*

Posts Tagged 'overcoming obstacles'

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

Friday, October 12th, 2018

 

Workaholism is an addiction for many passionate people. Others use overwork to medicate their unhappiness in other areas of their life—most commonly dissatisfaction with their relationships.

When you work slavishly, particularly at something you love, your brain releases chemicals called opiates which create feelings of euphoria. No wonder it’s hard to step away!

Euphoria stems from the Greek word euphoría—the power of enduring easily. But consider what the state of endurance implies. Enduring implies force or strain, or gritting your teeth and bearing it at times. Force or strain with no respite leads to stress, overload, and burnout—robbing you of vital energy and depleting your millionaire mindset.

Many people find when they don’t step away from their work they suffer disillusionment, and things that once filled them with passion, including their current writing projects, no longer fills them with joy. Resentment builds and relationships with family, friends, and colleagues can also suffer.

Working addictively offers a short-term fix, but lasting happiness needs variety and nourishment. Being with family or friends, engaging in a hobby, spending time in nature, learning something new, helping others, or just being solitary will help you avoid burnout, nourish your brain, heart, and soul, improve your judgment, and restore harmony.

To be truly happy and successful, you must be able to be at peace when you are working and when you are at rest.

Leonardo da Vinci would often take breaks from his work to refresh his mind and spirit. While others claimed that he took too long to finish things, he knew the importance of replenishing his focus to maintain a clear perspective.

Here we are still talking about him over 500 years later.

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen,” he once said.

Leonardo also valued sleep, noting in one of his journals that some of his best insights came when his mind was not working.

Even if you love the work that you do, and think your current obsession is the greatest thing since women were allowed to vote, it’s fun to get away from it and have objective-free time to unwind and reset.

One of my author friends shared recently how she was feeling totally overwhelmed and close to burnout. To sustain her life, and her career, she’s promising herself a reward for all her long hours—three-months off over winter. She’s planning to go on a retreat, somewhere warm, maybe the Bahamas or Mexico.

“The whole point of living life is to enjoy it, right?! I’m coming to grips with that mindset,” she wrote to me.

Schedule time out—and be firm with yourself. Stay away from anything that feeds your addiction.

When you return to your work, your focus will be surer, your vision refreshed, and your confidence bolder.

 

Rest

When your stress levels are high and you get depressed, angry, tense, and lethargic, or begin to experience tension headaches, it should be a very simple biofeedback signal that you need to stop, re-evaluate your choices and take some time out.

Sometimes this can be easier said than done. In our overachiever, overstimulated society, where many people spend more hours every week with their eyes riveted to their iPhone, instead of spending quality time on their own or with family and friends, the whole concept of stopping and resting to restore ourselves seems unusual. But resting to replenish is essential to well-being.

We’re pushing ourselves all day long with energy that we don’t have. The most common complaint people take to the doctor is fatigue. Research conducted by a company helping people suffering from adrenal fatigue claims that 80% of people don’t have as much energy as they’d like to have.

“It’s because we’re pushing and using caffeine, sugar and energy drinks and nicotine and stress for energy rather than running on our own energy.”

Long-term stress and long-term cortisol will literally alter a person’s hormonal profile.

Rest allows the adrenal glands to restore, enabling cortisol levels to return to normal. Long-term stress and long-term cortisol overload can lead to adrenal fatigue and burn-out, altering your hormonal profile, changing your personality, and making it more difficult to return to the real, inspired, happy and creative you.

Give yourself permission to take time every day and every week to have fun, rest your mind and rest your body.

 

Get outside

It’s hard to feel fantastic when you’re suffering from low mood. Very often a lack of outside time is the culprit. You’re like a flower—you need at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day just to make your hormones work effectively and enable you to blossom to your fullest potential.

To feel and behave normally you need to be exposed to full-spectrum daylight on a regular basis. Medical research suggests some people need as much as two hours a day of sunlight to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Combine outside time with exercise like walking and not only will you get the light you need, but you’ll also recharge your batteries.

Walking outside can also help you gain a new perspective on a troubling situation. When you for a walk, you increase the electrical activity in your brain, and you breathe negative ions and see three-dimensionally.

All this helps you see with fresh eyes the things which are worrying you. Often you’ll find that things are not as bad as they first appear, or discover a relatively simple solution.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Bounce away from habits that so many people have, like spending too many hours inside in front of two-dimensional computer monitors and TV screens, and then topping off a 12-hour day at work by trying to read themselves to sleep on their Kindle. These are all two-dimensional visual activities, which seldom spark joy.

Let mother earth, the sea, and the infinite sky boost your mood. Get outside and allow the sun and outside energy to lift your spirits. Schedule regular fresh air time. Improve your breathing, and take a brisk walk to increase your oxygen levels.

My friend Jim from negativeionizers.net has recently written a detailed article on negative ion benefits for your health here https://negativeionizers.net/negative-ions-benefits. If you’d like to see what a good ionizer looks like then check this detailed review of the best 3 negative ionizers that Jim has found on Amazon for 2018.

If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness, overcome obstacles, and elevate your success you may enjoy reading Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford, available for preview or purchase heremyBook.to/Bounce.

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

I applaud our Prime Minister’s recent sacking of former Government minister Meka Whaitiri following allegations of verbal abuse and physical assault. Jacinda Arden acted quickly and with great strength—signalling that regardless of any possible political repercussions to herself, she would not, could not, will not tolerate abuses of power.

Workplace bullying and assault is reaching epidemic proportions and past experience has taught me that very often the perpetrators are adept at avoiding the consequences.

My own experience of workplace bullying included a former manager yelling at me in an open plan environment and threatening to “smash my fucking head in.” And no, he didn’t lose his job. And no, there were no consequences. But what I did learn was, in the absence of anyone else stepping in, was how to stick up for myself and no longer tolerate such abuses of power. It’s not easy, but it does become less painful to deal with, as life goes on.

In the case of my angry out-of-control boss, who was enraged because I wanted to keep a job seeker, who had applied for a role with us, informed, I simply said, “I know you’re angry, but I’m going to ask you one more time, is my candidate going to get an interview?” I was terrified, but somehow my voice was calm, despite the volcano of emotions exploding through my body. I took a calculated punt—he wouldn’t really act on his threat to smash my head in, not in an open-plan environment with 100 + staff, would he? No, he didn’t—but what he did begin to do was systematically attempt to derail my career. As I reflect back now, at the time of his outburst, not one person came to my aid.

A similar experience happened to me when I went to a new high school following my parent’s divorce. Prior to this, I had attended an all-girls private Catholic school. Now, I was going to a mixed, or co-ed, public school with kids from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. A boy, perhaps around 14 or 15 years-old came up to me, scrunched up some paper he was holding in his hand and dropped it at my feet. “Pick it up,” he demanded.

At that moment, that moment of choice, I recall thinking, ‘I would rather die than suffer the humiliation of being controlled and bullied’. “No, I said, more calmly than I felt. “I didn’t drop it, so I won’t pick it up.” And at that moment he lost his power, and at that moment he, perhaps, respected me. He grinned, and tossed his head slightly, as if to say, “yeah, you’re okay.” And he left me alone after that.

Perhaps I was lucky. Lucky no one touched me. Perhaps, like animals and predators who can sense fear, perhaps my defiance, my determination, my refusal to disempowered or disrespected created an energetic field of protection. I don’t know, but what I do know, is that these bullying behaviors didn’t magically disappear from my life. I continue to face situations where bullying, aggression, rage, or silent manipulation are present. Sadly, it’s an epidemic.

I’m sorry to say, abusive behavior appears to have become ‘normal’ behavior and with that is the implicit belief that bullies are immune to prosecution.

But Jacinda Arden’s stand today is an important one. It sends a strong signal that bullying behavior will not be tolerated—and more than this, that it will be punished. My hope is that as our leaders take a stronger, united stand, people will begin to have less tolerance for nastiness.

 

Whose behavior are kids modeling?

Even more troubling is the prevalence of bullying in schools—and some of it is truly horrific, including the rape of children as young as five, by older students.

  If you’ve been following the #BelieveSurvivors, or # MeToo movement, sexual assault is very much in the forefront of people’s minds.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accused Donald’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Her disturbing but, as yet, unproven allegation is the cause of a monumental political headache for the President.

Equally worrying, is the news I received recently that in some instances of bullying, teenagers are spreading rumors that girls have been raped, when no rape has occurred, in an attempt to humiliate, control, or punish.

Of course, there is much goodness in the world to celebrate, people that fight for justice, and positive advancements that are being made by people who are waging war on abuse, but it’s important to continue to spotlight issues and importantly, to provide solutions and support to those who suffer needlessly.

I applaud the work of women like Jess Tyson, who at the time of writing this, is the reigning Miss World NZ. Tyson has revealed a childhood involving alleged sexual abuse at the hands of someone known to her family. She has made it her personal mission to help young victims of abuse.

“I know that the topic of sexual abuse or violence is hard for people to talk about or heal from and people are often too afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

“I would like to share my story to young New Zealanders that if they have been victims of any type of sexual violence there is support available to help them heal from it and I want to be there to help them,” Tyson says.

So many people who have experienced bullying experience great trauma and this leave a lasting stain on their soul. Personally and professionally, I believe and aim to help others believe that we can refuse to allow ourselves to become victims. We can refuse to let others rob our power. We can refuse to allow bullies and sexual predators, to steal our lives.

“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others,” a woman wrote in the impact statement.

It takes great strength of spirit, great resilience, great determination—as people like Oprah Winfrey model in bucketloads to refuse to be a victim. But we can do it. We must do it.

United we can stand up to bullying, threats, and tormenting—in all its guises. But to do this, we have to be the change we want to see and empower each other.

 

Are you, or do you know of someone being bullied at school?

D’Arcy Lyness, PhD, provides the following advice

Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and possessions. Some kids bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them. Others use social media or electronic messaging to taunt others or hurt their feelings.

It’s important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that kids have to “tough out.” The effects can be serious and affect kids’ sense of safety and self-worth. In severe cases, bullying has contributed to tragedies, such as suicides and school shootings.

Why Kids Bully

Kids bully for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they pick on kids because they need a victim — someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker, or just acts or appears different in some way — to feel more important, popular, or in control. Although some bullies are bigger or stronger than their victims, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes kids torment others because that’s the way they’ve been treated. They may think their behavior is normal because they come from families or other settings where everyone regularly gets angry and shouts or calls each other names. Some popular TV shows even seem to promote meanness — people are “voted off,” shunned, or ridiculed for their appearance or lack of talent.

Signs of Bullying

Unless your child tells you about bullying — or has visible bruises or injuries — it can be difficult to figure out if it’s happening.

But there are some warning signs. Parents might notice kids acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things they usually enjoy. When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations (like taking the bus to school), it might be because of a bully.

If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter by asking, “What do you think of this?” or “What do you think that person should have done?” This might lead to questions like: “Have you ever seen this happen?” or “Have you ever experienced this?” You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.

Let your kids know that if they’re being bullied or harassed — or see it happening to someone else — it’s important to talk to someone about it, whether it’s you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.

Helping Kids

If your child tells you about being bullied, listen calmly and offer comfort and support. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed and ashamed that it’s happening, or worry that their parents will be disappointed, upset, angry, or reactive.

Sometimes kids feel like it’s their own fault, that if they looked or acted differently it wouldn’t be happening. Sometimes they’re scared that if the bully finds out that they told, it will get worse. Others are worried that their parents won’t believe them or do anything about it. Or kids worry that their parents will urge them to fight back when they’re scared to.

Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child that he or she isn’t alone — a lot of people get bullied at some point. Emphasize that it’s the bully who is behaving badly — not your child. Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.

Let someone at school (the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher) know about the situation. They are often in a position to monitor and take steps to prevent further problems.

Because the term “bullying” might be used to describe such a wide range of situations, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What is advisable in one situation may not be appropriate in another. Many factors — such as the age of the kids involved, the severity of the situation, and the specific type of bullying behaviors — will help determine the best course of action.

Take it seriously if you hear that the bullying will get worse if the bully finds out that your child told or if threats of physical harm are involved. Sometimes it’s useful to approach the bully’s parents. But in most cases, teachers or counselors are the best ones to contact first. If you’ve tried those methods and still want to speak to the bullying child’s parents, it’s best to do so in a context where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.

Most schools have bullying policies and anti-bullying programs. In addition, many states have bullying laws and policies. Find out about the laws in your community. In certain cases, if you have serious concerns about your child’s safety, you may need to contact legal authorities.

Advice for Kids

Parents can help kids learn how to deal with bullying if it happens. For some parents, it may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, you’re angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to “stand up for yourself” when you were young. Or you may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the bully, and think that fighting back is the only way to put a bully in his or her place.

But it’s important to advise kids not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, it’s best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell an adult.

Here are some other strategies to discuss with kids that can help improve the situation and make them feel better:

  • Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don’t go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you’re not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
  • Hold the anger. It’s natural to get upset by the bully, but that’s what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it’s a useful skill for keeping off of a bully’s radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice “cool down” strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths, or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a “poker face” until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
  • Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you’re showing that you don’t care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
  • Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.
  • Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can’t fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.

Restoring Confidence

Dealing with bullying can erode a child’s confidence. To help restore it, encourage your kids to spend time with friends who have a positive influence. Participation in clubs, sports, or other enjoyable activities builds strength and friendships.

Provide a listening ear about difficult situations, but encourage your kids to also tell you about the good parts of their day, and listen equally attentively. Make sure they know you believe in them and that you’ll do what you can to address any bullying that occurs.

 

Are you being bullied at work?

Sometimes the best cure if to free yourself from a toxic situation and make a move to career nirvana You’ll find plenty of help in my book Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late.  Available in paperback or for immediate download for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

In Mid-Life Career Rescue I share my own personal story of career reinvention and the strategies that have worked for my clients.

High Sobriety: Changing Our Relationship With Alcohol

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

‘An ugly statue sits where your spirit should be.”

~Rumi

 

Do you know what the hottest trend in the social scene is at the moment—sobriety! Yes, folks, Sobriety is the new black. But some habitual drinkers are skeptical—others tragically, sometimes fatally, addicted. Many people struggle to control alcohol because they’re not motivated by sobriety. But being sober isn’t just about not drinking.

Sobriety is achieved by putting energy and effort toward something you really desire.

Knowing why you want something is just as important as knowing what you want.

Why do you want to control your drinking? To feel better about yourself? To achieve wellbeing goals? Because you’re afraid that drinking alcohol is taking over you and your life? To inspire others? Because you’re curious that what you’ve been hearing is true—life really is better sober? Or something else?

I explore ways to help you discover your driving purpose in my self-empowerment books, but first here are just a few of the many benefits of achieving sobriety:

  • Improved mental health and wellbeing
  • Better physical health
  • Improved emotional health
  • Elevated spiritual health
  • Saves money
  • Enriches your relationships
  • Is an indispensable part of fulfillment
  • Energizes you
  • Liberates you
  • Will change your life and the lives of those who matter most to you
  • Higher vibration and an increased connection to your higher soul self

 

Being sober sounds great, and it is. But the challenge is that so many of us have been brainwashed into believing it’s awesome to be drunk. As I share in my book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, many of the people we look up to, including writers, singers, and even our political leaders have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol—no wonder it’s hard to control our drinking or implement laws aimed at reducing alcohol harm.

But if it’s cool to be high, why do so many of us want to quit? Why do thousands of people sign on for Dry July or make New Year’s resolutions to lose the booze only to be coerced or bullied into drinking again?

Giving up drinking can feel like losing your best friend, even your lover—until you remind yourself how alcohol is a  fickle companion who lets you down again and again.

Sobriety, now there’s a forever friend.

She won’t turn sour, she won’t piss you off, or get mad at you, and she won’t rob you blind. Sobriety won’t hijack your brain and make you say and do things you’ll wildly regret in the wake of hangover hell.

Sobriety is not seedy or unpleasant. Sobriety is a sophisticated, serene, stabilizer in a world gone mad.

And, sobriety doesn’t always mean giving up booze for good.

 

Sober

1. Synonyms

2. Not drunk

3. Thoughtful, steady, down-to-earth and level-headed

4. Serene, earnest

5. Not addicted

 

Thoughtful, serene, earnest—dependable—who doesn’t want a friend like that?

Sadly, the opposite is also true. Some of my best, most trusted friends turn into tyrants, either at the time of drinking or in the days that follow. These are just a few of the changes I notice when they drink alcohol:

• Overly critical

• Short-tempered

• Tyrannical

• Moody

• Solemn

• Angry

• Silent

• Withdrawn

 

Unlike alcohol-drenched friends, sober friends can be trusted.

 

Alcohol Unmasked

Do you know what’s in your drink? Booze barons do such a great job of disguising alcohol that many people don’t know what it really is.

Alcohol is ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, and is a flammable, colorless chemical compound. Yes, folks, everything can really go up in flames when you drink.

I fondly remember Christmases spent at my grandmother’s and the excitement we all felt when a match was held against the rum-soaked Christmas pudding and it burst into plumes of fire.

For some reason, until researching my books, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, and Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol I never made the connection that booze was a flammable substance I poured down my throat.

Ethanol is also used in some countries instead of gasoline in cars and other engines. In Brazil, for example, ethanol fuel made from sugar cane provides 18 percent of the country’s fuel for cars.

In short, the alcohol or ethanol found in your favorite beer, wine, and spirits is a poison, masquerading as a happy drink. It’s so toxic that, when consumed too quickly or in huge quantities, your body’s default position is to expel it—usually in a totally unglamorous technicolor spray of vomit.  That’s if you’re lucky.

Alcohol poisoning can, and does, cause death—both directly and indirectly through liver disease, breast cancer, and a staggering amount of other alcohol-related diseases. We’ll explore the havoc caused by booze, as well as how sobriety leads to nirvana in the chapter, Health Havoc or Health Nirvana?

