is the icing on the cake

New Zealand motorcycling legend Burt Munro proved that passionate obsession is the key to success. “All my life I’ve wanted to do something big,” he said. In 1967 Burt achieved something huge.

At the age of 68, against all the odds, he set a world record of 183.586 mph with his highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle. To qualify he made a one-way run of 190.07 mph, the fastest ever officially recorded speed on an Indian.

Like so many inspiring people the road to success was not an easy one—it involved much personal hardship and numerous setbacks, but armed with his passion and a compelling desire to “go out with a bang,” Burt Munro mortgaged his house and set out on the greatest adventure of his life.

His truly awesome achievements were brought to life in an inspiring and uplifting film, The World’s Fastest Indian.

The World’s Fastest Indian not only gives movie-goers an inside look at Munro’s passion, but it also gives them an idea of New Zealand filmmaker Roger Donaldson’s overwhelming desire to tell the story.

“This project has been a passion of mine since I completed a documentary about Burt Munro back in 1972,” Donaldson said. “I have been intrigued by Burt’s story for many, many years; some would say my obsession with this film matches Burt’s obsession with his bike.”

Donaldson’s passion for his subject has won him international acclaim from Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins. “I thought it was a terrific movie. It is a unique script…it is just so well written, very well written, beautifully written, and so refreshing. I’ve worked with a lot of great directors, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, and Roger Donaldson is there with that lot, you know. He really is,” Hopkins said.

 

What Do You Collect?

Passionate obsessions, as you have begun to discover, go in all directions, and many times they are revealed in your collections. These could be as tangible as exotic butterflies, books, spoons, antiques, paintings, or as intangible as a dream or an idea.

I collect positivity and articles and stories related to people’s extraordinary passions. My collections have inspired many of my self-empowerment books.

As I mentioned, I also have a passionate obsession with all things related to Leonardo da Vinci, but particularly his portrait of The Mona Lisa, and I have a burning desire to reveal the truth being the mysterious life of the woman in the painting, Lisa del Giocondo. I am sure I own every single book every written about both Lisa and Leonardo. My partner once laughed, “There are three of us in this relationship—you, me and The Mona Lisa.”

It’s true, I am obsessed and enthralled with my research for my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret and with telling her story. Follow  my obsession and sign up to my newsletter and be the first to know when this story will be published—http://eepurl.com/bEArfT. Sign up now and receive a welcome gift—your free ‘Find your Passion’ E-book.

 

Mining for Gold

Become audaciously obsessed. Real obsession is more than a fad or a fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a tap. Answering the following questions will help you begin to clarify the things you have a burning obsession for:

What do you value? What do you need to experience, feel, or be doing to feel deeply fulfilled?

What do you collect? List all your obsessions and the things that interest you deeply. How can your passions fuel obsessive productivity?

 

Dive Deeper. . .

If you’re struggling to identify your obsessions, you’ll find some handy prompts and true stories in my book Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. You’ll also find inspiration, including true transformational change stories by people like you in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series.

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

Do less and earn more today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

Do You Have a Story to Tell? How to Make a Living With Your Writing

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

 

Melinda Hammond’s passion is helping people tell their stories and bringing in experts to help the listeners of her podcast, Writer on The Road, do just that. Recently I had the great pleasure of sharing my story of making a living from my writing and discuss the importance of maintaining a millionaire mindset. Listen to our fun and informational chat here>> https://buff.ly/2frKrm1

Here’s Melinda’s overview:
“Adopt a millionaire mindset—dream big, be audacious, take inspired action, and fear less, says best selling author and motivational coach, Cassandra Gaisford. We need to live more and experience life to the full. The power to create a life of prosperous significance lies within us and Cassandra tells us how with her Prosperous Author Series, which kicks off with Developing a Millionaire Mindset. It sounds easy enough, except it’s not. That’s where Cassandra comes in. After an hour listening to Cassandra talk us through the process, we are empowered to go it alone. Until next week, anyway, when she’s back to share a few tricks from Book 2 with us on productivity hacks, how to do less and make more. There’s never been a better time to harness the field of vast potential to make a living from our writing. But to grow our income we need to grow, too. Cassandra’s Series will show us how. You can find out more here: www.cassandragaisford.com

 

Here’s a link to the post Melinda Hammond mentioned, FINANCE YOUR WRITING CAREER WITH THESE SIMPLE AND SAVVY STRATEGIES http://www.cassandragaisford.com/how-to-finance-your-writing-career/

Here’s an excerpt from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset)

 

 

What Makes You Happy?

Many people find journaling or writing a book makes their soul sing.

When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, and I call it breathing.

~ Anais Nin

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.”

When you write with joy, everything is heightened. Your words have spring and bounce, liveliness and vivaciousness—that’s why good writing, even if the subject is dark, has longevity. Readers can feel this infectious energy in your books.

Writing is a powerfully transformative mode of self-expression. Not everyone agrees that you need to write with joy. Many authors write to get themselves out of a funk, to manage anxiety, or to write their way out of pain.

“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket,” the French poet Charles Peguy once said.

Some authors believe that to write well they must sit at the keyboard and bleed. This may be more to do with disciplining themselves to sit down and do the work.

But many prosperous authors say that when they enter the energy of their book, they transcend their worldly state of mind and commune with the divine

“I write because it’s fun. Writing is play for me,” says James Patterson. “Do not torture yourself. That’s how people get blocked.”

I write joyfully when I write in 15-minute cycles, and when I write outside in the sun surrounded by the birds and the hills and the trees. I write joyfully when I affirm to myself that I love writing and tell myself that I’m an excellent writer. Sooner or later, even if I’m in a funk, reality catches up!

 

Mining for Gold

When are the times you feel happy writing?

How can you write more joyfully?

 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here—getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

 

 

#amwriting #TheProsperousAuthorBook #inspiration
#workforyourself #learnonline #entrepreneurs #IncredibleWomen #changinglives #Takeyourchance #BeBoldForChange
#WritersBlock

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

How To Turn Rejection into Relentless Creativity

Friday, July 14th, 2017

 

Do you ever feel not good enough? I do. And so do many other successful, talented and capable people. My friend and fellow creative, Courtney Kennedy, the author of Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life recently sent out a newsletter which I loved.

Courtney Kenney is a book launch consultant as well as the author of four books on creativity and writing.

Her undergrad studies in Psychology focusing on anxiety led to a fascination with how our minds work as well as what motivates us. Courtney spent sixteen years as a project manager working for high-tech companies in the U.S. and Australia.

After a layoff in 2015, she spent time exploring her creative side in addition to rediscovering her love of writing. Courtney writes about creativity, writing, and self-publishing. Finally, she recently, she started a consulting business where she helps authors launch bestselling books.

I hope you find her newsletter and podcast as inspiring and encouraging to read and listen to as I did. Here is it below:

 

Do you ever feel not good enough? I do. And so do many other successful, talented and capable people. t out the following newsletter. I hope you find it as inspiring and encouraging to read as I did. Here is it below

Do you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve been laid off, dumped, or rejected? It’s fear and anxiety.

 

When we are rejected, we are threatened, and our brains go into defensive mode. Fear kicks in; we become sick with stress. But, there is a way to deal with the hurt.

 

Recently I appeared on the podcast, FEAR NOT: Living Beyond Your Fears with Billy Atwell, where I discussed my fear of not being good enough.

 

I explained how I got laid off a few years ago and channeled all my feelings of failure into writing.

 

Writing changed my life. By making space for creativity, the anxiety and stress were turned down.

 

Whatever fears you may be dealing with, pursuing creativity can help…

 

Instead of seeking empty pleasures, let’s pursue relentless creativity to chase away the fear. Writing, or however you choose to express your creativity, can be life-changing.

 

If you get a chance, check out the interview. It’s a quick one—just 12 minutes. Click here to listen: livingbeyondyourfears.com/courtney-kenney-feeling-failure-not-good-enough/

 

Takeaways include…

•    How making time everyday to be creative will help you with fear.

•    Being creative will increase your self-esteem.

•    The act of creativity will help you be more emotionally resilient.

 

Let me know what you think about the episode. What is your biggest fear? What did you do to overcome it?

 

Making Money With Your Writing

You may remember Cassandra Gaisford whom I featured as a case study in Creating Space to Thrive. She has a new book called The Prosperous Author: Developing a Millionaire Mindset.

 

For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their dreams.

 

But the evidence-based truth is that the world’s most successful authors and artists do not starve. In fact, they thrive by leveraging off the power of their millionaire mindset and capitalizing on their creative strengths.

 

Cassandra is a holistic psychologist, award-winning artist, and bestselling author. Her book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, earn extra income on the side, or improve their mindset.

 

For one more day, Cassandra is offering a 5-Part Video Mini-Course and free copies of her Amazon bestsellers: Find Your Passion and Purpose, Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series, and The Art of Success. Simply order the book: getbook.at/TheProsperousAuthor and send your receipt to cassandra@cassandragaisford.com to claim your bonuses.

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

How writing can save your life, boost your resilience and empower your warrior-spirit

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Even if you’re not an aspiring writer there are loads of mindset strategies in The Prosperity for Authors Series to help you deal with life, build greater resilience and persevere with your dreams.

