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Archive for the 'Midlifecareerchange' Category

Your personal invitation to a free, life-changing online event…

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Are you at a fork in the road?

Have you ever thought to yourself “There has to be more to life than this?” At some point, most of us have.

Here’s the incredible thing…

Sometimes when you’re at a fork in the road, one simple well-timed suggestion or idea can cause a major shift—the one that leads to your breakthrough.

That’s why I am so excited to invite you to join me for a free online event called What the Fork? Discover a Practical and Nourishing Plan to Feed Yourself For Health and Happiness

Healthy Living Coach Sheree Clark is interviewing all sorts of health and lifestyle experts, and I am honored to be one of those she hand-picked to feature!

This event is a unique chance to listen to dozens of the best health, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle authors, teachers and researchers give their insights into what they have found to be true from their years of experience. Many of the experts you’ll meet arrived at their own “make it or break it moment” because of an event in their lives, and they’re willing to share what they’ve learned with you.

The experts in this series all want to help you discover the incredible opportunities you have to uplevel your own life. We believe that a healthier lifestyle is about more than just what you put in your mouth or how many steps you walk in a day. It’s about viewing yourself—and the things you allow into your life—in a holistic and integrated way.

I’m inviting you to participate as my guest in the entire What the Fork? event for FREE!

You’ll find out how to:

  • Be at peace, whether you’re strolling in the garden or dealing with the tech support people
  • Eat more healthfully, and without feeling deprived
  • Finally get your hormones and your thyroid under control
  • Address brain fog, fatigue, sugar ups and downs
  • Feed your entire family—pets included—for longevity
  • Follow your passion and still pay the bills

…And much, much more….

If this sounds exciting to you, you absolutely must listen in! Join me and the other experts for FREE by clicking the link below and registering today.

Click here to access What the Fork? 

By the end of this event you’ll have the knowledge and the tools that will bring you the vibrant life you’re looking for! So, what the fork are you waiting for?

Check out this little clip of my book on American TV… Around 8 mins in!

You’ll be able to take a wee peek into some of the incredible people Sheree has on the show. Sheree Invites you to tune into her 2017 “What the Fork?” interview series. She reveals just a few of the 30+ guests, including JJ Virgin, Jennifer Cornbleet, Joe Tatta, Debra Atkinson, Cassandra Gaisford and Joy Loverde. To enjoy the series, which begins May 1, 2017, visit www.sowhatthefork.com

This is going to be one amazing interview series, as you’ll see when you hear fabulous Sheree Clarke discuss as she profiles some of the other experts. Excited to participate in the healthy lifestyle event with @Sheree_Clark

But wait there’s more! Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel both knew the importance of taking a holistic approach to success—including looking after your well-being, your mind, your spirit and your relationships. To coincide with this special summit, and to celebrate Leonardo’s birthday this month (April 15, 1452) I  have a FREE gift.

The Art of Success Boxed Set (Books 1-2) Leonardo Da Vinci & Coco Chanel: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life. Get two books for one reduced price of $9.99 for a limited time. Instant download here >>getBook.at/SuccessBoxset.

Learn Leonardo da Vinci’s and Coco Chanel’s success secrets and let them guide and mentor you. Three life coaches and two empowering books to help you transform your life rolled into one important resource.

P.S. You may also like to check out the Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy. Listen to my presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series 2017 here  (The sound improves 20 minutes in!)

There’s loads of inspirational stories and sparkling images to uplift and encourage you to pursue your dreams.

You can see a few samples on my blog here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/find-happiness-at-work-how-to-create-a-successful-career-strategy

P.P.S. Each interview in Sheree’s Fork in the Road series will be available for a limited time. Register now and don’t miss a single tip, strategy or important tidbit!

Click here to register for What the Fork? 

Please share this blog with anyone you know who may need a boost.

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

How stressed are you?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

When we are calm and happy the quality of the decisions we make far exceed those made when stressed out of our brains.

Stress is something we all feel everyday. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself, or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will. If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted—making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back  in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life, and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as —OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learnt. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression and suicide. It’s that serious—no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being.

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work, or your life.

YOUR BODY BAROMETER TEST

How stressed are you?

Take the following body barometer test by taking note of any symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

Physical Signs of Stress

  • Increased heart rate/Pounding heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and back muscles
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Unable to pass urine or incontinence
  • Trembling/Twitching
  • Stuttering and other speech difficulties
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Being easily startled
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Dryness of mouth or throat
  • Cold hands
  • Susceptibility to minor illnesses
  • Itching
  • Chronic pain

Emotional Signs of Stress

  • Tearful
  • Impatience
  • Frightened
  • Moody
  • Highs and lows
  • Feeling of loss
  • Depressed
  • Anger
  • Irritated
  • Short-tempered
  • Grief

Cognitive/Perceptual/Thinking Signs

  • Forgetfulness
  • Preoccupation
  • Errors in judging distance/space
  • Reduced creativity/creative thinking
  • Lack of concentration
  • Diminished productivity
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Orientation to the past
  • Diminished reaction time
  • Clumsiness
  • Disorganization of thought
  • Negative self-esteem
  • Negative self-statements
  • Diminished sense of meaning in life
  • Lack of control/Need for too much control
  • Negative evaluation of experiences
  • Negative thinking
  • Pessimism

Behavioral Signs of Stress

  • Carelessness/Accident prone
  • Under-eating/Over-eating
  • Aggressiveness/Fighting/Hostility
  • Increased smoking/Starting smoking
  • Withdrawal
  • Argumentative
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Listlessness
  • Nervous laughter
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Impatience/Agitation

Take a look at the following stress-busting tips and create your own stress management plan. Starting from a positive, healthy foundation will help you make changes in your career and life successfully.

This is an edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn  how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Rebirthing a New Career: Lynnie’s reinvention story

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Lynnie Galloway’s personal story of reinvention is an inspiring call to action for us all. Despite her fear of letting go of a career that’s been familiar to her for over two decades, she’s preparing to transition from midwifery to becoming a career and life coach. We first connected many years ago when Lynnie approached me about training to become a Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach. But as you’ll read, she embarked on training with another provider, only to find it didn’t meet her needs.

But that’s not the real story. The real story is her vision for her coaching business, The Treasure Chest, and her deep desire to help herself and others give birth to their dreams.

I will let Lynnie tell her story, but one of the things I most love  (as you’ll read below) was the way her ‘mentor’ encouraged her: “Christmas last year, my sister said to me ‘you have been telling me the same thing for about the last 3 years, it is time to do something about it’.

Every great story is drawn from intentions and obstacles. To be the hero’s and heroines of our own stories is what makes life rewarding.

Many of the questions I asked Lynnie are drawn from screenwriting legend Christopher Vogler and his guide to story structure (inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s (and heroine’s) Journey. I’ve put some of the stages in brackets.

 

Why did you decide to train to be a life coach? Describe your everyday existence work wise (The ordinary world)

My everyday work existence: I work as a hospital based midwife in a medium sized Maternity Unit.   I work 8 hour rostered and rotating shifts and work across the scope of practice as a midwife which includes Antenatal, Delivery Suite and Postnatal.  No two duties are ever the same!!  It is busy!!!

