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Archive for the 'Creativity' Category

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

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 >>

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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.

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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!

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How ambition and Leonardo da Vinci can fuel your success

Friday, April 21st, 2017

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, or loss.
 
Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.
 
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.
 
Your Challenge
 
Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines.
 
When you think of someone ambitious that you admire who comes to mind?
What qualities do they possess? How could you copy-cat or borrow these qualities and apply them to help you succeed?
 
Keep your ambition a secret—avoid the critics and those who may knock your confidence. When you start to flap your ambition wings other people may feel threatened or jealous
 
It’s cool to be ambitious. People want to hang out with ambitious, successful people. Pursue your big audacious goals! Do the things you think you can’t. Achieve the impossible
 
“The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.” ~ Madame Veuve Cliquot, businesswoman.
 
Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Leonardo da Vinci shares 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 by Cassandra Gaisford.
 
To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Listen to Cassandra’s webinar presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series – “Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy” http://events.iteleseminar.com/?eventID=90661188 (The sound improves 20 minutes in – we were bracing for the worst storm in 20 years!)

Please feel free to cut and paste the above and share with anyone who needs a career rescue.

Here’s a few slides from the presentation, which includes strategies and tips to help you find happiness at work.

 

 

 

 

 

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 by Cassandra Gaisford.

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

OR download a range of Cassandra’s Career Rescue books from her Amazon page here

FIND YOUR NICHE – PURSUE YOUR PASSION.

Listen to Cassandra’s webinar presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series – “Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy” http://events.iteleseminar.com/?eventID=90661188 (The sound improves 20 minutes in – we were bracing for the worst storm in 20 years!)

Please feel free to cut and paste the above and share with anyone who needs a career rescue.

How to pursue a job of passion and make a BIGGER difference in this world

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
I’m feeling excited about my call from San Diego with an American life coach Missy Strasner. Here’s what I was asked: Specifically to share your story of how you pursued a job of passion and made a BIGGER difference in this world! “
 
Missy found me while searching on amazon under “passion” and “careers”— which again shows the power of passion to connect, inspire, and promote your talents and skills, products and services with like-minded souls.
“Wow. You are a rock star and I am wowed at how you are making a difference! Rock it! I admire your success and how you have started something out of intention and passion and created something ENORMOUS! I LOVE the vibe and content and what you have created and would love to have you be part of my project.”
 
Missy is currently hosting an interview series which she says has, “An incredible panel of experts and extraordinary individuals in their industry, successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, business professionals, entertainers, and founders of global companies, etc.).
 
“The plan is to reach a massive amount of people with the message to be brave. To play a BIG game in life, create social impact and inspire.”
 
The topic Missy has asked me to chat about also relates to her story.
 
“I was living in fear and in scarcity afraid and paralyzed by limiting beliefs, and yet it was robbing our world of my true gifts. I want to create a spark to those who are living in fear to push through the resistance and go after something meaningful to them and our world and to live NOW.”
 
The interview series will launch May 3, 2017 via Audio with 21 Experts/Entrepreneur’s to share their inspirational story.
 
I’ll keep you posted with links and more information when the show goes live.
But here’s a few thoughts ahead of the show:

how I pursued a job of passion and made a BIGGER difference in this world!

I worked in roles that I hated before turning my attention and intention to finding a job I Ioved

My ‘hateful’ jobs taught me a lot about what I really needed and valued in a career

My horrible work experiences, including being threatened by a manager who vowed to “smash my head in”, helped me realise my calling—to help other people in similar traumatic work situations to survive and thrive

Being coached by Carol Galloway, a holistic and deeply spiritual, creative and insightful career coach, with a background in psychology, freed me from fear. I adapted the drawing a did with her in one of our ‘art-therapy’ sessions, to become the cover of my first book in the Mid-life Career Rescue trilogy, “The Call for Change.

Concentrating on the skills I loved using, and asking myself: “How can I make a living from writing?” enabled me to combine my passion for writing and inspiring others by creating a range of self-empowerment books. I wrote these books as much as to help myself as to help others—which is why they are so meaningful and helpful to me

When I left the security and confinement of a 9-5 job, I created a business with the intention of becoming a ‘Lovemark’, I knew this was the only way to differentiate myself from going nowhere ‘blands.’ Like Kevin Robert’s, the former CEO of advertising powerhouse Saatchi and Saatchi (New Zealand) I passionately believed, and still do, that Love is the way forward for business

I share many of my experiences and also tools and techniques that have helped others find fulfilling careers in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series and other books available for immediate download fromAuthor.to/CassandraGaisford

I’m feel blessed to have helped so many people find fulfilling lives and careers, including training people to become Certified Career and Life Coaches

In the end I found my passion was Passion – helping others find, embrace and share their passion with others…and still pay the bills
These are just some preliminary thoughts – more soon!
Notes:
My authorpage on Amazon
“Mid-Life Career Rescue (The Call For Change: How to change careers, confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.” Take the stress out of making a change, confirm your best-fit career and move toward your preferred future#1 Amazon Best-Seller. Available in print and eBook from Amazon—getBook.at/CareerChange

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

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 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

My New Year Solutions – some notes

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

 

 

As the new year kicks off  it’s a good time to take stock of the memories deeply engrained within my heart and memory. It’s so affirming to look back over the last 12 months and take an inventory of all the things that happened – the good and the not-good – and reflect on successes and lessons learned.