Yet, despite all the risks and dire health warnings, alcohol seems such a benign substance. Perhaps it’s the allure of its origins—a uniquely natural process.

Alcohol is formed when oxygen deprived yeast ferments natural sugars found in fruits, grains, and other substances. For example, wine is made from the sugar in grapes, beer from the sugar in malted barley, cider from the sugar in apples, and most vodka from the sugar in fermented grains such as sorghum, corn, rice, rye or wheat (though you can also use potatoes, fruits or even just sugar.)

Many people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate their way through life’s ups and downs. Peer into the history of alcohol and you’ll find that its medical origins enjoy a good pedigree. Gin mixed with tonic containing quinine, for example, was historically used to treat malaria.

 

“So it’s totally good for you,” writes one enthusiastic supporter in an alcohol forum.

Yeah, if you’ve got malaria perhaps, but not if you’re just sick and dog-tired of living.

Alcohol is classed as a ‘sedative hypnotic’ drug. That definition on its own may sound just like what you’re craving until you discover the true impact. Sedative-hypnotic drugs depress the central nervous system (CNS) at high doses.

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound so flash, especially if you’re prone to knocking back a few too many drinks. Your central nervous system controls a majority holding of the key functions of your body and mind. The CNS consists of two parts: your brain and your spinal cord.

As you know, the brain is the chief conductor of your thoughts, interpreting your external environment, and coordinating body movement and function, both consciously and unconsciously. Complex functions, including how you think and feel, and maintaining homeostasis, a relatively stable balance between all the interdependent elements in your body, are directly attributable to different parts of your brain.

Your spinal cord with its network of sensitive nerves acts as a conduit for signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

You definitely don’t want to mess with the way this important duo functions. But every time you ingest alcohol you do, weakening their ability to perform like virtuosos, interfering with maintaining a healthy balance and the finely tuned harmony which is so vital to your health, performance, and effectiveness, and causing all systems in your body to play horribly off key.

Would you love to possess an outstanding ability in your field? Excel in your chosen profession? Tap into higher knowledge? Hone a much-loved or admired skill? Be universally admired? Many people think alcohol aids the fulfillment of these desires—until they realize their beliefs were deceptively wrong.

Sobriety on the other hand… now there’s a different story.

 

It’s not all bad, right?

At lower doses, alcohol can act as a stimulant inducing feelings of euphoria, optimism, and gregariousness. Everything looks beautiful, your belief in yourself, your talents, and your ability elevates like a seductive piece of music. Your inhibitions float away, suddenly you imagine yourself to be far better than you really feel. Shyness disappears, in its place talkativeness.

For a little while.

But pour more and more drinks down your throat,  knock back liters of your favorite elixir and you’ll quickly find yourself confronted by the truth. Alcohol is trouble. I talk more about this (as well as the joys of sobriety) in my interview with Melinda Hammond—https://writerontheroad.com/128-name-poison-writers-alcohol-creative-muse-cassandra-gaisford/

Quite simply, alcohol knocks the life out of you. The more you drink, the higher the likelihood you’ll become drowsy. Recall the drunk in the corner, slouched against the wall, or the once vivacious life of the party, barely able to hold her head in her hands, as she sits slumped at the bar. I’ve been there—it’s a predictable rite of passage. In a culture that values drinking, this is normal.

Normal but definitely not glamorous, hip or cool.

But things get worse. Sometimes much, worse. Your breathing naturally slows into a state called respiratory depression. It can become exceedingly shallow or worse, stop entirely—what’s truly frightening is you have absolutely no control. No one chooses to fall into an alcohol-fuelled coma, but this is exactly what happens to far too many people.

Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death. And, tragically, far too many beautiful people needlessly die this way.

Can I scare you sober? It’s not my agenda, but I do know this—that’s exactly what happened to Amy Winehouse. And it’s exactly what’s happened to a great many other talented, beautiful, smart people. People who only wanted to feel high, but never intended to die.

As well as its acute and potentially lethal sedative effects at high doses, alcohol undermines every organ in the body and these effects depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over time.

We’ll examine the dangers of drinking both large and small alcoholic beverages over a short period of time in the chapter, Binge Drinking Blindness.

We’ll also dive deeper into what constitutes safe drinking, including analyzing what constitutes a standard drink and why health authorities want you to control your drinking—assuming you don’t want to kick the alcohol habit for good.

But first, let’s stop to consider, how natural is alcohol really?

 

What’s Hidden in Your Drink?

Ethanol made be created via a naturally occurring process, but that’s not the end of the production cycle. The other thing to be mindful of is all the other hidden dangers lurking in your drinks.

Peer a little closer and you’ll find all sorts of nasty additives—not to mention toxic sprays, pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers and other things that infiltrate many crops. But you won’t find many of these disclosed on the labels.

Sorry to spoil the party.

Health gurus cite dangerous levels of sulfites or sulphites (as it’s spelled in New Zealand) and warn of harmful side-effects, particularly for those with a low tolerance.

The term sulfites is an inclusive term for sulfur dioxide (SO2), a preservative that’s widely used in winemaking (and most food industries) for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. SO2 plays an important role in preventing oxidization and maintaining a wine’s freshness. When used in high levels, because it’s considered harmful, it must legally be disclosed on product labels.

To be fair, many foods also contain sulfites. Some people claim the preservative is nothing to be alarmed by—unless of course, you include yourself in the numbers of people who are allergic. Sulfites cause bloating and itching in sulfite-sensitive people. Does your beloved have a beer gut or sulphite bloating?

Histamine High?

Some studies suggest sulfites and other additives, including compounds such as histamines and tannins, are connected to the pounding headaches many of us suffer after drinking. That, and our ballooning weight.

Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne, and beer are histamine-rich.

As the author and psychologist Doreen Virtue explains in her excellent book, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, many people binge drink when stressed, but most don’t realize that some of the excess weight may be attributed to stress-hormones and neurotransmitter responses. These biochemicals, Virtue says, are triggered by the fact when you’re stressed you often binge on food and drinks to which you may unknowingly be allergic to, or which are intrinsically unhealthy.

As I’ve mentioned, any product that undergoes fermentation contains high levels of histamine. What I didn’t know was that these histamines trigger allergic reactions in our body, especially if we’re under a lot of stress.

Histamines get you both ways, not only occurring in the food and alcohol you drink but also because when you’re allergic to something your body releases its own histamine, says Virtue. “Stress produces histamine. We’re all naturally allergic to stress,” she says.

When you consume a diet that’s high in histamine or histamine-inducing foods, your body becomes overwhelmed. Add a stressful lifestyle to the mix and it’s no wonder you feel less than perky.

Histamines are also manufactured and released by our bodies not only when we’re stressed but also when we’re dehydrated. Again, alcohol, because it magnifies dehydration, makes things worse.

Virtue explains, “The trouble is that histamine produces uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, itchy skin, profuse sweating, hot flashes, runny or stuffy nose, and feeling cold all the time, as well as low blood pressure, arrhythmia, anxiety, and depression.”

Nice.

No wonder, we start to look and feel better when we lose the booze.

Other addictive beverages, like coffee and sugar-laden drinks, also trigger histamine reactions. The net result is a ‘histamine high.’ This boosted energy and elation you experience is always short-lived and is always followed by an energy crash, plus other painful symptoms discussed above.

Before publishing her findings Virtue decided to test her theory and embark on a 30-day histamine-free diet.

“Within two days of going ‘low-histamine,’ I felt a youthful energy and exuberance that I had never experienced before. I felt well. I felt happy. And I knew it was due to the low-histamine diet… you cannot return to the old ways of bingeing upon histamine once you realize the process behind these binges.”

Sugar Rush Anyone?

Submerged in many alcoholic drinks are dangerous and highly addictive levels of sugar. Research collated in a New York Times article stated, “Cravings induced by sugar are comparable to those induced by addictive drugs like cocaine and nicotine.”   

Latest research revealed in The New Zealand Listener in 2018 reveals the physiological and neurological reasons your brain makes you crave sugar.  I share some of these findings in the chapter Sweet Misery. It’s only since researching and writing this book that I realized I was more addicted to sugar than alcohol.

Whew! That’s a relief. But it’s also not—because both are tough habits to crack. Tough, but not impossible. Knowledge is power, right?

In summary, not only is alcohol a highly addictive poison, but your cravings, your weight gain, low energy levels and less-than-optimal mental and emotional health may be fuelled as much by additives and sugar, as it is ethanol or alcohol itself.

You can heal your life and it begins with examining the facts. Consider becoming an amateur sleuth and adopting the role of an investigative journalist. Discover how alcohol is made, including all the artificial things that are added to many products to make it tastier and more alluring—and potentially more dangerous to your health.

Perhaps this may be all the motivation you need to develop a healthy intolerance for alcohol.

Is Your Drinking a Problem?

“Not everyone who has a drinking problem will be able to see it,” says recovering alcoholic and author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, Anne Dowsett-Johnston.

Perhaps you’re read what a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald refers to as a ‘grey-area drinker’ – neither a falling over-over drunk, but nor is your relationship with booze healthy.

Is your drinking already cause for concern? How do you know if you have a real problem, versus a temporary itch that you’re using alcohol to scratch?

“If you want to know if you’re getting into trouble, ask yourself … are you drinking to numb? To numb feelings, to numb stress, to numb depression or anxiety?’” Dowsett Johnston says.

Alcohol makes us love life, we’re told. If this is true, why aren’t we a happier lot? Burnout, stress, anxiety have become worldwide epidemics—and with them alcohol and food addictions. We’re either eating or drinking our way to happiness—or both.

Granted, not everyone has a problem with alcohol. Some people say there are four types of drinkers:

• Light or non

• Weekend-non binge

• Weekend drinkers who get drunk

• Heavy drinkers where every night is party night

The problem with those in the latter two categories may not be the booze, but maladaptive attempts to mask the causal factors.

Addictions and consistent alcohol abuse, in particular, are essentially attempts to escape pain. The nature and causal factors of this pain and the scale of dependency will vary in specifics and severity from person to person. It could be the pain of not fitting in, the pain of boredom, or the pain of deep, unresolved trauma.

We all suffer painful experiences—but not everyone has learned to cope in a way that promotes, not depletes emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being, health and happiness.

Instead, too often developing and becoming dependent on unhealthy coping techniques becomes the norm—a norm that creates even more problems.

“Alcohol abuse can lead to major health problems—and can affect your ability to learn and function well.” says neuroscientist Dr. Susan Tapert.

 

If you’re going to successfully kick or modify the drink habit you’ll need some pretty compelling reasons to sustain your decision.

Many of us have bought into the cultural myth that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol makes us happy, cool, popular. But what if the opposite is also true? What if everything you have been told is a lie?

The truth about alcohol is that it is a highly addictive poison. Some people can handle it, but millions of people can’t. There’s no shame in admitting alcohol has you by its tail.

Booze impacts people differently. Your weight, height, the water composition in your body, your social group, unresolved traumas, and a whole host of other interesting factors all impact how quickly and how often you drink.

Do you truly know how it impacts you?

Do you become depressed or teary—sharing your tales of sadness, or wailing songs of melancholy,  with anyone close enough to hear?

Perhaps alcohol gives you the confidence boost you lack or dulls the thunder of social anxiety.

Do you become gregarious, hyper-friendly—willing and ready to go to bed with anybody?

Perhaps you become impulsive—driving recklessly at great speed or daring yourself to achieve impossible physical feats, like diving through the air or surfing dangerously across a crowd of strangers.

Or does alcohol summon forth the warrior, the mutinous murderer or the vengeful vixon? Under the influence do you harm the ones you love? As you’ve read, even good people are capable of unfathomable brutality and even murder.

“There is no inexplicable defect in our personalities, no elusive flaw in our bodies. Alcohol is simply a highly addictive drug,” writes Annie Gracie in her book This Naked Mind. “We find it hard to accept that we are all drinking the same addictive poison.

Alcohol weaves an often unpredictable, yet foreseeable path of harm in us all. Individual differences in brain chemistry, lifestyle choices, stress levels, upbringing, peer pressure, group-think and other factors trigger impulsivity, aggression, depression, and other emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes—all of which are seemingly beyond our control.

Alcohol changes who you are. These changes are hard, but not impossible, to predict.

“Anyone of us could be here,” a prison-officer once told me while I was working in the bowels of a maximum-security prison. “Take Hemi,” he says, gesturing to a young, good-looking guy aged eighteen, now in jail for life.  “He got pissed, got into a fight and the guy wound up dead.”

Yep, I know that story well.  I also know intimately the wide and bewildering range of effects triggered by alcohol abuse. Winding up in bed with strangers, euphoria which turns to dread, closeness that turns to rage, and feeling I no longer wanted to live—truly believing how peaceful it would be to throw myself from a cliff and fly through the sky. To die. I also know that’s the demmon of alochol talking – weakening my inhibitions and stoking the fantasy of relief from pain.

 

Take a moment and make a list of everything drinking steals or has stolen from you.

Here are a few areas to consider:

• Harmonious relationships?

• Happiness?

• Career success?

• Custody of your children?

• Liberty and freedom?

• Security and safety?

• Sanity and peace of mind?

• Health and well-being?

• Your waistline?

• Money?

• Or something else?

 

For example, many people have either perpetuated or experienced domestic violence, been hospitalized, lost custody of their children, derailed a much-loved career, destroyed their most important relationships, suffered from an inoperable disease caused by alcohol abuse, nearly died—or did.

Recent prison statistics reported in the New Zealand Herald revealed that over 54% of offenders have addiction issues, with 53 percent of women and 15 percent of men have experienced sexual assault. Dig deeper and it’s not hard to see alcohols role.

 

Controlling Alcohol and the Triggers that Compel You to Drink Takes Vigilance

‘There’s so much marketing about alcohol, but I can’t see any signs warning people of alcohol harm,” I said to the woman at my local electorate office.

“They’re silent,” she said.

“They don’t exist,” I replied.

It makes you wonder. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Why?

 

Why is that you can’t escape the continual barrage of marketing messages inviting you to drink? Could it be there so much money spent on reactively fixing alcohol fall out and none left for proactive health initiatives—including education?

But you can right the imbalance and become more mindful of alcohol harm.

People who go to AA meetings, or other sobriety meet-ups, are continually reminded of how alcohol has no place in their life.

Many people who successfully control alcohol find other ways to remain vigilant.  For example, I counteract all the positive messages the booze barons and happy drunks spin about the wonders of booze by constantly reminding myself of the negative aspects of drinking.

I also remind myself that alcohol is a poison dressed up as lolly water, that it’s a neurotoxin, and that it makes me feel flat, discouraged and depressed. Affirming the negative is a simple way to counteract and rebalance the positive marketing spin.

As I shared in the opening of this book, keeping a Sobriety Journal is one of many strategies I share in this book, which works for me.

When I first created my Sobriety Journal I brainstormed and bullet-pointed some of the areas in which my excessive drinking was becoming problematic, personally and professionally.

As you read through this list give some thought to your own experiences.

 

Negative Physical Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Depression

Anxiety

Blackouts

Despondency

Cognitive impairments

Memory loss

Fearing for my safety

Negative Financial Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Reduced savings

Sucked away money that could be used to repay debt or diverted for a massage, flowers, beauty

Reduced productivity and work effectiveness

Diminished creativity that I can pour into money-making endeavors and things that spark joy

 

Negative Emotional Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Depression

Anxiety

Aggression—arguments with my partner

feeling blah

fear—especially when around other drunk people

Loss of confidence and self-esteem

 

Negative Spiritual Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Lower vibration

Dark Energies

Harmful spirits

Aggression

Shift from essence

Lack of mindfulness

Dis-ease

Disconnection from source energy

Reduced intuition

 

Negative Physical Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Aging

Weight-gain

Stress

Overload on liver

Increased likelihood of cancer—8 percent increase in risk for every standard drink you have

Ugliness—red eyes, pallid skin, bloating

Insomnia

Nutrient loss

Depletes almost every vitamin your body needs

Headaches

Eyestrain

 

Negative Relationship Impact of Drinking Alcohol

Increased arguments

Emotional distance and disconnection

Operating on different wavelengths

Breakdowns and meltdowns

Anger

Fear

Loss of love

Loss of respect

Neglect

 

I didn’t need a textbook or neuroscientist to warn me about alcohol harm, although further research illuminated the side-effects. But I did find it helpful to bring more mindfulness to the negative impact drinking was having on all aspects of my life.

As Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote (also in my Sobriety Journal): “Sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”

Dr. Candace Pert, formerly the chief of brain biochemistry at the National Institutes of Health in the US, revolutionized her field by discovering that emotions create biochemical compounds called peptides that serve as messengers in the brain; her team’s work won the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, which is often a precursor to the Nobel Prize.

She urges us to honor all our feelings and look for the insight and hope of healing emotions provide. “When we don’t admit to or accept responsibility for these less comfortable emotions, they can be more dangerous,” she says

Take a moment and consider what alcohol steals or has stolen from you. Does this change how you perceive alcohol and addiction? Be grateful for the teaching.

Let’s Talk Numbers

How much is too much?

Your liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which for an average person is around one standard drink.

Yes, but what is a standard drink? Is there even such a thing as a standard drink. Apparently not! Different countries set the bar lower and higher when it comes to determining the safest amount of alcohol to drink per hour.

Some experts say that the international guidelines for alcohol consumption are so confusing it’s no wonder people drink too much.

Scientists who studied drinking advice around the world concluded that there is a “substantial” risk of misunderstanding.

And it’s not surprising. One study found that the measurements of the amount of alcohol in a ‘standard drink’ ranged from 8 grams to 20 grams.