Back in April 2014, during one of my quiet times, I had read this Bible verse that jumped out at me which talked about being ‘led out’ of the place where I was working.  Those verses have stuck with me over the last 3 years.  Hence when I completed your passions booklet and found that none of my desires were related to midwifery now, that confirmed it to me that how much my own desires had changed in the last 3 years.  Going through burnout towards the end of 2014, I realised than again that something had to change in the work situation as I couldn’t carry on as I was.

The burnout issues related very much to-

1.  clash of values eg I love quality time with people but the institution dictates the boxes to be ticked off

2. Unable to get the time off that I needed for holidays

3. The acuity and busyness of the place, I don’t seem to manage that the same as what I did before.  I think it is related to age and stage of life too.

 

What factors influenced your decision to train with Worklife Solutions/Cassandra? (call to adventure)

I had come across Worklife Solutions (Cassandra) as a training provider back in 2014 but just wasn’t sure at that time.  Decided on another education provider which has provided me with a foundation in coaching but last year realised that I wanted more discussions regarding putting sessions together, evaluating and discussing this with a mentor and someone whom had been walking the talk for a long time.   This was not provided by the previous education provider.  

The above factors influenced me to contact Cassandra again.  I was looking for a different type of training, wanting someone who has such a solid background in coaching and whom could offer more input regarding sessions planning and feedback, starting a business etc.

 

You initially considered training several years ago? Why did you delay? (Refusal of the call)

Last year I wasn’t in a position to carry on with coaching due to a number of factors.  I did enrol again (with another provider) but as I wasn’t able to get the practical help needed and with the combined work schedule, projects and travel, my time just went!!  Towards the end of the year, coaching kept coming up more and more and I knew I had to do something about it.

 

Who or what encouraged you to train? (Meeting the mentor)

Initially it was a friend whom suggested I should give coaching a go and it just stuck with me.   I had been looking at a change in career for some time.

 

What was the pivotal moment, turning point or catalyst to saying ‘yes” now and committing to action i.e. enrolling, paying your fees and locking in a start date (crossing the threshold)

Christmas last year, my sister said to me ‘you have been telling me the same thing for about the last 3 years, it is time to do something about it’.

While looking at other education providers for coaching, I had also downloaded Cassandra’s free booklet on finding your passions (available to people who subscribe to the newsletter here www.cassandragaisford.com).  I worked through the workbook and the light dawned when I realised that none of my passions were in midwifery now.  That was ‘a light bulb moment’ or what I would call ‘a God moment’ as I had had the sense for a few years that I was been led out of midwifery.  I was filled with such a sense of peace about it that I knew it was right to contact Cassandra again.

 

What challenges did you face? (Tests, allies and enemies)

Even though I have been a midwife for 26 years, it is what I have known.  I have worked in NZ and overseas and in many challenging situations.  Stepping into a new situation and the unknown and training as a coach is both exciting and challenging as I am moving outside of my comfort zones

 

The final destination lies ahead—what steps are you taking to prepare for successful completion? (Approaching the innermost cave)

• My plan is to move on with the life and career coaching training.  Steps have been made.

• Started a journal – which includes timelines, ideas, and words of encouragement.

• Commenced reading Cassandra’s book on Mid-Life Career Rescue which I am finding helpful

 

What fears, if any, do you feel you must overcome? (The crisis/supreme ordeal)

Starting a business

Getting on with the coaching itself

 

Crossing the threshold—describe what you and your life will look like when you return with your treasure:) (Seizing the reward, The Road Back.)

At this stage, it is a bit hard to see this part.  I am sure more of this will come as I proceed through the course and get on with the coaching.

 

What last tests do you feel you may face? How will you know you are reborn into a new and beautiful form ( The Climax/resurrection)

I am thinking about how I can grow a business and market it!!!  These are foreign concepts at present.

 

Finally the treasure is yours. Begin with the end in mind – what does this look like, feel like, what can you hear etc – engage of the senses to make your vision/treasure real. (Return with the elixir)

I started to catch a glimpse of this when I realised that my passions had changed and was excited by this.  I look forward to learning and developing as the training unfolds.  I’m sure there will be more to share as time goes on.

What a wonderful sign Lynnie had during her “God moment.” A deep sense of peace is definitely sign of alignment with spirit energy and being guided toward your purpose. Wonderfully her purpose is tied to a goal which is to help others achieve transformational change.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can follow your passion and purpose and create a rewarding career, click here http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training

David Loves Lilly

Monday, February 13th, 2017

David Styles is nuts about water lilies. It’s such a passion that he’s nearly run out of room for them all—so now he has bathtubs overflowing with all his loves. What’s not to love about this fabulous ‘bathhouse’ of water lilies lovingly nurtured by him. I’ve driven past this spot in Te Horo so many times and always thought it was a junk yard.

Happily my new passion for photography has opened my eyes to the beauty that surrounds us, helping me see more clearly the things so many of us pass by. I literally screeched to a stop when to my delight I took a second look at these old ‘forlorn’ bathtubs and saw the beauty floating inside.

Luck, David told me, was on my side as usually at this hour (4:30ish) the lilies would have closed (11-2 is their waking hour) and some of the lilies are so rare that many people have never seen them at all (the white one especially). And there are the lilies that Money painted when he lived at Giverney in France. Oh I do so love people with healthy obsessions – passionate people are vitamins for the soul.

This from a book on Monet:

“The water lily, a flower which flourishes only in warm swampy waters symbolized – not just in Marrarme’s poem The White Lily (1895) – the mysterious sources of life and the undividedness of being.”

The symbolism is perfect and holds a lesson for all of us. We too can be at our most radiant, our most magnicient, our most divinely beautiful—even if we are surrounded by a swamp (this may be the negativity of others, a toxic work environment, or some other muddy circumstance.

And as Vincent van Gogh so sagely advises, you can silence the swamp of your doubting mind by blossoming in the truth of your divine essence and flowering with certainty.

Follow your passion to health and prosperity

David, who loves water lilies, has created a beautiful business from his backyard bathtubs. He grows and supplies lillies for garden centres and enthusiasts all over the world. But more importantly, he credits his obsession with restoring his health following a heart attack.

Following my own obsession for passion and passionate people let me to do a ‘Van Gogh” and write books to help others believe in the beauty of their dreams. As I share in Find Your Passion and Purpose:

“The vision was simple: a few short, easy to digest tips for time-challenged people who were looking for inspiration and practical strategies to encourage positive change.

From my own experience, I knew that people didn’t need a large wad of words to feel inspired, gain clarity and be stimulated to take action.

In coaching and counselling sessions I’d encourage my clients to ask a question they would like answered. The questions could be specific, such as, ‘How can I make a living from my passion?’ Or vague, for example,  ‘What do I most need to know?’

Then I’d ask them to pick a card at random. Without fail, they were astounded by the card’s potent relevance. Disbelieving eyes widened in astonishment as they read either the quote or the main message they received. Many would say, “These cards are magic.”

Orders flooded in from global recruitment consultancies, primary schools, colleges, universities, not-for-profit organisations, financial institutions and other multi-national commercial entities. I was asked to speak at conferences around the world about the power of passion. It was amazing to see how popular and successful The Passion Pack became, transcending age, gender, and socio-economic differences.

In this era of information obesity the need for simple, life-affirming messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a page at random, or work through the steps sequentially. I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Clive, a 62-year-old man who had suffered work-related burnout, did! He thought that creating a passion journal, Tip 10 in this guide, was childish – something other stressed executives in his men’s support group would balk at. But once he’d taken up the challenge he told me enthusiastically,

“They loved it!” They are using their passion journals to visualise, gain clarity, and create their preferred futures. Clive is using it to help manifest his new purpose-driven coaching business.

