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Posts Tagged 'mid-life career change'

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

Monday, June 26th, 2017

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

01. Create a Style Guide for Your Visual Content

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

 

02.Photography Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Some Initial Thoughts…

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

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

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

 

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

 

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

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

(Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 

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

 

 

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NEW RELEASE. The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

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

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

BONUS GIVEAWAYS

The Prosperous Author 5-Part Video Mini-Course

FREE copies of my Amazon best-sellers:

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


Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

 

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

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

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

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

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

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

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

Finding the place

Q: Where do you work on your business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creating the time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Selling my television

-Downsizing my coaching business

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

-Procrastinating and making excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding the energy/mindset

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

Cassandra: Mindset and managing energy is EVERYTHING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Any tips for managing your time?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

As Heather said to me, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“BTW my book is the true story of the Tattooist in Auschwitz concentration camp and the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that danteesque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married and lived very happily for over 50 years.”

I invited Heather to share her story and she generously emailed me the below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was getting no-where. 

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

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story.  The have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.  And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it. 

I am now 64-years-old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully in 2-3 years time a film.  

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

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

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

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favourite screenwriters William Goldman who references the children’s book ‘The little engine that could’.  

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

Harper Collins have come on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent! She began with a film-script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via the Internet—and opportunity then came knocking.
It’s a reminder to us all that many times you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset. As Heather said, “Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.”
Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.
Later, more good news came too—her brother’s cancer has taken a u-turn. The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk one of the tumors in his lung, and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease. Who knows what further miracles the future will bring. But we all agree—there is power in story and in creativity!
So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to make it big!

Did you enjoy this post?

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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.

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

Guess who’s celebrating?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

We celebrated International Women’s Day in New Zealand yesterday, ahead of my friends and readers in the States and UK. Aptly we were got to cheerlead amazing women around the world first—I’m proud to say that new Zealand was also the first country to give women the vote back in 1893. The United States finally began allowing women to vote in 1920, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. While the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia dragged his sandals—granting women the right to vote in 2011 (their right to freedom and liberty is still contestable—as it is for other women around the world.

I spent the day reflecting on how lucky I was to have been born in New Zealand and in a Western culture which, for the most part, values women and supports equality. However, there’s no denying that there’s still work to be done. Woefully New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence against women and their children. 30 per cent of women internationally are estimated to experience physical or sexual partner violence. That’s a third of the female population. That is reflected in New Zealand.

Which begs the question, “Why are (some) men so angry?”

But that’s another story. 

For now I’m writing to celebrate International Women’s Day—and to sound a call to us all (men and women) to uplift, embolden and encourage other women to succeed. Sometimes we need a mentor—someone trailblazing like Coco Chanel. Coco and the other strong, determined women whose wisdom I share in my The Art of Success books. Women like mega-talented, Iraqi-born British architect, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, and pioneering mathematician and astrologer Hypatia of Alexandria. They and other women, past and present continue to inspire and mentor me. 

The hurdles they, and other successful women like Oprah Winfrey, had to overcome seems cataclysmic in comparison to my own—and hopefully to yours. The torture they were subjected to—emotionally, mentally, spiritually and very often physically—in pursuit of their desire to live and speak freely.  But despite the struggles, they continued on. When we hear their stories the thing that lingers for many is an admiring curiosity about the qualities they possessed, and an awe-like wondering if we might acquire these traits too. Patience, perseverance, passion and persistence are just a few. And all the women I admire were driven by love—not hatred.

As I share in the foreword to The Art of Success:

“Whenever I’m in a slump or needing an inspirational boost I turn to people who are smarter or more skilled than me for good advice. I’ve done the same with qualities I’ve wanted to develop, like patience. “What would Mother Theresa do now?” I asked many years ago. Mother Theresa wouldn’t shout! She wouldn’t lose her cool. She’d send loving kindness and smile. And that’s what I did  whenever I got frustrated.”

I applied the strategies I learnt from studying the success secrets of courageous women (and men) to my own life—personally and professionally. If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company. Coco Chanel’s been there—as have every other person I admire. I’ve been there too. 

If you yearn for a better life, and are feeling discouraged, I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find some of them in the wisdom of your mentors, including those of Coco embedded in the pages of The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

Dig into this book and let Coco Chanel be your mentor, inspiration and guide as she calls forth your passions, purpose and potential. Be inspired by Coco for the special reduced International Women’s day price of $3.99 —in less than two hours you could be on your way to radically reinventing your life.