Last year the new year (2016) passed in a dizzy drunken blur of bad music and false friends. This year I was with my lover (and best friend) sober in Fiji. It was magic.  Dinner barefoot on a sandy beach beneath a kaleidoscope of fireworks. 2017 is my year of living magically – and beautifully. (which is also why I’ve named the next self-empowerment book, Your Beautiful Mind. ..more on that later.)

Albert Einstein once said, “‘If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.’  I took his advice to heart last year – big time! Mostly I set aside more time to do what I loved.

I fell back in love with fiction. After spending much of  my adult life in business roles and writing about careers—how to survive them, change them and thrive in them—I’ve become a ravenous reader of all things escapism. I love immersing myself in new worlds…especially if there is an element of history and the books are art-related in some way, like one of the books I read in 2016 – Jessie Burton’s, The Muse.

Inspired by my love of escapism I wrote two art-related romance novels under my pen name Mollie Mathews (www.molliemathews.com) and indie published them under one of my new business lines, Blue Orchid Publishing. It has been heartening to receive wonderful feedback from readers, like one Amazon reviewer who posted a five-star review and said, “Beautiful. Resonated in my soul, gives me hope that I will meet my Prince one day and he will love me for who I am.”  The two books I wrote are:
The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride and The Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage.

The awesome feedback I’ve received is particularly encouraging as, like many successful authors, I had to ensure rejection – and worse the silent treatment from a New York agent who asked me to send her my books and then never got back to me. On the upside this experience lead me to create a new business and new brand – something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I read a book about New Zealand romance writers over ten years ago, The Passionate Pen.

Last year I truly was prolific—both in non-fiction and fiction which many of you who have followed me and purchased my books will know. I wrote and published:

Two in the Art of Success Series (The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life:

Book One: Leonardo da Vinci (getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess)

Book Two: Coco Chanel (getBook.at/CocoChanel)

I also wrote the published the following books:

Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life (getBook.at/CareerRescue)

Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love  (getBook.at/Passion)

Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More (getBook.at/BoostYourSelfEsteemAndConfidence)

And a third book in the Mind-Life Career Rescue series,  Employ Yourself (getBook.at/EmployYourself)

It’s been my absolute joy to have heard from so many people who told me that thanks to my books they have confidently left jobs they hated, and started living a life they loved—before it’s too late. Bravo to those of you who have had the courage to make a change for the better in 2016. And kudos to those of you who are planning your great escape. Small steps can lead to big successes over time.

I was touched to receive the following email recently which affirmed how lucky I am to work with both passion and purpose —I’ve devoted much of my life helping others to achieve the same:

“I discovered author Cassandra Gaisford when I first read her book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate and Start Living a Life You Love, Before It’s Too Late. 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 to me 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.”

In 2016 I invested a significant amount of time and money in developing my new career direction, including signing up for courses and attending conferences to learn from experts in their field. A real highlight 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.

Another highlight was receiving a phone call from Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. He was recognised as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives. Neil is so swamped with requests he doesn’t make individual consultations anymore – but he rang little ‘ol me – for free! When I asked ‘why’ he said, because I sounded nice and he thought it would be fun!

Neil’s pro tips to me included: “Having regular blog content is so crucial to building your business and driving traffic to your site.” It’s a great reminder offering free advise and inspiration does help.

In my coaching practice its been so heartening to pass on my skills and knowledge and to train so many wonderful people to become Certified Life and Career Coaches. Here’s just a few of the amazing people and their businesses they have started with a true passion to help others live and work with passion, joy, happiness and fulfilment:

www.boxofchocolates.co.nz

www.significantlives.com

https://empoweredeverafter.com/

www.resfreshyrlife.co.nz

As Clive (from Significant Lives) wrote to me, “A big draw card was the individualised approach – which just one week into training has already proved its worth! I simply wouldn’t be making the same progress if I was say, hooking into a weekly webinar with a dozen or more others and one trainer.” I love working closely with people to help them achieve their dreams.

Last year, as a result of my books going out into the world, I was contacted by many people in American, Europe, Australia and Asia and asked to share my experiences on podcasts, and in their books, including  (appropriately) Write Your Book at Fifty by Jeanette Martin. Yesterday I received an email with another request to share my story in a new book which will be released later this year, called Thrive: Finding Space to Live a Creative Life. As the author, says, “It’s about connecting with your creativity (or a neglected passion), creating the time/space/lifestyle to pursue your creativity, and building habits to live a more creative life. I wrote it because for so long, I was stuck on the hamster wheel of being a workaholic and completely ignoring my creative side. I hope to help others who may also be unhappy, ” the author wrote to me.

Amazingly the theme of this book sums up last year (and my intention for those that follow) perfectly. To live and work with passion, creativity and joy you need to make space.

 

The not so good things that happened included:

Falling out with a couple he had thought were very dear friends.  it seemed jealousy got the better of them,  despite best efforts to heal the rift they moved away. Happily we have wonderful new friends in our life.

Numerous technology and computer meltdowns including my website (www.worklifesolutions.co.nz) being hacked six times. In the end I had to have it rebuilt and create a new domain. I lost content, time and money.

But other than these and a few personal challenges life (which I’ll share in my book, ‘Your Beautiful Mind” life has been pretty good. I think it helps that I’ve invested so much of my life in the personal development space—and that I meditate. And following my passion has been good for me.