Let experience be your guide. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’, and embrace how you feel, or how you want to feel. Honour the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

Laura, who at one stage seemed rudderless career-wise, did just that. She was guided to Tip 14: Who Inspires You? Following that, her motivation to live and work like those she looked up to sparked a determination to start her own business.  It was that simple.

At the time of writing I’ve just turned to Tip 31: Fear Of Success. It’s a timely reminder of just how far following my passion has taken me – the shy girl who was once afraid of being seen. The quote is as apt for me as I feel it may be for you:

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”

Here’s to living with passion and purpose!

 

Introduction

“Mary Oliver says in one of her poems, ‘Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ Me, I intend to live passionately.”
Isabelle Allende, Novelist

Finding a job you want and living a life you love is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Yet, it’s staggeringly, and dishearteningly, true that many people don’t know what they are passionate about, or how they can turn it into a rewarding career. Some research suggests that only 10% of people are living and working with passion. Hence my passion for passion, and helping create more positive change in the world.

If you’re like many people who don’t know what they are passionate about or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.

If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with passion, this book will help change your mindset.

Together we’ll help you get your mojo back, challenge your current beliefs and increase your sense of possibility. By tapping into a combination of practical career strategies, Law of Attraction principles, and the spiritual powers of manifestation, you’ll reawaken dreams, boost your self-awareness, empower your life and challenge what you thought was possible.

 

This is an edited extract from Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn  how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

 

 

Check out my Flickr page, David Loves Lilly for more sumptuous photos >> https://flic.kr/s/aHsjSRc4Q1

How to Find Authentic Happiness: Love Is Where The Magic Is

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion you’d do it for free, this is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.

From Teacher to Romance Writer

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares below, when you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your true Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable.

I’d taught for fifteen years and loved it. And then I didn’t.

It wasn’t the students or the workload. It wasn’t the noise or the constant worry of, ‘was I doing enough’ that pushed me out either.

I was a good teacher but underneath was a passion that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I wanted to be writer, a historical romance writer, and I was beginning to get offered some wonderful opportunities that did not meld with the structured teaching year and the constant pressure of it.

I felt like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. I was teaching half time, taking tours to Europe with my husband to help him, running mentorship programs…. and writing.

Writing was my complete and utter love and yet it was always taking a secondary place. I wrote at night. I wrote in the weekends. I wrote when the kids were asleep. When I wrote I didn’t think of the time or the problems, all I saw was the joy and passion of it. I loved forming characters and thinking of stories. I lay in bed at night asking my protagonists questions and spent many hours trawling over history books to place them into a context.

I have a degree in history so it was as if all the things I had enjoyed were coming together at last. History and writing. I knew that at 54 I couldn’t be patient any longer.

I needed to be in a field that I felt fully aware in, that I loved beyond the weekly pay check and that filled my spirit with lightness.

I’d just won a New Zealand based competition for a completed romance and it was validation, I suppose. If I didn’t make the jump and do it now perhaps I never would. And if I never gave myself a chance I would feel bereft.

I penned my resignation letter and left to Australia to be a mentor on a five-day intensive scheme the Romance Writers of Australia were running. It was scary and hard but when I finished it successfully I remember standing alone in front of the mirror, a cold sore from exhaustion and worry on my lip, but my clenched fist punching the air in triumph.

To feel like that is to know you live

When I got picked up by Harlequin Historical and published it felt like all the dreams I had hoped for so long were finally happening. I had visualized this. I had walked the lonely windy beaches of Gisborne and shouted my hopes for it into the wind. I had sat in the mall with three crying children in the car and written scenarios on the back of the supermarket docket because the story just wouldn’t wait until I got home.

If I had not been paid one cent for my writing I would still have done it somehow. But the strange thing is that money does follow passion, and suddenly I was making as much as I ever did in part time teaching.

Writing is hard work. A book does not come fully formed from thin air or dreams for me. But I’ve persevered and sat and written. I’ve made deadlines. I’ve written blogs. I have delved into social media and stood there with a smile on my face when the reviews have not been what I wanted.

But I have always believed in myself and my stories. I’ve kept going. I have never given up.

And I have loved my writing life, my freedom, the creativity, the possibilities.

If I had my time over I would have left my teaching career earlier. I would have been braver and less worried by all the sensible advice others were giving me. I should have listened to my heart and taken the jump into a lifestyle that is my perfect fit and even if I had never succeeded I would have known that at least I tried.

I love Annie’s story of reinvention. So-called sensible advice is no replacement for the wisdom of your heart, your soul, your intuitive knowing about what choices are right for you. Visit her author website here http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=1690

This was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

Available for immediate download less than the price of a cup of coffee—getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

How to start a business on the side while holding down your job

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Start a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence.

A big shout out to my client who has started her business today—while holding down her current job. Catherine’s started smart by taking over an existing business – check it out here http://www.lifeconsulting.co.nz/

Learn from other inspired and inspiring entrepreneurs and make a calculated leap to self-employed freedom and fulfilment. Fourteen individuals tell you their stories in  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. Their backgrounds and dreams are as unique as you are. What unites them is their creativity, passion and integrity. In my latest book Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself they share their fears, their struggles and their joys as they overcame obstacles and pursued their dreams of self-employment. Here’s an excerpt:

“Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back to working for someone else.”
Alan Sugar, Entrepreneur and host of The Apprentice, UK

They were doing something they love; their passion drove them.

The list below is what they have in common. As you read this list think how many strategies could apply to you:

Making money was not their sole motivation. Their businesses grew from a desire to serve others; they were not trying to force something on others or to make a killer sale. Instead, they wanted to make a positive difference and create something of value. They didn’t badger people into buying their goods or service.

  • They cared about whether or not they could help a prospective client. If they could, great. If not, they were either quietly persistent until they were needed, or they moved on.
  • They planned for success. Their business and marketing plans were living documents and they managed their finances extraordinarily well.
  • They shared. They communicated their vision, goals and plans with those important to them, and they researched their clients and stakeholders constantly to learn how to do things better together.
  • They listened. They listened to their staff, their families and their clients. Then, and only then, when they understood their issues, fears, needs and desires did they offer a solution.
  • They started smart. When employing others, whether on contract or as salaried staff, they hired the right people for the right job. And, when necessary, they gave their people the training, systems, environment and recognition to do their job well.
  • They took calculated risks. They always looked before they leapt, but they leapt nonetheless. Courage and confidence was something they built as they went.
  • They believed in themselves, or faked it! Even professionals doubt themselves – but they don’t let self-doubt win.

“You have to believe in yourself. Even when you don’t, you have to try,” encourages Serena Williams, tennis super-star and 21-time Grand Slam champion.

“There are moments when I am on the court and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this’. But then I fortify myself and say, ‘I can, I can’ – and it happens. If you believe in yourself, even if other people don’t, that really permeates through and it shows. And people respect that.”

If the strategies above sound like things you can do, or are willing to try, chances are self-employment is right for you. Be sure to get off to a good start, and be inspired by those who have walked the path of success.

Client Success Story: Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

Lisa Conroy, Director and Empowerment Coach for women’s lifestyle, career and wellness. Box of Chocolates, www.boxofchocolates.co.nz

Lisa Conroy’s passion for helping others led her to start her coaching business. The seeds of change were also cultivated during a stressful time in her former job.