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

Coco Chanel believed from a very early age that the door to her freedom and self respect lay in securing and maintaining her independence. However, many people mistakenly sacrifice their relationships in pursuit of successful careers. Unhelpful beliefs, including, “You can’t have it all” or, “You can’t have a relationship and be successful,” may partly be to blame. It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

#InternationalWomensDay #passion #inspiration #stressless #happy #healthy #beautiful #books #success #photooftheday #freedom #love #IncredibleWomen #Takeyourchance

Powerful creativity: making space to create

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

 

As Courtney Kennedy writes in her new book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “Creativity is the missing ingredient for many of us.” Sometimes a reminder of its importance comes to us when we are most in need. As it did for my step-father Ted, a military man diagnosed with cancer and given only three weeks to live. How did he choose to spend his precious time? Surrounded by the wife and family he loved. And immersing himself in the world of water colour—a passion and talent we never knew existed.

One of the most treasured memories I have of our last weeks together was the time we spent painting, and my sharing with him what little I knew of this alchemical technique. Water colour, like life, flows where it wishes, seeping into the crevices of the pages of the stories we create and adding colour to our lives.

What drives us to create, and why—when it is so good for us—do we leave it so late?

Kennedy suggests, we just haven’t cleared some space— this may be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Ted, like so many people had been waiting for the days when he retired. While he found comfort, peace and a sense of purpose in his creativity— and a legacy in the many memories (and the few paintings) he left—as I watched him paint, a soft smile on his lips, light dancing in his eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder—”what if” …What if he had begun earlier? What if he’d had more time? What if creativity could’ve scare away cancer? In some ways it did. Three weeks became two precious extra years we all shared.

My daughter, a  naturally gifted writer and intuitive healer, shared with her friends:

“3 years ago today the world lost one of its earth angels. He reminded me a lot of how I envision the Archangel Michael.   Someone who was always there. Extremely patient, kind, wise and mysterious.

I was going through some of his medals that Grandma still has the other day. I know his job was always a bit of a mystery but I was taken aback to know that he was the Chief Information Officer for the New Zealand Defence force.

The importance of having a good male role model in a girls life is paramount. This man made so many things possible for not only me but for our family. He married into our family and treated us all like his own.  

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him…when I hear “Hit the Road Jack” on the radio. When I see a sail boat on the harbour or when I go about my day and realise the woman I am becoming today is so greatly shaped by his influence.

Most girls see a hero in her Grandfather more often then not, but this man was like a second father to me.  Cancer is a dreadful disease and Ted I’m so sorry that you were taken from us so early.  It still brings me to tears every time I think about the moments we could have continued to have with you that were robbed from us.

Thinking of you especially today.  I’ll never forget you Edward John Knowsley. 

Xxx Hannie”

Hannah’s  heartfelt sharing reminded me of several things—the power of creativity to leave a legacy and, importantly the power of speaking from one’s heart.  And also of the way natural gifts, so readily apparent in our childhood, if nurtured can blossom and bear many, many years of fruit. Clues to passion and also to your soul purpose can come in many forms—in rekindled memories of a hobby loved in childhood, as it did for Ted. But also other people’s unsolicited praise, as feedback Hannah received below, shows. I’m not so sure it was I who taught Hannah to write, as much as it was I who gave her some space and encouragement to write. But what really matters is not who encourages and shapes your creativity. What matters is that you loved the healing arts enough to spend time with them. And that you cherished them enough to devote yourself in some way to your gift.

As the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho shared on Tim Ferris’s podcast in 2016, he creates a very strong shield around him when he creates.

“…so I can really use my time to do what I think I should do to fulfil this blessing it has been bestowed on me which allows me to live my personal legend, to become a writer against all odds Because Brazlilans don’t have a strong tradition and there are very few authors who can make a living out of writing, not in the US but over the world. However I was so committed to my work that it was my dream, it was my dream from the very beginning. I really enjoy what I do. I don’t work. In fact what I am doing is to have pleasure, and fun and social responsibility towards my readers towards myself, towards the world in what I live.

Courtney interviewed me in for her book and asked how I’d managed to be so prolific in the last few years. For me, as it is for Paulo my creative gifts are my purpose and I show them I’m serious by devoting myself to them.

But creativity doesn’t have to be about your soul’s purpose. It may just be a friend in times of need, a comfort when other elements are stripped away, a meditation and distraction when everything else seems out of control.

Why do we create? Because innate in all of us is the desire to create something of beauty, tranquility, joy. Creating pictures, for example, allows us to put into words what we feel but cannot say. What we value and which we savor. What we yearn for, but may no longer be able to possess. We don’t have to possess the genius of Leonardo da Vinci—we just have to be true to ourselves

For Ted, his illness called time on his cherished days on the sea—but in his art he sailed again, into the endless horizon, carried on a gentle wave of tranquility. We were all happy that when painting he found so much peace.