In fact, recently I put some of the strategies I share both in book two, Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More and the first book in this series, Developing a Millionaire Mindset, to good use after a terrifying encounter with a violent intruder.

Curiously, and thankfully, writing saved me—both before and after the aggressive trespass. I had woken around midnight and decided to check Amazon for one of my romances The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride.

I had only been in my writing room for five minutes when I heard a van come up the long drive on our semi-rural property in The Bay of Islands.

Immediately I sensed danger. I knew instinctively it was the stranger who had come to our door the prior evening pretending to be lost.

Now, he returned again. He drove toward the house with his lights off, determined to hide beneath the cover of darkness.

Strangely, the Kiwis, New Zealand’s native, flightless and nocturnal birds that roam our property screeched loudly—as though warning me.

I heard the intruder swear. Terrified, I ran to wake my partner—and counted my blessings that he is a very alpha male with a black belt.

A long night involving the police ensued. And for three days this man with we later discover had a violent past and mental health problems continued to harass us —insisting we were hiding his wife and children.

It took some doing, but I refused to let him infect our lives, or impact my productivity any more than he had. Anger is such a destructive force. The best coping mechanism I know is to channel potentially toxic emotions into something I love—writing.

So I picked up my pen.

As I write this chapter just days after the event even though I can still feel the fear, the anxiety, the terror—it is less now. This event triggered buried memories of previous traumas involving obsessive, controlling men with a propensity for violence.

However, I have successfully ‘counselled’ myself by writing and journaling my way through my emotions.

As Catherine Jones writes in her aptly named book, Heal Yourself With Writing, creativity is therapy. “Journaling is a creative inner dialogue with one’s Self,” she says. And she is right.

Rather than lose further productive time I wrote my way through my terror and cleared space to create.

Rather than say, “I’m too traumatized, too tired, too uninspired to write,” I wrote anyway.

I focused on my goal for the day—in this case, to finish the edits for the first book in this series, Developing a Millionaire Mindset.

And I bribed myself with the promise of chocolate when I had completed my task.

Writing is my joy. My passion. My great love. And nobody, I vowed, would rob me of that. I would stay drunk on writing, I affirmed so that reality could not destroy me.

In time, I know I will use this experience for scenes in my fiction books and perhaps even pen a self-empowerment book to help others who may have experienced similar trauma. And of course, I have used this truly frightening experience in my life to write this chapter.

The experience also reminded me that I  should complete a half-finished manuscript, Keeper of My Heart—a romantic suspense about a woman running from a violent past and the handsome lawyer who protects her.

 

Mining for Gold

Is reality sucking the joy from your day? How can you stay drunk on writing?

 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Follow Your Passion to Prosperity!

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION TO PROSPERITY!

I’m so excited to be taking part in Ande Anderson’s Prosperity Summit. Ande, MS, RD, Co-Founder of AVAIYA & The Truth About Prosperity, is passionate about helping people become financially free. It’s Day 10 of the summit and my interview airs today!

In my interview with Ande you’ll learn the following:

-Residual Income benefits of being a self-published author
-Fast-track strategies to challenge limiting beliefs
-Tools to program your subconscious and empower your spiritual mindset
-Powerhouse techniques to develop an abundance mentality that attracts wealth

If you haven’t subscribed click here—
http://www.avaiya.com/bedosucceed/?ap_id=cgaisford

Blank bookcover with clipping path

It’s great timing with the release of my new book, The Prosperous Author: How to Make a-Living With Your Writing Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset.

The reception of the book has been better than I could’ve imagined (100% are 5-star reviews!).

Here are snippets of just a few of the reviews on Amazon:

“What I really like about The Prosperous Author is that it is a great book to read before you even put pen to paper. There are a zillion books on the market which tell us how to market and publish our books. This book stands apart from the rest in that it gets your head in the right mindset to create the best possible book. The prosperous author is overflowing with wonderful motivating and thought provoking quotes from bestselling and award-winning authors as samples and inspiration. This may be Cassandra’s finest book yet.” ~ Mimi Emmanuel, author The Holy Grail of Book Publishing

“A lot of great insights on how to become a more positive, passionate and prosperous writer. I loved the second part of the book “Cultivate a burning desire”. It really motivates me and inspires me to see how successful writers think and act.” ~ Thibaut Meurisse, blogger

“The Prosperous Author is a great read that really dives into the mindset of what it means to not just prosper financially but to live a successful and well-balanced life based on health, happiness and close relationships. This book is definitely for the reader who lacks self-esteem and wants more of it, wants to overcome perfectionism, or has doubt and uncertainty and needs to break beyond these barriers. The Prosperous Author can show you how to do all of that. This book is well-written, structured and serves as an excellent resource for authors and people looking to fill up their lives with positivity for achieving their goals and objectives. A definite “Good Read” recommendation.” ~ Scott Allan, author Do it Scared

If you’ve finished the book, would you mind sharing what you thought? Please take a moment to add a brief, honest review of  The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset) here

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Even if you’re not an aspiring writer there are loads of mindset strategies to help you deal with life, build greater resilience and persevere with your dreams. In fact, recently I put some of the strategies I share to good use after a terrifying encounter with a violent intruder—something I’ll tell you more about later!

If you think would be a good fit for your friends, fans, clients etc.—please share this newsletter and link.
getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor.

To your peace and prosperity!

 

P.S. Reviews go a long way to help books we care about and that make a difference reach more people. Please add your review here.

P.P.S. Free for a limited time! Order your copy of Developing a Millionaire Mindset today, email your receipt, and receive the following FREE bonus materials. Click here before the deal expires—getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor.

BONUS GIVEAWAYS

Order The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset eBook, save and send me your receipt, and receive FREE special bonus gifts!

 

The Prosperous Author 5-Part Video Mini-Course

FREE copies of my Amazon best-sellers:

Find Your Passion and Purpose

Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series

The Art of Success: Coco Chanel

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

How to finance your writing career

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

FINANCE YOUR WRITING CAREER WITH THESE SIMPLE AND SAVVY STRATEGIES

You may not have the cash at the moment, and the economy may not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean your mind can’t be working on your ideas and creating the way to a better future. Look for opportunities in every climate. That’s leverage

~ Cassandra Gaisford

Many people dream of writing a book or making a living from their writing but say that lack of spare cash is holding them back. They prevent themselves from choosing what they want to do because they fear there won’t be the necessary money or support to allow it.

But money doesn’t have to be an obstacle to seeking more fulfilling work. Financing a career change, despite all the obstacles in your way, involves a conscious commitment to move forward, and a willingness to think laterally and pragmatically about a range of financial options.

There are many different ways to finance a career change including: consolidating debt, future-gazing and demand creation, career combo-ing, seeking investors, using equity, reducing outgoings, generating extra cash flow, and applying for funding.

The discipline needed to reprioritize your finances will be easier, and the sacrifices more bearable, if you allow your desire to drive you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the possible financing options:

 

Rewrite your goals. List all the benefits making a change will bring. These may include better health, more money in the longer term or improved relationships with loved ones.

 

Assess your current situation. Get an accurate picture of all your outgoings and expenses. Consolidate debt. Seek financial advice if necessary.

 

Get a reality check on your future plans. Is there a current or future demand for your writing? Could you create one? What is the true cost of making a change? Isolate costs against benefits: cash in against cash out. How much money do you really need to spend and create?

 

Earn more. Think laterally to create cash flow. A job doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. Can you finance your career by doing a career-combo, working in a variety of different ways or for several employers? As you’ve read, many people work at several jobs to earn extra cash.

 

Generate extra cash flow by increasing the money you earn. Some possible strategies include: negotiating a pay rise in your current position; taking on a new higher-paying role; or turning a hobby into cash flow.

New Zealand based, USA Today bestselling historical romance author Bronwen Evans, for example, took on a high-paying, high-pressure, one-year communications contract to allow her to take a year off so she could pursue her dream of becoming a full-time novelist.

 

Seek investors. Use other people’s money to create the momentum you need. Remember there’s good borrowing—borrowing to increase wealth, and bad borrowing—borrowing so you can consume more. Most people spend all their spare income on non-asset-producing consumption.

Banks, family members and friends are all possible sources of investment income. Sam Morgan, who established the on-line trading company TradeMe, convinced his dad to back him, and earned millions of dollars in return. You may not pay back millions, but if your idea is sound, your investors can sleep at night knowing they will be repaid.

 

Utilize equity. Burt Munro, whose story was made famous in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, mortgaged his home. Could you use the equity in your own home to finance your career? If you don’t want to re-mortgage you could try asking for a mortgage holiday. Many banks allow 2–3 months of no mortgage payments.

As fashion designer Calvin Klein once said,  “I took the risk of putting my money on the line for the company.” Are you prepared to do the same thing?

 

Share the load. Who else has a stake in your success? Perhaps they may be able to inject more cash into your joint cash flow or pitch in and share the family load. New Zealand romance author Leanna Morgan asked her husband to take on the day-to-day family commitments so she could focus on her writing. Today she’s a USA Today bestselling author who sells up to 300 books a day and has legions of fans in America. She’s also the CEO of her own publishing company. In just two years, Morgan has gone from an unknown writer to one who earns over $200,000 a year, allowing the mother-of-two to give up her job as a Libraries and Arts Manager to concentrate on her writing. She recently shared with me that her goal is to make a million dollars, and more, from her writing.