Leading up to my coaching training I had been working for a major sporting organisation for eight years. They were going through massive change and unsettling times. I was up to my fourth restructuring with this company, and management informed us that they were moving the organisation to another city. It was an eight-hour drive away, and an expensive place to transport my family to live.

It had been a toxic environment for some time, HR was non-existent, and I saw first hand during this time of transition amongst the team, the effects of stress and uncertainty. I knew going to the new venue was not in my family’s best interest, so I had to think about my options, which led to a call for change. The idea of coaching and helping others with their life and career goals appealed and seemed to be a growing industry.

I did some investigating and found Cassandra Gaisford and her Worklife Solutions Career and Life Coaching certification programme. Her personality, variety of skills and zest for life just really resonated with me.

I realised becoming a life coach would allow me the freedom, flexibility and independence to do work that I loved in an industry that seemed very rewarding and much needed.

I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but I love a challenge and felt this was the perfect fit for my interests, skills and goals.

My new coaching journey began, which led to a career combo. I decided to start my own business within three weeks of starting my coaching programme and haven’t looked back since…

Do something you love

I have always wanted to have my own business doing something I loved. Once I started my coaching training, I felt this was the perfect match for me to be able to utilise my skills and help others to reach their lifestyle, career and wellness goals.

I also wanted the freedom to be able to work on new ideas and create my own style by offering a unique service in the Wellness industry through my combination of coaching, art therapy workshops, wellness retreats, Reiki healing and aromatherapy pamper parties.

Deciding what to do

My initial focus was purely on the lifestyle, career and wellness coaching but realised it would take time to build my brand, Box of Chocolates, along with gaining trust with clients and networks.

I went into this with a realistic view that it would take two-three years to build to a point of going full time with my business ideas. I also believed that if I had a few alternative strings to my bow, it would assist me in offering a variety of services to a wider audience and give me alternative sources of income.

I was drawn to running wellness retreats where my event management skills, love of wellness and creative activities, and relevant workshop topics would help me attract the right women. Women who wanted to feel empowered and find new inspiration for their lives, and be able to share and learn from others in a safe and nurturing environment.

I was also interested in gaining a certification in Reiki healing as I felt this would complement my coaching and retreats/workshops, which then led onto me becoming an aromatherapy consultant too.

This year I will be focusing on increasing my impact/marketing reach strategies by striving to increase my coaching capacity to offer Skype sessions/coaching packages globally online as well as within New Zealand.

Finding an idea that would be successful

A belief in my abilities, along with a determination to be of service and offer a solution to key problems facing many women helped me find an idea I thought would be successful.

When you can tap into understanding who your niche market is and what they need, you can then build a strong foundation of core services to assist them.

I took a leap of faith but I knew in my heart that every time I coached someone it didn’t feel like work to me, it was so rewarding seeing my clients grow from strength to strength and be able to reach their true potential with a boost in confidence.

When you are coming from the heart and follow that guidance, you will always be supported to find the people and resources you need.

However, that doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for it to happen. Action and dedication are required to build momentum, along with commitment and trust in your abilities to manifest your dreams and goals.

I also knew that there were not many people holding retreats that offered a unique Zen and creative style that my programme offers – you have to think outside the box and run with it! I went along to lots of Wellness industry events, seminars, network meetings and got a feel for what people were needing and built my strategies around that.

Finding the right product for the right market

I did my research, I talked to successful coaches in the industry and I asked for feedback from all my clients, I went online to see what trends were coming through and what topics were hot, locally and internationally.

I read lots of industry related books and blogs and signed up to sites that inspired me to keep my finger on the pulse on what was working successfully for others that I could leverage off.

Keeping your energy levels high

I’m not a big fan of the saying ‘hard work’ as it has stressful connotations. You need to be passionate about your services and ideas, and you need to have the ability to encourage others to use them. It is also important that you make time to promote yourself and get your messages across to your targeted market through various avenues.

Start small and take your time to build confidence, so that when you realise you’re onto a good thing, it doesn’t feel like ‘hard work’ but is exciting to see your business and ideas coming to fruition.When you are coming from a place of authenticity, it will always come through and people will naturally want to refer your services because they benefit from your genuine concern and skills. This is always going to be your best source of repeated business and will quickly amplify your brand through referrals you can use in your marketing material…

To read more of Lisa’s story, be 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.

How to reinvent your career and your life: Pivot—change careers and live again

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Creating Your Past and Your Future: Celebrate Your Audacity

What amazing feedback one of my client’s Lisa Conroy received! Incredible! So proud of her – living and working as she does with passion and purpose! Her success story is just one of many that have enriched my life this year – I’m thankful that having trained her to become a life coach that I have been able to play a small part in her success. Lisa proves that when you follow your bliss, life really can be a wonderful Box of Chocolates. Check out the feedback below.

As we near year end, it’s a great time to celebrate your wins, lick a few wounds, and resolve to create an extra-ordinary future.

The chances are high that you’re a lot like me—I didn’t inherit a fortune, I’ve had more than my share of challenges, and like waves in a storm, there’s always more hurdles to surf. But successful people, like Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci, and the guy on the street corner praying he can make his mortgage, we keep swimming against the tide of mediocrity.

So take a moment, recollect, note and recall all the things you’ve achieved, all the dreams you’ve dared to dream, all the trials you’ve weathered—and most of all celebrate just how fabulous you are.

Like the lady who wrote to me (below) and reminded herself she already was successful—she has a wonderful husband, beautiful children….and a kind and generous heart.

Fortune favors the kind…and the audacious!


Are you looking for more inspiration or the ultimate Christmas gift?

if you still need a career rescue, or know someone that does, you’ll love my new books – plenty of inspiration for young and older


Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here:
getBook.at/CareerRescue

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

I just received the most amazing feedback re The Art of Success – brought tears of joy to my blue eyes

“Hi Cassandra, I just had to tell you how much your Coco Chanel book means to me. I can’t even express all the emotions I am feeling right now. First of all, I never realized how much I have in common with her. Abandoned by my father, daughter of a narcissistic mother (which is like not having a mother at all). I’m also a Leo. Second, I relate to so many of her characteristics, as well. I’m fiercely independent and strong-willed, but riddled with doubts. Reading this book was like looking into a mirror for me; one that reflects both my past and my future. Your book is an answer to the prayer I’ve had in my heart recently. I will be referencing it often. I have so much to work on concerning myself, and I see this book as a much-needed tool to help me move past the limiting beliefs I can’t seem to let go of. The quote about living a life with a husband and children and people you love? That helped me to realize that I am already a success in Coco Chanel’s eyes. SO EMPOWERING!!!!! Thank you so much for the gift of this book.”

Success Story: Turning Her Dream into a Reality – Reinventing Joy Again

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Joy spent 10 years as a Legal Conveyancer—but wanted to do something more creative. “I looked around one day and thought to myself, ‘Joy do you realize that shortly you are going to be the eldest one around here?’ I didn’t feel enamored with that thought.”

One day she was driving to work, stuck in traffic, thinking, “What am I doing? This just isn’t me.”

She was passionate about interiors and fabrics, and all her life she had dreamed of owning her own store. A simple quote, and her desire for change helped her decide to leave the security of her steady wage.