An article by the Daily Mail Newspaper in the UK reported the following anomaly, “In the most conservative countries, “low-risk” consumption meant drinking no more than 10g of alcohol per day for women and 20g for men. But in Chile, a person can down 56g of alcohol per day, the equivalent of three pints, and still be considered a low-risk drinker.”

 

Here’s the current Australian and New Zealand definition: “a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol. One standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of container size or alcohol type, that is beer, wine, or spirit. A standard drink is a unit of measurement.”

Thankfully, in New Zealand, you no longer have to have a mathematics degree or a scientific calculator to work out what constitutes a standard drink. It’s now compulsory to clearly state how many standard drinks and how much alcohol per volume is contained in each product.

In the UK, at least at the time of writing, they’re still talking units. A unit is the measure of the amount of alcohol in a drink.

One UK unit is 10ml (8g) of pure alcohol and a typical pint of ale contains one or two units (20ml or 16g), while a glass of wine can contain anything from around one and a half to three units. This depends on the size of the glass and the strength of the wine.

Recently the UK changed its health guidelines to say that men should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, the same as the limit for women. The previous guidelines were a whopping 21 units for men and 14 units for women per week.

The reason for the shift? The rising cost of healthcare stemming from alcohol-related disease is causing concern. In fact, alcohol is a major cause of the 25% increase in deaths from liver disease in the UK over the last decade. And figures show victims of liver disease are getting younger.

Many drinks now show the strength, measured as ‘alcohol by volume’ or ABV, on the label alongside the number of units.

Alternatively, people can calculate the number of units in their drink by multiplying the amount in milliliters (ml) by the strength (ABV) and dividing the result by 1,000, or by using a unit calculator.

Sounds complicated, and let’s face it, people are rarely that regimented to consume one drink an hour, let alone calculate how much is safe to drink.

If the liver can only process one unit of alcohol per hour what happens to all that excess alcohol?

 

The quicker you drink, the drunker you get

 

If over the course of one hour you consume two bottles of beer, that’s a whole lot of excess blood alcohol in your system—especially if you’re partial to one of the craft beers which can equal close to 3 standard drinks per bottle.

Because alcohol is a poison which your body can’t eliminate, your liver has the challenging task of processing it so we can eliminate it from your system. It’s a big job and it takes time—an hour to get rid of only 10 mls.

It’s a dangerous job too, with considerable health implications. When alcohol reaches the liver, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde (as though poisonous ethanol wasn’t enough for it to handle).  Acetaldehyde can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring, as well as harm your brain and stomach lining.

If you’ve upped the recommended safe quota all that unprocessed ethanol will be leaping through the blood-brain barrier and corroding your brain cells directly.

Oops…not good.

Your liver also requires water to do its job effectively. Again, alcohol puts your liver under strain—alcohol acts as a diuretic, thereby dehydrating you and forcing your liver to rob water from other sources.

The severe dehydration is part of the reason why, after a big night of drinking you can wake up nursing a crippling headache.

Regular or heavy drinking over time can disrupt the way alcohol is metabolized within the body, which can lead to alcoholic liver disease, along with other unhealthy side-effects.

In short, all that excess alcohol zooms in fast laps around your body, jumping the blood-brain barrier, again and again, impacting your blood-alcohol levels, which in turn impacts all the systems in your body— your physical coordination, your ability to think and speak, and your mood.

Alcohol changes your brain permanently—and not in a good way, either.

Enter the standards—an attempt, and non-too successfully, to encourage people to drink a maximum of one drink per hour. Yeah, right. Sure thing. When has anyone followed rules, particularly those that they have to self-regulate and which stand in the way of their ability to party?

 

Are You Standard?

Blood alcohol content (BAC), also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes.

However, BAC does not correlate exactly with symptoms of drunkenness and different people have different symptoms even after drinking the same amount of alcohol. The BAC level and every individual’s reaction to alcohol is influenced by:

• The ability of the liver to metabolize alcohol (which varies due to genetic differences in the liver enzymes that break down alcohol).

• The presence or absence of food in the stomach (food dilutes the alcohol and dramatically slows its absorption into the bloodstream by preventing it from passing quickly into the small intestine)

• The concentration of alcohol in the beverage (highly concentrated beverages such as spirits are more quickly absorbed)

• How quickly alcohol is consumed.

• Body type (heavier and more muscular people have more fat and muscle to absorb the alcohol)

• Age, sex, ethnicity (eg, women have a higher BAC after drinking the same amount of alcohol than men due to differences in metabolism and absorption—since men have on average, more fluid in their body to distribute alcohol around than women do, some ethnic groups have different levels of a liver enzyme responsible for the break-down of alcohol)

• How frequently a person drinks alcohol (someone who drinks often can tolerate the sedating effects of alcohol more than someone who does not drink regularly).

Be Aware. Not All Drinks Are Created Equal

They make look the same, but they most definitely aren’t the same.

A tiny increase in strength in the percentage of alcohol can make a massive impact on intoxication. As a rule, if you want to drink safely, go slow and go low. Stay informed—be sure to check the labels

Take a closer look at this article which explains why a 5% beer can make you twice as drunk as a 4% version—http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3209119/Why-5-beer-make-TWICE-drunk-4-version-Calculations-reveal-tiny-increase-strength-big-impact-intoxication.html#ixzz4dPWZYzFv

Familiarize yourself with a standard drink: it’s probably not as much as you think.

I know I got a heck of a fright when I was invited at random to participate in a survey by Otago University. One of the questions in The Alcohol in New Zealand Communities Survey was, “How often have you had 6 or more standard drinks in one occasion in the last 12 months?” I was shocked to tick the highest category, “Six of seven times a week.”

Cripes, I was bingeing and didn’t even realize it. That’s how insidious alcohol is.

Know your limit. Monitor your BAC level, understand your reaction to alcohol, and how to influence it. Check out the documentary The Truth About Alcohol in the further resources section, and join British emergency room doctor Javid Abdelmoneim, and other experts, as they explore the benefits, risks, and science of drinking. If you’re determined to drink, you also discover ways to lessen the impact of alcohol.

While we’re talking numbers, did you know alcohol is a known health antagonist and a causal factor in more than 60 adverse health conditions? Would you rather not know? Skip the chapter Health Havoc if you prefer to be kept in the dark.

 

Are You Worried about your drinking?

I’ll discuss some of my strategies for living in a booze-soaked world, including how I keep my energy and vibration levels high and don’t allow alcohol or other peoples destructive relationship with alcohol to dull my sparkle, throughout this book.

One simple strategy I do find helpful, however, is to pin inspiring quotes somewhere visible to remind me to censure the tendency to demand others change or to judge.

Letting go of judgment creates peace, strength, and ultimately increases joy. Becoming judgment-free and leading by example is also one of the key sobriety steps recommended by many successful addiction programs. This includes self-judgment and self-criticism.

My current go-to quote is by Abraham Hicks, “Let others vibrate how they vibrate and want the best for them. Never mind how they’re flowing to you. You concentrate on how you’re flowing because one who is connected to the energy stream is more powerful, more influential than a million who are not.”

I also invite love, not fear or anger to guide my day. I’m not saying it’s easy—if it were the world would be a happier place. I work to remember how my loved ones are when they’re sober—how kind they are, how caring. This love extends to me too. I know I’m a nicer, kinder person sober than I am drunk.

Exercising self-love means, however, accepting that sometimes there comes a time when being around people who abuse alcohol becomes too toxic. Their drinking may undermine your health, threaten your resolve, or cause you to constantly fear for your life.  There are times you may have to quit not only the booze but people, places, and relationships that hold you back.

Finding joy in sobriety is a lifestyle choice—a very personal, and very empowered and empowering choice. It’s a choice you make eyes wide open, determined to celebrate and make the most of your one precious life in every way.

Humor, as you’ll also discover, goes a long way.

 

This man is giving birth to a six-pack…‘Father and beers are doing swell.’

It’s a picture I drew in my Sobriety Journal in part, to remind me how staying sober improves my waistline.

Call it like it is….would you like a shot of ethanol and a gallon of sugar with that?

Our soul, basically creative in nature, also longs to find self-expression. Creative expression and communicating what you truly feel is one of our greatest joys and freedoms. It is a simple and effective way to inject more happiness into your life without needing drugs, alcohol, or indulging frustration by allowing acts of aggression. 

Creativity in its various guises is also a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy, including writing, is such a potent and popular tool. Pep up your peptides—find a healthy outlet for your emotions. Make finding a way to release all those stuck energies your mission.

Many people say they drink to help them deal with negative feelings and emotions. But fighting fire with fire (remember alcohol is ethanol – a highly flammable liquid) is never going to be a winning strategy. Learning to channel your feelings constructively is.

Journaling and writing morning pages are some of my favorite ways to express any stinky feelings that bog me down in a rut. Writing my self-empowerment books has also been a fantastic and profitable way to share life lessons learned and ignite my passion and purpose. 

A recent example has been writing my book, “Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety – Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life. Writing this book has been healing for myself and others struggling with addiction.  

“I like the content of the book a lot. As an ex-drunk who quit for both mental and physical health reasons, it’s very affirming. I like her comment that she’s yet to meet an ex-drinker who preferred life as a drinker. I think it will appeal to both people who are considering change and people who have made a change to their drinking and want both affirmation and some information so they can explain why to their friends. I like its meandering style (it makes me think of sharing in a group). It’s too good a message to ignore.” ~ Andrew Nicholls 

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available in print and Ebook here—

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink 

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

 

“I work with people and their whanau/families on a daily basis who have, have had or have recovered from Alcohol and Other Drug issues.  The damage caused by AOD overuse and abuse is enormous and has ongoing negative effects on our society and future generations mainly due to observation and learned behaviours.  I really like the approach that this book takes in not attempting to stop drinking totally.  It instead explains and coaches how to manage and cope with consuming alcohol so that the damaging effects may be minimised.  This is a very useful supportive book for ‘drinkers’ and their families.  It is a book that is very easy to read and understand.  I really like the quotes, sayings and tools contained therein.  This book is much bigger than just the social and familial issues with alcohol – It is in a very big way about ‘Your Beautiful Mind’.  It fits very well with my style of practice and that is to start with the basics and move onwards and upwards from there. I see in the book an AHA (awakening, honesty, action) moment in the book.  I really get the reference to wisdom (The smart person knows what to say, the wise person knows when to say it) and the associated learning.  I will be recommending this ‘must read’ book to my clients and their whanau/families and anybody else who will listen”.

~ Philipe Eyton, Counsellor, Life and Leadership Coach, BSocP, NZAC (Stud)

 

“One thing that I like about this book is that the author doesn’t trash other recovery programs whether she agrees with them or not.  This approach is very different (and refreshing) from other books I’ve read that claim to be the “real or only solution” which involves tearing down other methods in the process, but as Cassandra’s book alludes—one form of recovery may work for some people and not others—it depends on the person, their physiology, background, life experience, etc. At first, I thought the segments about advertising would be boring but they actually really appealed to the part of me that loves science, facts, and proof.  Reading the explanations led to many “Aha!” moments! I also felt so relieved to read there is a sober/not drinking movement going on. I felt relieved and hopeful. How I wish this was going on when I started my own drinking career in my early teens. I’m feeling so grateful to Cassandra for writing it. There is so much vital information packed into this book and I wish fervently that it ends up on the best seller list!”

Lisa Ruggiero, Amazon 5-Star Review

 

“This is a book for anyone who is struggling with alcohol (or even overeating/comfort eating – it can be used for several addictions) as a way to encourage the reader to look at  their drinking (or other affliction) in a loving way, encouraging the reader to work with their intelligent self, on a loving level, it offers support, (you don’t feel alone), it offers stories of awareness, idea’s for moving beyond the clutches of alcohol and experiencing the joy of living a full, creative, and/or self-loving life.”

~ Catherine Sloan, Counselor

 

“I see people that I would love to give this book recommendation to.  They need this in their lives-a few of who would not consider, they have any problem with alcohol, nor have any desire to stop drinking – but I liked this book because the message is that you take control of how you steer the ship.  You can choose to decrease and manage your drinking or you can choose to omit alcohol altogether from your life.

Alcohol is abused and I know a few young people (18-25yrs) that haven’t a clue of what they’re drinking or the impacts on them physically, mentally or emotionally.  This is huge.  Yet each and every week they are returning to the bottle to find some solace in drinking or in fact getting pissed.

I love the connection Cassandra shares with herself in this book.  The Sobriety Journal she mentions and has created is a fantastic tool – and I would recommend people use conjunction with this book and your own journey- it will do wonders.  It’s a great reflective tool also to go back to down the track, as Cassandra has openly displayed herself.

I am quite surprised myself about the new knowledge I gained from what I read in this book.  And wondered why when I was drinking did I never stop to consider what I was drinking, what my drink was made of and how- never ever!  I can remember thinking, I wonder how many calories are in this beer.  Or how much sugar.  But never looked it up as such, as I didn’t actually want to know at the time.  I was in somewhat of a denial.  I just wanted to consume it anyway.  I quite often was sick on the evening or the next day after a binge.

So this information needs to be shared and is available in this book.  I think that’s fantastic.  It’s not too complex.  At first, I wondered if I would see my younger relatives reading this and relating to it.  And thought, maybe not.  But then when momentum picked up and the diverse realities were seen and heard – I thought it would relate to many soft spots they have and I hopefully allow them to take control of themselves and their drinking.

Loving what I read. I am seeing some home truths and common vulnerabilities which makes this book relatable to many.

~ Jo-Maitera

 

You might like:

 Discover the joy of sobriety. Listen to Cassandra’s interview with Melinda Hammond—https://writerontheroad.com/128-name-poison-writers-alcohol-creative-muse-cassandra-gaisford/

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

 

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

 

How to unlock your destiny, heal the past, manifest a wonderful future

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

What really inspires me is feeling like there is something you IMPROVE ON. I’m a rare mix of 50 % rational, cognitive and 50% intuitive, empath. Devoted to finding my soul purpose from an early age, I’ve spent many hours and invested a significant amount of time and money finding ways to transcend difficult situations and emerge stronger and more empowered. I’ve found personally and professionally the best solutions are positive, holistic, inspirational and practical ones.

2017 was a deeply transformational year for me. I completed my Reiki Master Teacher– Master Level of the Usui-Tibetan System of Natural Healing on the 5th of September, 2017, Balian Beach, near Tabanan, Bali with renown Reiki teacher, Alison Eaton.
And I also was gifted with the incredible opportunity to receive my Akashic Records Soul History Level 2  training in healing, transformation and manifestation using the quantum energy of the Akashic Records, one-to-one with Chris Wilson, author The Magic of the Akashic Records: Understanding Our Soul History.
I first discovered the Akashic records while researching my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret. I know personally and professionally how powerful it is and I am excited to be sharing this truly transformational and life-changing experience with you.

What are the Akashic Records?

The Akashic Records are a spiritual tool that contains the soul history record of your life on earth. They are the gateway to your soul and provide an energetic blueprint of your unique and authentic highest self. Some people describe the Akashic Records as, ‘energetic connective tissue’. It is a powerful transformational energy which, when channeled effectively, yields rapid transformational results.

Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit are waiting to answer all of your questions and help you shift anything that is out of alignment with your true self and highest potential.

If you have any worries, questions or concerns or there is a situation in your life that you are ready to unblock and shift, the answers are waiting for you in your Akashic records. Finding these answers is simple and effortless. An opening prayer will open the Akashic space, and then we can move directly into answering, shifting, and healing the elements most important to you.

The Akashic Records are a space of pure love, non-judgment, non-fear, and non-resistance. It is a completely beautiful, open and safe place to shift anything that is coming up for you. Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit can heal wounds and traumas, take the darkness and turn it into pure light, Confusion willl be turned into clarity, uncertainty into confidence, anger, into acceptance, purpose, and peace, hatred into love.

Accessing your Akashic records will reveal hidden strengths and treasures and make sense of past hurts so that you are able to come to your fullest potential.

How will an Akashic Records Soul Reading reading help you?

  • Your Soul Reading will help move stagnant energy and transform situations in your life that are stuck
  • Discover, and clear energy blocks preventing you from achieving your highest potential
  • Confirm areas of passion and prosperity
  • Provide added confidence and clarity to guide you in the right direction
  • Accelerate your ability to achieve your soul’s purpose
  • Enable you to claim and stand in your power
  • Access and discover your soul’s path
  • Easily step into your authentic self and move into your true life purpose.
  • Live a life of happiness and joy
  • Take your life from ordinary to extraordinary…..amongst many other wonderful things

Healing through the Akashic Records

The Akashic records are a profoundly powerful way to gain healing in your life and connect directly with your soul. They provide transformation at the deepest level

Family and Ancestral Patterns

We all have patterns, habits, belief systems that have been passed down for generations. They say we hold onto the karma of our ancestors seven generations back. Opening your Akashic Records can help you heal and release these old patterns.

Energetically removing these belief systems and ancestral wounds from your consciousness, understanding and making peace with them will free you to achieve your highest potential

Past Lives

Whether you believe it or not we have all had past lives. You may have heard it said, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience on this earth. Our souls reincarnate to help shift and release old patterns. Accessing and understanding what past lives you have experienced, and which ones are affecting you NOW in this lifetime will help you makes sense of so many aspects impacting you in the here and now and guide you toward a happier, more inspired future.

Relationships

Healing relationships with yourself and with others,  whether through self-acceptance or forgiveness of others, will help you find freedom in and joy in your life.  You will open up to new awareness and release fears and resistance you once held in your relationships. You will discover and find truth in your current situation and move into acceptance and love.

Careers

An Akashic Soul Reading will help you discover your true soul purpose – the reason you have incarnated in this life, and provide meaning and purpose to situations that may have previously held you back.  Any negative experiences will be transcended with renewed passion, so you can fulfill your soul’s potential. You will open up to new confidence, belief, and determination to do the work you were born to do.