“If anyone had told me two years ago that I’d be able to resign from a job I loved to become a full-time writer and publisher, I would have smiled and thought they were slightly crazy. But believe it or not, that’s what happened,” she told journalist Anna Kenna.

“Her success has not been without sacrifice, including little sleep and less time with husband Tim and her two children, aged 12 and 17,” Kenna writes in her article.

“I’d be up at 5.30am, getting in a few hours of writing before work, and writing in the evening when everybody else was asleep.”

So she could devote herself to writing, Leanna’s husband Tim shared more of their responsibilities.

“Tim took over running the house and organising our children,” Morgan says. “He did it to support me, but also because he could see the potential benefits of my success for the whole family.”

Sharing the load, hard word and commitment have yielded success beyond her and her family’s dreams.

“It’s taken away the financial stress, allowed us to take a nice holiday and to look forward to a future we never considered possible,” she says.

Find out more about Leanna Morgan here www.leeannamorgan.com and read the rest of this article, including why it’s a brilliant time to be an independent author, here >>

 

Reduce outgoings. Review your current commitments and expenditure. Proactively look around to make sure you are getting the best deal possible on your insurance, mobile phone plans, mortgages and other regular financial commitments. Take note of your savings and squirrel the extra money away for a rainy day.

John shopped around for a better deal on his household insurance and saved himself over $600 annually in premiums. He also negotiated an installment plan with creditors so that he could increase his credit debt repayments, saving over $5,400 in interest charges annually.

 

Get funded. Many people and organizations offer sponsorship and various forms of funding to help people pursue their dreams. Without the help of a grant from Creative New Zealand, author Lloyd Jones may never have written Mr Pip—the same book for which he won the prestigious and lucrative Man Booker Prize. The book was later made into a film.

Check out crowdfunding as an option, as Heather Morris initially shared in the chapter Knock The Bugger Off. Her attempts to finance her film script lead to a multi-national publishing deal.

 

Multiply your income streams. When authorpreneur Kevin Kruse made the move to self-employment he decided to record his financial success, complete with the highs and lows by publicly sharing his income reports on his blog. There’s lot of inspiration for anyone about to embrace change here:

http://authorjourneyto100k.com/income-report-december-2015-and-full-year/

Like many business people, Kevin knew early on, that having a variety of income streams would help him manage cash-flow.

“I went into this whole thing knowing that to make the money I wanted to make I would need to diversify my income. I knew I’d need to spend time speaking, creating online courses, and marketing.”

It is a common and successful strategy used by many business people, especially those working creatively. Ruth Pretty, for example, is a chef, newspaper columnist, cookbook writer, wedding venue provider, caterer and cooking school tutor. The common theme? Her pursuits all center around her passion for food.

Amongst other things, photographer Carla Coulson is a portrait photographer, magazine photojournalist, tutor, and travel photographer. At the time of writing, she has retrained as a life coach and now offers creativity coaching and wellness workshops.

Italian designer Giorgio Armani has a flourishing clothing empire, a swag of luxury hotels, a music production company, and an interior design business. And these are just a few of his multi-billion-dollar revenue lines.

I am a self-empowerment author, coach, holistic psychologist, romance writer, brand manager, and novelist of art-related historical fiction. I also write marketing materials (blogs, newsletters, website content etc.) for small businesses, and train people to become certified life and career coaches.

As my writing income grows I’m making a conscious decision to spend less time in some of these areas and more in others.

You may wish to focus on one income stream, but if this doesn’t work for you, consider diversifying. This will help you ride any fluctuating financial currents.

 

Remind yourself that money is not a measure of your true worth. Clarify what’s important to you. As Richard Branson said, “I don’t work for money, that’s too shallow a goal.” Lucky for him his passion for having fun has netted him millions—as it has for James Patterson and other prosperous authors.

Whatever path you choose, be sure to work with love. Sonia Choquette, author of Your Heart’s Desire echoes this view: “When you work with love you draw others to you. Embrace this truth. The reason for this is that love is the highest vibration on earth. When you work with love people feel it, are helped by it, and return to it. That’s why love is the best marketing tool around. Because it is so attractive, it pulls right to you what you need.”

 

The Money or Your Life

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, once said, “Choose a job that allows the opportunity for some creativity and for spending time with your family. Even if it means less pay—it is better to choose work that is less demanding, that gives you greater freedom, more time to be with your family and friends, engage in cultural activities or just play. I think that is best.”

This really spoke to me and was one of the primary reasons I chose to scale back my successful international consultancy. Time is more valuable to me than money. I can always find ways to get more money, but it is impossible to find more than 24 hours in any one day.

Be careful what you chase. Is it more money, or a better quality of life? With planning, it just may be possible to do both says Timothy Ferriss in his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Work Week.

His central premise is to automate everything so you can live and work independently, free from a fixed location. If this is something that appeals to you I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book.

We’ll also dive deeper into simple but savvy productivity strategies in Book Two, of The Prosperity for Authors series, Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More.

In this book, you’ll learn how to work less and produce more, including powerhouse productivity tools you can harness to help you finish what you start, create new books and take them to market so you can sell them faster.

 

Mining for Gold

Brainstorm or list as many ways as possible that you could finance your career. Seek suggestions from others to widen the possibilities. Ask your way to success.

Check out this interesting article http://tommorkes.com/the-complete-guide-to-crowdfunding-your-book/.

Read a copy of my book Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself and find out how one man financed his career and reclaimed his life.

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

Book Marketing With Visual Content. 3 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd With Images.

Monday, June 26th, 2017

I’ve recently released a new book The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset and I’ve been thinking about ways I can spread the word using visual content. I also want to know what content is most effective.

These are a few of my first attempts with imagery. I use Canva (www.canva.com) for most of my social media designs and the layouts you see below

I asked myself a couple of questions as I created these. Are the quotes 1.) inspiring 2). do they evoke emotion 3.) do the offer a promise or sense of the benefits readers will gain from reading The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset?

I know I still have work to do but I wanted to share my journey with you. Please email me or post your comments below. I would value your feebback.

 

 

 

One thing I found helpful was a recent blog post by Canva, “How To Create Impactful Blog Graphics”, Written by Maria Jose, this article has loads of helpful tips (I used some of her them directly in this post, but I highly recommend you check the full article).  Here’s what Maria shared:

Before diving into creating a cool header image or in-post graphic, it’s important for you to take a step back and define which visual elements — typefaces, colors or patterns — you’ll be using as building blocks to create any and all graphics for your blog. Essentially, you’ll define a visual style for your graphics and create a style guide to safeguard its integrity. ~Maria Jose

 

01. Create a Style Guide for Your Visual Content

Taking this on board I created a template using my book cover as a guide. In Evernote and Word (as a backup) I created a note I could refer back to when I needed. And in Canva I created the above, taking care to be consistent with font and colors.

 

02.Photography Style

Just like with everything else, you’ll want to aim for consistency among the photographs you use in your graphics or on your blog.This doesn’t just mean using the same filter. It means aiming for consistency in lighting, composition, and editing among all your images. If you are laying text on them, be sure to set it in similar ways and naturally, using one of the typefaces you’ve selected before. ~Maria Jose

I’m still defining my photography style. But I know that I’m after positive imagery that evokes and supports the key messages in  The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Developing A Millionaire Mindset).

When selecting images one thing I am mindful of is my color palette? Whenever possible, I try to incorporate it into photographs for my graphics too. Blues and golds—and a splash of white. These echo the themes of creative freedom, inspiration, out-of-the-box-thinking and a millionaire mindset—key messages in my book. Canva recommends throwing in props that are the same color as my palette, backgrounds and tying in my own color to help create lovely details.

03.Determine Which In-Post Graphics You Will Use the Most—and where you will share

Armed with your brand new style guide, define what your graphics content is as it will inform your design. Seek to understand exactly what you wish to communicate or accomplish with each graphic and let that knowledge drive your blog graphic’s design. With that in mind, chose the best way to communicate. ~Maria Jose

Joanna Penn’s blog post (click here to read) shares several strategies and platforms to take your great visual content and share it with your readers, including Pinterest (check out my Pinterest collection here https://nz.pinterest.com/cassandranz/the-prosperous-author-book-millionaire-mindset/.)

Of course, there are loads more places to share. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. At the same time, video and infographics have become powerful tools for authors looking to communicate more easily with readers.

 

 

Some Initial Thoughts…

 I surveyed some of my readers and here’s a few initial comments—it’s always good to get feedback. You can then decide where to from there.

Re the image with the ‘heroes’ – “Personally I’m not a big fan of the transparency. I find it rather confusing.”

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

 

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

 

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

 The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing

(Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 

To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

NEW RELEASE. The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

For anyone who wants to release the fear of failure, get motivated and achieve success. . .

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

In my new book The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I reveal dozens of insights based on survey research, my professional achievements and the success secrets of extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, James Patterson, Paulo Coelho, Nora Roberts, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and many more.

It’s one thing to write a book, it’s another thing entirely to make a living at it.

Developing a prosperous mindset is the foundation skill from which all else follows.