“I had read the quote, ‘Don’t make a permanent decision for a temporary feeling’ but I knew my feeling would not be temporary. I was determined it would not be, and I would not let it be.”

Her long-range vision was always to start up a successful interior design business. However, before branching completely on her own she brought into a franchise operation called Biggie Best.

“Buying the franchise was a great way for me to learn the skills required to be in business on my own. Because of all the backing of head office, and the fantastic systems and support I received, I was able to build my confidence as well as gain some experience, which all helped me to know with certainty that going out on my own in this industry was something I really wanted to do.”

Reinventing Joy Again

Joy’s desire to bring in more diverse stock clashed with the franchisers strict control forbidding diversion from their theme. It became clear it was in both their interests for her to gradually transition out of the franchise.

Joy was excited to finally be able to step into her own independence and opened her own interior design store, Maypole Interiors.

“I had no idea whether it would be successful or not but I was following a passion, and I knew I could pass that passion on to other people who did not have the same exposure to things beautiful.

I found the right product for the right market by finding the wholesale distributors who imported the things I loved.”

Maintaining Balance

Joy says hard work supplies energy if you love the work you are doing. She believes it is virtually impossible to run a good business if you have other things to concentrate on.

“A business takes full concentration. There is no room for anything else if you are to be successful. It cannot be played with.”

Maintaining some balance came naturally, she says. “My family was independent of me, and my husband was fully supportive. He loved the business. Cobwebs did appear—and stay—in the house.

Natural Talent and Good Management

Her beautiful window dressing, natural talent, great fabrics, products and success with clients meant finding clients came easily.

Joy never trained formerly as an interior designer, but had a natural talent for interior design and a passion for creating beauty. Something another astoundingly successful interior American-based designer Barbara Barry also shares.

Joy says her secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income lies in keeping good records of sales every month and through the year.

Other strategies that contributed to her success, she says were: “Having budgets set for both staff and myself of daily sales, knowing how much has to go through the till every week, and if not reaching that target working harder on shop displays and advertising.

Always presenting yourself well, being honest, truly honest with people when they were looking for something, even putting them off and losing a sale if you knew the product wasn’t right for them and having a smile to greet them no matter what you were feeling”, were also effective she says.

Be Brave and Fully Passionate

Joy’s advice to others thinking of starting a business is:

  • Be brave, but don’t start a business without being fully passionate about what you are trying to achieve.
  • Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you feel you can make a difference and make a happy experience for your customers.

And her steps to self-employment?

“They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible.”

If she could have done anything differently Joy says she might have moved to a different location where there was more foot traffic. “Location is perhaps the most important when you have a physical store.”

Following the death of her husband, Joy, now in her 70’s, decided to change the way she ran her business and works from her beautiful home, consulting for wealthy clients. She has also designed and had a self-contained cottage built on her inner-city Wellington property. In addition, she also runs a business through Airbnb where she shares her uniquely beautiful home with appreciative guests from New Zealand and overseas.

What You’ve Learned So Far

  • Not everyone is suited to being self-employed; but don’t prematurely discount it as a viable option
  • Starting small and starting something on the side may wet your appetite, give you confidence and intensify your desire
  • Start smart before you travel too far toward self-employment. Be sure to assess the pluses and minuses, learn from other people’s mistakes, and plan for success
  • Don’t assume you need to go into debt to begin—take the pressure off and look for more affordable ways to get started. You can always invest more capital when your profits begin to soar
  • Keep an eye on cash-flow, and ensure you have access to a line of credit for emergencies
  • Commit to ongoing growth—personally and professionally
  • Determine which of the six ways to employ yourself suit you best
  • Be courageous, brave and passionate. It’s worth it!

What’s Next

Lack of money doesn’t have to hold you back. Let’s look at how financing your career can be more affordable than you think.

This was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Start a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self-employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence. This handy resource will show you how.

#1 Amazon Best-Seller. Available in print and eBook—getBook.at/EmployYourself

Get Real About What’s Important: The Importance of Values in a Career Change

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

image_values

“The things that matter most should not be sacrificed to those that matter least.” ~ Dr Stephen R. Covey, Author

Values conflicts are one of the major causes of work-related stress. If you’re proactive you’ll get out unscathed, and as you’ll read later in this chapter, not getting your needs met may just lead you to your life purpose.

“I used to be the sort of person who usually put her head down and worked towards a goal and if I worked hard enough and aimed for my goal, then success would follow. And for the first time my life plan wasn’t working out,” said Juliet de Baubigny, a powerful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Her entrepreneurial genius is said to have contributed to the transformation of companies such as Google and Amazon.

Several years ago her marriage ended in a bitter divorce, her young son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and she ended up in the ICU with bilateral pneumonia, all within six months. “It makes you question faith and humanity,” she said. “So I thought how do I redirect this?”

Juliet heeded the call for change—embarking on a quest of discovery.

“I consulted every shaman, every psychic, every priest to learn about what was really important to me what my value system was.” The result? “The things that matter most in life are health, family and doing what you love.”

Juliet’s imparts her wisdom to her children, “Do what you love, work hard, tell the truth and be kind.”

If only more kindness prevailed at work. Just think what a better place the world would be.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again. Do not, under any circumstances stay in a job that compromises your values, or is making you physically ill. Perhaps, your mindset needs to change. Perhaps it’s the job. But whatever the cause, take action now to find the cure.  Conquering stress, this escalating modern day evil is so critical that I devoted a whole chapter to it in my first book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: The Call For Change. And readers agree. As one reviewer wrote:

“I definitely recommend reading the chapter on stress. I wish I had the valuable information she laid out 15 years ago when I went through a ‘brown out’,” one step before complete burn out.

If I knew what physical signs to look for I would have left that job way earlier than I did. Unfortunately for me I learned the hard way what a stressful job situation can do to you both mentally and physically, but you don’t have to. Instead, you just need to read Mid-Life Career Rescue, and follow the advice of Ms. Gaisford.”

Values in Business

Organisations have their own values and personalities too. Finding individuals who ‘fit’ their culture plays a key part in their hiring decisions.  And it’s a two-way street. Similarly your best-fit job or organisation is one that aligns with your values and allows you to be yourself.

Once you have identified your driving values you can begin to look for companies and roles that align with them. For example, if you identified ‘passion’ as important, look for companies that actively communicate and act upon this value.

Sometimes this may mean doing a little bit of investigative homework. Don’t just rely on what the advertisement or job description says, or what the recruiter or hiring manager tells you. Ask people who work there, customers who deal with them, and even competitors. Get the real story. It’s not what they say that counts; it’s what they do.

Not all companies actively live and breathe their values. But the truly great companies, businesses and individuals do.

Hot Tip! Increase your chances of a good values match by including a summary of your values in your CV, social media profiles like Linkedin, or your website if you have one. 

Overcoming Values Conflicts

The consequences of accepting a role or staying in a job where you’re values don’t ‘fit’ are huge. Job dissatisfaction; a feeling of not belonging; of not being appreciated, affirmed or valued; and serious depression can occur if no remedial action is taken. These feelings and experiences are commonly referred to as ‘values conflicts’.

One of my clients, Lynn, was the editor of a magazine. She had a real gift for innovative and lateral thinking, and creativity was something she valued. She assumed that when she accepted a new position as Chief Editor for another company that her creativity would be something they also valued.