So anyhow’s onto my new year’s solutions:

  • I will focus and eliminate all distractions when I write. And I mean ALL – in 30 minute cycles, using timers to keep me honest. Right now my fav tool is focusatwill.com. The developers says this will work magic because it’s “Scientifically optimized music to help you focus.”I’m a big fan of this tool …I love the music and loving what it’s doing for my productivity. It is absolutely incredible how much you can achieve in 30 minute bursts when you are focused.
  • I will simply and declutter my life – this includes my work area and desk and laptop (eliminating the unnecessary) – this will help me better achieve the above. This is going to be tough as I tend to be a ‘collector’ but I’m going to try.
  • I will experiment with my commitment to be alcohol-free for the WHOLE year. And I mean the whole year. And 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. There are millions suffering alone, afraid to ask the question, am I drinking too much? Don’t let this be you. Take the ready to quit quiz https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5K8KSN7
  • I will engage in three passion projects for the year – writing wise. As above for non-fiction and two art-related fiction books. One of these is particularly significant as it is the book I never thought I could write. More about this in later newsletters! To achieve this I am committing to being more ‘anti-social.’ Not drinking will help this along as the majority of times I socialised last year involved alcohol.
    Related to this I’m rethinking my relationship to social media. I truly am cutting back here, including taking the app off my Iphone so i don’t do quick check ins. Being away on holiday  off the grid was a great digital detox one I am to keep in check.
  • Health is a priority. I’m 52…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. In is green and clean and raw. Let’s see how I go. Meditation needs to be more regular for sure. I’ve been a meditator for over 20 years but sometimes I forget to prioritise it.
  • Financial independence. I’ve been slack. After forging a very independent and successful career as a life coach and corporate trainer when I met my lover I allowed myself to get comfortable as I forged a new career direction. 2017 is the year I will leverage off all that I have learned and achieved and watch my prosperity soar. 2017 is the year for creative living beyond fear and big magic—financially, and spiritually.
  • I will trust and listen to my higher self more—especially in matters related to writing and running my business.
  • I will love numbers more. Last year and in the six or so months before I’ve switched off from all things numerical – accounting and finance wise. It’s true, out of sight, really does mean out of mind. Not good escapism at all! This year I’m dedicated to earning more and spending less, and that means ensuring that every dollar I spend is an investment in fast-tracking my financial success as I continue to reinvent my career as a creative woman.
  • Learn from the experts. This year I’m defragging from email overload and tapping into experts only. One of the few things I’m doing is taking a fiction writing class with James Patterson. Exciting!! 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. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, he also writes children’s, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists. He’s a pro for sure! I’ve learned so much already. I’m also going to consult screenwriting guru Micheal Hague 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, How Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers Master Productivity.
  • I’m going to be incredible efficient with my time—minimising distractions and doing less to achieve more. A big change will be outlining before writing and using story-telling techniques when writing future blogs and newsletters to enhance my craft.
  • I’m going to be driven by passion and ensure I keep my passion alive—focusing and eliminating distractions and maintaining balance will be key. Passion will carry me through the tough times and affirm me during the good times. I know, I know—I’m the passion queen. But even the most passionate people can get distracted and burn out.
  • I’m going to get up earlier at 5am 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 marketing/business activities. Day seven will be a passion day – whatever I decide that will be. I love everything I do – so that will be easy. Included in this is Balance – relationship, health and spiritually wise. Meditation, romance, chilling will all factor in—including a reward trip to Japan with my lover in September to defrag and retop up our inspiration well.
  • I’m going to paint or draw when I feel my spirits lagging or I need a boost
  • I’m to take a year out from complaining! Gosh, if you commit to this, and log your progress you’ll be super aware how much we complain about things that really don’t matter – like the wind, or the rain, or the fact my cooked spinach is cold. Instead this is my year if gratitude for the blessed life I am fortunate to lead.

 

A few quotes that are inspiring me this year:

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. —James Patterson

“Know what you want and try to go beyond your own explanations. 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.” ~ Paulo Coehlo, in his book “The Spy.”

“Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.”

There—I’ve declared my intent for this year. Writing it down and sharing it with you makes it feel more concrete and me more accountable. It remains to be seen whether I achieve any of these, but I’m going to give them my best shot. Meanwhile  I wish you a very Happy New Year. May it be beautiful, prosperous, interesting, productive and joyful

#manifest your goals
Passion Journal 2016
Journal your way to prosperity – A sneak peek into how I manifested my 2016 goals
https://youtu.be/YfioJTi0pLw

 

p.s.

If you GENUINELY like my books then it would be a HUGE help if you left a rating & review. It might seem insignificant, but it helps more than you might think…especially for independent authors like me. The quickest way is to go to my author page on Amazon and select the books you’ve read. Thank you! amazon.com/author/cassandragaisford

How to dream big and make it happen today

Monday, December 5th, 2016

images-2“I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like,” ~ Coco Chanel, businesswoman

In the movie, ‘The Pursuit Of Happiness,’ Will Smith, who plays the role of a homeless man, says to his son, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.”

As a child Coco dreamed big. The flames of her desires were in part fueled by reading romance novels full of dashing heroes and heroines living absurdly, audaciously opulent and liberated lives. 

I’m sure plenty of people tried to sabotage Coco’s dreams of success—but she dreamed big dreams anyway. She once said that she would pretend she didn’t hear people who criticized her, and could not see people with whom she disagreed. Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit are an inspiration to young and old.