Cancer provided Ted with the space to paint. We wish it was his well-deserved retirement that had provided the impetuous. But then he loved his work so much he may well have never left.  His work, dedicated to protecting lives, was his passion and provided deep purpose.

As Courtney shares in her book, the opposite is true for so many others.

Many of us work jobs we don’t like. Less than half of U.S. workers said they felt satisfied with their jobs overall according to a 2016 report by the Conference Board. 2016 Gallup figures are worse; they found that only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged with work, and only 13% worldwide. Consider that we spend 10,500 days at work (assuming five days a week, fifty weeks a year between the ages of 23 and 65). Said differently, we work 36% of the total days that we’re alive on this planet should we live to be eighty.

We spend a huge chunk of our lifetime at work, yet one out of every two of us hate our jobs. No wonder many of us feel stuck on repeat—living each day without much thought.

That’s the situation I found myself in a few years ago. I was unhappy. We all have bad days; that’s a fact of life, but it was more than that–I was deeply uncomfortable with my situation and the path down which my life was heading. It wasn’t about regret, rather something important was missing.

And, despite feeling unsettled, there was much to be grateful for—good health, loving family, my husband, friends, and living in a peaceful time. I had built a good career, but I wasn’t happy with my job anymore. Something was missing.

I lived for the weekends. Sunday nights were the worst because it meant going to work the next day. I became a bucket of angst thinking about the coming work week and all my obligations.

Then, a close family member died unexpectedly and saw friends get cancer at young ages. And I realized the stuff I’d been told all my life: “Work hard, save all you can so you can afford the big house and retire comfortably,” was not guaranteed to come true for everyone.

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

My WWII-generation grandparents worked hard and scrimped most of their lives, only to sit in front of the television day after day in their elder years. After retirement, when they could have traveled, they no longer desired to or even had the energy for trips. That’s not how I wanted my life to be.

I was lucky to have supportive, career-minded friends. Many were passionate about their careers and loved their jobs. But many were like me—showing up at a job they didn’t enjoy. I was nearly vegetative on weekends after a long week spent at the 9-to-5 job and hours of unpaid overtime.

“There must be more than this to life,” I said to myself. What gives your life meaning?

Why not discover what makes you happy now? Why not reconnect with the activities that drive your passion and energy so you can move toward a life where you spend time in your happy place?

How many of us wait for “someday”‘ or for some  external encouragement? How many of us make the mistake we’ll have more time? Whether you dream of being a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, a painter, a carver or a gardener, or yearn to create in any shape, colour—why wait?

Pick up your tool of choice and feel happier today. As Courtney shares in her book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “research suggests creative people are happier than everyone else. Disregard the mental image of the starving, depressed artist toiling away in a studio. Anyone can be creative.” And being creative, she adds, will  change your brain, enabling you to  become more resilient to stress when being creative and making art.

Ted found his happy place creating.  When he died, I asked for nothing, only the unfinished painting he was working on before he passed.

For my mother, and his daughter Lisa, I framed some of his paintings. We placed them around the room where his funeral service was held. All his army comrades were astounded to learn this great mind, also yielded such artistic sensitivity and talent.

I have Ted’s paints, and his brushes, and the beginnings of a new picture—like a still life, caught in a moment of pulsing time. We shall leave Ted’s painting for him to finish, but it is as though this is the view he foresaw—never knowing that one day my partner and I  would call the Bay if Islands home.

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂 Rest in peace darling Ted—until we all see your again

Edward John Knowsley, 11 ApriI 1947 –  22 Feb 2014

Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci share how creativity can improve your happiness, health and success in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life 

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Coco Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

The Power of Love

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Passion, love, joy—call is what you will, but the eternal truth is that love is where the magic is. But as Nick Williams shares in the foreword to my book, Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life  “No-one ever told me when I was growing up that something I loved could be a career.”

Most of us can relate to that: doing something you loved and then getting paid for it simply wasn’t a career option that we were aware of or encouraged into. Too many of us believe that work needs to be a relentless and life long activity doing something we’d rather not be doing, but that we have little choice over. We just have to do it to survive. And as long we are not enjoying it, are suffering, bored, stressed or are sacrificing ourselves, then that is real work, and we deserve to be paid for it. 

Too few of us have been bought up to believe that it is possible to make our living doing something we love, that lights our hearts up and stirs our passions. Which is why I’ve collated a few of my favourite posts over the years—to share my love and great conviction that no matter what your age or stage you can live and work with love.

“To find your true work is a great blessing, one of life’s greatest blessings I believe. And to be paid for your work rather than work for pay is one of life’s great joys,” says Nick. And he echoes what we know to be true. Even if you don’t think it’s possible for you, these inspiring stories may awaken the courage and tenacity to make your dreams come true. 