How Clients Have Benefited 

“While I had a tiny bit of knowledge about Akashic readings I was unaware of how deep this experience would be and how accurate the information would be. The whole reading was profoundly comforting as I felt during it, and have continued to feel, a sense of ‘coming home’ to myself. It makes sense of so many aspects about myself in the here and now and explains so much about me and my past 60 years. I woke this morning with a feeling of wholeness not experienced before and I am looking at my life with a whole new awareness. A wonderful experience, thank you so much.”

~ Catherine S.

 

“I have been buzzing the whole time after my Soul Reading, mostly I feel so different, I wake up thinking differently, I find myself just ‘being’ with people and finding my reactions so different. I have so much more energy. I am excited to be in the world.”

~ Eileen S.

“It was the first day at work today and I loved it! So good to be back in the industry I read my husband out my Akashic Soul Reading reading, he didn’t say much—just what did I think of it. I told him I thought on the mark! It’s been a pretty crazy period in my life. It’s nice having time out from overthinking to be actually doing. As a result of the reading, I’ve experienced a movement of energy and am inspired again, finally!”

~ Terri D.

“Thanks so much for the reading.   I found it very interesting.   One of the things I thought after I sent you my questions was “aaargh”, I should have asked about my real passion: property and what I can look forward to there” but it seems I didn’t need to ask as you hit on to that straight away.”

~ Lisa V.

Experience the magic and alchemy of the Akashic records for yourself. Schedule your Akashic Soul Reading Today.

If you would love to understand your past and unlock your future, schedule your personalized reading here

Learn more about my approach from reading Testimonials to my work.

 

Enjoy that article? Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews

on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Does talk therapy actually work?

Monday, August 6th, 2018

 

One of my clients Romana drew the image above. The title ‘naval gazer’ accurately sums up what can happen when too much time is spent dwelling on problems, suppressing pain, and not enough time healing, actively evaluating options and challenging any unhelpful assumptions. In a state of paralysis, many people get bogged down.

Sometimes, a simple but effective way to get unstuck is to explore a range of different thinking styles – ideally, ones that challenge crippled thinking, open up possibilities and move you into a state of inspired, solutions-focused action. This is where working with a therapist can help. However, many people resist going to see a counselor or therapist because they assume that all they will achieve from the session is ruminating on their problems and more navel-gazing.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. A skilled counselor can not only provide much-needed support but also act as an objective, independent sounding board who can help you get to the root of your issues, add a liberal dose of much-needed empathy and understanding and support you to make the changes necessary to empower your life. As one of my clients told me, “It wasn’t until someone listened to me, really listened, that I knew what I really thought.”

All too often, no one gives us the space to think or express our emotions. Well-meaning family members, work colleague, friends and even strangers may dispense advice—not all of it is helpful. Take the example of Simon whose wife of thirty-years had recently died. “You just need to suck it up and get on with it,” a friend told him. Working through his grief in therapy proved to be a much more helpful and healing approach.

“I thought I should be able to handle it. I told myself I wouldn’t get upset, ” he told me.

“Who told you that when you lose someone you love very, very much that you shouldn’t feel something?” I asked. He shrugged.

We both agreed it was natural to cry. I suggested that if he didn’t feel anything – if he didn’t feel loss, or grief, sadness or pain, he would be inhuman. Cognitively we can often fool our minds, but the heart is often our greatest, and most honest, teachers.

In our Western culture, so many people, particularly men, bottle up their feelings. Some experts say that these repressed feelings are contributing factors behind the escalating rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide. Tom, whose sister took her own life when he was in his earlier 20’s recalls his parents praising him for showing a lack of emotion, “Good boy for not crying,” they told him. Bottling trauma is neither helpful nor good.

Now in his fifties, Tom suffers from mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Rather than seek help releasing these feelings, including anger toward his parents, he abuses alcohol in an attempt to anesthetize dark feelings. And he’s not alone. As I share in my book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, A great many people drink alcohol to mask or numb the symptoms of their wounds.

No one escapes walking in this world without some degree of hurt. But for many people, this hurt is profoundly deep. The first cuts, experts (and songwriters) say are the deepest—very often these wounds are inflicted during childhood. Tragically, what should be a happy time of innocence is one of incalculable pain. Incest, rape, physical abuse, emotional neglect—and many more horrid things happen to people growing up.

Many wounded souls never receive therapy. Reasons vary. For some, it appears too costly, for others they think that talking to a therapist make them weak. Tony Soprano, one of the thoughest characters to storm across our TV screens in the award-winning show, The Sopranos, sought therapy to deal with repressed emotions which contributed to his anxiety attacks.

In 2017 movie superstar Brad Pitt revealed he had a shocking drinking problem that wrecked his marriage and tore his young family apart. “I feel retarded when it comes to expressing my emotions,” he said as he opened up about his battle with alcohol. To help him kick the alcohol habit he opted to face his demons and learn how to express and handle emotions by seeking the services of a qualified and skilled counselor.

Asking for help, whether this is addiction counseling, relationship therapy, coaching to deal with stress at work, or something else, isn’t easy for many successful people. However, it’s often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life. You may like to check out this interesting series discussing why men struggle to express theiir feelings.

As a qualified counselor and psychologist, I know that very often integrative talk-therapy which draws on an eclectic range of techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and other modalities, including creative and art-based techniques can be extremely effective, and therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives.

Creativity in its various guises is a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy is such a potent and popular tool. Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery and healing that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. People don’t need to have a background in the arts or any artistic talent to participate.  They need only to be open to experiencing and engaging actively to benefit.

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

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

“Draw an animal,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

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

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

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

When I completed my counseling training many years ago I was also introduced to Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). REBT originated in the mid-1950’s as Ellis became increasingly aware and frustrated by the ineffectiveness of traditional psychoanalysis to produce a change in his patients.

The REBT worldview is that people often make themselves emotional victims by their own distorted, unrealistic, and irrational thinking patterns. Ellis takes an essentially optimistic view of people but criticizes some humanistic approaches as being too soft at times and failing to address the fact that people can virtually “self-destruct” through irrational and muddled thinking.

According to Ellis and the REBT worldview, all people are born with self-defeating tendencies. When something goes against your goals, your values or desires, feelings of failure, rejection, etc., can set in; but you have a choice.

You have a choice of feeling terrified, panicky, depressed, self-pitying, self-doubting, etc.—and succumbing to these emotions.

But these feelings can prevent you from making positive changes—and may drive you to drink, for example.

Which emotion you choose, according to REBT practitioners, is thought to mainly depend on your belief system—not your goals and values, but what you tell yourself when your goals and values are thwarted or blocked.

We all have a rational set of beliefs called “preferences.” In this context, “rational” means self-helping beliefs, such as, “I don’t like what is going on.” “I wish it weren’t so.” “How annoying?” “Let’s see what I can do about it.”

Many people very frequently pick irrational beliefs, referred to as “demands,” such as, “Because I don’t like what is going on, it absolutely should not be allowed.” “It can’t happen.” “I can’t stand it.” “Everyone should love me–if they don’t, I am worthless.” “It’s horrible, I think I’ll give up” (or, when taken to the extreme, “I’ll kill myself”).

Ellis’ therapeutic approach is not to challenge the clients’ goals and values, but instead attack their absolute demands about achieving these values. The emphasis of the therapy is on changing the way the client thinks about the behavior or the upsetting event, rather than on changing the behavior itself.

This is a critical point—it is not the actual event but our view of the event that is critical.

The task of the REBT therapist is to help clients’ challenge and self-correct thought patterns and minimize irrational ideas, while simultaneously helping them to change their dysfunctional feelings and behaviors. Challenging the irrational statement is key to changing an entire philosophy of life.

The ABCDEF Method

Perhaps Ellis’s most important concrete methodological contribution is his A-B-C–D-E-F theory, which can be summarized as follows:

A – the “objective” facts, events, behaviors that an individual encounters. (I call this, ‘the activating event’).

B – the person’s beliefs about ‘A’

C – the emotional consequences, or how a person feels and acts about ‘A’

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

E – the effect that disputation has on the client

F – new feelings and behaviors

 

Example:

I helped a friend apply the ABCDE method following a Boxing Day alcohol-fuelled drama which impacted his son. The following is an edited extract (I have changed names to protect people’s privacy):

A – the activating event and “objective” facts, events, behaviors encountered.

Following Boxing Day, Tim, who is nineteen, rang and told his father, Simon about an alleged assault between him and his mother’s new boyfriend. Tim says both his mom and her boyfriend were drunk.

 

B – the beliefs about ‘A’

Simon is waiting to speak to the ‘old-one’ (his ex) to determine the facts but believes his son’s account of what happens.  The ‘old one’ is not returning his call.

He believes the reason she is not returning his call is because she is at fault, and that an assault did occur.

 

C – the emotional consequences, or how Simon feels and acts about ‘A’

Simon’s emotions are heightened. He’s feeling frustrated, powerless, angry, resentful and fearful for his son’s safety. Yet, aspects of his son’s version of what happened concern him. He feels confused as to what really occurred.

Simon drinks 3 bottles of beer and goes to the bottle store to buy more.

Simon believes alcohol relaxes him, minimizes stress, and helps him stay calmer and in control while he waits.

Over the course of the evening (3 hours), he drinks five 500ml bottles of beer (11 standard drinks.) Feeling stressed, I join him—minimizing my drinking by consuming small quantities in six crystal glasses (in total 500 ml, or 2.2 standard drinks.)

After speaking to ‘the old one’ and his son on a three-way call, and resolving all misunderstandings, I asked how he feels now that he knows his son is not at risk. He shuts me down and says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

He doesn’t speak to me again that evening.

 

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

Rather than work myself into a state, I challenged my belief that by drinking with Simon we would both be relaxed. Alcohol is a depressant, it depletes your energy, and increases symptoms of stress already triggered by external events, I reminded myself.

It increases anxiety, melancholy, gloom, and aggression, which is why Tim’s mom and her partner argued, and why Tim ‘lunged’ at this stepfather when he told him to mind his business.

I counsel myself, “Alcohol is ethanol, a flammable, colorless chemical compound—it’s poison, also used to fuel cars, masquerading as a happy drink.”

 

E – effect that disputation has

The episode strengthened my resolve never to drink during times of stress, and my conviction that I don’t want to ingest poisons.

Simon’s knowledge that his ex is an alcoholic causes him to question his own dependency on alcohol during times of stress.

This change in thinking affects Simon by making him more committed to controlling his drinking and being a role model to his son.

 

F – new feelings and behaviors

Simon and I felt calmer and more optimistic about the benefits of not drinking.

Simon felt more empowered and in control now that he has discovered the truth about his ex’s drinking and how her relationship with a man who drinks excessively affects his son.

He decides to take control by helping Tim find a way to gain his independence and leave home, knowing that despite urging his ex to seek help for her drinking that, as with other times, this may have fallen on deaf ears.

Tim successfully finds work that he loves which means he is seldom at home and tells his father that alcohol has no place in his own life. Tim is happier sober!

 

As a holistic practitioner and life coach I also know there is a wide range of alternative healing approaches that yield remarkable, extremely quick results. It concerns me, and a lot of other health professionals that too often people turn to antidepressant medication, Despite research that cites the lower effectiveness, for many people this still appears to be the solution of choice prescribed by many medical professions.

“Pills are cheap,” my doctor told me when I asked her why counseling wasn’t recommended to more people. It may be cheap, but worrying it is not always effective and the side-effects can also do more harm than healing. Rather than offer short-term help very often people come to rely on medical prescriptions for decades. In an extract from his book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected SolutionsJohann Hari, who took antidepressants for 13 years, says masking the pain does not offer long-term relief and calls for a new approach.

“I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him – crouched, embarrassed – that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why.

However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened. The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through.”

You can read a summary of his views, including his claims of an over-riding profit motive by pharmaceutical companies, in his interview with The Guardian. ‘Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?”

A good therapist will often share strategies that can help you rebalance the hormones in your brain, or refer you to other health professionals like nutritionists and dietitians. There are a great many ways to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs, including meditation, exercise, sunlight, vitamins and other low-cost approaches. Many will save you money, boost your health, help you reduce weight and improve your relationships—here I’m talking about eliminating or cutting back alcohol consumption.

Alcohol has been found to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. As this article in SpiritScience claims, there is also a clear link between alcohol consumption and violence or other types of aggressive behavior. Aggression is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels and may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism.

In an article which appears in  Psychology Today, F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist, and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City, cites research confirming the ineffectiveness of antidepressant medication compared with other therapies, including talk therapy. In the November 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind: “Getting to Know Me: Psychodynamic therapy has been caricatured as navel-gazing, but studies show powerful benefits,” claims Jonathan Shedler. Shedler, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of psychology at the University of Colorado Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Service. As Barth notes, Shelder ‘combines anecdotes from clients and therapists with fascinating research to explain something that those of us who have practiced “insight” therapy (sometimes also called “talk” therapy) have known for a long time: psychodynamic psychotherapy works. It helps clients find solutions not only to specific symptoms but also to difficulties at work, in their social lives, and with self-esteem.

For example, Shedler writes, “One major study found an ‘effect size’-a measure of treatment benefit – of 0.97” for psychodynamic psychotherapy. “For CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), 0.68 is a typical effect size. For antidepressant medication, the average effect size is 0.31.”

Barth describes seven features that researchers have found contribute to the power and effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy: “exploring emotions, examining avoidances, identifying recurring patterns, discussing past experience, focusing on relationships, and examining the patient/therapist relationship.”

As a result of counselling, many people choose to connect or reconnect with lapsed spiritual or religious rituals. I love integrating spiritual approaches into my ‘talk therapy.’ Many people have lost their union with God because of the hypocritical dogma which has polluted many faith systems. However, prayer, for example, comes in many shapes, colors, and textures.

Many recovering alcoholics, prosperous creatives and successful business people, including Deepak Chopra, Julia Cameron, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, refer to prayer in several forms, including describing it as the voice of God, intuition, higher self, inner goddess, or their Sacred Divine. In her book Illuminata: A Return to Prayer, Marianne Williamson, who also shares her early dysfunctional relationship with her mother, speaks of prayer as a way of “focusing our eyes,” dramatically transforming our orientation, releasing us “from the snares of lower energies,” and aligning “our internal energies with truth”.

Prayer, or invoking a higher power, is revered by many for its power to help them reclaim their strength, find their inner power and overcome tragedy. You may enjoy reading my earlier post on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/spiritual-approaches-to-the-treatment-of-alcohol-addiction/

 

Whether you elect to seek the services of a therapist, put your faith in God, divine wisdom, spirituality or something else, the truth is very often that safety, guidance, and strength comes from a place within. The right therapist can act as a much needed and much-valued guide who supports you to find solutions to your problems and develop strategies you can apply yourself to regularly to stay well.

 

 

Cassandra is a holistic psychologist, integrative counselor, life coach, and author. To book an appointment or learn more about her wellness-therapies, including how QTC can help you achieve rapid, lasting, transformational change click here >>

Learn more about Cassandra from reading Testimonials to her work.

 

You might like:

Quantum Transformational Coaching—all your questions answered

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

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

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Life transformed by faith in the stars

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

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

How to conquer the destructive force inside human nature

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

 

Do you have a death wish?

Freud claimed we all do. The Death Wish, he said, is a destructive force inside human nature that shows its face whenever we consider a challenging, long-term course of action that might do for us, or others, something that’s actually good.

Others refer to this as resistance. How many do you recognize as true for you?

• Self-sabotage

• Distraction

• Allowing others to sabotage your success

• Something else that stops you moving forward?

“Speak to your darkest: and most negative interior voices the way a hostage negotiator speaks to a violent psychopath. Calmly, but firmly. Most of all, never back down. You cannot afford to back down: The life you are negotiating to save, after all, is your own,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat. Pray Love, in her book, Big Magic.

The more important taking action becomes to our personal growth and soul’s evolution, the more resistance we can feel toward committing to it. This is why, so often, we know we’d be better off not having that extra drink, but we have it anyway.

The following activities, most commonly create resistance:

• The launching of any new venture

• Any kind of education and learning of new ways of thinking and being

• The pursuit of any life purpose or calling

• Any act that requires devotion or total commitment

• Taking a stand in the face of setbacks or adversity

• Any acts of courage, including the decision to change for the better some negative habit or toxic pattern or thought or behavior in ourselves

 

Take heart—resistance is normal! While you may have your work cut out for you, resistance, rather than being a personal failing, is a normal part of the change process. And you can beat it!

 

Tug of War

Have you ever held two magnets in your hands, holding them close but not touching? You’ll know then, the energy it takes to keep them apart. Resistance works in the same way. To resist is to struggle, or fight against something you are drawn to be or do. Think of it as a war—a war against your heart. A war against yourself.

A magnet creates an invisible area of magnetism all around it called a magnetic field. Your heart is your body’s most powerful magnet. The heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field, McCraty explains in The Energetic Heart. “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).”

Numerous studies by the HeartMath Institute show this powerful electromagnetic field can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body and between two individuals in close proximity.

So you’ll appreciate that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to resist what you know in your heart you really desire.

The feeling of resistance reminds me of a young foal called Venus we were looking after on our rural property. Her owner came to take her to a new home where a young girl was happily waiting to care for her.

But Venus didn’t know what the future held. She wanted to stay where she was and with who and what she knew. It was all she would ever know—unless she surrendered and moved to new, fertile pasture and loving home.

I watched as her owner, unable to coax her to move of her own accord, dragged her from the field. Was it fear, a primal instinctive resistance that she found threatening?