People, impatient to see the realization of your dreams may say, “Show me the money” or “You’ve left it too late,” or some other downer message. 

Ignore them.

“It’s already been done,” people said to Tim Ferris when he first mentioned his idea of starting a podcast. Instead of letting others talk him out of starting his show he did it anyway. His podcast is now ranked #1 business podcast on all of iTunes, and it’s been ranked #1 (of all podcasts) on many occasions. It is the first business/interview podcast to pass 100,000,000 downloads. It was also selected as iTunes’ “Best of 2014” and “Best of 2015.” He’s been called the Oprah of radio.

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

Create a soundtrack to feed your dreams. I still love Miley Cyrus’s The Climb, particularly the encouraging lyrics to persist and persevere, “Ain’t about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side—It’s the climb.”

“Remember, you go where your vision is. Think Big, feel big, and know in your heart that you are one with God, and you will project a radiance, a glow, a confidence, a joy, and a healing vibration which bless all who come within your orbit now and forevermore”

~ Joseph Murphy, PhD, author and New Thought minister

 

WANT  MORE HELP TO MANIFEST YOUR DREAMS?

This has been an excerpt from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel).  You can learn more from Coco, find your point of brilliance and read motivational musings from really big dreamers like Tim Ferris, Leonardo da Vinci, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, Igor Stravinsky and other inspirational stories of success.  Available in print and eBook on Amazon. Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

 

How to become the hero of your own life story

Monday, September 12th, 2016

img_6740I feel honoured to be interviewing MICHAEL HAUGE on the Cassandra Gaisford show tomorrow. Michael is a top Hollywood story expert, author and lecturer who consults with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys and public speakers throughout the world. He is the best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read.

Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and has worked in the film and television industries for more than 35 years. He loves movies! And he loves figuring out what makes them work. And he loves helping people tell their best stories too – people like actors Will Smith and Morgan Freeman, or Devon Franklin, Vice President of Production, Columbia Pictures (to name-drop just a few)

We’ve become great friends after I purchased Michael’s books and had the great fortune to attend his seminars when he was in Auckland recently speaking at The Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in August.

 

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You can learn more about Michael here: www.StoryMastery.com

If you visit his site you’ll find lots of information on story, plus information on his one-on-one coaching session. I’ve had a session with him and got so much value! And if you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get a list of key story questions for whichever discipline interests you.

I’ll share the link to the interview when it goes live. In the meantime you can learn more about many of the critical skills you need to master to become the hero of your own story in many of my books—below are just a few which will help.

Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More getBook.at/BoostYourSelfEsteemAndConfidence
The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

 

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The Art of Success Gave My Mind Wings!
#storymastery #findyouressence #passion #lovestory

5 ways to be super inspired in your everyday life

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Yes, I’m about to engage in shameless name-dropping, but hey…I’m so excited about the passionate people who banded together last weekend  to inspire, support, encourage and cheerlead people’s quest  for success.

Last weekend’s I had the huge joy of attending the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. Aptly named, “All You Need is Love”, the conference’s theme captured the key messages contained in my newest #1 best-seller, The Art of Success. It’s a book dedicated to love.

Here’s 5 of the many things I learned from attending the conference that may ignite the seeds of your own inspiration and fuel your success.

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People.  It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by people who are either pursuing, or have achieved the things, you also aspire to. I loved hearing how successful some of my fellow writing friends have become since I last saw them. Especially my tribe from my former home city, Wellington.

Leanne Morgan, for example, writing as Leanna Morgan, currently also working as the head librarian at New Zealand’s Kapiti Library, has forged an incredible career writing romantic fiction and publishing these herself. Her income has flourished so much so that she’s resigned from her librarian role to concentrate on writing full time. Her story is a fabulous reminder to us all that your day job can feed your dream career and, if and when the time is right, allow you to transition safely to the next chapter in your life.

The same can be said for former Wellingtonian and now USA Today Bestselling Author, Bronwen Evans. Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009, and was sold to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Best First Historical. Invitation to Ruin was also won the RomCon Readers Crown Best Historical 2012.She’s since gone on to win the RomCon Readers Crown three times. Her first book in her Disgraced Lords series hit the USA Today bestsellers list and she has hit it several times since. Her success is even more inspiring because she also worked in a ‘conventional career, ‘ while writing, but because she is also dyslexic.

2. Connect with the pro’s. One of many international experts who spoke at the conference was Hollywood-based story consultant, author and lecturer Michael Hague. His passion for storytelling and love of films was super inspiring—reawakening my own slumbering passions and instilling in me an even greater commitment to mastering the art of great story telling. One of the things I manifested prior to going to the conference was having Michael sign one of his books that I had purchased, “Writing Screenplays That Sell.” So I was elated when he suggested this pose for this piccie, and invited me to join him and another successful Kiwi romance writer, Tessa Radley, to see the Auckland sights. Michael has worked with some  of  the most successful people in Hollywood, including actor and producer Will Smith, and after hearing him speak and reading his book, I can  appreciate why.

3. Visualise and Affirm For Success.  Mindset is  everything.  Before going to the conference I visualised successfully pitching several of my works of fiction to literary agents and editors. Then when the  time came for my appointment I felt so nervous I almost didn’t turn up. But I put on my big girl pants (or rather my favourite dress), reminded myself that these powerful and influential people weren’t defined by their job title, but were also just normal people like me, affirmed my belief in my stories, practiced my pitch, visualised success and showed up—reminding  myself to also have fun. The result? I walked away with all two international editors from big publishing houses, and one New York based literary agent, interested in acquiring my work.