1.) Turning Her Dream into a Reality—Reinventing Joy Again. This story is close to my heart…it’s about my mom. And it proves that you don’t have to have a background in something or formal training to turn your passion into a profitable career. ““They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible, she says.” Read more here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/success-story-turning-her-dream-into-a-reality-reinventing-joy-again/

2.) Have you considered starting a business on the side while holding down your job and then taking the leap to self employed bliss? Choose and grow your own business with confidence by reading inspiring stories of others who have made the leap to more love, and less career ground hog day. Here’s a calorie-free example to wet your appetite >> Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

3.) As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares in this Mid Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy, 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. Read Annie’s story here >>


4.) Oh I do so love people with healthy obsessions—passionate people are vitamins for the soul. 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. Check out this fabulous ‘bathhouse’ and more about how a healthy obsession can be a liberating thing here http://www.cassandragaisford.com/david-loves-lilly/

5.) Love attracts love—when you follow your passion wonder go-incidences happen. One of my great loves is Leonardo da Vinci and his portrait of Lisa del Giocondo (nee Gherardini)—more universally known as The Mona Lisa. So obsessive is my interest into this painting that my partner often jokes that there are three of us in our relationship: Me, him and The Mona Lisa. Happily for me Lorenzo feeds my addiction by sourcing helpful research and inspiring me daily. Read more here >> 

Do you need more encouragement? Thoughts do become things. Scientists Gregg Braden and also Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, have evidenced this. But hope can only flourish when you believe that what you do can make a difference, that you recognise that you have choices, and that the your actions can create a future which differs from your present situation. To boost your hope muscles turn to this post—inspired by Leonardo da Vinci >> 21 Ways to Turn Your Thoughts to Hope

I hope you’ve enjoyed these wee morsels of temptation. Today, sacrificing your deeper passions for the security of a pay-check is no guarantee of security. Following your heart and deeper self is the new security. Your heart is the well-spring of possibility and opportunity that will never run dry.

There’s loads more inspiration on my blogs and in my books. Where ever you are, who ever you are may love infuse your day.

P.S. If you’re in the mood for romance and you’re curious about my romance novels, check out this post where I share why I write (and read) romance novels https://molliemathews.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/why-i-write-romance.  

I also have a special Valentine’s treat you may like to nibble on. The Gemstone Billionaires Boxed Set contains my first two books in a romantic series set against the beautiful backdrop of stunning Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like heartwarming, sexy and sweet romances with a touch of comedy, you’ll love sharing the journey with these authentic men and women longing to find their special soul with heart.

Gemstone Billionaires Series Box Set: Two Sexy New Zealand Romances: Italian Billionaire Brides: The Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage, The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride

getBook.at/GemstoneBillionaires

These stories were excerpts from the following books by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to harness the power of love and follow your passion to prosperity, click the links below to your online bookshop.

Midlife Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late 

 Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love 

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.

Do it scared – how to charge forward with new confidence and follow your passion to prosperity!