So many famous stories are about having belief in yourself and achieving your potential.

But in many of us, there is a hesitant skeptical part of ourselves that knows, “I probably should believe in myself more, but what if I am deluding myself? What if I’m not good enough?”

I know this feeling very well. For many years I struggled with a negative mindset. I started books and other writing projects and never finished them. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. Who did I think I was writing a book? What if I failed? What if my books never sold? And loads of other messages that kept me stuck in a soul-sucking day job I hated. But, using the techniques I share in The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I’m not only making a living from my writing but I’m inspiring other people to follow their dreams too.

Perhaps you’ve bought into the myth that you can’t make money from your writing. For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture, leaching into the minds of creative people and stifling their dreams.

But the evidence-based truth is that the world’s most successful authors and artists do not starve. In fact, they thrive by leveraging off the power of their millionaire mindset and capitalizing on their creative strengths.

The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset is a blueprint for mastering five principles of success.

By fuelling your desire, mastering your subconscious mind, maintaining optimum health, empowering your relationships, making a commitment to turn pro and slaying obstacles, you’ll elevate your attitude to success itself and create the ultimate mindset.

 

Though it was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their mindset

A must read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, or earn extra income on the side!

ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

BONUS GIVEAWAYS

The Prosperous Author 5-Part Video Mini-Course

FREE copies of my Amazon best-sellers:

  • Find Your Passion and Purpose
  • Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series
  • The Art of Success: Coco Chanel


Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

 

ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Making space for prosperity

Monday, June 19th, 2017

One of my daily practices is to ensure I clear my desk at the end of the day, and write a few notes regarding the focus for the next day, celebrate my successes by writing them in my journal and acknowledging the things I’m grateful for.

This creates joy, and space in my mind, and enables me to approach the new day feeling inspired and focused—assuming I’ve also cleared my mind at the beginning of the day by meditating, completing my morning pages and walking in the morning too.

If Morning Pages are a new concept to you I explain this wonderful tool developed by Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way, a little more in the chapter Journal Your Way to Success in my new book The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 Here’s a wee excerpt:

 

JOURNAL YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

I love my writing journal. It’s my partner in writing, there for me whenever I need it, my confidant and my supporter and my record of where I’ve been

~ Anne Gracie, romance author

Recently, while tackling a mammoth writing project, I talked myself into a bit of a funk. I knew that what I really needed was some positive reminders of my intentions. Instead of saying, “I quit”, and “I am so over this,” and retelling the story that allowed for failure, I went online and purchased a beautiful black sketchbook. Prior to this, I had noticed anxiety building—as it always does when I don’t have a special book in which to purge and reshape my thoughts.

With my gold pen, I wrote some of the most empowering and encouraging quotes from other authors who have also struggled to maintain a prosperous mindset while writing an epic book.

Top of my list was Jessie Burton’s empowering words, “Always picture succeeding never let it let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly  things seem to be going in the moment.”

These words reminded me that I was picturing failure. I was telling myself messages of failure. I was feeling failure.

Jesse Burton, the author of The Muse and The Miniaturist is very inspiring to me because she is so honest about her own battles with mental health—including anxiety. “In February I was publicly honest about how difficult it had been to handle, process and assimilate in real time some of the changes in my life. Namely, the strange and wondrous effects of The Miniaturist. I wrote about anxiety, my first tentative foray into putting that mental morass into words,” she wrote in one of her newsletters.

As Jessie highlights blogging and sharing your thoughts with your fans is another form of cathartic journalling—as is writing a book like this. “You could have talked more about your personal experience so that other writers can more easily relate to you,” wrote an advance reader of this book. You’ll notice, in this chapter, and throughout this book that I’ve woven in more of my experiences, the highs and the lows, as a result.

To boost your success mindset another form of journalling is writing Morning Pages, a strategy developed by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.

The writing is just a stream of consciousness, writing out whatever you are feeling—good  (or what one of my clients calls the “sunnies”) or not so good (“the uglies”). 

“It’s a way of clearing the mind—a farewell to what has been and a hello to what will be,” Julia says.

“Write down just what is crossing your consciousness. Cloud thoughts that move across consciousness. Meeting your shadow and taking it out for a cup of coffee so it doesn’t eddy your consciousness during the day.”

The point of this writing is to work with your subconscious and let it work its magic in the creative, healing process.

Mining for Gold

Keep a writing journal for specific writing projects. It may not work for you, but you will never know until you try

Start where you are—commit to a daily practice of writing morning pages and journal for self-exploration

Dive Deeper. . .

You can find our more about morning pages here http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

“Your Challenge – Dream big. Everything starts as someone’s daydream. Fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles. Become audaciously obsessed. Dream big but plan small. Baby steps will lead to bigger success. Anchor your dreams within your heart and feel as though they are already achieved.” – Cassandra Gaisford

I discovered author Cassandra Gaisford when I read her Career Rescue books. She writes inspiring non-fiction about how to live a creative life, pursue your passion, and make meaningful change in your life. A number one bestselling Amazon author, she also writes romance and historical fiction and is a coach and speaker.

Cassandra is inspiring because she leads by example—she follows her passion for writing and art, and she helps others find their creativity through her entrepreneurial writing business which includes coaching and speaking.

She is a fellow 9-to-5 job escapee. Read on to learn about Cassandra. You’ll find that she’s an inspiring example of a person who found space in her life to create.

Finding the place

Q: Where do you work on your business?

Cassandra: I run my business from home in a beautiful office overlooking the picturesque Bay of Islands, in Northland, New Zealand. I feel very fortunate to live and work in such an inspiring place. I also know fortune favors the bold! I’ve worked hard and made courageous and audacious decisions to get here.

I love variety. Sometimes I wander down to The Shed – an old building on the edge of our ten-acre property. Recently I’ve renamed it “the engagement room” – it’s where I work on the things I love.

Q: Did you have to clean up/clear clutter first?

Cassandra: I’m a collector. Recently I heard my partner tell someone that I collect anything related to positivity. In many of my books, I share that my deepest obsession is my passion for passion. My desk is often strewn with articles about passionate people, interesting things I have found and inspirational ideas that I’d like to work on later. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed at times, so I tend to favor clearing away distractions before working.

To stay inspired, and ignite motivation I love to place an inspiring book on my desk or an inspiring quote on my wall.

Currently, I have an open page from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life which is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. I choose a new page daily to guide me and help set the tone for the day.

While responding to your questions, I’ve closed the book and reopened it intuitively at the section, “Empower Your Spirit.” I opened the page on the chapter Worship The God Within. This chapter reminds me how important spirituality and faith is to my creative practice—as it was to Leonardo, and is to so many other creative people, too.

One of my daily practices is to ensure I clear my desk at the end of the day, and write a few notes regarding the focus for the next day, celebrate my successes by writing them in my journal and acknowledging the things I’m grateful for.

This creates joy, and space in my mind, and enables me to approach the new day feeling inspired and focused—assuming I’ve also cleared my mind by meditating, completing my morning pages and walking in the morning too.

Q: How do you get inspired? Do you go anywhere to “fill your creative well?”

Cassandra: Inspiration is everywhere.  Movies, music, magazines, bookshops, on-line, in the garden. I can’t think of anywhere or anything that can’t be a source of inspiration. Even discordant things and situations can ignite a spark.  One of my wise writing friends once encouraged me to channel upsetting personal situations into my books—some of the scenes in my upcoming historical novel are my favorite because the emotion I poured into them is so intense. Nothing is wasted.

Recently I began thinking deeply about the notion of duty as a writer, as a woman, as a person in this world at this time. And I decided how thankful I am to people who have shared their creative journey—the heartaches and the joys. I am tremendously inspired by people who have to battle to be true to themselves. And I decided I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by helping myself and others who dream of creative success.

And I wanted to do this by writing more self-empowerment books. Books in which I’ll share my journey to prosperity and the significant challenges I’ve had to overcome to be true to my art.

I’ve done this in part in my The Art of Success series of books. The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing takes a more intimate look into my creative process and contains the success secrets that have helped me leave a job I hated to become a full-time author and creative entrepreneur, follow my passion and make a great living with my writing.

I also reveal dozens of insights based on survey research, my professional achievements and the success secrets of extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like James Patterson, Paulo Coelho, Nora Roberts, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and other prosperous creatives.

It’s only recently I valued my writing as my gift, and it’s something I’ve struggled for over fifty years to prioritize.

Helping others also fills my creative well—I’ve heard this referred to as ‘the helpers high.’ It’s a lovely addiction to have.

I’m a woman of pristine intuition, and I work to keep it that way. Regular spiritual practice, looking after my well-being, spending time in nature, meditating, and a fascination and deep respect for the nuances of other people lives’—including their hobbies interests and obsessions and yearly overseas trips are some of the many ways I get and stay inspired.

Doing ‘a combo’ is fabulous, as I did recently when my partner and I went to Fiji for two weeks, combining many wellness strategies. We completely disconnected from social media, gave up alcohol, and absorbed ourselves in local life and nurtured our relationship.

Living a passionate life committed to creativity naturally feeds my inspiration.