4.  Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.  Following on from the example I gave above, it’s important to discuss the fact that people always think that I’m a naturally confident person. The truth is I feel fear just like you do. I tremble at the thought of meeting new people, and quake at the idea of self-promotion. But I’ve learned that to achieve success I must control my fears, believe in my dreams and take action on my goals.

Currently the NY-based literary agent has three partial manuscripts of mine and is assessing my self-empowerment books, including offering to help me negotiate a recent request I’ve received from a Vietnamese publisher for the translation rights for my  Mid-Life Career Rescue series, and The Art of Success.

As they wrote  to me, “In Vietnam, more the 40% percent student choose the wrong career after graduation. So we think that your books are very useful for young people in Vietnam. It’s would be great if we could have your titles in our books line.” I’m thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to help more people make life-affirming choices.

If fear or low self-esteem is something you struggle with, make this your no.1 self-development focus. I have a new book coming out this month which I know will help. More about that in my next newsletter. If career dissatisfaction is  weighing you down you may like to  check out my other  books already available on Amazon. Simply navigate to my author page here >> Author.to/CassandraGaisford.

5. Invest in Your Dreams. Going to the conference wasn’t super expensive, but it did cost money. Hotels, conference fees, air travel, and  attendance at Michael Hague’s one day, ‘Story Mastery’ workshop. But I treat such expenses less as a cost but more as an investment. One I intend to maximise. So when Michael said he’d love to work with me on developing my story Mona Lisa’s Secret I didn’t hesitate to pay for a coaching session. Afterall, as a coach myself I know  the value of working with a pro, and paying the best, to  fast track success.

So yes, I did some name-less name dropping but I hope you’ll appreciate the theme. To be inspired you need to surround yourself with inspiring people and invest in your own success. You may not be able to get to a conference but that needn’t stop you. There’s plenty of online forum’s and virtual workshops you can attend. Michael Hague, for example has video copies of his international workshops which you can purchase and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Other experts will too.

I’ve also written about and sharing inspirational stories of success in my series Mid-life Career Rescue. Like Annie Featherston’s metamorphic rise from disillusioned teacher to award-winning romance writer in Mid-Life Career Rescue What Makes You Happy.

Many of the above tips and more easy to implement strategies can be found in my latest #1 Amazon bestseller The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, available now in print and eBook from Amazon here getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

I hope you’re feeling inspired after reading this post. I’d love to know what resonated with you.

Love and best wishes

Cassandra

P.S. If you’ve read my books and enjoyed them – have you left a review on Amazon? Reviews are gold to authors like me and help readers find our books. Please consider leaving your feedback on Amazon on Goodreads. Thank you!

I need your help…

Friday, July 8th, 2016

It has been a marathon of learning and a sprint to the finish, but I’m almost ready to launch, my next non-fiction book, The Art of Success. But I need your help.

I’ve been writing for the majority of my career, I’ve been on television, interviewed on the radio, and spoken at overseas conferences. But this isn’t what I’m most proud of.

What I am most proud of is helping other people succeed. From helping people leave toxic jobs, and stand up to tyrannical bosses, to helping people accomplish their dreams and even showing a single mum (as I once was)  how she can make money working from home and support her family—helping others is my greatest accomplishment.

Now I’d love your help. It would be great to get a fresh perspective before I finish my latest book.

Would you enjoy being an advance reader for The Art of Success? You don’t need to worry about any of the small detail. I’m only looking for your “big picture” responses to the book itself, as they are what will help me edit effectively. I’m looking for a few early readers to complete by July 20 so I can get some feedback and also some reviews in advance of the launch.

If you’re keen, please email me direct: cassandra@cassandragaisford.com with whether you want Kindle or ePub—or word.

Thanks 🙂

Cassandra

How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life

Business ideas for how to start a business

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Leigh Johnson

Creating a business and making decisions that are in line with your core beliefs and values is more likely to be a lasting and positive choice.

It allows you to be who you really are, and do what you really need, in order to achieve what you want. And it will draw like-minded and loyal clients to you.

Benefits of your values-driven business

Creating a values-driven business:

  • Allows you to be yourself
  • Differentiates you from others
  • Plays a key part in creating a professional brand
  • Guides your decisions and interactions with others
  • Communicates with, and attracts, loyal customers
  • Fast-tracks meaningful relationships
  • Can inspire loyalty beyond reason.

So where then to begin? Inside out. First determine your own personal values and build your business or self-employment opportunity from this core.

This is the approach Leigh Johnson, then aged 46, took when she established her recruitment business.

Following her childhood dream

Having my own business was a childhood aspiration. I love being my own boss – the freedom, flexibility, taking responsibility, and creating something of value that helps others. Deciding what to do was easy. I was working as a recruitment consultant for a large international firm and found recruitment suited my skills and talents.

I decided to go out on my own, and was able to turn that into a successful business and get others to share my goals and values. I was up and running with very little start-up capital, just some cash from my own resources.

Creating her niche

I established the company values and defined the behaviours that went with those values from the outset. Finding the right market and level of service centred on:

  • Providing a professional and personal service
  • Employing the right people
  • Doing business with the right clients
  • Innovating to meet their needs.