Resistance can be traced to its evolutionary roots in genetics. The cure for humankind is to connect with a “higher realm.” To let love, not fear, be your guiding light. This is the place where inspiration, or being in spirit, resides. It’s the purpose and passion zone, and the place where magic and manifestation miracles really do happen.

 

Why are You Resisting?

Now you know that pursuing the best outcomes often meets with the greatest resistance. The things that you feel most scared or apprehensive about are the things that matter most.

Resistance is fueled by fear. It has no strength on its own. Gently accept and acknowledge your fears and then send them on their way and you will conquer resistance. In the previous chapters, you’ve discovered some helpful techniques.

Perhaps like Venus, you find change threatening. Perhaps like my client Richard, a past story—one of hurt and disappointment—keeps replaying in your head. Or you may be like Katherine who has embarked on a journey of sobriety before and failed. She was worried about what the future held.

Failure is not fatal—plenty of people have fallen off their sobriety wagon. But, just like people have fallen off horses, they didn’t let a fall from grace, hold them back from another ride.

Will you have to be dragged kicking and screaming, rather than walk forward with confidence that you are in safe hands and all will be well? Have you forgotten the consequences of denying your path with heart? By resisting change are you suffering in the process, like Venus who tried to make a great escape and leaped the fence, hurting her leg as she fell?

Are you struggling like she did until she no longer had the strength to resist and surrendered? Are you waiting for someone to make the decisions for you until you have no choice but to change?

Perhaps you can relate to my story. When I stopped struggling and quit boozing because I finally got so sick of feeling shitty, tired and afraid. Maybe you don’t want to wait until you’re so fed up and stressed that your health is compromised.

“The enemy is a very good teacher,” says the Dalai Lama. Whatever your situation you’ll find it helpful to clarify your sources of resistance and learn what needs to change. The following resistance quiz will shed some light so that you are better able to navigate the road ahead.

 

The Resistance Quiz

Increase your awareness and prepare to take some empowered steps by taking the following resistance quiz.

How committed to achieving your best life are you? Do you:

1. Know what you want in your heart, and your gut, but resist taking action

2. Spend time doing anything but the thing which inspires you (drinking, watching television, hanging out with toxic friends etc.)

3. Allow your thoughts to be contaminated by fear, doubt, and other negative emotions like anxiety

4. Sabotage opportunities by breaking promises or not following through

5. Want certainty and absolute guarantees before committing to action

6. Opt for the comfort rut and ‘easy fix’ rather than embrace a new challenge

7. Do what’s practical at the expense of what inspires you

8. Let laziness control you, suffocating your aspirations

9. Procrastinate, dither, make excuses and justifications to explain your lack of progress

10. Have a shopping list of reasons why you can’t cut back or stop drinking

11. Consciously try to ignore or repress positive thoughts, feelings or experiences

12. Take a stand against and actively oppose or block people, things, and situations that could help you achieve your dreams

13. Pursue or fight for opportunities that don’t excite you

14. Other

 

Or do you:

1. Know what you want in your heart, and take steps, even small steps to make your dreams a reality

2. Feed your thoughts, and nourish your dreams with love, faith, and clarity

3. Answer the call for change by saying ‘yes’ to opportunities and following through

4. Act, despite uncertainty, and trust that when you do what you love all else will follow

5. Believe and tap into spiritual supply and providence to manifest your desires

6. Want to make yourself proud and live your best life

7. Proactively exercise good self-care and maintain a healthy balance

8. Regularly do what energizes you

9. Whip laziness into shape by taking inspired action

10. Work with a sense of urgency, knowing if not now, when?

11. Do what you love

12. Surround yourself with a vibe-tribe who inspire and support you

13. Pursue or fight for opportunities that do excite you

14. Other

 

Your answers to the above will help boost the necessary self-awareness to embrace positive change and design a plan of inspired action.

 

Overcoming Resistance

To find success the following things are important:

• An overriding sense of your purpose for being here—your authentic calling

• A vision and an idea of the right direction for your work and life

• Consistent action and continually taking steps, i.e. doing what lies before you today, tomorrow, next week…

• A willingness to show up every day with your gifts and talents, often in the face of fear and resistance

 

Begin with The End in Mind

A very powerful strategy to overcome resistance is to begin with the end in mind. Tap into the power of your heart, see your end goal as already accomplished. Allow your body to feel the exact feelings you sense you’ll feel when you have achieved your end goal. They may be, love, excitement, joy, satisfaction, or pride.

Draw a timeline. Mark on it the year and date when you would like your business to go live. Feel that goal as already achieved. Then look along that timeline and note all the steps and things you did to achieve your end goal. Note these on your timeline.

A timeline helps you see and feel the end result before you begin. It’s a powerful and simple way to free up any perceived or real fears and blockages.

I like to think of all my goals as projects including sobriety. And I always like to visualize what it will feel like when I’ve actually finished a project. I don’t want to wait until the project is finished. I want that feeling of achievement and excitement now! I’m also rewarded with a big juicy dopamine hit!

 

Building the Home of Your Dreams

I applied this strategy when I visualized building a house on the back of my old villa in Wellington many years ago. At the time, everyone thought achieving my desire was an impossible dream. Even I knew it was audacious—I was a single working mother with no savings.

But I didn’t let that stop me from throwing my energy into seeing the house built. To feed my desire and overcome resistance I imagined how beautiful my home could be. I felt the evening sun on my face.

I heard the birdsong in the trees. I saw every aspect of what I wanted—the colors, the expanses of glass. I felt the lovely stone bench tops. I tasted the meals I would cook for friends. I fed my motivation to actually build a house from scratch.

To feed my desire, generate ideas, increase clarity and fuel a sense of possibility I created image boards and gathered clippings of what I wanted to manifest.

I also broke the project into manageable chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed and also to counteract my fears around cost escalations. I sourced my team—builders, architects, and other pros. In short, I began with the end in mind and broke the project into manageable steps and drew up a project plan.

Don’t get me wrong—I am no passionate planner. I am naturally organic and spontaneous. But when the need and the desires arise we are all capable of mastering the skills we need. But first I worked to my preferences and strengths and began creatively.

I like creating projects because they make things seem more manageable. They usually have beginnings and endings, and often tangible concrete results.

Some of my projects have included things like publishing books, building websites, beginning a blog, creating companies and personal brands, generating products, and services, and customers.

As you start to surround yourself with tangible evidence of possibilities and to chart your progress, inspiration, desire, and love build. Suddenly your dreams are no longer dreams but living realities.

Be sure to include completion deadlines—these can flex if need be, but have a date to work towards. Reward yourself each time you complete a milestone; much like builders do when they have the roof shout.

Share your completion deadlines with a supportive cheerleader or nag buddy. This is the reason so many entrepreneurs use business coaches and mentors. Being accountable is motivating.

Unless you start taking action toward sobriety now, unless you’re closer to achieving it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow, your resistance will bury you.

Khalil Gibran said this poignantly when he wrote: “Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning to the funeral.”

Cast off from those safe, but dull shores. Break free of the comfort rut and embrace the most comfortable feeling of all. Being sober! You’ll discover your authentic self and your heart’s desire.

 

What Makes You Happy? Do it!

Revisit your goals and intentions and remind yourself why achieving them is important to you. Revisit your Sobriety Journal and add more inspiration to feed your heart and fuel your dreams.

Crack on and do what it takes to whip resistance into shape. Do more of what makes you happy and less of what no longer fills you with feelings of love. Do this with a sense of urgency before it is too late. Trick yourself if need be by imagining you’ve been told you only have a year to live. Be life—don’t just dream it!

“I am a writer,” proclaims Elisabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, in her book, Big Magic. “This proclamation of intent and entitlement is not something you can do just once and then expect miracles; it’s something you must do daily, forever.

“I’ve had to keep defining and defending myself as a writer every single day of my adult life—constantly reminding and re-reminding my soul and the cosmos that I’m very serious about the business of creative living, and that I will never stop creating, no matter what the outcome, and no matter how deep my anxieties and insecurities may be.”

 

Wage War on Resistance

I never met Anthony Bourdain, but his death shocked me. It shocks me still. As does the death of Amy Winehouse and other great artists and people who made the world a better place with their devotion to their craft.  I wonder, did Bourdain and Amy harbor death wishes. Did they really want to die?

In Bourdain’s case, John E. Richters, Ph.D. wrote an article entitled, “Anthony Bourdain’s long-burning suicidal wick— in his own words.” In his article, Richters summarises numerous instances where Bourdain referred to hanging himself. Heart-wrenchingly this is exactly the way he ended his life.

“As Bourdain continued to struggle publically with his demons over the years,” writes Richters, “he also became increasingly comfortable with the idea of suicide as a potential exit strategy. He became particularly comfortable with the idea of hanging himself as an option and was especially drawn to the idea of hanging himself in the shower. Sufficiently comfortable that he referred casually and explicitly to killing himself in this way throughout his professional career. Not occasionally, but frequently. A cursory review of his public statements over the years reveals 19 separate occasions— in writing, during interviews, and on camera—on which he refers to suicide by hanging. On the vast majority of these occasions he refers explicitly to hanging himself in the shower, on 1 occasion more specifically to hanging himself in the shower of his hotel room, and on 1 occasion even more specifically to hanging himself in the shower stall of his lonely hotel room.”

Bourdain was very transparent about his battles with addiction. It remains unclear if he had been drinking the night he ended his life, but what is clear is that he had embraced a comfort rut of the worst kind—becoming comfortable with suicide as an exit strategy.

A great many people have contemplated suicide.I have. Many people close to me have. Tragically, some have succeeded. Most often suicidal thoughts and intentions occur during or following periods of extreme stress. Everything seems out of balance. It’s easy to give into despair. Easy to try and kill our pain by anesthetizing with alcohol or drugs to try and numb the unbearable hurt. But this numbing only serves to silence our will to live, to block out our faith and hope that we can get through the worst of times, and the belief that tomorrow will be a better day.

 No one is immune to suicide. Even Bourdain’s mother said her son was the last person she thought would commit suicide.

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Deputy Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “depression is not a condition that’s related to success or failure.” Depression is not a disease. It’s a feeling. A very heavy feeling that is sometimes hard to shift. But shift it does. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes it seems to last forever. But there is always, always a cure.

People like me, and those I know who have contemplated suicide, have found the will to live or reached out for support, or by some divine stroke of lucky intervention have been saved, have found purpose and sometimes joy, despite our wounds. In my case, as perhaps it was Bourdain’s (and certainly was Amy Winehouse’s) a relationship meltdown, accompanied by far too much alcohol, was the catalyst that led me to contemplate ending my life. 

No relationship is worth ending your life for. None. Bouncing back from destructive relationships brings with it much-needed healing. Reach out for support, you can and will find love again.

Boost your immunity—wage war on the resistance to live another day.  Commit to your soul’s evolution. Accept yourself as you are, the good and what you may perceive, or what others may tell you, are the not so good parts.

Bourdain, for example, was told that he was a narcissist. He later referred to himself as one, and said that nothing could be down. He wore his label with guilt and shame, yet what if he’d embraced that part of him, made friends with it, accepted it—or shunned it as just not true? Would he still be walking amongst us, delighting us with his journeys into “Parts Unknown,”  uniting cultures through food? Instead, depression claimed another beautiful soul.

Depression is often your spirit’s way of telling you something needs to change. That there is something within you that needs to grow. To grow you may need to let somethings, or some people, go. The more you resist, the more you try and mask the symptoms, the more prolonged your pain. Popping pills, or downing more jugs of booze, may often short-term respite, but never a long-term cure.

“Consider this single fact: According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, 11% of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs! And 1 in 4 women in their 40 and 50s are also on antidepressant medication. If you don’t believe this doesn’t indicate deep societal problems, you’d better start smoking marijuana. We are a mentally sick pill-infected nation,” writes Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, in an article about Anthony Bourdain’s death, ‘Why did Anthony Bourdain commit suicide?’

“It’s also ironic that antidepressant side-effects have been linked to sleep disturbance, brain damage and suicide. The other irony is that there is little evidence they benefit patients suffering from mild to moderate depression. And that in 80% of cases, they work no better than a placebo sugar pill,” says Gifford-Jones.

Could medical treatment have saved Bourdain’s life?

“Maybe,” says Gifford-Jones, “but I doubt it. If this were possible, Ernest Hemingway, a famous author, and Philip Graham, owner of the Washington Post newspaper, both treated at a famous clinic, would still be alive. Great wealth and expensive care cannot heal a brain that’s dedicated to eventual self-destruction.” 

That doesn’t mean we should ever give up hope. We can dedicate our lives to self-preservation, and there are a great many interventions, many holistic, some of which I have shared above that can re-engineer our brains, breathe life into our battle-weary hearts, and rejuvenate our souls. The most important thing is to fire up your warrior spirit and battle those demons that drive you to despair.

And while you’re at it, lay off the booze. As I’ve already discussed, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking is a major cause of anxiety and depression, impairs mental reasoning and critical thinking—increasing the likelihood of making tragic and often impulsive choices. The risk of suicide increases for many people who turn to drink.

 

 

If a person claims to be a burden, talks about suicide, has increased anxiety, increased alcohol or drug use, sleeps too much, expresses hopelessness, or withdraws from activities, suicidal thoughts should be suspected.  Take it seriously and encourage them to seek help.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Below are some support services in New Zealand.

Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757

Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116

Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz

0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day.

Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.

Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Alcohol Drug Help (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.

For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation‘s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

 

To learn more about my wellness-therapies, including how QTC can help you achieve rapid, lasting, transformational change click here >>

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

 

NOTES:

You can read John E. Richters article about Anthony Bourdain here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c25xJS6S-XvS8CXagIeQsg5D755vaWoW/view

 

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones’s article can be read in full here: https://torontosun.com/life/relationships/why-did-anthony-bourdain-commit-suicide

Endings and beginning – just for today don’t worry

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Recently someone close to me went through a very stressful relationship ending, and a client of mine was experiencing a profound sense of grief when she thought about a dream job she walked away from.

As I was talking with these people I was reflecting on the best way to help. During my Reiki training we discussed the work of Elizabeth Kuler Ross and her profound work on the stages of grief – a timely reminder given the above and taking me right back to my counselling training.

I like the way Elizabeth “normalises” the feelings we all experience during times of loss. It is “normal”  and healthy to grieve the loss of someone/something when something ends – whether this is a job you really hoped would work out or a relationship that has come to an end.

Many people get caught up in the shock and anger stages of grief and suffer profoundly.

In my Reiki training we learned the principal – “just for today don’t worry”.  This could help with the shock stage where feelings of worry and anxiety can be torturous and make us feel out of control. Not worrying does not mean not caring, it refers more to the state of mental anguish that occurs when we spend time in our heads over-thinking, catastrophising or fearing things that may actually never come to pass.

We also learn the principal  “just for today don’t be angry” – a helpful affirmation should these feelings arise. Anger is a valid and normal emotion but a very toxic one when abused or sustained too long.  Anger can be a positive force for change, however. It can motivate you to make a change for the better.

I wrote the following, incorporating some of the above, to the young woman whose relationship had ended very traumatically:

Happily, when one door closes another opens – you will return to a meaningful life and by the sound of it quite quickly because you are doing all the right things:

  • Talking with others who care about you and can help.;
  • Acknowledging your feelings; caring for the person you are losing but not being controlled by them;
  • Tapping into your own intuition and sense of what is right for you;
  • Taking care of yourself and recognising the need for rest;
  • Acknowledging that the relationship you are in no longer works for you. This is important as so many people try to hang on – finding comfort in the known rather than the unknown – even though the known is no longer comfortable at all. Sometimes the comfort rut can be the most uncomfortable place of all

In Reiki we learn that energy flows where energy goes. Focus your energy on the things, people, and circumstances that bring you peace. Keep looking ahead to the dreams and goals you have for your own life.

What can you do to help move through the stages of grief when you experience loss?

 

If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness, overcome obstacles, and elevate your success you may enjoy reading Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford, available for preview or purchase heremyBook.to/Bounce.

 

You might like:

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

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

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Life transformed by faith in the stars

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this

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

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

 

Prompted by many of my clients who struggle with ageism and also mindset issues re their employability and who are struggling to find a job, I’ve written a new book in my best-selling  Mid-Life Career Rescue series: “Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work”

In fact, just today I was coaching a client who confided, “I’ve been frightened and keep telling myself not to bother looking because employers want someone younger.”

True-Not-True! Yes, ageism exists, but enlightened employers know the value a mature worker brings to the job. Do you? Do you know how to find the jobs that are never advertised? Do you know how to help hiring managers say “yes! You’re hired!”

Successfully finding a job takes skill and confidence, but once you know the rules, you’ll feel more confident, more successful and a whole lot happier.

To increase your chances of getting the job you really want, this book will help you:

•Beat “age bias”

•Increase your awareness of the importance of self-marketing

•Highlight the appropriate attitudes, styles, and behaviors that you need to market your skills successfully

•Prepare you to use a variety of job search strategies, including Using recruitment agencies effectively; Responding to direct advertising, including newspaper and Internet mediums; Outline the steps to successful networking; Provide strategies that will help maintain a positive outlook

•Accelerate your job hunting success

Some people find job hunting very challenging. Perhaps years of conditioning that you should be seen and not heard, acute shyness or lack of practice and experience in the art of self-promotion may be affecting you.

 

In Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work you will also discover how to:

•Harness the law of attraction by focusing on areas of passion and purpose

•Tap into the hidden job market

•Let people know what you have to offer confidently

•Overcome stress and doubt

•Boost confidence, courage, and self-esteem

•Help you find and get the job or career you want

Whether you love the idea of the 4-hour workweek, want to find a job that reflects who you are and what’s important to you, or thinking about starting a business, career change after 50 and finding a new job can be yours.

As Richard N Bolles, author of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute‘, once said to me, “sometimes all it takes is one book, one sentence to transform your life.”