My creative well was replenished when I moved away from my home of close to fifty years, Wellington to The Bay of Islands. The climate, people, and pace of life here are a wonder tonic. I truly believe everyone has their soul space—the place that most feels like their spiritual home. Never give up searching for it.

I also love beautiful magazines—Urbis, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Mindfood and anything committed to beauty and stories of people living inspiring lives feeds my creativity.

Other inspirational people are like vitamins for my soul. Sometimes I’ll attend workshops like the one I did in Puglia, Italy with photographer Carla Coulson. It was fabulous. You can see some of my photos here >> I’ll also chat on social media or engage their services. I guess you could say that these people are my mentors in some way.

In 2016 I invested a significant amount of time and money forging my new career direction as a creative entrepreneur. This included downscaling my coaching business and corporate work, signing up for courses and attending conferences to learn from experts in their field.

A real highlight in 2016 was meeting Michael Hauge, a top Hollywood story expert, author, and lecturer who consults with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys and public speakers throughout the world. My goal was to have him sign one of my books, but I ended up building a very special friendship.

I’m also going to consult Michael again—especially for my big (secret) project which has already been suggested by a top literary agent could become a movie. I know paying for these services will fast-track my success and feed my goal to be the best writer I can. I consulted with him when writing one of my romance novels The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride, and the feedback was invaluable.

Plus, I’ve signed up for a class with my guru Tim Ferris to boost my success and productivity further, How Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers Master Productivity.

One of the investments I’ve also made is taking a fiction writing class with James Patterson. As of January 2016, James has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. I’d love to achieve that kind of success!

Creating the time

Q: How did you find the time for working on your business?

Cassandra: When I started my coaching business, I was a single mother with a mortgage, but I didn’t let that stop me from chasing my dream. Being a single mom also fueled the desire, and the need, because I could never get enough leave to keep up with all my daughter’s school holidays!

I worked nights and weekends at first. Then when the money started to flow, I negotiated a four-day workweek. Not long after, as I began to feel more confident in my abilities to be self-employed AND pay my bills, I quit. It was a terrific day!

I, and other creatives, share more about our journey to self-employment and include a chapter about how to finance your career on a shoe-string in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate, and Start Living a Life You Love, Before It’s Too Late.

Q: A theme of my book is giving up something else to live a creative life and go after what you want. Did you give up anything else to spend more time on the life you want to live?

Cassandra: I’m not a heavy drinker, but I was drinking more than I wanted. I decided to take a break from alcohol in the lead up to Christmas 2016. I felt so great that in 2017 I decided to experiment with my commitment to be alcohol-free for the whole year. My partner decided to also. Many people want to quit but struggle, as we did. I will share what I learned and what really works, in my new book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear. It’s also an incredible time-waster and damaging to your long-term creativity.

Other things that I quit to allow more creativity in my life includes:

-Selling my television

-Downsizing my coaching business

-Less socializing. ‘No’ is a beautiful word, plus it helps that I’m no longer drinking and so much socializing is built around alcohol.

-Procrastinating and making excuses

-Checking emails and social media incessantly; I only check in at 12 pm and 4 pm with emails, and then for only 15-30 minutes, scanning for priorities.

-Hiding my spirituality and fearing that people might think I was spooky when I talked about my love and use of tarot, oracles, Reiki, energy work, and mediums. A turning point was when a client accused me of witchcraft when I suggested she try lavender essential oil to alleviate some of her stress.

These techniques and others were good enough for Coco Chanel and good enough for me! And I’ve been rewarded—so many people have sought me out because of the spiritual and creative side I bring, combined with strong business skills.

I also gave up doing projects that are easy and neglecting passion projects which sometimes are beyond my current level of expertise, but which would challenge me and enable me to grow, and which would provide greater fulfillment.

I quit short working days and two or three-day weekends. I want to work longer— but I still am mindful of balance, which is why I am careful to take time out during the day to reconnect with those around me, even if I chose to make up the hours on the other end. I gave up saying, “I have to.” I replaced this with “I choose to” – for this is a greater truth.

I gave up the comfort rut of certainty. I bought myself three months to finish my historical art-related novel. This is the novel I pitched to a top literary agent and also to Penguin Publishing over seven years ago. It’s the book I told myself I could never write. Both expressed an eagerness to see the finished book.

There is no certainty of a contract. There is no certainty that my book will sell, or in any way repay my investment. There is only the certainty that I shall not die with regret, wondering what if.

I have given up waiting for the timing to be right, I have given up waiting for excess money. I’ve given up living without discomfort and taking on work that pays well but that I don’t enjoy in the hope that I will make money I can store away for that ‘rainy day’ when the conditions are ‘perfect to write my book.

The greatest comfort of all is being true to yourself, to the passionate stirrings of your soul. For that reason, I decided to invest in myself this year. I have given myself the luxury of time. I decided to bankroll three months out of the world. You could say I bankrolled the space to complete what many people have told me will be my greatest work. We’ll see.

Q: How much time do you spend on your business? What habits did you need to put in place?

Cassandra: I love what I do, so like the author James Patterson, working seven days doesn’t feel like a slog to me. It’s a joy, a privilege; it’s playing. I also like his comment, “Do NOT sit there like ‘Oh I don’t feel like it today. I don’t feel like it tomorrow’. Feel like it! Do it! Force yourself.”

But keeping balance and knowing as I do that without a commitment to health and well-being it’s easy to burn out and be inefficient; I’ll be keeping an eye on outcomes versus hours spent. And I’ll be investing in smart daily habits like meditation, yoga, eating well, etc.

New habits also included greater discipline to maintain focus and eliminate all distractions when I write. I’ve developed a new habit which I love—writing in thirty-minute cycles. Using the timer helps keep me honest.

Right now, one of my favorite tools for this is focusatwill.com. The developers say this will work magic because it’s “scientifically optimized music to help you focus.” I’m a big fan. I love the music and love what it’s doing for my productivity. It is incredible how much you can achieve in thirty-minute bursts when you are focused.

I gave up watching TV over five years ago. This has been life changing. It’s such a time-zapper, and most times depressing.

Health is a priority. I’m half way to my next life—I want to make sure I arrive in good shape. Alcohol is gone, coffee too, sugar—on the way out. Coming in: green and clean and raw. Meditation needs to be more regular for sure. I’ve been a meditator for over twenty years, but sometimes I forget to prioritize it.

I’m going to get up earlier at 5 am and “just do it!” This is going to be challenging, but I’m determined to make this a joyful ritual.

My writing rituals will include five, 9-hour days per week dedicated to fiction, one to non-fiction and working with coaching clients and marketing/business activities. Day seven will be a passion day—whatever I decide that will be.

Included in these commitments is prioritizing balance—relationships, health and spiritual. Meditation, romance, chilling will all factor in—including a reward trip to Japan with my partner in September to defrag and re-top up our inspiration well.

Finding the energy/mindset

Q: Did you make any changes to your lifestyle to support your new business venture?

Cassandra: Mindset and managing energy is EVERYTHING.

Meditate, eat well, exercise regularly and make room for rest to keep energy levels high. Don’t take any devices into your bedroom at night—including your phone. Only read paperback books at night (for relaxation) – not work-related research. Switch off to switch on. No working after 10 pm – it’s hard to sleep if you’re all fired up and inspired.

Move—I force myself to get out and walk every day. It helps when I remind myself how many paraplegics would love to be able to stand on their legs and go for a stroll.

Last year I purchased a standing desk, which also lowers to be a normal workstation. I love the option to stand or sit.

I purchased Dragon software to use dictation to write, and GhostReader to check errors and improve flow by using this technology to read my work back out loud. I also use Scrivener to help me structure my thoughts and writing, and have greater control over my production and outputs. It’s wonderful to be in control of my publishing success.

But this has meant dedicating time to learning new technology—but once again, you need to invest in efficient systems and processes to reap the rewards.

Other great strategies to boost a positive, focused mindset: I keep a praise file—record and look at the feedback people give you regularly. I started fifteen years ago—originally to help me overcome acute self-doubt, but now, while I need it less, it is affirming and heart-stirring to read the unsolicited feedback others have said. And sometimes when people, family included, say something hostile about my work, (like my brother who said, “Great, just what we all need – more advice from you”), knowing I have touched someone’s life, and made the world a better place, reminds me of what gives my life meaning and purpose. It makes the tougher times worthwhile.

I’m a big fan of creating a Passion Journal every year—this keeps my mind on what I do want to create and empowers my ability to manifest by leveraging off the laws of Intention, Attraction, and Desire. I have a free gift for your readers, a Passion Journal Workbook for those who subscribe to my newsletter at www.cassandraGaisford.com.

Q: Any tips for managing your time?

Cassandra: Thirty-minute bursts of activity are amazing for getting into a productive mindset.

Be strong with others who want to zap your time. Push back and check if their demands on your time are urgent. “No,” is a beautiful word.

Be a creative procrastinator – put off until tomorrow things that don’t enable you to achieve progress toward your goals today.

Combine tasks. I listen to audio books while walking, podcasts while preparing meals or doing chores or when I am at the supermarket. This helps prevent resentment when I attend to some of the more mundane things that ‘take me away’ from writing or perfecting my craft.