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Do it scared—most of the successful people I know started and continued to create despite their doubts, fears and anxieties. If this is a challenge for you Scott Allan’s new book (aptly titled, “Do It Scared“) comes to your rescue. One of the many memorable things you’ll learn is the importance of mastering your mind. You may have heard this before and know it to be true, but it’s easy to forget and often hard to put into practice.
Stay vigilant, the author warns, stay strong—don’t let self-doubt rob you of your mind mastery. “What do we fear most?” Allen asks, “Confronting problems.”
But herein lies one of the many cures contained with this brilliant book. “Do It Scared” shares proven strategies and powerful formulas to help you transform problems into solutions. The advice is challenging and compassionate – Allen knows how you feel…he’s been there. He’s hit rock bottom and he’s hauled himself out. Now through the honest of his truths and the generosity of his spirit he’s sharing the lessons he’s learned to help you forge a confident identity, master your life, do the things that scare you most and achieve greater personal power.
I really liked the tone and presentation throughout this book. The summaries, or “key takeaways” reinforce key messages and learning at end of each chapter helps consolidate these truths. I particularly enjoyed the strong and evocative words the author uses. Words like “manipulate forge, confront and charge forward.” Softly, softly, fluffy fluffy doesn’t work. You need to don your armour, sharpen your sabre and attack your doubt demons.
One of the sections that really resonated with me was the one on habits and the five steps for breaking bad ones. Allan’s advice to recognize disempowering routines and replace them with winning ones is pure gold! For me one of the triggers that creates a failure habit is being assaulted by energy attacks (negative people, outbursts from others, their drama etc.). As a result of reading “Do It Scared rather then run, withdraw or retreat I’m going to be a rock (not literally!) – people can storm all around me and I’m not going to take it personally. I’m not going to try and fix them either. They can vibrate how they want. What counts is my new habit of maintaining my positive, winning vibration.
Thank you Scott! Thank you also for your section on the lifesavers practices – Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, and Reading to improve my thoughts for the day etc. As a result of reading this book I am tooled up with weaponry to defeat the doubt demons and charge forward with new confidence to follow your passion to prosperity!
5.0 out of 5 stars! An excellent book that inspires you to succeed beyond your fears.
A DEFINITE READ FOR CREATING THE ULTIMATE MINDSET! Available from Amazon here http://amzn.to/2kbwNkp
Five things I’ve “done scared,” to follow my passion to prosperity.
1.) I completed this painting of my grandmother, Molly and entered in a portraiture competition.  It was the first portrait I’d ever painted and the first time I’d experimented with painting with oils. My painting was selected as a finalist in The Adam Portrait Award and Exhibition, Wellington Feb 2008. I was so excited!
2.) I entered another competition with a mixed media triptych  (again a first) and won! “Love Stain” was the Supreme Winner Wai Art Awards May 2008.  When I got the call telling me that I had won  I didn’t believe it.  never expected to one. My only goal was to do it scared and put my art out there DESPITE the fear of judgement. “That can’t be right. You must have made a mistake, ” I recall saying. “That other on—the realistic one of Leda and the Swan was far better than mine.” They assured me the painting had won. “Why?” I asked – still disbelieving. “Because it was different,” they replied.
3.)  I commissioned and had built an architecturally designed home, and subdivided my existing property—despite being a single parent with no savings!
4.)  I moved away from my home town of 50 years,  and brought a 10 acre lifestyle property with my partner going unconditional without selling our properties first.That was scary – but exhilarating now that the terror has passed!
5.) I completed my psychology degree, after a then-year study break, at the age of 47—completing four 300 level papers in less then 10 weeks.
6.)  I opened myself up to love again after having my heart broken.  That was scarier than anything ever done. And also the most fulfilling.
7.)  I rescued my daughter from a violent attacker – and did so in a loving, empowered way—even though ever bone in my body was terrified. But I refused to fight terror with terror.
 Looking back on my life there are so many things I’ve done scared—and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

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

How to Make a Successful Career Change

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

liberate-yourself-this-fall

I received this message from a lady in the US today in response to my Are You Happy at Work Survey:

“Besides my boss, I very much like and respect the people I work with. I’m challenged by the environment but mostly get off a bit on that challenge. However, I find myself deeply resentful of my status. To experience more happiness, I’d need a change in status: from contractor to FTE. Which would result in better compensation, more security, and room to grow. In addition, I do a great deal of reporting which I can do but don’t have either aptitude nor enjoyment in. Finally, I feel like little I do has a positive impact and I’d like to better be involved with making a positive impact.”

Feeling “deeply resentful” exerts a toxic toll on anyone’s well-being, but it can provide a silver-lining. The seeds of this lady’s Career Rescue are in her comments. To make the negative positive and to gain clarity in the process about your next best step, list the things you want less of, and those you want more of.

Using the example above:

She wants less: reporting, less insecure work, less low pay

She wants more: security, more room to grow, more enjoyment, and to make a positive impact

Drilling down further to make these ‘wants’ more concrete will enable you to begin to identify and manifest your best-fit career toward you. For example, asking and exploring your answers to open-ended generative questions such as: what does a positive impact look like? What kind of positive impact? For who? 

Turning negatives into positives
I’ve used a similar strategy in my career, and professionally with my clients. I took my hate of working in an open-plan office, commuting, and being directed by a boss I didn’t respect, and changed it into, working from home, and starting my own business.

Similarly, I’ve quit paid employment jobs that sucked my soul and gone in search of salaried jobs that gave me joy and a deep sense of working with passion and purpose.

So take heart – if you’re not ready to make the leap into self-employment, where there’s pain there is a cure. You just have to name it, and claim it! A willingness to stop banging on about what you don’t like, and a commitment to focusing on what you do want will make all the difference – as will faith, hope and courage.

As Napoleon Hill made famous in his iconic book, “Think and Grow Rich”, ‘Success begins with a person’s will – it’s all in the state of mind.’ The lady who contacted me has already began the first step – she’s started reading books like my, Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. 

You’ll find more tips to help you keep a positive state of mind and 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.

And all of my other books – to see the full catalogue simply scroll to my author page here Author.to/CassandraGaisford

For my US friends – liberate yourself from a job you hate this fall! 