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want. Scroll up and click “Buy Now” before it’s too late.

Available for immediate download for less than the price of a cup of coffee here>>getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

 

I’m thrilled with this early review from an industry expert

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work

I was curious about the content of this book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work, as I have worked as a careers professional for almost 20 years and with a few variations on job search strategies over the years, my practice and coaching in this area of career coaching has remained largely the same. I wondered if the ideas, the suggestions, exercises and the theories that support these that I learned all those years ago still held true. Did my ideas that I encourage my clients to undertake, still work, were they still in vogue even? Did my ideas need a complete overhaul? I looked to this book in the hope that it would help me face today’s practises and update my own knowledge. So, with my curiosity in full openness, I began to read.

First I was struck by the relevance of my knowledge to what Cassandra was suggesting in 2018. What I have been coaching my clients to do while exploring their own job search journey were still very useful.Second I was encouraged and even felt embraced by the strategies suggested in Cassandra’s book for my own professional re-development process that I am undertaking. Everything I am quietly doing to re-define my working and private life is here in black and white and gloriously celebrated as the way forward.

Never before have I felt so on-track with a major life change as I do right now. I tick off my own strategies as they appear on the pages of Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work. From Dream and Explore to Developing visual plans in a Passion Journal to the exercises relating to Generating Idea’s – I am totally on track.

However, there is room for more ideas and Cloning was one I hadn’t thought off.I hadn’t ever offered that idea to my clients. So over the past few days with a careers client booked in, I decided to test this out. My client’s response, to begin with, was very hesitant, but with gentle encouragement to tap into her more creative and playful self, we had a great time coming up with, at first outrageous, clones for her. Then as the energy settled, she developed ideas for her 5 clones which gave her major leads on strands she could develop and even whole new ways of working. My client now has very solid career options to explore in future career coaching sessions because of this Cloning exercise.

As for me, I am balancing my excessive excited energy in re-creating my work-life balance by regular daily meditation, sitting in stillness, and daily yoga. Cassandra has beautiful ideas, encouraging real-life stories, and powerful and yet very accessible exercises to offer anyone who is either embarking on a job search journey or for anyone already on the journey but looking for further strategies to add new energy to their journey. Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work is a book for job seekers and career professionals alike.

~ Catherine Sloan, Counselor

 

EXCERPT

Networking: Discovering the Hidden Job Market

About 80% of all the positions available at any time are NEVER going to be advertised by Recruitment Consultants or directly by companies looking to employ someone.

By far the most successful job search technique is the process of networking—using personal contacts to uncover the “hidden” job market.

Largely this technique is so successful because organizations also use their networks to find employees when vacancies occur. Advertising is often a last resort, partly because of the time taken to screen applicants, but also because of the additional financial costs.

 

What is Networking?

When you need a builder what do you do?  You ask a friend or an acquaintance if they know of anyone who’s good.   That’s networking!  We do it all the time; we just don’t “label” it. Trust or lack of it is a key reason we don’t rely on advertisements or the Yellow Pages.  There are a lot of phoneys and crooks out there.

Networking is the process of accessing personal contacts via word of mouth to achieve a particular purpose. For the job seeker, this purpose is to tap into the hidden job market. For the employer the purpose of networking is to find out if anybody knows of anyone that’s a) good and b) available.

In its simplest form networking is often called “keeping an ear to the ground”. Networking in the real world is nothing more than overcoming the fears of making contact with others.  It’s simply talk.

But it only happens through an orchestrated effort. You have to seek people out, get them to agree to meet with you, discuss your career aspirations and ask for more contacts. This is hard enough for some people to do face to face.

For so many that are new to Internet job seeking, it is nigh on impossible to do online.  Or so it would seem.

But a growing category of connecting tools are emerging online that will make job seeking-through-networking (or, Internetworking) not only easier—but essential in the years ahead.

REMEMBER, WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE  MARKETING TOOLS!

 

If Networking Is So Effective why Don’t the Majority of Job-Seekers do it?

FEAR!  One of the most common reasons people don’t network is because of fear of rejection or fear that others will think they are begging for a job.  Lack of confidence and assertiveness are often other factors. Laziness can also sneak in– job hunting is hard work!

It is for these and other reasons that most job hunters prefer to use the more passive job search strategies such as:

• Looking in the newspaper, or on the Internet

• Registering their CV’s online

• Approaching recruitment agencies

These strategies are passive because the job seeker is not taking control and out there actively hunting for a job.  Instead, they are passively waiting for a job to come to them.

The Rule of Thumb is: DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET!  Employing a variety of job search strategies is the key to success.  If you rely on only the passive strategies you are missing out on 80% of the roles which either exist or which could be created for you.

 

Networking for Non-Networkers: A Guide to Feeling The Fear and Doing It Anyway!

Completing the following exercises will help equip you with the know-how to network effectively.

Remember this is the “active job-search strategy”—it does take energy and perseverance but the rewards are huge… finding the work you love, loving the work you found!

 

Call to Action! Prepare to Network Effectively

Some people have a negative mindset when it comes to networking. They think if they contact people they know that these people might think they are begging or hassling them.

Use your own words to describe the term “networking.” Think about the benefits to the other person. Things like saving them the hassle of advertising for candidates if you happen to be a good fit for who they are looking for.

List some of the skills and personal attributes that are required to network effectively, eg research, persuasion, optimism, perseverance, confidence.

What skills and attributes do you already possess?

What skills and attributes will you need to develop?

Prioritize in order of importance. List some ways that you can develop and nurture the areas that are more challenging for you, eg  affirmations, mentors, supportive friends, visualization, and self-help books.

 

The Aim of the Networking Meeting

Just like a fishing net, the aim of networking is to “catch” as much as possible. However, rather than fish, what the active job hunter seeks to gather is as many actual, or possible, job leads as possible.

The aim of the networking meeting is also predominantly about exploring information and gathering market research.  This shift in focus from “give me a job” to “I’m interested in finding out about…” should help to minimize the fear of rejection and to take some of the pressure off all parties.

Remember: just as you don’t like to be rejected, employers don’t like rejecting you!  The key things you are interested in “finding out” are:

• Whether your abilities, skills, and background match the employment needs in that business, industry or organization.

• If so, whether any employment opportunities either currently exist, or are likely to in the future

• If not, whether the person you have initially contacted knows of people within their own network that may benefit from your skill-set and experience. Just like the Internet or World Wide Web – the objective of the active job hunter is covering as much distance as possible in the most effective way. Leveraging off the networks of other people is one of the most effective and efficient ways to do this.

You may strike the jackpot and get a job, but if you don’t, remember:

• Timing is everything

• Your aim is to generate at least two additional leads from each visit, email, or phone call you make.

Identifying Your Network

This diagram below can be very useful in identifying the groups of people that you know.  It is by no means exhaustive!

(And you thought you didn’t have anyone to network with!)

 

Call to Action: Getting Ready to Chat!

From the networking diagram, including any other potential contacts you have added, identify and prioritize five people you could approach and arrange an appointment to see:

 

HOT TIP!

You may wish to set networking goals for yourself to help keep you motivated—for example, 10 networking phone calls per week, resulting in 5 networking visits per week. Don’t forget to include a reward for yourself when you successfully reach your goal.

 

Preparing for Success

Before you make your network approach you should:

Research the company and its senior people.  Some of the things you need to be aware of and may need to be able to talk about include:

• Industry issues

• Organization structure

• Company products and services

• Industry and company profitability

• Competitors

Remember:  people like talking about their jobs and if your interest is based on soundly researched information you are providing yourself with an instant hook to gain their interest.

 

Cold Calls Versus Warm Calls

When deciding on your list of contacts to call remember to distinguish between “cold” contacts and those which are “warm” or “hot”.

Cold contacts are those you have never met, nor know of no one who can introduce you. After moving cities recently I approached the local health board to inquire about their services and to see if they may need mine as a holistic psychologist. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. Despite my spontaneous meeting and arriving unannounced the timing was perfect. They told me they were very short-staffed and my skills and experience appeared to be just what they needed. It’s the old adage—if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Warm contacts are those who someone you know personally knows the person you wish to contact. In this case, your friend, for example, may be able to refer you or at least allow you to mention their name. This gets the relationship off to a warmer start than if you tried to establish contact with no prior “history’ or connection

Hot Contacts are those who you know personally. For example, I know the owner of our local bookstore. Recently he advertised for casual staff. Had I been interested in the role (I love books!) I would stand a ‘hotter’ chance of nabbing that job than someone ‘cold’ who walked off the street.

Remember – even the best salespeople hate cold calling, mainly because the likelihood of “rejection” is increased ten-fold.  Where ever possible leverage off existing relationships!

 

Making a Telephone Approach

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!  Every aspect of the job hunt process is about preparation – from writing your resume or CV, to preparing answers to questions that may be asked in an interview. Networking is no different especially when it comes time to pick up the phone and make that call.

You should have an outline script and responses to the most common objections prepared in advance.  Remember that most people respond to appeals for help, so your call should use the phrase “help me” as often as possible.

You may wish to use the script which follows as a guide.  It includes ways to respond to common objections.

It is important to remember that it is not so much what you say but how you say it that carries the most weight.  Smile as you speak and, if possible, to stand—these both help you to sound more confident.

 

Example Script:

CONTACT: “Mary McCrae speaking”

YOU: “Hello Mary, my name is John Farr.  I believe that you are the best person to help me.  Jake Evans from XYZ suggested that I give you a call.  I am looking at the career prospects in the Communications/PR industry and Jake suggested that you are the best person to help me.”

I wondered if I could talk to you about your industry before I make a move and would appreciate 15 minutes of your time.”

What follows are sample responses to possible objections:

CONTACT: “I’m not sure I’m the right person.”

YOU: “Jake spoke very highly of you and thought you would be the best person for me to talk to.  I’d be really grateful for your advice – if you could spare 15 minutes.”

CONTACT:“We’re not looking for anybody right now.”

YOU: “I understand.  Of course, I would like to get work inside the Industry, but not right now.  At present, I’m looking at opportunities in various areas and I need someone who could help me to find out more about your industry.  Could we get together this week or next week?”

CONTACT: “I’m very busy right now.”

YOU: “I appreciate that you’re busy but I’d be really grateful for 15 minutes of your time. Perhaps I could buy you a coffee as a sign of my appreciation for giving up some of your time to help me.”

CONTACT:“OK, next week then.”

YOU: “Thank you.  I really do appreciate it.  Which day would suit you best and would you prefer morning or afternoon?”

(Always go for non-core hours with late afternoon the best.  Always offer to leave at the end of 15 minutes – most likely your offer will be refused in which case the obligation to close the meeting passes from you to the contact.)

The above example may seem repetitive and it is.  It is important that you are persistent and don’t lose sight of your goal – to meet with the person face-to-face.

You are unlikely to encounter all the objections listed, although you may get others.

 

Call to Action! Overcoming Possible Objections

Either list three of your most “feared” responses or those objections that you think or feel you are most likely to encounter.

The techniques for overcoming objections used in the example above were: Acknowledge the objection

• Restate your objective

• Use the “15 minute of your time” technique

• Offer alternative time/dates and always leave it up to the contact to decide which option suits them best

Refer back to the objections you highlighted and prepare some responses using the technique above.  Record your answers. (If you couldn’t think of any “objections” ask your friends etc for their input).

 

Questions to Ask When Networking and/or Breaking into a New Industry

Listed below are some typical and effective questions people use when networking or “interviewing for information”. You may wish to adapt the ones below or to completely make up your own ones.  It is helpful to practise asking these questions out loud until you feel comfortable asking them.

How did you get into XXX, eg Public Relations/ HR, etc?

(People love to talk about themselves, and it’s flattering to think someone is interested in what we do and how we got to where we are.  This a great way to help build rapport and begin a relationship)

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the industry?

What do you see as the top 5 skills necessary to be effective now and in the future?

(This is a good question to check whether the skills you have now are valuable/marketable and to affirm areas you may need to develop in order to be successful)

What makes a successful (Public Relations/ HR, etc.) person?

What skills, attributes etc. do you look for in people you hire?

Why don’t some people make it in this industry?

(This is a good way of finding out potential pitfalls and how you may highlight your strengths in areas where others may be weak)

What are the values of this organization?

What makes this a great place to work? What attracted you here?

What keeps you here?

(All the above questions are designed to find out the pros and cons of working within the specific organization you have targeted.  Answers will confirm  areas of “fit”).

What issues is your organization likely to face over the next couple of years?

(A good question to identify future skills needs and also to convey interest and enthusiasm in the organization’s future.  Helps to convey less of “What can you do for me?” and more of “What can I do for you?”)

 

Closing Questions

Remember, the initial purposes of your meeting were to:

• Find out information

• See if there are any employment opportunities currently or in the near future

• Generate at least two additional leads

If you have established good rapport and built a good relationship with the person you have just been “interviewing” they will be only too happy to refer you to other contacts they may have.  Remember this is how networking works and why it is so effective. You‘d do the same, wouldn’t you?

Most people hesitate when it comes to asking the sorts of questions below.  Fear of “rejection” is a common reason why.  Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Besides most employers would be surprised, if not astounded, that you didn’t ask—nine times out of 10 they will be expecting it.

If you are still reluctant, you may like to think of a reward that you can give yourself when you “feel the fear” and do it anyway.  Purchasing a new music album or item of clothing is a good reward.  Each time you hear or wear it will remind yourself of the new, “courageous” you.

 

Some Closing Questions

Do you have any openings now? If the answer is NO: Is this likely to change in the future?

Do you know of anyone else in the industry/this organization that it may be useful for me to talk to? OR

Do you know of anyone else in the industry/ organization who may be looking for someone with my experience?

 

Ending on a Positive Note

You‘ve heard that first impressions count—well so do last impressions!  Be sure to leave on a positive, enthusiastic and grateful note.

You may like to conclude by using the example below or adapting your own:

“I really appreciate all the time you have given up to meet with me. I really like what I have heard.  This sounds like a fantastic place to work/ like a fantastic role/career path.  You must feel very lucky.  Thanks again—I’ve gained a lot.”

Key points to remember are:

• Thank the person you have met

Their time is valuable to them and there were probably half a dozen things they should have, or could have, been doing.  People like to be appreciated.

• Convey that you have really benefited from your meeting with them

People like to feel that what they do makes a difference.  Tell them what you have learned or gained as a result of their input. Your feedback to them is invaluable.

• Show your enthusiasm

The worse you can do is to leave the meeting looking unmotivated.  Even if the meeting hasn’t yielded the results you hoped for, remember the person you have just met may be your best advocate – advertising you by word of mouth to his/her own personal networks.

Follow Up

Out of sight does not necessarily have to be out of mind.  Even well-intentioned people forget – your job is to remind people that you exist.

Follow up one week after your initial meeting or phone conversation.  Include a copy of your Resume or CV, if you had not already left this behind, and a thank you note.

The thank you note should include the following details:

• Confirm the date and time of the meeting

• Highlight key knowledge and insights you gained

• Bullet point how your skills and experiences fit the organizations current and future needs

• A “thank you” statement for the initial meeting and your interest in any opportunities that arise

When to Leave Your CV or Resume

Always have your CV with you in case an employer should ask to have a copy.  It is also a useful “talking” document—while you are in your meeting you can point to your skills and experiences and talk about them in more specific detail than you may otherwise be able to.

The benefit of NOT leaving a CV at the first meeting is that you can further tailor it as a result of the new knowledge you gained. It also takes away the pressure you might feel about seeming like you are “begging for a job”.  We know you are not a beggar. You are an enquirer and an investigator—enquiring as to whether there are any employment opportunities and investigating what other opportunities might exist.

 

REMEMBER: 

Everything that occurs in life is always a matter of timing.  Be patient and have faith that when the timing and the situation is right the opportunity will appear.

Perseverance and maintaining a positive expectation is what separates successful people from unsuccessful people.

 

 

 

This is a review and edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work: How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate and Start Living a Life You Love, Before It’s Too Late by Cassandra Gaisford. Available in paperback or for immediate download for less than the price of a cup of coffee here>>getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

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

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!

21 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Powerful Creativity

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

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

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

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

“Draw an animal,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Therapy Can Be Fun—and Free!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Five P’s of Life – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, Passion, and Purpose

Monday, May 14th, 2018

The best thing I can tell you? It’s one word. Persistence.

~ James Patterson, author

 

Knowing when to quit is one thing; knowing when to persevere another. Whether it’s the weight of obstacles you face, the setbacks and the disappointments, the successes others seem to achieve more speedily, or the critical feedback from others who are impatient to see more evidence that you’ll make it—never give up. Never, never, never give up.

Many prosperous authors’ most enduring successes took years and years to achieve. Nora Roberts is probably the most successful romance novelist on the planet. Thirty-four of her titles are sold every minute and she earns an estimated $US60 million a year! But her success didn’t happen in 6 months, a year, or even three.

She started writing back in the 1980’s for Mills and Boon and then morphed into mainstream romance fiction—and other genres. So, I really shouldn’t be discouraged when the three romance novels I published this year haven’t filled my coffers with gold. Looking back, I also shouldn’t have been discouraged by the feedback that I received early in my career that “my characters were dysfunctional.” Instead of targeting Mills and Boon, the reviewer suggested that my romances seemed better suited to mainstream women’s fiction—a path Roberts also pursued.

Along with Roberts’ commitment to writing characters she can personally identify with, it is her work ethic and her prolific output that really defines her. “Whatever I’m doing, I get very guilty if I don’t put a good day’s work in. I’m not one for making excuses. I had this Catholic upbringing. I was taught to finish what you start.”

A prodigious work ethic, cultivated talent, commitment to finishing what she starts, over four different pen names, writing in a variety of genres, perseverance, and persistence are amongst the many things which have made her one of the world’s most prosperous authors.