Delegate and outsource. In our Kiwi culture, we have a ‘do it yourself mentality.’ In the past, I tried to do it all and found it way more efficient to hand things to the pros. It didn’t always cost me more money, and when it did, I often recouped it in increased sales—like great cover design or the improved professionalism of having a passionate proofreader look over my books. I’ve been fortunate to meet many skilled people who have read my career rescue books, including a lady who was inspired to quit her job and has started an editing business. I now outsource some of my work to her.

Q: What are some of the things you tell your clients if they want to make a change and lead a more creative life?

Cassandra: Prioritize your creativity. It’s that simple—and, at times that is challenging. Isolate the barriers, blocks, whatever is standing in the way. Take an inventory and then commit to problem-solving. Intensify your desire, remind yourself of your ‘why.’ What benefits will flow? How will you feel if you never try?

Be inspired by other people who have made the leap to creativity, read their stories— people like Coco Chanel, Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and so many others. I can’t think of one successful person who hasn’t had to fight for their dream. Conflict and overcoming obstacles in the norm – but it’s also what makes for compelling viewing and dedicated fans.

Do it scared—most of the successful creative people I know started and continued to create despite their doubts, fears, and anxieties. Follow your passion to prosperity!

Q: What is the single biggest change you had to make to support your business?

Cassandra: Invest in me. As one of my creative clients sagely said, “You have to bankroll your dreams. In the beginning, the money isn’t there.” I go into how to finance your career (on a shoestring) in a big way in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate and Start Living a Life You Love Before It’s Too Late.

I’ve also committed to a daily practice of feeding optimism, and aligning my thoughts with the outcome I desire, not fear. This has been a key part of my success and continues to be—it’s not something that comes naturally. This may surprise people, but I also believe it is true of many creatives.

And as I said before as I stopped waiting for inspiration, and I showed up every day to do THE Work, my muse began to take me seriously, and now she shows up too.

Find Cassandra Gaisford online, learn about her books, and read her blog: www.cassandragaisford.com and on her Amazon page: amazon.com/author/cassandragaisford

This is an edited excerpt from Courtney Kennedy’s book Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life. Available from Amazon here >>

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

Harness the biology of belief: how to unleash the power of consciousness, matter & miracles

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

I told my audience that if they changed their beliefs they could change their lives

~ Dr. Bruce Lipton, cell biologist

It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

You may not be aware of your own self-limiting beliefs and patterns, or the negative, confining impact of others’ beliefs about you. Perhaps you’ve defined your life according to what others think you are capable of or believe you should settle for.

To get at some of the core beliefs standing between you and your desired success ask yourself, “I’ll do anything to achieve (insert goal/dream) just don’t ask me to do that (insert the fear or belief that holds you back).

Acknowledge the things you don’t believe and challenge them. Interview your beliefs by asking them the following questions.

“Where’s your evidence for that?” (That being whatever you fear or hold to be true?)

“What’s the worst that could happen if you pursued your passion? How bad would that really be? How can you increase the likelihood of success?”

“What tells you that you could follow your dreams?” (a nice shift from focusing on the problem to looking for solutions instead).

“What have you tried recently that worked? What you are you doing now that works?”

“Who do you know that is happy at work? What could you learn from them?”

“How does your (supportive other) know you can do this? What difference will it make to them when you are happier and more successful?”

You’ll find other helpful strategies to challenge self-limiting beliefs in my book, Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More.

I’ve also included a helpful section in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy. In this book, I share my experience following reading The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, by Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Your Challenge

So often we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are. If your beliefs are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, seeking help from a qualified practitioner with expertise in reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer

Chances are you don’t need to see a therapist to move beyond self-limiting beliefs, but if you do, go and get help. There’s magic in that

You can also learn from some of the most powerful, effective and simple techniques used by practitioners working in the realm of positive psychology and mind reprogramming—including hypnosis

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

mindset the new psychology of success-faith and the millionaire mind

Monday, May 29th, 2017

As Adam Markel writes in his book, Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life, “Just because you can’t see the steps doesn’t mean they aren’t there. There’s a word for this type of behavior. It’s called faith.”

Keep your faith strong by reminding yourself of your purpose, stay positive and keep away from cynics.

Julia Cameron, an active artist and author of The Artist’s Way and another thirty or so fiction and non-fiction books, advocates relinquishing too much effort and turning energy instead from one of stressful striving, to cultivating faith and trust.

Prayer, gratitude, acceptance and unwavering belief that everything happens for a reason, are just some of the many strategies she encourages people to embrace.

If doubt is dampening your enthusiasm and confidence and faith is something you’d like to cultivate, you’ll find strategies to empower yourself throughout my Career Rescue series.

Mid-Life Career Rescue-Three Book Bundle-Box Set (Books 1-3): The Call For Change, What Makes You Happy, Employ Yourself—available from Amazon here—getBook.at/CareerRescueBox

You may like to check out Julia’s book Faith and Will or find your own sources.

Your Challenge

Tap into the awesome power of meditation, yoga and a spiritual faith-based perspective to help you maintain a positive expectancy, manage stress and increase your intuitive, creative powers.

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

How to finish a book, film-script or any other stalled project: knock the bugger off

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

“Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.” ~ Heather Morris

I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer. As you can appreciate this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration we all felt encouraged, emboldened and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope. Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects,  but I was also reminded of the finality of life.  For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival, and who used the infinitesimal freedom of movement his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive.

As Heather said to me, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“BTW my book is the true story of the Tattooist in Auschwitz concentration camp and the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that danteesque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married and lived very happily for over 50 years.”

I invited Heather to share her story and she generously emailed me the below:

I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003.   I was 50 years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays, he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier. 

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita’. 

Over the next three years our friendship grew as slowly his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.  

It didn’t matter.  I fell under his spell. 

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent?  Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted convoluted story I was starting to make sense of, the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me. 

It was all of these things and more.  I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov.   It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay.   He got to read it and loved it. 

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died.  At that time I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years but failed to ‘get it up’.  

I took the option back and after a rewrite started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world.  It did well, often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Awards in 2016

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told’; that it was ‘oscar bait’.   But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium. 

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion’, I did a Kickstarter campaign to  raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up. 

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.  

I was getting no-where. 

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain.  In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary said ‘knocked the bugger off’. 

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story.  The have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.  And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it. 

I am now 64-years-old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully in 2-3 years time a film.  

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.  Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way.  I tell myself it is The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.  

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story.  I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.  

A lot of very talented people / editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honoured to have my name on.  My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.  

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favourite screenwriters William Goldman who references the children’s book ‘The little engine that could’.  

“Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.”

Harper Collins have come on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent! She began with a film-script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via the Internet—and opportunity then came knocking.
It’s a reminder to us all that many times you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset. As Heather said, “Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.”
Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.
Later, more good news came too—her brother’s cancer has taken a u-turn. The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk one of the tumors in his lung, and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease. Who knows what further miracles the future will bring. But we all agree—there is power in story and in creativity!
So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to make it big!

Blank bookcover with clipping path

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

Ditch the 9-to-5

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

 

“She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
So you better treat her right”
~ Donna Summer

Hannah quit her 9-to-5 the other day. She was working hard for her money—but they weren’t treating her right. Piling on extra work, but no extra pay. Piling on extra responsibilities, but no extra pay. Piling on their stress, but no extra pay.

But Hannah’s dissatisfaction wasn’t about pay—it was the lack of integrity and respect they showed her, including reneging on training they offered so that she could advance her career. But more than that, slaving away in a thankless 9-to-5 soaked up all the time she would rather be spending building her passion and purpose driven business.

Check out Donna Summer Live at Nobel Peace Prize Concert – yes, business-owners, treating people right does lead to a more peaceful and prosperous world!

But if you can’t find the love at work, ditch your 9-5 and treat yourself right.

Learn how in Missy Strayner’s Ditch The 9 To 5 Series

First up (today!) is yours truly sharing practical and inspirational strategies to help you work with passion and purpose.

Enrol for this amazing FREE series and check out my interview here

Missy has curated an amazing series to include TOP OF THEIR INDUSTRY EXPERTS!  21 extremely successful entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, writers, coaches, trainers and thought leaders influencers, marketing, social media and PR gurus will inspire you to see what is possible and how to overcome what is holding you back.

I’m honored and excited to be a guest speaker as part of The “Ditch The 9 To 5 Summit” and I can’t wait for you to join me!

This is a FREE 21-day online video series event and begins on May 3, 2017.  Yes, FREE! And kicks off with me.

Together with the other speakers we’ll provide practical steps to help you leave an uninspired job and pursue your passion and purpose—and make great money doing it!

Taking a risk to go after what you love is sometimes scary. But when you are ready to feel passion and purpose it’s great to know what’s possible and be encouraged by others that you also can do this.

Missy has found 21 inspiring entrepreneurs, experts, authors, speakers, trainers, coaches and thought leaders around the world to share their tips on what has worked, best practices, and practical tools to guide you and help you plan for transformational change in your life.

Get fired up to live with passion purpose and learn how to make money doing what you love.

Register now! Click here to reserve your seat to see me and the other amazing speakers on this series! I look forward to seeing you there!