#Happy #careerrescue #CareerChange #CareerCounseling

How to identify your favourite, transferable skills and talents

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

love-clipart-clip-art-love-clipart

Pay attention to what you love

“Love is not only something you feel. It’s something you do.”
~ David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church, New York City
I often receive emails from people and responses to my Happy at Work survey asking me how can they identify their favourite transferrable skills and talents?

As I shared in Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy one of the fastest and simplest ways is to boost your awareness of the times you are doing something you love.

As author Barbara Sher writes, “If you don’t pay attention to what you love, you could overlook your greatest gifts! That love is the sure-fire indicator of hidden gifts, and it is the only way to find them. Skills don’t count. They’re just abilities that were useful enough to be developed. Gifts often haven’t had the chance to be developed and because of that we’re fooled into thinking they don’t exist.”

People often think that unless they have received formal training or gained experience on the job, or have a piece of paper like a degree, then they don’t have any skills.

This is not true! The world is full of people who have achieved great things without formal training. Sometimes the best course of study is to teach yourself.

How many times have you heard of people who gained a qualification and were then told they lacked practical experience, or that they had to go and unlearn everything an academic institution had taught them?

I’m not knocking formal training. And in some professions, it’s essential. But not all career paths require certification, or on the job experience.

Van Gogh was a self-taught artist. He used his passion and natural ability with colour and creativity to paint wonderful masterpieces that send hearts racing and are worth millions of dollars today.

From an early age my brother Hadyn was wheeling and dealing. He has not done an MBA or had any formal training in business. Instead he uses his natural entrepreneurial skills to create many successful business ventures. He tried going to University, but  quit because he felt academics were out of touch with reality.

A client of mine trained as a textile designer and, despite a lack of formal training in kitchen design, has successfully combined her passion for beautiful design, and her natural creative ability, into a successful career as an award-winning kitchen designer.

My mother has done the same thing, quitting a job she hated as a legal conveyancer in her 50’s, then—after buying into a franchise, she set up her own shop as an interior designer. All with no formal training. A passion for design, a natural talent for creating beauty, a gift for knowing what looks good, and how to market her services, and loving making her clients happy, have seen her become very successful.

Now in her 70’s, she’s shut her physical store and runs her business from the comfort and beauty of her home. I share more of her story and her practical strategies for building a beautiful business in Mid-Life Career Rescue:Employ Yourself

Your Challenge

What gives you joy? What do you love doing? What would you do for free? Answering these questions and noticing the times you feel excited, alive, or in love with doing or being something, are vital signs confirming you are on the path with heart.

Brainstorm or list all the possible ways people make a living from your favourite skills. Build your list by using generative thinking skills,and open questions like: what, where, why and how?  If you get stuck do some research and ask your way to success.

You’ll also find some practical and inspired strategies in Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love  and The Art of Success: Leonardo Da Vinci

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!

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.

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

How to overcome your mid-life career crisis and discover your calling

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 5.45.21 pmI was interviewed recently by Olivia Gamber, a US based career coach with an amazing podcast dedicated to providing  quality career advice to help others navigate the changing world of work and stay relevant. We spoke about a topic which is dear to my heart—how to overcome your mid-life crisis and find your passion and purpose.

When you’re in a job that stresses you out and makes you miserable, you can feel so trapped you can’t even contemplate how to make a change for the better.  I know – I felt this way once and it was horrible. Maybe you’ve been in the same job for years, or your self-esteem has taken a hit. Perhaps you don’t know how your skills and work experience can transfer into another role. These feelings are common for mid-lifers and younger professionals too!

I agree with Olivia, “If you’re in a job that makes you miserable, then you need to make a change. Not only are you making yourself more miserable every day that you choose to stay, but also the people you care about around you. Staying in a toxic situation like this can also lead to more serious long term health issues like anxiety and even depression.”

In my professional role as a career counsellor and holistic psychologist I’ve helped people with all of the above experiences and worse! I’ve had clients who are so stressed out by their work they have been suicidal due to their hopelessness and despair. I know acutely, personally and professionally, how important being happy at work is to every aspect to your life. As a holistic psychologist, I take a different approach than most career advisors and coaches when tackling these issues.

Tune into my interview with Olivia Gamber and gain some free strategies and tips to help you or someone you care about overcome work unhappiness. Check it out here http://occupationalolivia.com/how-to-overcome-your-mid-life-career-crisis/

Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late.