I developed a brand strategy, created a simple business plan, leased premises and a CRM system, and bought 2nd hand furniture! I hired my first employee, kept focused on our specialisation, then got out there and told people about it.

It’s important for me to be trying new things. I was driven to be successful and this, along with continually learning and sharing, kept my energy levels high. Doing the ‘same old’ and/or repetitive work de-energises me. Going into business or being self-employed creates a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and also learn about yourself.

Taking a leap of faith

I knew my enterprise could be successful. Initially I worked 60 hours per week. I used specialists for advice and outsourced the things I wasn’t good at. Spending time doing the stuff that creates revenue, and starting to build systems from day one helped maximise the likelihood of success.

The advice I would give to someone who has never started a business is to surround yourself with people who have done it before, or are self-employed. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Get a mentor or coach!

Millions of people around the world create small enterprises so that they can feed their families. Start small, part-time and try out some of your ideas.

Finding customers

Business development (face-to-face meetings), networking, marketing and building brand awareness helped me grow my client base. Being socially responsible and creating our Skilled Migrant Programme, in partnership with Victoria University and the Rotary Club of Wellington, has also given the brand a very positive image.

Getting professional advice, (business advisor), using specialists (i.e. finance) focusing on business development and building market awareness have been the secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income.

Best and worst moves

Hiring migrants who brought great skills, excellent motivation and surprised me with their ability to keep growing has been one of the best moves I’ve made.

Knowing what I now know, I would always ensure I hired the best people. They don’t have to be the highest paid.

Worst move? Taking too much responsibility on myself when things weren’t going well which led to burnout.

Maintaining Balance

While I had a lot of technical skills, I’ve had to learn to let go, and trust others. Mistakes happen and we learn from them together.

To maintain balance and find time for my family I avoid being a perfectionist. I look for the 80/20. Sometimes good enough is just fine. And done is better than perfect.

To succeed in business you must be prepared to take responsibility and make decisions, some of which won’t be right but that’s okay. Just keep making them. I also take time out every quarter. You must trust your people and disconnect so that they can make decisions while you are away.

Action and Innovation

Lately, I’ve been using the word ‘enterprise’ instead of business or self-employment. Personally it has connotations involving action and innovation. Also it can be about being socially responsible while being economically sustainable.

Establishing her company values and ensuring her behaviours reflected those values from the outset helped Leigh create a strong brand—one she is proud of.

Her deep belief in equality and being socially responsible, and her passion for helping others is also reflected in her successful Skilled Migrant Programme, giving her brand a very positive image.

It was an inspired move. My own experience working as a recruitment consultant confirmed that many employers discriminate against people from other cultures. I was once moved so much by their plight I wrote a magazine article entitled, What Colour Are Your Skills, to focus attention on the fact that it is what people can do, not their place of origin that defines a person’s ability to do a job well.

Leigh now works less in the business and more on the business to maintain better balance. She is passionate about helping women who suffer as she has, from depression and anxiety, and shares her story of recovery on her personal blog: www.leighjohnsonnz.com/blogging.

At the time of writing, Leigh has also made a decision to retrain as a Well-being and Transition Coach, and I am honoured to have been her business coach and mentor through this journey. She’s also excited about a new online project that is in the planning phase.

I’m calling it: ‘Fabulous at 50—The Professional Woman’s Guide to Being Anxiety Free.’ This web-based programme will provide tools to help women avoid the negative experiences of burnout and anxiety, that can get in the way of enjoying what should be an exciting time of life.

Find out more about Leigh Johnson, and the wonderful work she does here: www.leighjohnsonnz.com and on her blog.

Action Task! Start Smart

Identify and record any lessons you can learn from Leigh’s experience that you could apply to starting, or redefining, your own business. Summarise some possible action steps.

Book_transparentbg copyBe inspired by other entrepreneurs, and gain practical strategies to help you plan your beautiful business, purchase your copy of  Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself  TODAY!

Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is available in paper back and e-Book version from Amazon.

Employ yourself feedback at 2.33.02 pm

To fulfil your potential you have to step out of the comfort zone

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

shoot for the stars by Kimberly Gordon ReelandWhilst it’s commonly stated that we should do what comes naturally, this may not be the best advice!

To fulfil your potential you have to step out of the comfort zone of doing what you do well and embrace the uncertain world of trying something new.

In doing this you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing whether you swim on a new current of fulfilment and success – something others refer to as ‘flow”.

Just as Jilly did, the wonderful lady in her 70’s who has become a photographer, and whose story I shared in Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy).

Listening to Jilly’s stories of reinvention, it’s clear to me that variety, learning and new challenges are some of her most important values. “‘I’ve always followed my dream – I wasn’t a mid-lifer who found what I wanted to do. I always took chances and jumped in with both feet!” She said. 

Read her inspiring story in Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy), or check out her website – her work is really, really special. Her natural affinity for dogs, and the skills she’s developed with the camera, creates something truly magical. She has now had several exhibitions with two more coming up next year. Also she has been invited to join Getty Images.

 

 

But what if you  don’t swim? What if you sink? At least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried, and the great fortune of implementing your lessons learned in your next attempt!

Refresh Your Life With Change

Sticking with what you do well can be the worst thing to do if you want to live a meaningful life. To develop new skills, new ways of being to become someone other than who you believe yourself to be takes a willingness to change.