Get a head start on ditching your 9-to-5 with the Career Rescue box-set. Mid-Life Career Rescue-Three Book Bundle-Box Set (Books 1-3): The Call For Change, What Makes You Happy, Employ Yourself

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy navigate to here: getBook.at/CareerRescueBox

Guess who’s celebrating?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

We celebrated International Women’s Day in New Zealand yesterday, ahead of my friends and readers in the States and UK. Aptly we were got to cheerlead amazing women around the world first—I’m proud to say that new Zealand was also the first country to give women the vote back in 1893. The United States finally began allowing women to vote in 1920, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. While the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia dragged his sandals—granting women the right to vote in 2011 (their right to freedom and liberty is still contestable—as it is for other women around the world.

I spent the day reflecting on how lucky I was to have been born in New Zealand and in a Western culture which, for the most part, values women and supports equality. However, there’s no denying that there’s still work to be done. Woefully New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence against women and their children. 30 per cent of women internationally are estimated to experience physical or sexual partner violence. That’s a third of the female population. That is reflected in New Zealand.

Which begs the question, “Why are (some) men so angry?”

But that’s another story. 

For now I’m writing to celebrate International Women’s Day—and to sound a call to us all (men and women) to uplift, embolden and encourage other women to succeed. Sometimes we need a mentor—someone trailblazing like Coco Chanel. Coco and the other strong, determined women whose wisdom I share in my The Art of Success books. Women like mega-talented, Iraqi-born British architect, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, and pioneering mathematician and astrologer Hypatia of Alexandria. They and other women, past and present continue to inspire and mentor me. 

The hurdles they, and other successful women like Oprah Winfrey, had to overcome seems cataclysmic in comparison to my own—and hopefully to yours. The torture they were subjected to—emotionally, mentally, spiritually and very often physically—in pursuit of their desire to live and speak freely.  But despite the struggles, they continued on. When we hear their stories the thing that lingers for many is an admiring curiosity about the qualities they possessed, and an awe-like wondering if we might acquire these traits too. Patience, perseverance, passion and persistence are just a few. And all the women I admire were driven by love—not hatred.

As I share in the foreword to The Art of Success:

“Whenever I’m in a slump or needing an inspirational boost I turn to people who are smarter or more skilled than me for good advice. I’ve done the same with qualities I’ve wanted to develop, like patience. “What would Mother Theresa do now?” I asked many years ago. Mother Theresa wouldn’t shout! She wouldn’t lose her cool. She’d send loving kindness and smile. And that’s what I did  whenever I got frustrated.”

I applied the strategies I learnt from studying the success secrets of courageous women (and men) to my own life—personally and professionally. If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company. Coco Chanel’s been there—as have every other person I admire. I’ve been there too. 

If you yearn for a better life, and are feeling discouraged, I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find some of them in the wisdom of your mentors, including those of Coco embedded in the pages of The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

Dig into this book and let Coco Chanel be your mentor, inspiration and guide as she calls forth your passions, purpose and potential. Be inspired by Coco for the special reduced International Women’s day price of $3.99 —in less than two hours you could be on your way to radically reinventing your life.

Through the teachings of Coco, extensive research into the mysteries of motivation, success and fulfillment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a holistic psychologist, The Art of Success will help you accelerate success. Together, Coco and I will guide you to where you need to go next, and give you practical steps to achieve success.

Coco Chanel believed from a very early age that the door to her freedom and self respect lay in securing and maintaining her independence. However, many people mistakenly sacrifice their relationships in pursuit of successful careers. Unhelpful beliefs, including, “You can’t have it all” or, “You can’t have a relationship and be successful,” may partly be to blame. It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

#InternationalWomensDay #passion #inspiration #stressless #happy #healthy #beautiful #books #success #photooftheday #freedom #love #IncredibleWomen #Takeyourchance

How to boost your self-belief by playing detective

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

Coco Chanel believed from a very early age that the door to her freedom and self respect lay in securing and maintaining her independence.

She also believed in the power of being loved as a woman. She had no desire to be a man—only to be loved by them. “A woman who is not loved is no woman”, she once said.

Many people mistakenly sacrifice their relationships in pursuit of successful careers. Unhelpful beliefs, including, “You can’t have it all” or, “You can’t have a relationship and be successful,” may partly be to blame.

You may not be aware of your own self-limiting beliefs and patterns, or the negative, confining impact of others’ beliefs about what you should be doing with your life. Perhaps you’ve defined your life according to what others think you are capable of, or believe you should settle for.

Even when the answers are clear you may resist the changes needed to achieve more happiness and passion in your work or personal life. Fear often lies at the heart of this reluctance or resistance.

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, believes that the cause of people’s fear is a basic and crippling lack of faith about themselves and their capacity to make positive and successful changes.

To get at some of the core beliefs standing between you and the success you desire ask yourself, “I’ll do anything to achieve (insert goal/dream) just don’t ask me to do that (insert the fear or belief that holds you back.)

Acknowledge the things you don’t believe and challenge them. Interview your beliefs, by asking them the following questions.

  • “Where’s your evidence for that?” (That being what ever you fear or hold to be true?)
  • “What’s the worst that could happen if you pursued your passion? How bad would that really be? How can you increase the likelihood of success?”
  • “What tells you that you could follow your dreams?” (a nice shift from focusing on the problem, to looking for solutions instead).
  • “What have you tried recently that worked? What you are you doing now that works?”
  • “Who do you know that is happy at work? What could you learn from them?”
  • “How does your (supportive other) know you can do this? What difference will it make to them when you are happier?”

You’ll find other helpful strategies to challenge self-limiting beliefs in my book, Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More.

I’ve also included a helpful section in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy. In this book I share my experience following reading, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, by Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Your Challenge

So often we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are. If your beliefs are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, seeking help from a qualified practitioner with expertise in reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

Chances are you don’t need to see a therapist to move beyond self-limiting beliefs, but if you do, great. Go do it. There’s magic in that.

You can also learn from some of the most powerful, effective and simple techniques used by practitioners working in the realm of positive psychology and mind reprogramming—including hypnosis

I told my audience that if they changed their beliefs they could change their lives ~ Dr. Bruce Lipton, cell biologist

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

Powerful creativity: making space to create

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

 

As Courtney Kennedy writes in her new book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “Creativity is the missing ingredient for many of us.” Sometimes a reminder of its importance comes to us when we are most in need. As it did for my step-father Ted, a military man diagnosed with cancer and given only three weeks to live. How did he choose to spend his precious time? Surrounded by the wife and family he loved. And immersing himself in the world of water colour—a passion and talent we never knew existed.

One of the most treasured memories I have of our last weeks together was the time we spent painting, and my sharing with him what little I knew of this alchemical technique. Water colour, like life, flows where it wishes, seeping into the crevices of the pages of the stories we create and adding colour to our lives.

What drives us to create, and why—when it is so good for us—do we leave it so late?

Kennedy suggests, we just haven’t cleared some space— this may be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Ted, like so many people had been waiting for the days when he retired. While he found comfort, peace and a sense of purpose in his creativity— and a legacy in the many memories (and the few paintings) he left—as I watched him paint, a soft smile on his lips, light dancing in his eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder—”what if” …What if he had begun earlier? What if he’d had more time? What if creativity could’ve scare away cancer? In some ways it did. Three weeks became two precious extra years we all shared.

My daughter, a  naturally gifted writer and intuitive healer, shared with her friends:

“3 years ago today the world lost one of its earth angels. He reminded me a lot of how I envision the Archangel Michael.   Someone who was always there. Extremely patient, kind, wise and mysterious.

I was going through some of his medals that Grandma still has the other day. I know his job was always a bit of a mystery but I was taken aback to know that he was the Chief Information Officer for the New Zealand Defence force.

The importance of having a good male role model in a girls life is paramount. This man made so many things possible for not only me but for our family. He married into our family and treated us all like his own.  

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him…when I hear “Hit the Road Jack” on the radio. When I see a sail boat on the harbour or when I go about my day and realise the woman I am becoming today is so greatly shaped by his influence.

Most girls see a hero in her Grandfather more often then not, but this man was like a second father to me.  Cancer is a dreadful disease and Ted I’m so sorry that you were taken from us so early.  It still brings me to tears every time I think about the moments we could have continued to have with you that were robbed from us.

Thinking of you especially today.  I’ll never forget you Edward John Knowsley. 

Xxx Hannie”

Hannah’s  heartfelt sharing reminded me of several things—the power of creativity to leave a legacy and, importantly the power of speaking from one’s heart.  And also of the way natural gifts, so readily apparent in our childhood, if nurtured can blossom and bear many, many years of fruit. Clues to passion and also to your soul purpose can come in many forms—in rekindled memories of a hobby loved in childhood, as it did for Ted. But also other people’s unsolicited praise, as feedback Hannah received below, shows. I’m not so sure it was I who taught Hannah to write, as much as it was I who gave her some space and encouragement to write. But what really matters is not who encourages and shapes your creativity. What matters is that you loved the healing arts enough to spend time with them. And that you cherished them enough to devote yourself in some way to your gift.

As the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho shared on Tim Ferris’s podcast in 2016, he creates a very strong shield around him when he creates.