 

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to get the courage to walk away from a high stress, toxic work environment
  • How to discover your passion and calling
  • How a stressful work environment can lead to anxiety and depression if not dealt with
  • Find out the biggest thing that holds people back from finding work they love

Check it out here http://occupationalolivia.com/how-to-overcome-your-mid-life-career-crisis/

Empower your life and career with these books:

I’m also the best selling author of How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, and the Mid-Life Career Rescue series which includes:

Mid-Life Career Rescue: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late (The Call For Change) (Volume 1)

Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it?s too late (Volume 2)

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

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love

Or check out my passion-driven business at Worklife Solutions

Allthree together

Why I wrote these books

Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for writing your books?” In part, it was my experience with clients, but also the emails I received from people who I knew would never be able to see me professionally, and their depth of hopelessness and despair – despair that reached beyond the individual, but affected those who loved them.

Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”

It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.

It was the experience of this man and many others like him that resulted in my decision to write my first book Happy at Work for Mid-Lifers. And it was the success and the feedback from those that read it that that led me to release a revised and updated version as Mid-Life Career Rescue.

As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. As a coach I’ve helped people overcome this and get hired.

I’ve also seen people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. Even non mid-lifers do that! “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28 year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change, “ said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits.

As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives.

I also believe that people need fewer check boxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many – and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >>

I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast – but to reassure you that you’re in safe hands.

When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an ageing workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was – wait for it…

to help people have an imagination!

As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes I’ve gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works. In this book I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy, and the reason behind my success with clients, is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy in life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.

Be empowered. Answer the call for change, take control of your career and your life right now. As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited.” Make your life count, and enjoy the new future you’re creating.

Your story can be like Mandy’s, who in her 50’s, after reading Mid-Life Career Rescue wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:

“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down – it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months.  It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”

 

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

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Refresh Your Life With Change

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

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

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

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

Finding My Passion and Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 1st, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viewfinder Chris Booth web

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

How to be happy with yourself – prioritising what’s important

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

PRIORITISING WHAT’S IMPORTANT

“Values are a matter of what guides you through every day, every task, every encounter with another human being. Yet we are often unaware of what our values are.” ~ Richard Bolles, Author

Sometimes the job of your dreams may be the one least likely to pay the most. But it’s not always about the money. Right? There’s more to being rewarded for the work you do than the pay cheque you take home at the end of the week.

Job satisfaction, fulfilment, quality of family and private life and mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health are too often left out of the equation when evaluating job opportunities.

Most people will say that having enough money to live comfortably is important to them. But not everyone is willing to work for less money in order to have other needs meet.

For these people what they value most is not money, it’s something else more important to them – such as working for a specific cause, helping people, being creative, being challenged or having great work-life balance and plenty of free time.

Being aware of what your non-negotiable values are, and proactively ensuring these needs are met at work is vitally important. A career choice that is 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.

What Are Values?

Your most important values are the things you feel very strongly about. Your values are who you are and who you want to be. They are the ideals that guide or qualify your personal conduct, interaction with others and involvement in your career.

Like morals, they help you to distinguish what is right from what is wrong, and good from bad. They’re signposts which direct you to your best-fit career and inform you on how you can live your life in a meaningful way.

Your values are formed in a variety of ways through your life experiences, the way you are uniquely wired and the choices you make. They’re who you are and who you choose to be.

Jilly left home when she was only 14. As she says, hers was not a conventional life. Now in her 70’s, her most important values centre around independence, autonomy, creativity and freedom. It’s not hard to understand why. Now living in a medieval village near to Menton, France, and working as a photographer and journalist, her life and work reflects who she is and the things most important to her.

Listening to Jilly’s stories of reinvention, it’s clear to me that variety, learning and new challenges are important values too. “‘I’ve always followed my dream – I wasn’t a mid-lifer who found what I wanted to do. I always took chances and jumped in with both feet!  I ran a drama school with a one-time husband, I was an actress, I owned two restaurants, one in London, one in Hobart, Tasmania.

“My grand passion though was dogs and bred and showed dogs for over thirty years and  during the 1980s, had one of the top breeding and showing kennels in Old English Sheepdogs  I also judged the breed all over the world. I’ve lived in America, in Australia, in Wales, in London, and, for the past 25 years, in France. I was never ever a person who needed a mid-life boost as it were.”

Jilly, says she always had what others call courage. “In fact had I not said ‘yes’ to every opportunity in life I knew I’d always worry what I’d missed. It seemed to me it took more courage to say ‘No’ than to say ‘Yes’.” When she was 67, new adventures beckoned, and she picked up a camera.

“I didn’t get into photography because it was something I’d always wanted to do- in fact, during my years showing Old English Sheepdogs, I was endlessly taking photos of the show dogs and puppies, so perhaps that was the beginning of my creativity in photography.

“But about eight years ago a blog about a town not far from me drew my attention, and I thought ‘I can do that!’ and so I did. My photography was woeful – crooked buildings, and horizons – not that I knew it at the time. But slowly by looking at other photographer’s work, I started to ‘see’ what I needed to improve.  I got inspired and gradually improved my skills (I still am!).