It was a huge shock to learn that they valued maintaining the status quo more than innovation, and that they did not affirm or value the changes she sought to create.

She also valued her independence and autonomy, and in her previous role her boss had been happy for her to work whatever hours and days she liked. His main criteria was that the job got done; he didn’t care where or how.

In her new role people preferred to work standard hours and questions were asked and eyebrows were raised when she attempted to work from home or worked anything other than the core Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm hours. Her boss’s assumption was, “If I can’t see you, you’re not working.” Not much trust there!

For her own health and happiness, Lynn resigned after three months. She realised that if she stayed any longer it would mean changing the very essence of who she was, and devaluing her needs.

In hindsight she wished she had taken the time to think about her most important values prior to changing careers, rather than having acted so impulsively.

“I guess I just assumed that it would be similar to where I was before. I could have saved everybody a lot of grief by clarifying my needs and asking a few more questions about the company culture before I started.”

Action Task! Get Your Needs Met

If any of your most important values are not being met to your satisfaction, what changes need to occur so that they are met? Some ways to check if your values are in alignment, and steps you can take to resolve any values conflicts, include:

1) Thinking laterally. Brainstorm with friends all the possible ways that people make a living from each of your main values. Think laterally. The aim is not to make a decision but to build an exhaustive list.

Choosing your best-fit career comes later. Right now, allow yourself to go wild and explore. Who knows what you may find. Use generative, open-ended questions like ‘who, where, why, when’ to create a wider list. For example, how can I make a living from (insert value)? Who is making a living from (insert value)?

2) Paying attention to your body barometer. Notice the times when you feel inspired – a sure sign your values are aligned. When you values are met there’s often a feeling of lightness or calm in your body, or a surge of excitement, joy and elation.

The opposite is also true. Heaviness in your shoulders or heart, a feeling of dread in your chest, a surge of anger through your body, are some of the many ways your body warns you of conflict.

3) Exploring and negotiating. Develop a list of questions designed to confirm whether your values align with any prospective employer or role you are considering. For example, if ‘respect’ is one of your values you may ask an employer, employee or another stakeholder: “How are differences resolved around here?”

If time freedom is important to you, make sure you negotiate flexible hours as part of your employment package. If work-life balance is important, target companies that actively support this. Check company websites, ask people who work there or contact organisations like the EEO Trust to learn more about who you’d like to work for and why.

4) Asking for your needs to be met. All too often people walk away from perfectly good careers without telling people what they need to feel happy, motivated and productive.  “Why is it that people only tell us what they want when they’re heading out the door,” one frustrated HR manager told me.

‘If they valued me, they’d know what I needed,” a client once said. Don’t rely on people being mind readers, and don’t assume they don’t care.

I once successfully negotiated working a four-day week in one job, and working from home in another. Initially my request was met with disapproval. I figured they were afraid I wouldn’t get my work done, so I suggested we give it a go as a trial. This allowed them to get comfy with the idea, knowing they could return to the status quo if I didn’t deliver. I got heaps more done than being in the office.

If you can’t get your needs met, it’s time to look elsewhere. I’ve done this many times in my career.

5) Playtime. If it is not possible at this time to get your needs met in your career, and you’re not ready to make a move, pro-actively seek ways to satisfy your values away from work. Taking up a hobby, joining up with like-minded people or volunteering are just a few possible ways to achieve this. Look for examples of people, places or things that align with your values. Meet-up.com is a great place to start.

Book_transparentbg copyThis was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

You’ll find more tips to help you clarify what makes you happy in, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

Available for immediate download less than the price of a cup of coffee – getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

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!

how do you define success?

Monday, July 11th, 2016

“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.” (1)Many people have asked me, how to I define success?

The important question is, ‘How do you define success?’

Below is a range of responses from my The Art of Success Questionnaire.

Do you notice any key themes? Are any success triggers for you?

  • Fulfillment from my own endeavors
  • You can be “in the moment” all the time
  • Living creatively, i.e. making a living off of my creativity, always learning and growing, new experiences and opportunities. Love of family and friends.
  • Validation, self worth
  • Free-will
  • Self contentment
  • Continuous learning
  • Pure happiness and contentment
  • Doing what you love and being good at it
  • Happiness, freedom, security
  • Contentment, respect, lasting, responsibility, ingenuity, purposeful
  • Happiness, joy, flow, money and fire
  • Freedom to live as I please
  • Everything in my life is balanced work, self, mind
  • Freedom
  • It means being happy in what I’m doing, fulfilling my life’s purpose, and being financially stable
  • Happy and fulfilled
  • Doing what you want, when you want with who you want
  • Living a heart centred life, doing what you love, being content
  • A feeling of fulfilment and contentment in all areas of my life
  • Realisation of a worthwhile goal
  • Being happy and living the life you’ve dreamed to live while helping others
  • Success means living a lifestyle that aligns with my values and being true to myself
  • Achieving even my smallest dreams
  • Success is finding your joy in life
  • Being true to myself, happy with where I’m at
  • Continuous growth and making a significant positive impact on people’s lives
  • Being happy to go to work and financially independent
  • Having done pretty much everything I wanted to do by the time I die

How do I define success? Success is finished books! Living a creative, soulful life with the freedom to live my life as I choose, doing something that inspires myself and others. And success is also living a life of no regrets.

“I thought I was learning to live: I was only learning to die,” Leonardo da Vinci once said. He valued wisdom, understanding and freedom of thought, through the pursuit of knowledge gained from his own experience.

Leonardo worked and lived with passion and purpose—following his own curiosities to serving and benefit humanity and to share his knowledge with others. And to live, and die, knowing he had lead a significant life.

“I want to create miracles,” he once wrote. And what a miraculous life of significance he led. Leonardo pursued his visionary principles unto his death, documenting all that he learned to benefit the lives of others. In the process he failed, and failed again. He faced the wrath, scorn and jealously of others. He faced poverty, grief and loss. And at times suffered extreme self-doubt and despair. But he never departed from his course.

Be inspired by Leonardo. Challenge conventional definitions of success and live a life on your own terms. Take the Art of Success Questionnaire here >>

I’ve found the insights people have shared super helpful as I wrote my book The Art of Success. It’s nearly ready to send out to my advance readers, before going to the editor and then to print.

How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and LifeThe Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed Personally and Professionally will be available in July 2016. To be the first to know and receive a free gift, click here >>

Career Rescue Free On Amazon Kindle Today!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

independence day employ yourself

Liberate yourself today…


We’ve passed the mid-point of 2016 It’s time to think about what you want your work-life to look like next year.

If you’re ready to make a change, but only wish you knew what it was, I have something that will help.

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed and stressed out to even think about a move to a happier place, I’ve got a cure too.

If you need a bit of inspiration, you can get it for FREE and start blazing your own trail to career nirvana.

Or, if you need all the above and more…read on!

****YOUR CAREER RESCUE IS FREE TODAY***

Need a career rescue in 2017? Or know someone that does?

Liberate yourself, your friends, your family, your colleagues from their cubicles, and tyrannical bosses –  plan the first step to self-employed bliss, or boost your income and learn how to start a business on the side.

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is FREE on Amazon – but only for two days. Click the following link to get your copy today >> getBook.at/EmployYourself


Remember sharing really is caring. Share the news with family and friends who may benefit from a career rescue. They’ll thank you for it.

Spread the word! Care and share!