“…so I can really use my time to do what I think I should do to fulfil this blessing it has been bestowed on me which allows me to live my personal legend, to become a writer against all odds Because Brazlilans don’t have a strong tradition and there are very few authors who can make a living out of writing, not in the US but over the world. However I was so committed to my work that it was my dream, it was my dream from the very beginning. I really enjoy what I do. I don’t work. In fact what I am doing is to have pleasure, and fun and social responsibility towards my readers towards myself, towards the world in what I live.

Courtney interviewed me in for her book and asked how I’d managed to be so prolific in the last few years. For me, as it is for Paulo my creative gifts are my purpose and I show them I’m serious by devoting myself to them.

But creativity doesn’t have to be about your soul’s purpose. It may just be a friend in times of need, a comfort when other elements are stripped away, a meditation and distraction when everything else seems out of control.

Why do we create? Because innate in all of us is the desire to create something of beauty, tranquility, joy. Creating pictures, for example, allows us to put into words what we feel but cannot say. What we value and which we savor. What we yearn for, but may no longer be able to possess. We don’t have to possess the genius of Leonardo da Vinci—we just have to be true to ourselves

For Ted, his illness called time on his cherished days on the sea—but in his art he sailed again, into the endless horizon, carried on a gentle wave of tranquility. We were all happy that when painting he found so much peace.

Cancer provided Ted with the space to paint. We wish it was his well-deserved retirement that had provided the impetuous. But then he loved his work so much he may well have never left.  His work, dedicated to protecting lives, was his passion and provided deep purpose.

As Courtney shares in her book, the opposite is true for so many others.

Many of us work jobs we don’t like. Less than half of U.S. workers said they felt satisfied with their jobs overall according to a 2016 report by the Conference Board. 2016 Gallup figures are worse; they found that only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged with work, and only 13% worldwide. Consider that we spend 10,500 days at work (assuming five days a week, fifty weeks a year between the ages of 23 and 65). Said differently, we work 36% of the total days that we’re alive on this planet should we live to be eighty.

We spend a huge chunk of our lifetime at work, yet one out of every two of us hate our jobs. No wonder many of us feel stuck on repeat—living each day without much thought.

That’s the situation I found myself in a few years ago. I was unhappy. We all have bad days; that’s a fact of life, but it was more than that–I was deeply uncomfortable with my situation and the path down which my life was heading. It wasn’t about regret, rather something important was missing.

And, despite feeling unsettled, there was much to be grateful for—good health, loving family, my husband, friends, and living in a peaceful time. I had built a good career, but I wasn’t happy with my job anymore. Something was missing.

I lived for the weekends. Sunday nights were the worst because it meant going to work the next day. I became a bucket of angst thinking about the coming work week and all my obligations.

Then, a close family member died unexpectedly and saw friends get cancer at young ages. And I realized the stuff I’d been told all my life: “Work hard, save all you can so you can afford the big house and retire comfortably,” was not guaranteed to come true for everyone.

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

My WWII-generation grandparents worked hard and scrimped most of their lives, only to sit in front of the television day after day in their elder years. After retirement, when they could have traveled, they no longer desired to or even had the energy for trips. That’s not how I wanted my life to be.

I was lucky to have supportive, career-minded friends. Many were passionate about their careers and loved their jobs. But many were like me—showing up at a job they didn’t enjoy. I was nearly vegetative on weekends after a long week spent at the 9-to-5 job and hours of unpaid overtime.

“There must be more than this to life,” I said to myself. What gives your life meaning?

Why not discover what makes you happy now? Why not reconnect with the activities that drive your passion and energy so you can move toward a life where you spend time in your happy place?

How many of us wait for “someday”‘ or for some  external encouragement? How many of us make the mistake we’ll have more time? Whether you dream of being a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, a painter, a carver or a gardener, or yearn to create in any shape, colour—why wait?

Pick up your tool of choice and feel happier today. As Courtney shares in her book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “research suggests creative people are happier than everyone else. Disregard the mental image of the starving, depressed artist toiling away in a studio. Anyone can be creative.” And being creative, she adds, will  change your brain, enabling you to  become more resilient to stress when being creative and making art.

Ted found his happy place creating.  When he died, I asked for nothing, only the unfinished painting he was working on before he passed.

For my mother, and his daughter Lisa, I framed some of his paintings. We placed them around the room where his funeral service was held. All his army comrades were astounded to learn this great mind, also yielded such artistic sensitivity and talent.

I have Ted’s paints, and his brushes, and the beginnings of a new picture—like a still life, caught in a moment of pulsing time. We shall leave Ted’s painting for him to finish, but it is as though this is the view he foresaw—never knowing that one day my partner and I  would call the Bay if Islands home.

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂 Rest in peace darling Ted—until we all see your again

Edward John Knowsley, 11 ApriI 1947 –  22 Feb 2014

Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci share how creativity can improve your happiness, health and success in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life 

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Coco Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

How to Find Authentic Happiness: Love Is Where The Magic Is

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion you’d do it for free, this is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.

From Teacher to Romance Writer

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares below, when you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your true Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable.

I’d taught for fifteen years and loved it. And then I didn’t.

It wasn’t the students or the workload. It wasn’t the noise or the constant worry of, ‘was I doing enough’ that pushed me out either.

I was a good teacher but underneath was a passion that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I wanted to be writer, a historical romance writer, and I was beginning to get offered some wonderful opportunities that did not meld with the structured teaching year and the constant pressure of it.

I felt like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. I was teaching half time, taking tours to Europe with my husband to help him, running mentorship programs…. and writing.

Writing was my complete and utter love and yet it was always taking a secondary place. I wrote at night. I wrote in the weekends. I wrote when the kids were asleep. When I wrote I didn’t think of the time or the problems, all I saw was the joy and passion of it. I loved forming characters and thinking of stories. I lay in bed at night asking my protagonists questions and spent many hours trawling over history books to place them into a context.

I have a degree in history so it was as if all the things I had enjoyed were coming together at last. History and writing. I knew that at 54 I couldn’t be patient any longer.

I needed to be in a field that I felt fully aware in, that I loved beyond the weekly pay check and that filled my spirit with lightness.

I’d just won a New Zealand based competition for a completed romance and it was validation, I suppose. If I didn’t make the jump and do it now perhaps I never would. And if I never gave myself a chance I would feel bereft.

I penned my resignation letter and left to Australia to be a mentor on a five-day intensive scheme the Romance Writers of Australia were running. It was scary and hard but when I finished it successfully I remember standing alone in front of the mirror, a cold sore from exhaustion and worry on my lip, but my clenched fist punching the air in triumph.

To feel like that is to know you live

When I got picked up by Harlequin Historical and published it felt like all the dreams I had hoped for so long were finally happening. I had visualized this. I had walked the lonely windy beaches of Gisborne and shouted my hopes for it into the wind. I had sat in the mall with three crying children in the car and written scenarios on the back of the supermarket docket because the story just wouldn’t wait until I got home.

If I had not been paid one cent for my writing I would still have done it somehow. But the strange thing is that money does follow passion, and suddenly I was making as much as I ever did in part time teaching.

Writing is hard work. A book does not come fully formed from thin air or dreams for me. But I’ve persevered and sat and written. I’ve made deadlines. I’ve written blogs. I have delved into social media and stood there with a smile on my face when the reviews have not been what I wanted.

But I have always believed in myself and my stories. I’ve kept going. I have never given up.

And I have loved my writing life, my freedom, the creativity, the possibilities.

If I had my time over I would have left my teaching career earlier. I would have been braver and less worried by all the sensible advice others were giving me. I should have listened to my heart and taken the jump into a lifestyle that is my perfect fit and even if I had never succeeded I would have known that at least I tried.

I love Annie’s story of reinvention. So-called sensible advice is no replacement for the wisdom of your heart, your soul, your intuitive knowing about what choices are right for you. Visit her author website here http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=1690

This was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

Available for immediate download less than the price of a cup of coffee—getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

How to Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind and Gain Solutions to Your Problems

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Woo-Woo?

soul1A group of us recently came together for an intuitive, creative art process called SoulCollage®. The idea is to create cards that bring us into conversation with our native intelligence, and then consult with the cards to illuminate our questions, dreams and challenges. Although it sounds a bit like working with tarot cards, SoulCollage differs in that the cards are created from our subconscious minds about our own lives.

Isabel rolled her eyes at first and said it was too “woo-woo” for her, but she was immediately immersed in creating beautiful cards from a vibrant collection of photographs our SoulCollage® leader, Jennie Oppenheimer, had gathered from art magazines and a massive collection of ephemera. Isabel’s first task was to find pictures of dogs (no surprise there!). Each person created two to three cards and then was asked to speak through the cards in the following ways: “I am the one who…” “What I have to say to you is…”  “My name is….”

Each card had its own personality: some were funny, some were painful, all were beautiful and revealed little hidden pieces of the creator’s life story. We were surrounded by interesting and wonderful women and spent the day laughing, sharing and eating delicious food in a magical house set deep in the green forest.

Jennie Oppenheimer is an artist and leader of SoulCollage® creativity workshops. It is her passionate belief that creativity and play not only illuminate our strengths and originality but help us to discover our own unique purpose and potential. For SoulCollage® workshop or coaching info contact jennie@soulio.org.

soul2

*