“I took workshops, (Carla Coulson and Nick Danziger – both life changing) photography friends helped me, I read endlessly on the subject and watched training videos. Eventually, instead of writing about my town with photos, I was taking photos for their own sake.”

I love Jilly’s motivation, ‘I could do that!’ How many times have you said that. But how many times have you acted on it?

“I do think life experiences have made me a better photographer – the technical side had to be learned, but it’s in what I choose to photograph that defines my work. I love, for instance, the world of street photography. For me, a good photograph needs to make the photographer and the viewer ‘feel’ something.”

Jilly’s most recent creative endeavour blends her love for dogs with her passion for photography. “During my years as a dog breeder, exhibitor and judge, I always photographed my dogs in show pose. I think that gave me an ‘eye’ for a photo, as I had an eye for a dog, as we say.”

Check out her website – her work is really, really special. Her natural affinity for dogs, and the skills she’s developed with the camera, creates something truly magical. She has now had several exhibitions with two more coming up next year. Also she has been invited to join Getty Images.

Jilly is currently working on two books, one about the medieval hill village where she lives – not a book for tourists, as such, but one that will follow the daily lives of the people who live there and who have made her so welcome. The second book will be called Riviera Dogs.

Saying yes to opportunities, makes your life richer

As Jilly’s story highlights, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities as they appear has made her life richer.

This is an excerpt from career expert Cassandra Gaisford’s Amazon #1 best-selling book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy) How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

To celebrate the release of her new book she’s giving you something for FREE!

Click Here to Download Your FREE Find Your Passion Workbook

How to quit your job and still pay the bills

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

 

Quitting is for winners…

My daughter quit her job with no job to go to yet – she’s never been happier. But only two days prior she was in tears. Months of bullying, manipulation by managers and being promised magic that never eventuated took its toll on her self-confidence and self-esteem.

But now she’s jumping for joy. She’s claimed her power back and made a stand for what she believed. And she’s done it all with her eyes wide open – clarifying first what she really needed in a job to feel happy.

Do you want to quit your job? Do you feel overwhelmed thinking about what else you could do? Or are you looking for a blueprint for success?

Quit a job you hate and start living again

Sometimes all it takes is one line, one sentence, one book to radically change your life. As one man who purchased Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy write to me “I wish I had this book ten years ago! Making a career change was really challenging, and overwhelming. This book is quick and to the point, very well organized making it a great easy-to-use resource. The step-by-step tools are what set it apart, though. I’m recommending this to my cousin who has been wanting to make a change but doesn’t know how. I really hope this book pushes him into action to find a career that makes him happy! Great stuff.” ~ Jason Sperling.

Here’s a few strategies I share in Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy:

 Is lack of finances holding you back?

‘I’d love to quit my job if my mortgage would let me,” someone wrote to me.

I hear you! I’ve been there too. Here’s a few things you may want to consider:

1.) Plan your great escape. If you can’t afford to quit right away, make an escape plan. Put the challenge out there, “How can I quit my job and still pay the bills?” Ask friends, family, Google. Listen to your intuition. Could you negotiate a four day week to give you time to develop a hobby into a career? Is it time to spruce up your CV and activate a job search plan?

2.) Do some creative accounting. Could you take out a loan with family to see you through? Leverage off a loan interest credit card? Sell your kids? (I’m joking!) You get the idea. My daughter’s using her downtime to promote her business ideas – hours after resigning she generated the equivalent of a week’s wages.

3.) Utilise equity. Burt Munro, of ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ fame mortgaged his home. Could you use the equity in your own home to finance your career? If you don’t want to remortgage you could try asking for a mortgage holiday. Many banks allow 2–3 months of no mortgage payments.

4.) Share the load. Who else has a stake in your success? Perhaps they may be able to inject more cash into your joint cash flow. Keri had always earned more than her husband. Her dream career meant taking a $40k drop. Together they worked on a strategy to help him advance his career and earn more money. Not only is he happier in his job but now Keri has built a flourishing business as a corporate life coach.

5.) Seek investors. Use other people’s money to create the momentum you need. Remember there’s good borrowing – borrowing to increase wealth – and bad borrowing – borrowing so you can consume more. Most people spend all their spare income on non-asset-producing consumption. Banks, family members and friends are all possible sources of investment income. Sam Morgan, who established TradeMe, convinced his dad to back him, and earned him millions of dollars in return. You may not pay back millions but if your idea is sound, your investors can sleep at night knowing they will be repaid.

Money doesn’t have to be an obstacle to making a change to more fulfilling work. With sound planning, a willingness to prioritise and juggle conflicting demands, financing your career can be more affordable than you think.

 

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

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