Award-winning, perennial bestselling author Jodi Picoult is the author of over twenty books, the last five of which debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books have been translated into thirty-four languages, and four have been made into television movies, while another, My Sister’s Keeper, was made into a film starring Cameron Diaz.

“I had over 100 rejection letters from agents. Finally, one woman who had never represented anyone in her life said she thought she could take me on. I jumped at the chance. She sold my first novel in three months,” says Picoult.

Both authors, and others like them, wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for their grit, persistence, and patient perseverance.

Similarly, many other successful people across a diverse range of occupations and industries have discovered the value of patient perseverance.

In fact, the five P’s of Life – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, Passion, and Purpose, are the foundation of many peoples success.

A failure at 65, Colonel Sanders was world-famous and wealthy at 80. His father was a miner and his mother worked in a shirt factory. Harland Sanders had to give up school in the sixth grade because he was so poor.

He eventually opened a small home-town restaurant in the Kentucky hills. All looked well until the highway was rerouted and he lost everything. He was 65 at the time and faced with a future barely surviving on social security, his motivation to try again kicked in.

“My government is going to give me a hundred and five dollars so I can eke out an existence. Surely there is something I can do for myself and other people.”

Tapping into powerfully creative questions like this unlocked the key to what would be his major success—his mother’s secret chicken recipe.

Turned down by numerous restaurants at the time he turned potential failure into another inspired idea—franchises. It was an instantaneous hit, and the rest is history!

Fifty-five-year-old Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis.

That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which went on to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.

At the heart of Rhonda’s inspirational series of products and resources is the law of attraction.

“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”

Take a leaf from Rhonda’s secret to success and change any stinkin’ thinkin’ that may be lingering. Answering the following questions may help:

1. What results are you currently experiencing that you would like to change?

2. What thoughts would you need to change?

3. What thoughts would remain the same?

4. What things supported you in maintaining a positive state of mind in the past? How could they be helpful now?

5. Can you think of some other strategies to help you keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want?

 

Mining for Gold

When you think of patience, perseverance, tenacity, passion, purpose, and success, who comes to mind?

Who or what can help you to manifest more persistence? How can you keep your mind on your vision, your body moving towards your dreams, your heart warmed by the joy you will feel when you finally achieve success?

Identify three ways to strengthen your persistence by strengthening your willpower and self-discipline.

 

This is an edited extract of Change Your Mindset: Millionaire Mindset Makeover by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how your thoughts affect your success habits read the book here

Amazon: viewbook.at/ChangeYourMindset

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: books2read.com/u/bP56wz

The Truth Every Perfectionist Should Know

Monday, May 14th, 2018

 

Perfectionism will keep you poor.

~ Carla Coulson, photographer

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mining for Gold

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

Set a definite date for completion.

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

 

 

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

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

My little secret…

Mollie MathewsWhen you’re a mature worker and you find yourself in a position where you have to look for work, age bias can be a factor, but it doesn’t have to be a barrier. Although some employers might look for young, less mature hires, older workers have lots to offer, as many smart organizations realize. Successfully finding a job takes skill and confidence, but once you know the rules, you’ll feel more confident, more successful and a whole lot happier.

Some people find job hunting very challenging. Perhaps years of conditioning that you should be seen and not heard, acute shyness or lack of practice and experience in the art of self-promotion may be affecting you.

In my new book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work—book.at/JobSearchStrategies— I’ll share the secrets that recruitment agencies will never tell you. I should know—I was once a recruitment consultant myself.

You will also discover how to:
•Harness the law of attraction by focusing on areas of passion and purpose
•Tap into the hidden job market
•Let people know what you have to offer confidently
•Overcome stress and doubt
•Boost confidence, courage, and self-esteem
•Help you find and get the job or career you want

Whether you love the idea of the 4-hour workweek, want to find a job that reflects who you are and what’s important to you, or thinking about starting a business, career change after 50 and finding a new job can be yours. 

As Richard N Bolles, author of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute’, once said to me, “sometimes all it takes is one book, one sentence to transform your life.”

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want.

Preview or purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work today. Available for immediate download from Amazon here—getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

The strategies in this book will also help job-hunters in their 20s, 30s or 40s successfully change careers. The tips I share are the exact ones I used to move from despair to joy.

When I first decided on a career as a recruitment consultant I thought it would be a great opportunity to help people find jobs they enjoyed and to use my coaching skills.

I didn’t realize that the major part of the job was sales and business development. The seeds of dissatisfaction festered as I realized that I was not using the skills that I enjoyed.

In addition, the things that were really important to me, such as the value I placed on helping people, were compromised. It was a sales culture where the commission earned by putting people into jobs or a workplace, that I knew wasn’t a good fit, was more important than helping people find the right job.

For a long time, I tried to ignore my unhappiness. Finding another job seemed like too much work and secretly I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I expected too much from my job. Shouldn’t I be grateful to have an income? My self-esteem plummeted and I felt too frightened to look for another job—what if nobody else wanted me?

Before long my growing ‘dis-ease’ with my job bubbled out into painful blisters. I was quickly diagnosed with shingles.

Until I’d experienced what it was like not to do what I enjoyed I didn’t realize how important these things were to me. I started to look for ways to do more of what I wanted and less of what I didn’t. When the opportunity came to move into the career management team I leaped at the chance. I enjoyed it but I still didn’t get to do what I really wanted—hands-on coaching.

Several years later, with my eye to the future, I left the company altogether and aligned myself with a role much more in tune with my soul and my longer-term goals. As I share in Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work The way I found that job was by clarifying what really made me happy and what I wanted in a job, and then, armed with this knowledge (but still a lot of fear and low self-belief )by feeing the fear and tapping into the hidden job market anyway!

Then later still I left the security of that salaried job and embraced the freedom of self-employment and owning my own business. I was a single mum—the sole breadwinner—with a mortgage. There was no safety net other than the preparation I’d done and the belief and knowledge that I had salable skills which were in demand. I’ve never looked back.

Saying Hello And Goodbye

Some of the things I said hello to when I made a move were increased freedom, autonomy and earnings.  I said goodbye to being controlled, and having a cap on my salary.

While there were trade-offs, such as no longer having paid annual leave and statutory holidays, the benefits, including the ability to work from home and the flexibility to care for my daughter—especially during her school holidays—more than compensated for any losses.

Action Task! 

Say hello to your preferred future and goodbye to the past by creating your own hello-goodbye list in your passion journal. Remember to include the benefits you’ll gain by releasing what no longer serves you. Add to this list as you gain more insights from the exercises you’ll discover in Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work.

 

“Change is the end result of all true learning. Change involves three things: First, a dissatisfaction with self—a felt void or need; second, a decision to change—to fill the void or need; and third, a conscious dedication to the process of growth and change—the willful act of making the change; Doing Something.” ~ Dr Phil

 

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want.

Preview or purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work today. Available for immediate download from Amazon here—getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

The strategies in this book will also help job-hunters in their 20s, 30s or 40s successfully change careers.

 

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

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

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

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

And with this came renewed hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was getting no-where.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mining for Gold

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

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

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

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

 

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

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

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

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

 

1.) HARNESS THE POWER OF PASSION

 

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN SIGHT

 

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

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3.) BE AMBITIOUS

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you can, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4.) PLAN FOR SUCCESS

 

God sells us all things at the price of labor

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

5.) CHASE THE LIGHT

 

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

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.) SAVVY SOBRIETY

 

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

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

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

It’s also hard to quit.

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

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

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

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

Benefits of not drinking are many, including:

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

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

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

 

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

Out now! Cassandra’s new book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself (2018), is finally here!

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

 

 

 

I’m hugely excited about every book I write and release, but I’m especially thrilled about Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself (2018). This revised edition has been two years in the making! n the making!

HR and Employment predictions for 2018 predict more flexibility in the workplace—which Is great news if you’d love to grow a hobby into a second income stream or develop a flourishing new career. Salaried employment is still a fickle bet, especially for mature workers, so putting some eggs in different career baskets and planning for self-employment is a great risk prevention strategy.

That’s the exact, risk-free way I started my business. I share my story of salary slave entrapment as a single mom, living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to balance childcare, weeping at my desk and fighting shingles, to the exact opposite. In Career Rescue: Employ Yourself learn how I survived, had fun, found happiness and made a fortune. You’ll find plenty of tips in Employ Yourself to help you hustle on the side, avoid burnout, and work less—not more.

Are you already running a business or self-employed and over it? I’ve been there too. And so have many other men and women just like you.  I’m super excited to share Sheree Clark’s inspiring story of mid-life reinvention. Sheree’s gone from being a stressed out, desperately unhappy, over-drinking company director to blissed out media star and healthy living coach.  In Career Rescue: Employ Yourself (2018) she shares her favorite tools for helping get back on track when you’re feeling lost, and how to quit your job and figure it out.

 

  • Keep your day job, and start something on the side
  • Discover why pursuing your passion, not your pension is the ultimate mid-life career change strategy
  • Learn the success secrets of other mid-life entrepreneurs and ignite the courage to change careers
  • Quit your job. Change your life. Stress less! Ditch a job you hate, live your purpose and create a happier, healthier life.
  • Learn how to make a living from your writing, blogging and more
  • Discover the inner freedom and flexibility of being your own boss.

 

5 STAR REVIEWS 

“More and more people today, either through choice or necessity, are looking for new and more fulfilling ways of working and earning their livings. Old ways are breaking down. Today, sacrificing your deeper passions for the security of a paycheck is no guarantee of security. Following your heart and deeper self is the new security. In this book, Cassandra helps you find your work, inspiring you to consider new possibilities, gently guiding you beyond limiting thinking, and helping you find your own true self and authentic work.”
~ Nick Williams, Author of The Work We Were Born to Do: Find the Work You Love, Love the Work You Do

“Stop. Don’t leave your job and start a business until you’ve read this book. I was pleased to see Cassandra tackle the real challenges starting a business poses. Things like finding the right business, how to start with little or no money, and how to leverage it to create a great lifestyle, to name a few. If you get to a stage in your life where you want to leave your job and start a business, this book will help you. Each chapter focuses on one highly practical aspect of starting your own business.”
~ Barry Watson, Author of #1 best-seller Relationship Rehab

“This book has given me another kick up the bum, to write it all down, work from the end result backward, envisage the ‘as if’ and build the staircase I need to climb.”
~ Cate Walker, 5 Star Review

“Makes you think and offers strategies to make it work! I met Cassandra about 17 years ago after being made redundant—the advice she gave me and the challenges she threw at me even then have remained in my psyche and continue to give me motivation. So reading her books it’s easy to hear her voice, continuing on with that motivation. I usually skip reading other people’s stories as many of them don’t translate to real life for me. But many in this book resonated, in particular, the opportunity that I have to follow not just one passion, but I can follow all three, and make them work! With ageism alive and well, I’ve had so many rejections for job opportunities that it’s a matter of survival that you have to tread your own path—find opportunities for yourself. This book has given me the confidence that I CAN make it work.”
~ L.A. Brown, 5 Star Review

 

I hope you absolutely adore reading Midlife Career Rescue: Employ Yourself! It’s one of my new favorites.

 

Launch Special—30% today only!

Please feel free to share this newsletter and special offer with any unhappy@work friends or aspiring entrepreneurs!

Happy reading,
Cassandra

 

P.S. I will be writing again soon with some exciting news…plus a surprise announcement!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured reader—Cate Walker

I first met Cate when she reached out to me after reading Mid-Life Career Rescue: The Call for Change. Cate, I’m indebted to you for offering to proofread the first edition of my book in your spare time, especially when you had so much stress happening in your toxic workplace. I’m so glad that in reading my books you were inspired to quit and start your own business! Thank you for re-editing the 2018 edition of Employ Yourself, and for your feedback below:

“Re-reading this book has given me another kick up the bum, to write it all down, work from the end result backwards, envisage the ‘as if’ and build the staircase I need to climb – or the timeline to follow. Having read other books, and returned to this one, it all starts to gel. The other thing I have come to accept in the last few weeks is that I cannot do this alone, without mentors etc. And I’m looking forward to having a change of scenery over January, in Tasmania, to inspire me & be able to do some serious planning – this will be as close to a “retreat” as I can get at the moment. And I KNOW that I must work on my own health & well-being – as a priority – for all this to work. I am actually excited for 2018. I will do anything now to NOT fall in a heap as I did this year. Everything crossed!!

This, for me anyway, has been your most helpful book. Maybe the timing was just right and confirmed what I needed to do, to move forward.”

The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals

Friday, January 5th, 2018

 

I love this picture that my daughter Hannah shared recently—it illustrates so powerfully the life-changing magic of creating a Passion-driven business and career planning journal.

When she pasted images of oracle cards in her passion journal she was only 12. Now a beautiful woman in her late twenties, and after many, many horrid work experiences (she would often ring me up in tears—after being bullied shouted at, and working in toxic work environments), she’s now a soulful entrepreneur. Check out her new passion and purpose inspired business as a Spirit Conduit and Intuitive Healing Coach, https://www.hannahjoyspirit.com.

The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals

Are you thinking of starting a business? Would you love to employ yourself but have no idea what to do or how to begin? Or do you have an existing business but yearn for a fresh start? This ultimate guide contains all of the obvious and not-so-obvious best practices of creating successful businesses. Think of this guide as your key to manifesting a prosperous business easily.

First things first: start from your heart.

Growing and creating a successful business is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Unlock your unique wealth code. Ignite your passion and purpose!

The first and most important step to choosing and growing your business is to follow your passion. Passion is a source of energy from the soul, and when you combine it with a product or service that benefits others, that’s where you’ll find your magic and transformational success.

Kevin Roberts, former CEO Worldwide of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, passionately believes that love is the way forward for business. Meeting peoples’ needs, hopes, dreams, and desires; or offering something which helps them solve problems for which they’d love a cure, is good for people and its good for business.

“For great brands to survive, they must create Loyalty Beyond Reason, he writes in his book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. Roberts argues, with a ton of facts, and emotionally evocative images to support his premise, that traditional branding practices have become stultified. What’s needed are customer Love affairs. “The secret,” he maintains is the use of Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy.”

Your passion-driven business planning journal is the perfect place to begin your love affair.

The easy Passion-Driven Business Journal four-step template won’t chain you to a fixed way of doing things. You’ll have the freedom to dream, create, plan, and structure your beautiful business how and when you like.

Discover the Secret Successful Entrepreneurs Are Using to Create Their Way to Wealth…

Using the 10x Passion-Driven Prosperity Strategy

You’ll learn how to:

• Discover your passion and purpose

• Define your criteria for work satisfaction and happiness

• Develop Grit: The power of passion and perseverance

• Be inspired, gain clarity, and plan for success

• Manifest success easily

• Create a passion-driven business—working from home or anywhere in the world

 

Create Your Passion-Driven Business Today with This Easy-to-Follow Guide and Follow Your Passion to Prosperity!

 

This is an edited extract from The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here—

viewBook.at/PassionBusinessJournal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow your passion and purpose to prosperity—online coaching program

 

If you need more help to find and live your life purpose you may prefer to take my online course and watch inspirational and practical videos and other strategies to help you to fulfill your potential.

Easily discover your passion and purpose, overcome barriers to success, and create a job or business you love with my self-paced online course.

Gain unlimited lifetime access to this course, for as long as you like— across any and all devices you own. Be supported by practical, inspirational, easy-to-access strategies to achieve your dreams.

To start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

Click here to enroll or find out more— https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

Boost happiness, joy and prosperous productivity by 600%—create a magic morning

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

“If you win the morning, you win the day,” says millionaire author, podcaster and polymath Tim Ferriss. Despite his phenomenal success Tim suffers from anxiety and credits a robust morning routine and other health behaviors with giving him more bounce throughout the day.

Ferriss kick-starts his day with 10-20 minutes of transcendental meditation, five to 10 minutes of journaling or Morning Pages, making his bed, and a healthy dose of positive vibes. He also does at least 30 seconds of light exercise. 30 seconds!

“Getting into my body, even for 30 seconds, has a dramatic effect on my mood and quiets mental chatter,” Ferriss wrote in his book Tools of Titans.

I’ve followed a similar ritual for years—long before I discovered Tim Ferris. But whenever I am tempted to flag my meditation or my ritual of writing in my journal, I find it helpful to remind myself these are the tools Titans like Tim use to achieve phenomenal results.

Below are just a few of the many Magic Morning routines and rituals you can use to prime your day for miracles:

Meditation and mindfulness—enjoy some sacred silence

Affirmations—empower your beliefs with feeling-based reminders of your intentions

Goals to go for—set your priorities, including health and well-being activities (exercise etc.)

Inspiration—journaling, visualization, reading

Co-create—partner with spirit, tap into your Higher Self, evoke the muse…and get ready to create

 

Importantly, complete these crucial focusing activities before you get to work.

I experience many of these activities simultaneously when I meditate, write my Morning Pages, and consult the oracles; and also when I go for a walk in nature, listen to an uplifting audiobook or podcast, or sip my morning coffee.

Ferriss, in a podcast episode, sums up the potency of similar mindful practices: “It’s easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a Type-A personality and end up a perfectionist who is always future-focused.

“The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. That allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person—which is not something that comes naturally to me.”

I’m not alone in knowing the positive difference daily habits like journaling or taking the time to reconnect with my higher self, makes to my resilience and happiness levels.

Get your day off to a high-vibration start.  Choose, develop, and apply your own Magic Morning routines.

 

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness and, overcome obstacles and elevate your success read the book here—myBook.to/Bounce.

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

 

“What counts for me, in business and in life, is making a difference. That and having fun. Okay, it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s b***** stressful,” says Laurie Wills, a mortgage expert with a passion for butterflies.