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is FREE on Amazon today. Click the following link to get your copy today >> getBook.at/EmployYourself

Employ yourself feedback at 2.33.02 pm

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

Work With Higher Purpose: how to find your life purpose

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.54.19 pm“Many entrepreneurs ask me, ‘Where is the market opportunity – where can I make lots of money?’ I tell them to think this way instead: “What are you so passionate about doing that you’d be happy doing it for ten years, even if you never made a dime? That’s the business you should start, and be in. Ironically, you will end up making money. So chase the vision and the higher purpose, not the money.”

Tony Hsieh Zappos, Former CEO Zappos.com

The truth is nothing great in the world has been achieved without purpose. Purpose gives people an edge, firing the flames of passion, enthusiasm, drive and initiative needed to succeed.

Working with purpose stokes the embers of flagging motivation, and procrastination and helps fuel latent dreams.

Pursuing your purpose can lead you to the work you were born to create.

Purposeful Entrepreneurs

Many people have turned things that made them angry, like injustice, hatred or dishonesty, into their life’s work and brought about meaningful and powerful change as a result. Others have transcended personal setbacks to help others create meaningful change.

Former fashion model Elle McPherson discovered her purpose and found her niche following a cancer scare and post suffering burn out. Her flagship product, THE SUPER ELIXIR™ Alkalising Greens showcases her deepest conviction that what you feed your body nurtures your mind, body and soul.

Others have turned their favourite skills and obsessions into wonderful products and services for others to enjoy. Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson has used his entrepreneurial skills and love of fun to create businesses that others get a buzz from too.

“Business can be a creative enterprise in itself. You’re trying to create something that is original, which stands out in the crowd that will last and hopefully serve some useful purpose. Above all you want to create something you can be proud of,” Branson says.

Make Yourself Proud

Barry Watson wanted to make himself proud. He turned his life around, saving his marriage in the process. Now he finds meaning and purpose helping others save their relationships too. While still holding down a salaried position he’s started a business on the side.

My business is called A Great Couple. I help couples have an amazing relationship together. I chose the name because it ideally described what I wanted to do: help couples have a great relationship. I chose to enter this space because my wife and I have had several major marriage hurdles to overcome, and I wanted to help others avoid, and get through them.

I love helping others! There’s nothing yet like knowing that the painful experiences you have gone through have helped someone in their moment of need. Life can be tough at times and knowing someone is there to help can mean the world.

To make sure I was offering the right service for the right market I talked to my audience. I don’t try to assume I think I know what they want. I spend time asking them, and then base my business offerings off what they specifically want to meet their needs.

Keeping his energy levels high

I work 40+ hours in another job, so balance is critical. I try to live a focused life that puts emphasis on the things that matter, and eliminate time wasting activities as much as possible. I also try to have set goals for each day so I don’t become stagnant and stuck in the same spot.

I’m a passionate person so I need to be careful I don’t do too much. I get up before 5am, pray, go to the gym (some mornings) and start writing before I have to leave for work around 7am. I look at the board I created with my 2016 goals on it, and connect with many like-minded people who inspire me to keep reaching higher. I also try not to take for granted what I’ve been given. In a moments notice it could be be gone, so seizing the precious moments that life blesses us with is crucial.

Finding customers

Networking is key, as is trying to give more to others than you get back. If you do this, people will tell others about you and it helps to grow your “following.” Some of my most successful marketing, especially for the books I have written, has included: building friends on Facebook, various book promotions sites; and networking with others to help promote my books.

Passion, great plans, committed team, perseverance and making lots of profit, contribute to being a successful self-employed person. Some of the best advice I’ve received is, if you can dream it, it’s because you are supposed to achieve it.

You can find Barry Watson and learn more about his business, including his wonderful books via his website here: www.agreatcouple.com

Getting Clear About Your Purpose

As Barry’s story illustrates, gaining greater clarity about life’s purpose begins with gaining greater self-awareness of the life experiences that have shaped you, your passions and the legacy you want to leave in the world.

It means getting clear about the work you were born to do, creating a clear and compelling vision about your preferred future and ensuring everything you do from this point on takes you closer to your life purpose.

Book_transparentbg copyThis has been an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself.  Find your purpose and point of brilliance and read other inspirational stories of success inMid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself available in print and eBook on Amazon.

Three ways to turn your weakness into a strength

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” cropped

Don’t let your weakness deceive you!

Too often people focus on their weaknesses without reframing them as strengths. This can rob you of confidence, self-esteem and your next great opportunity to truly shine.

Your greatest weakness is also, very often, your greatest strength. It’s all about timing and context.

My greatest weakness? Distraction—including getting excited about my next book before I’ve even finished the one I’m working on! My heart is racing, I feel breathless, excited…as though my eyes will burst forth in a flood of joyful tears…Coco Chanel! Yes, this amazing lady will be the next focus of my The Art of Success series!

 

Writing room Teh Art of Success

I had just finished reading her biography, and then stumbled across a newsletter in my inbox, with a link to some amazing newly discovered images. One of the many reasons I don’t unsubscribe from some newsletters is because sometimes, when I least expect, I will be delighted! (confession – I have over 200 emails in my inbox – I’m an email hoarder!)

Here’s the cover for the first book in the series – also a passion project. For Leonardo da Vinci I chose the Flower of Life to symbolise everything this renaissance genius believed.

When I was at architecture school we were challenged to create sets for a play—we had to distill the essence of the lead character as simply as possible. I still recall the set we designed for Mae West—a black backdrop with a simple red raised rectangular platform in the centre.

My greatest weakness is also my greatest strength
I have no problem generating ideas—something my clients value when they are feeling stuck. I’ve been hired for coveted role in business environments because of my creativity, in this regard. And when I wrote a column for 4 years for The Dominion Post and also contributed to The New Zealand Herald people said, “I love your column. I keep some of them pinned on my wall. How do you come up with so many different ideas?”

Recently I was interviewed by Olivia Gamber a US Career Expert. Do you know what she put as the lead quote?

“The biggest skill you need to have during a career transition is an imagination.”

If your imagination could do with some stimulation check out the interview here http://occupationalolivia.com/how-to-overcome-your-mid-life-career-crisis/

Like Leonardo da Vinci I am naturally curious about everything. Avoiding a thinking rut, and following seemingly unrelated themes is an efficient and simple way to stimulate new ideas.

What’s your greatest weakness?

Your greatest weakness can also be your ‘unfair advantage’ —it’s what comes so easily, or what you do effortlessly, that others find difficult.

Your weakness may be what others criticise you for. For example, I was often told I was too sensitive and needed to toughen up. Yet I am highly empathic, and intuitive with natural psychic skills—something I use in my writing, painting and business mentoring.

Three ways to turn your weakness into a strength

Work for fit! If you’re stubborn and inflexible, for example, pick a work environment, role or project  where your  bloody-minded focus will achieve the results needed.

Complement. Pick a team, role or group where you can complement the current skillset.

Prepare.  “What is your greatness weaknesses?” is a standard interview question. Don’t run through your list of weaknesses without highlighting examples of where either your weaknesses was a strength in a certain situation; or demonstrating it’s an area you have invested time and skill developing self-mastery.

For more ways to clarify your best-fit, environment, role or job check out the Career Rescue Series, or How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

signature my name angie edited

p.s

So, what should the cover be for Book Two of The Art of Success: Coco Chanel. Leave a comment—share with friends—one of your ideas could be on my next #1 best-seller!