As astrologer Sarah Varcas shares, “It takes courage and fortitude, a willingness to be a new-born again, discovering life from scratch, adopting a new perspective and fresh guidelines. Of course we can take our strengths and abilities with us on the journey. They’ll come in more than handy! But to see them as the be-all and end-all, the extent of our ‘tool kit’, is to live a half-baked life in the shadow of who we could actually be if we allowed ourselves to grow.”

Here’s a few questions to ponder, the answers may prove liberating:

  • What would you be willing to try if you were 10 times bolder?
  • What wouyld you try if you knew success was guaranteed?
  • How could trying out new ways of being or working enrich your life?

Finding My Passion and Purpose

I put into motion my own advice late last year and published my first two books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series on Amazon. What fun! I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

Since embarking on change I’ve published a book a month and recently penned my third book: How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, is more of guide, than a book – a nice short, easy to implement tool kit to help you live and work with passion and purpose.

The Amazon details and link are here: http://amzn.to/1W0IreR

A new thing I did for the first time was creating my own cover – using my own art work too. The feedback I’ve received about both the book and the cover has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have perceived. I gain from the satisfaction and fulfilment of being fully autonomous in all aspects of publishing and gaining from the immediacy and intimacy of the feedback from readers.

“Simply delightful, witty quick read, packed with excellent information. I’m actually believing now, I could change my career after 18 years!” Wrote one Amazon reviewer.

“I feel I want to read this book now! The red energy swirl suggests an invitation to enter a journey of discovering ones passion,” shared another person when she first saw the cover.

Of course, sometimes when you try new things, even successful new things you can attract criticism. I did when I wrote my second book. A reviewer said,  “I loved the inspiration, content, and message. There book rambles a lot though.”

Ok, I thought. I won’t ramble in my next book – I’ll be more concise!

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love is available through Amazon at the special introductory price of $.99 for a limited time. http://amzn.to/1W0IreR

How to create a new life – harness the power of one and achieve your goals

Friday, January 1st, 2016

one thought,
one feeling,
one intention,
one desire,
one challenge

A very warm greeting to you on this most auspicious day  the first day of the first month – the beginning of a wonderful new year.

One has become my favourite number. I love its simplicity. In an era where overwhelm threatens the peace and equilibrium of so many, ‘one’ makes things easy.

My one goal last year was to overcome my own self-doubt and follow my passion for writing. I love writing. It’s what I was born to do. If I don’t have a pen in my hand, a notebook at the ready, I feel lost, anxious, irritable, Writing soothes my soul. Writing allows me to connect with others and to express the things I care deeply about.

And so with this in mind, I made one promise to myself in 2015 – to publish one book. And then another in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Books which would share my own mid-life journey to career nirvana, and the journey of other seekers too.

And in turn, my hope was that sharing these stories would inspire you.

So it’s been exciting to read the reviews and hear from people who have read my first books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. People like Hillary who said, “This is the perfect gentle nudge needed to move me forward and make those scary life changes.

I was scared last year too. I wondered how my books would be received. I wondered if anyone would like them. I feared public rejection, bad reviews, losing the time and money I had invested – all those things. But my desire was stronger. I didn’t want to wonder, ‘what if.” What if I had taken a risk and published my book. I took the risk, and it’s been worth it. I chose to change my focus  – to create in my minds eye everything I that dreamed of and saw in my mind’s eye, that I wanted to become ‘true.’

Going to bed last night on New Year’s Eve after celebrating the last day of 2015, to find Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy) twas #1 on the best-seller list on Amazon was amazing. And waking up today on the first day of 2016 and finding it was still #1 was fun!

So if there’s one thing I would encourage you to do this year it would be this – feel the fear and follow your passion anyway. Be curious, be playful, be adventurous and see where these feelings take you.

If you know anyone who needs a gentle nudge this year to make a change for the better the link is here http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

What’s one intention you could make this year that, when followed through, would make a tremendous difference to your life? Please let me know on in the comments section of this blog

In the meantime I leave with you with this inspirational sculpture created by renown New Zealand Sculptor Chris Booth. My partner commissioned it for my 50th birthday last year. Together the three of us named it Viewfinder, which I love given my passion for photography. Of course, a viewfinder is the tool that enables you to find your point of focus. The viewfinder is the single most important user interface on any camera. And your viewfinder – your point of focus, the thing that captures your interest, your attention, your passion, is the most important tool in creating your best life in 2016. Set your focus, capture your desires and allow them to motivate and guide you throughout the hours, weeks, and months which follow.

Viewfinder Chris Booth web

I wish you a very happy new year. May 2016 bring you continued happiness and joy.

How to change careers – follow your passion not your pension

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

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It’s my great privilege to share a sneak peek at Jilly Bennett’s incredible story of reinvention and her amazing photography.

I first met Jilly in 2014 when I was chasing my many passions in Italy. We both signed up to follow another passionate woman, photographer Carla Couslon, with whom we travelled around Puglia learning more about photography and a life worth living. Carla’s books Italian Joy and Chasing A Dream spoke to us all, luring us to distant shores.