Book One of  The Art of Success (Leonardo da Vinci): How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed Personally and Professionally will be available in July 2016. To be the first to know and receive a free gift, click here https://worklifesolutions.leadpages.co/the-art-of-success/

 

How to start a business on the side while holding down your job

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Young woman laying on dry leaves and enjoying lifeStart a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence.

A big shout out to my client who has started her business while holding down her current job. Catherine’s started smart by taking over an existing business – check it out here http://www.lifeconsulting.co.nz/

Learn from other inspired and inspiring entrepreneurs and make a calculated leap to self-employed freedom and fulfilment. Fourteen individuals tell you their stories in  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 lateTheir backgrounds and dreams are as unique as you are. What unites them is their creativity, passion and integrity. In my latest book Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself they share their fears, their struggles and their joys as they overcame obstacles and pursued their dreams of self-employment. Here’s an excerpt:

“Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back to working for someone else.”
Alan Sugar, Entrepreneur and host of The Apprentice, UK

They were doing something they love; their passion drove them.

The list below is what they have in common. As you read this list think how many strategies could apply to you:

Making money was not their sole motivation. Their businesses grew from a desire to serve others; they were not trying to force something on others or to make a killer sale. Instead, they wanted to make a positive difference and create something of value. They didn’t badger people into buying their goods or service.

  • They cared about whether or not they could help a prospective client. If they could, great. If not, they were either quietly persistent until they were needed, or they moved on.
  • They planned for success. Their business and marketing plans were living documents and they managed their finances extraordinarily well.
  • They shared. They communicated their vision, goals and plans with those important to them, and they researched their clients and stakeholders constantly to learn how to do things better together.
  • They listened. They listened to their staff, their families and their clients. Then, and only then, when they understood their issues, fears, needs and desires did they offer a solution.
  • They started smart. When employing others, whether on contract or as salaried staff, they hired the right people for the right job. And, when necessary, they gave their people the training, systems, environment and recognition to do their job well.
  • They took calculated risks. They always looked before they leapt, but they leapt nonetheless. Courage and confidence was something they built as they went.
  • They believed in themselves, or faked it! Even professionals doubt themselves – but they don’t let self-doubt win.

“You have to believe in yourself. Even when you don’t, you have to try,” encourages Serena Williams, tennis super-star and 21-time Grand Slam champion.

“There are moments when I am on the court and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this’. But then I fortify myself and say, ‘I can, I can’ – and it happens. If you believe in yourself, even if other people don’t, that really permeates through and it shows. And people respect that.”

If the strategies above sound like things you can do, or are willing to try, chances are self-employment is right for you. Be sure to get off to a good start, and be inspired by those who have walked the path of success.

Client Success Story: Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

Lisa Conroy, Director and Empowerment Coach for women’s lifestyle, career and wellness. Box of Chocolates, www.boxofchocolates.co.nz

Lisa Conroy’s passion for helping others led her to start her coaching business. The seeds of change were also cultivated during a stressful time in her former job.

Leading up to my coaching training I had been working for a major sporting organisation for eight years. They were going through massive change and unsettling times. I was up to my fourth restructuring with this company, and management informed us that they were moving the organisation to another city. It was an eight-hour drive away, and an expensive place to transport my family to live.

It had been a toxic environment for some time, HR was non-existent, and I saw first hand during this time of transition amongst the team, the effects of stress and uncertainty. I knew going to the new venue was not in my family’s best interest, so I had to think about my options, which led to a call for change. The idea of coaching and helping others with their life and career goals appealed and seemed to be a growing industry.

I did some investigating and found Cassandra Gaisford and her Worklife Solutions Career and Life Coaching certification programme. Her personality, variety of skills and zest for life just really resonated with me.

I realised becoming a life coach would allow me the freedom, flexibility and independence to do work that I loved in an industry that seemed very rewarding and much needed.

I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but I love a challenge and felt this was the perfect fit for my interests, skills and goals.

My new coaching journey began, which led to a career combo. I decided to start my own business within three weeks of starting my coaching programme and haven’t looked back since…

Do something you love

I have always wanted to have my own business doing something I loved. Once I started my coaching training, I felt this was the perfect match for me to be able to utilise my skills and help others to reach their lifestyle, career and wellness goals.

I also wanted the freedom to be able to work on new ideas and create my own style by offering a unique service in the Wellness industry through my combination of coaching, art therapy workshops, wellness retreats, Reiki healing and aromatherapy pamper parties.

Deciding what to do

My initial focus was purely on the lifestyle, career and wellness coaching but realised it would take time to build my brand, Box of Chocolates, along with gaining trust with clients and networks.

I went into this with a realistic view that it would take twothree years to build to a point of going full time with my business ideas. I also believed that if I had a few alternative strings to my bow, it would assist me in offering a variety of services to a wider audience and give me alternative sources of income.

I was drawn to running wellness retreats where my event management skills, love of wellness and creative activities, and relevant workshop topics would help me attract the right women. Women who wanted to feel empowered and find new inspiration for their lives, and be able to share and learn from others in a safe and nurturing environment.

I was also interested in gaining a certification in Reiki healing as I felt this would complement my coaching and retreats/workshops, which then led onto me becoming an aromatherapy consultant too.

This year I will be focusing on increasing my impact/marketing reach strategies by striving to increase my coaching capacity to offer Skype sessions/coaching packages globally online as well as within New Zealand.

Finding an idea that would be successful

A belief in my abilities, along with a determination to be of service and offer a solution to key problems facing many women helped me find an idea I thought would be successful.

When you can tap into understanding who your niche market is and what they need, you can then build a strong foundation of core services to assist them.

I took a leap of faith but I knew in my heart that every time I coached someone it didn’t feel like work to me, it was so rewarding seeing my clients grow from strength to strength and be able to reach their true potential with a boost in confidence.

When you are coming from the heart and follow that guidance, you will always be supported to find the people and resources you need.

However, that doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for it to happen. Action and dedication are required to build momentum, along with commitment and trust in your abilities to manifest your dreams and goals.

I also knew that there were not many people holding retreats that offered a unique Zen and creative style that my programme offers – you have to think outside the box and run with it! I went along to lots of Wellness industry events, seminars, network meetings and got a feel for what people were needing and built my strategies around that.

Finding the right product for the right market

I did my research, I talked to successful coaches in the industry and I asked for feedback from all my clients, I went online to see what trends were coming through and what topics were hot, locally and internationally.

I read lots of industry related books and blogs and signed up to sites that inspired me to keep my finger on the pulse on what was working successfully for others that I could leverage off.

Keeping your energy levels high

I’m not a big fan of the saying ‘hard work’ as it has stressful connotations. You need to be passionate about your services and ideas, and you need to have the ability to encourage others to use them. It is also important that you make time to promote yourself and get your messages across to your targeted market through various avenues.

Start small and take your time to build confidence, so that when you realise you’re onto a good thing, it doesn’t feel like ‘hard work’ but is exciting to see your business and ideas coming to fruition.When you are coming from a place of authenticity, it will always come through and people will naturally want to refer your services because they benefit from your genuine concern and skills. This is always going to be your best source of repeated business and will quickly amplify your brand through referrals you can use in your marketing material…

Book_transparentbg copyTo read more of Lisa’s story, be 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.

Brilliant Career Inspiration

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