I adore Jilly’s zest for life and the way she so poignantly shatters mistaken beliefs about ageing. As you’ll see and read for yourself in my latest book, ‘Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy) How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late’. Available in paperback and ebook from the following Amazon link http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

I loved including Jilly’s story, especially when I read reviews like those below:

If, like me, you’re sick of reading/hearing ‘find your passion’ and you’ve no idea what to do – this book has it covered! I liked that the author explains how to actually go about finding your ‘passion’ or ‘purpose’. And she included the ‘reality testing’ step as well. I’m at a mid-life career crisis point – a very useful read!” ~ Amazon Review

“This book asks you all the basic questions and provides direction to . It provides numerous examples of success based on passion for the cynics amongst us. And you can do all this in the safety of the work life you dislike. Now it is your turn to find out how the book ends.” ~ Simon Weiner

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Follow this blog link to view Jilly’s photos and be inspired by her story:

http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/how-to-be-happy-with-yourself-prioritising-whats-important/

Three days to train a horse. Three days to change a habit.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

IMG_2846Golden Dream, one of the pregnant mares we’ve been babysitting, started eating the fences while we were away for three days. My partner said, ‘Something has got to change, either the horses changed their behaviour or they have to go.’

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with writing or any act of creativity? I didn’t want the horses to go, just like I don’t want to give up my dream of being published in fiction.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of talk that it takes 21 days to change a habit, but where’s the evidence? Why 21 days? What if the truth was it only takes three days to change a habit? That would be cool.  Three days is manageable, easier to chew and simpler digest. Then add three more days, and three more, until voilà you have achieved seven sets of three and a new habit is ingrained. Of course it can’t stop there. A new habit has to continue to be effective.

I proved my horse theory of behavioural change today. Day three and the horses are retrained, I’m still working on training myself to change unhelpful behaviours, including procrastination, but here’s a few things I’ve learned recently from other pro’s:

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task. Robert McKee, story guru to the stars, including Peter Jackson and many other high achieving creatives, says it takes 10 years before you can master the craft of writing. Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today best-selling novelist and author of one of the top 10 blogs for self-publishers, wrote recently of author Blake Crouch’s 10 year journey through different forms of publishing – his Wayward Pines series is now a TV show. 10 seems to be a magic number, just like 3.

 

Think like a pro and be prepared to learn

Think and act and feel like a pro. No one achieves pro status without some sort of apprenticeship. Like any apprentice you have tasks to learn from other experts on the journey to craft mastery.  Joanna Penn, for example attends workshops and learns from other successful people in her field. Other pro’s do the same.

“Excellence of any kind is based upon knowledge,” says Robert McKee. “You have to do research, you have to know what it is you are trying to do. The more you understand what you are trying to do the better you will be at it. The notion you can rely in instinct is foolishness.”

 

Do the work

“Show up, show up and soon the muse shows up too”, says author Isabel Allende. Show up, put your bum on the seat, and put your pen in hand and do the work.  “You can’t actually make a living from writing if you’re not actually writing, ” says Joanna Penn – very wisely! Some authors suggest writing at a set time every day, others advocate for a more flexible approach. Know what works for you and stick to it. Determine the goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s a quota, a set amount of time to write, or a defined task to conquer, determine what you are going to do and stay at work until your done.

 

Write faster

Prolific Amazon best-selling author Steve Windsor, warns against over thinking. Write faster, he says. This is a great way to minimise the internal critic and the perfectionist. They can come out to play later, the main thing is to get down the bones, at least then you’ll have something to work with. If you have no words you have nothing to go back and edit later. Steve Windsor speaks from experience – with nine books out in eight months he knows how to be a writing machine.

 

Practice habit creep

Changing human behaviour is often considered to be one of the hardest things to do in business and in life, writes James Clear.  James studies successful people across a wide range of disciplines — entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and more — to uncover the habits and routines that make these people the best at what they do.

What if,  he asks in a recent newsletter, we trusted that becoming more successful  came as a natural side effect of improving our normal routines? It makes absolute sense that as our normal habits improve so will our successes – whether this is because our daily word count goes up, or we churn out more books over a year, or what ever else we want to achieve.

James Clear has coined the phrase ‘habit creep’  to describe the idea of ‘slightly adjusting your habits until behaviours and results that were once out of reach become your new normal‘.

He advocates two primary ways to change long-term behaviours and improve performance for good:

  1. Increase your performance by a little bit each day. Most people take this to the extreme, he’s says.
  2. Change your environment to remove small distractions and barriers. Most people never think about this.

 

I’ve been implementing many of these strategies to increasing success. I’m breaking the task of finishing a book of fiction into manageable tasks. I’m practising habit creep and writing fast by working in 40 minute intervals of timed writing bursts, followed by 10 minutes of cardio!It’s so important as a writer not to be sedentary.

I’ve also changing location, moving out of the house and into the garden to minimise the distraction created by unlimited WIFI and interruptions at home. Look, even Golden Dream is cheer-leading me on as I write!

Watching podcasts by writing professionals, and joining writing forums and communities of writers with similar aspirations has been fabulous too, tuning up my mindset and providing me with ‘my tribe’ and a sense of belonging.

It’s day one of making these changes in my writing life, but having trained the horses to stop eating the fence in three days by making slow, incremental adjustments to their routine, I’m optimistic that I can create new habits that lasts a lifetime too.

 

Everyone gets obsessed with achieving their very best day—pulling the best score on their test, running their fastest race ever, making the most sales in the department. I say forget that stuff. Just improve your normal day and the results will take care of themselves. We naturally make long-term changes in our lives by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviours.” ~ James Clear

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