“But work feels less like a slog when I get to help awesome people make their dreams come true. I’m lucky to have clients I’m proud to call friends. Of course, the odd bottle of champers I’m sometimes sent goes down a treat too.”

But Laurie yearned to be free from the confines of an office. He wondered if he needed a break from the industry. But then after analyzing what he really needed to be happier at work it came down to two central themes. More freedom and control.

He sold his shares in his first mortgage business, and after a short break, started a new business, Awesome Mortgages. With a vision for the future, and a blueprint about how he wanted to operate, he re-engineered his processes. An early adopter of new technology, at the time of writing, he remains one of very few, if any, mortgage advisers working remotely.

“It was exciting to see some of my clients make a move to a warmer climate, and I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do too.”

It was an audacious move that definitely paid off. Together with his partner, they left Wellington and moved onto their own lifestyle block, overlooking the magical Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

It was a dream that wouldn’t have come true had he not spent time early on in his career planning, getting clarity about how he wanted to live and work in the future. But the move wasn’t without some apprehension.

“How will people feel if we’re based in the Winterless North,” I wondered. “Will they balk and walk if they can’t do business over a caffeine shot? What about the tie, the dark suit, the polished shoes? Will a T-shirt and shorts send the wrong message?

“I thought it could, but my partner, said, ‘Trust me. It’s what you do, the results you get, and the integrity you do it with, that attracts people to you, and keeps them coming back. That, and all those razor-sharp deals.’

“We kept our dreams alive by creating a manifestation board on the fridge. One of the captions we pasted was, ‘Thriving Up North.’ And that vision has come true. The financial years since making the move have been the biggest, most financially successful in my career as a mortgage expert.”

In the first year alone after swapping his pinstriped suit for shorts, Laurie helped his clients purchase in excess of $65 million dollars worth of property. In the following two years, all records have been broken.

There is a myth that people’s highest income earning years are over after fifty, but as Laurie’s experience shows changing it up can pay big dividends.

“Best of all we’re both happier as a couple,” he says. “Plus, I’ve still been able to pursue my passions.”

Laurie’s passion is researching exotic butterflies. He is renown by many as the Indiana Jones of the butterfly world, due to his exploits and intrepid exploring in jungles, inaccessible mountains, and dangerous landscapes. He’s discovered many species new to science and co-authored several important scientific articles.

His passion sustains him, but he accepts it’s not something he can do to make the kind of living he aspires too. While he’s also passionate about negotiating the best outcomes for his home-buying clients, his day-job funds his lifestyle and passion. And now that he’s taken control back and re-engineered where, when and how he does his work he has better balance.

“Some of the negotiations I’ve concluded while up a tree, butterfly net in one hand, iPhone in the other, while in Papua New Guinea. I’ve also helped people buy homes while I’ve been high in the mountains of war-torn Bougainville.

“Then there were the mortgage negotiations made all the sweeter while I was swinging in a hammock in Fiji. But most of my help has been given while enjoying my own slice of paradise back home. I really do think the warmer climate has given me superpowers when it comes to getting the best outcomes for my clients.”

Yip, there’s a myth in the mortgage industry which Laurie has happily proved wrong, that you have to don a tie, work relentless nights and weekends, and invade peoples’ privacy by going to their homes.

By making positive changes in his life that better reflect how he wants to live and work he’s proved recent research conducted by the University of Cologne right—happier people earn more money and that makes life even sweeter.

In the next chapter, we’ll summarize the key themes and help you find your sweet spot.

This is an edited extract from The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

How I put more fuel in an empty tank

Friday, November 17th, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Excerpts to soothe & inspire…

PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

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

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

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

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

Balance. That is the solution.

***

STRESS LESS

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

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

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

***

AROMATHERAPY FOR MENTAL ALERTNESS

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

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

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

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

Alertness:

Ginger, 6 drops

Grapefruit, 5 drops

Juniper Berry, 4 drops

15 ml of a carrier oil

Energizing:

Lavender, 8 drops

Lemon, 2 drops

Orange, 6 drops

Rosemary, 4 drops

 

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

P.S.

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

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

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

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE POWER OF PASSION

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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

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

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

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

Your Challenge

What will passion do for you?

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

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

YOUR SOUL’S DESIRE

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

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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

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

Your Challenge

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

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

Here are just a few of her clues:

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

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

~ Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef

 

LEAD DON’T FOLLOW

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

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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

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

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

Your Challenge

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

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

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

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

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

The Gift of Longevity—how to change careers in your fifties, sixties and beyond

Monday, November 6th, 2017

 

It is a great time for mid-lifers to make the leap to a new career but for some people this means reframing their expectations of employment.

Embracing the new world of work, where it seems likely that many people will continue to work in paid employment into their late 60s, 70s and beyond means a mindset change for not just employers but also, more importantly, for individuals themselves.

Many countries and organizations are facing a critical skills shortage as fewer and fewer younger people enter the workforce and mature workers continue to opt out of mainstream employment.

Among these messages of impending disaster at a conference I attended in Italy it was refreshing to hear delegates from France, Italy and Australia reframe the issues from a problem to an opportunity and to speak about positive aging and the “gift of longevity.”

But so many of the more ‘mature’ clients I coach still feel their age is a problem. They worry that they are too old to change careers, and despair they have left it too late to change.

“My life has been a life of regret,” one of my clients said. At the ripe young age of 45, he couldn’t see much hope of improving his situation.

Similarly, Mike, a professional man in his late 50s told me he was too old to change career. He also worried that employers would feel the same way. After reading this book and some follow up coaching he changed his mindset and opportunities flooded his way.

He’s now working in a role that his friends say looks like it was tailor-made just for him.

“Some really great news—I’ve just heard I got the job I went after.  Can hardly believe it after trying to find a way into this area of work for a long time. For me it’s confirmation of the importance and power of managing my thought processes,” he wrote.

Worryingly it’s not just older workers that have pessimistic job expectations. “Don’t you do what you love when you retire?” one 25-year-old client asked me. I was stunned. “Where did you learn that?” I asked. “It’s what my mother told me,” she confessed.

“Mid-life is a time to reinvent ourselves and make new choices based on what we truly want. The challenge is to look at the changing energy with anticipation. We can throw away the roles that do not serve and open to ones that contain more freedom to be ourselves.” ~Barbara Biziou, Author

 

Are You Stuck In The Dark Ages?

Authors of You Don’t Make a Big Leap Without a Gulp: Having the Courage to Change Careers and Live Again, Mike Fitzsimons and Nigel Beckford, suggest that many people are trapped in a Depression-era mindset, thinking, “I’m lucky to have a job,” or “I’ll sit it out until I retire.”

An article in Time Magazine also confirmed the reality that many mature workers have been conditioned to expect less from the world of work. As a result, they often have negative views or expectations about the wealth of opportunity that now exists.

The reality is that there’s a huge amount of opportunity out there for people wanting more from their working lives than to grit their teeth and bear it, and for those who want to gain greater financial security. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Breaking Free
The greatest challenge we mid-lifers have is to actively break free from narrow views of what is possible and embrace a sense of adventure.

To gain the courage to change careers and the skills to hunt for jobs successfully requires the ability and willingness to challenge assumptions.

Changing careers mid-life also requires a healthy dose of inspiration, a commitment to careful planning and the willingness to take calculated risks.

Fitzsimons and Beckford urge middle-aged workers to rekindle a sense of adventure and embrace the wealth of opportunity that exists now for mature people in the workforce.

Their research suggests that people spend lots of time looking after their teeth and monitoring their cholesterol levels, but neglect to spend time having regular career checks.

Does this sound like you? If so, where and how do you start planning your mid-life career transition?

 

Embracing the new world of possibilities

The Association of Career Professionals International says that adopting a creative and lateral approach to career and work choices is the key to embracing the new world of possibilities.

They urge vocational guidance practitioners to encourage clients to be imaginative when thinking about ways to combine skills, talents, and interests to secure paid employment.

But being creative isn’t the way many mid-lifers have been encouraged to think about careers! You may have experienced the old narrow model of career decision-making where you were told what you could do. For example, women were told their choices were severely limited to roles such as nursing, teaching, typing or being a wife.

Or perhaps you’ve been conditioned to think a job has to be just one thing, and that this one thing, is something you only do from an office, from 9-5 or longer.

Thankfully for people today there are almost unlimited career choices, and various ways to bundle the work week.

Helping people like you think laterally and creatively about careers is my strength and my passion, but first, let’s get you started thinking positively about your life stage.

The Changing World Of Work
Over the last 10 years, we have seen unprecedented change. Globalization and technological revolutions such as the Internet and mobile devices have made it so much easier for companies and individuals to generate income anywhere, anytime.

This has led to many benefits, including a wider variety of goods and services, and a diversity of employment scenarios. Now you have an increased ability to generate income from the comfort of your own home, and greater opportunities to live and work overseas.

Len, aged 54, runs a thriving recruitment business from the beautiful serenity of his lifestyle property. Sally lives on a neighboring property, using Skype, email, and her phone, is able to manage her very successful mortgage company.

And you don’t have to be self-employed to benefit from technological and global advancements. Numerous businesses offer flexible working arrangements to attract and retain staff.

The increased level of commercial and competitive pressures has also meant that companies, and their employees, need to constantly re-invent themselves to keep up. This is great news for mid-lifers wanting to make a positive change.

The Changing World of Work Table

The list below highlights how some of these changes have impacted on work and careers. Add to this list any changes that you or those close to you have personally experienced or know of.

Can you think of any other changes impacting how we live and work? What new opportunities might any shifts in the world of work create for you?

 

Action Tasks! Aging Positively

If you’re like Mike and feel your age is against you it’s time to get a mindset shift. There are numerous ways to maintain a positive approach to increasing age. Here are just a few examples:

1.) Start collecting evidence of positive aging. Compile an inspirational mid-life file and add clippings, photos, quotes, and ‘case studies’ of people who have made it big, or are happy at work, in their twilight years. Look for your role models.

Gather at least 10 examples of successful people in your age group and above. You’ll see a few of my favorite examples in the page that follow.

2.) Create an image board or journal. Paste inspirational quotes, pictures, and clippings which celebrate maturity in the workforce and life. Motivate yourself by adding to it and looking at it regularly.

3.) Turn age into an asset. Don’t be disheartened by people who think your age is against you. Write down a list of the benefits of hiring a mature worker. Widen your awareness of the positives by asking others to add their views. Armed with your own self-belief and a few powerful strategies to market yourself, you’ll be unstoppable.

4.) Network with other like-minded people. Talk to other mature job seekers, check helpful websites, and network with organizations that provide tips and examples to help you succeed and stay positive.

5.) Get career fit. Learn a new skill or get up to date with new technology that will help you gain the job you want. You’re never too old to learn, and you may even discover a new talent.

6.) Rekindle a sense of adventure. Re-awaken dormant creative skills and adopt a playful approach to life. Take on some FTEs – first-time experiences. Can you think of anything you’d love to try? Like Carla Coulson, who in her 40’s gave photography a go, found a new passion and has now made it a rewarding career.

7.) Challenge your assumptions. Divide a page into half. List any negative assumptions you might have about your age and on the other side write some counter statements. Here’s an example to get you started:

Negative Assumptions

Employers prefer younger workers

Affirming Counter Statements

Demographic research shows that companies are going to need to recruit from a more mature labor pool

 

“There is no substitute for bravery, creative thinking, and imagination if you want a rewarding career.”

~ Peter Biggs, Former CEO of Creative New Zealand

 

Plenty Of Time To Make It Big

The encouraging news, according to some experts, is that life begins in the late 40’s. Evidence suggests that many people don’t reach their potential until well into their 50s and 60s.

American grandfather of motivational books, Napoleon Hill, whose best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, was published for the first time in 1937, discovered from an analysis of more than 25,000 people that those who succeed seldom do before the age of 40, and usually do not strike their real pace until well beyond their 50’s.

This data should be encouraging for those who ‘fail to arrive’ before 50 and offers compelling evidence that people should approach the mid-years with hope and anticipation!

It’s never too late

Here are just a few people who have achieved success in their later years:

1) Author Helen Hoover Santmyer was 88-years-young when her book And Ladies of the Club was published. It stayed on the New York Times Best-sellers list for eight months. It was her first novel in 50 years.

2) A failure at 65, Colonel Sanders was world-famous and wealthy at 80. His father was a miner and his mother worked in a shirt factory. Harland Sanders had to give up school in the sixth grade because he was so poor.

He eventually opened a small home-town restaurant in the Kentucky hills. All looked well until the highway was rerouted and he lost everything. He was 65 at the time and faced with a future barely surviving on social security, his motivation to try again kicked in.

“My government is going to give me a hundred and five dollars so I can eke out an existence. Surely there is something I can do for myself and other people.”

Tapping into powerfully creative questions like this unlocked the key to what would be his major success—his mother’s secret chicken recipe.

Turned down by numerous restaurants at the time he turned potential failure into another inspired idea—franchises. It was an instantaneous hit, and the rest is history!

3) Fifty-five-year-old Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis.

That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which went on to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.

At the heart of Rhonda’s inspirational series of products and resources is the law of attraction.

“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”

Action Questions: How can you think positive?

Take a leaf from Rhonda’s secret to success and change any stinkin’ thinkin’ that may be lingering. Answering the following questions may help:

  1. What results are you currently experiencing that you would like to change?
  2. What thoughts would you need to change?
  3. What thoughts would remain the same?
  4. What things have supported you in maintaining a positive state of mind in the past? How could they be helpful now?
  5. Can you think of some other strategies to help you keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want?

“We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.” ~ Harrison Ford, Actor

 

Client Success Story: From Unemployed to Franchise Manager

Aged 48, Ngaire returned to New Zealand after running a business in outback Australia. Things had not gone well after an economic downturn in the rural economy and she walked away from her business. Ngaire tried her hand at a few other things but realized there were few prospects for her in Australia so came home.

She returned penniless and alone with no work prospects. She was unsure if her skills were suitable for more modern careers, and initially thought about learning computer skills.

However, a friend encouraged her to read this book and work through a career coaching process. This helped her recognize and value her experience and realize how her current skills could transfer into other jobs.

Ngaire had always walked easily into work because she had lived in a town where everyone knew her and there was plenty of work.

After learning how to value and communicate her transferable skills and experience she re-wrote her resume and was successful in getting a job as a shop manager for a national food franchise. Her new employer valued her prior experience, maturity and management potential.

Ngaire achieved great success in her role and turned around many problem stores. She was quickly promoted and given more responsibility. Her pay packet received a nice boost too!

It takes courage and strength of character to leave a situation and start over again. Ngaire’s secret to success was drive, determination and a solid work ethic.

Initially despondent and fearful, she is now happy, confident and not worried about her future. Ngaire realizes that there are more opportunities out there and that she has the power to create her own luck and seize opportunities that come her way.

Her employer had the foresight to take on a mature person, and together they benefit in ways they hadn’t foreseen.

Robert Kiyosaki, multi-millionaire entrepreneur and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is right when he says, “There is no one in your way except you and your doubts about you. It is easy to stay the same. It is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives. If you take on your self-doubt and your laziness you will find the door to your freedom.”

 

A Time Of Renewal

You are as old as you choose to feel. I know many people in their 70’s and 80’s who are still leading active work lives and enjoying a more healthier existence as a result.

“If you retire you expire,” says 88-year-old Boyd Klap who vows never to stop contributing.

Check out this video (https://vimeo.com/122707475) and watch the value of being mutually inspired and inspiring, and of maintaining a spirit of curiosity through and beyond your middle ages. You’ll see Mandy Scott-Mackie who had just embarked on a mid-life career adventure in outback Australia and hear Boyd Klap who tried retiring many times and got bored! I apologize for the sound quality—Wellington’s infamous wind got the better of us.

 

Action Task! Visualize Your Future

For some, getting older can herald more opportunities. While for others, especially those without a nest egg, or a working partner to fall back on, seeking help to reinvent their lives and careers is critical.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, going with the flow and waiting for life to ‘happen’ won’t provide the emotional and financial security you seek. Actively plan for your preferred future, because that’s where you’re going to be spending the rest of your life.

 

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

How to follow your passion and purpose to prosperity

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

I was clearing out some of my old journals the other day when I came across something I had written back in 2000. “I will live in a house that is elevated with lots of sun and which is surrounded by trees. It will be elegant and streamlined, with simplicity at its core and feng-shuied to make sure it is the best it can be.” What amazed me was not what I had written but the astonishing realization that seven years later I was actually living in the house I had created in my imagination.

I have done the same thing in my career. Gathering images of the ingredients of career satisfaction helped me see my way to career success and directed my job creation activities much more efficiently. I even manifested my dream man!

Now, that’s powerful creativity! It’s also one of the principals of the Law of Attraction made infamous by the DVD The Secret. But guess what? There is no secret! What there is instead is a lack of conscious awareness about how to tap into the law of attraction to make your dreams and goals a reality.

Everything I have created in my life was first created on the page in my passion journal. I’ll share more examples throughout my new online course, How to Follow Your Passion and Purpose to Prosperity, including a video of my 2008 Passion journal. Watch it now and see and hear how I manifested my soul mate and a multi-millionaire property.

But first, let me tell you a little bit more about this fab new course…https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

 

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence, and self-belief? What if you could hit your business, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with purpose, passion, and profit.

Amazon bestselling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue, and award-winning artist, Cassandra Gaisford provides simple but powerful and easy to implement ways to find your passion and purpose. Based on survey research, personal achievements and her professional expertise and success as a career and life coach helping people achieve outstanding results – including lawyers, teachers, back-to-work mums, accountants, school leavers and creative entrepreneurs – Gaisford answers the question: how to do less and achieve more.

In How To Your Passion and Purpose to Prosperity: you’ll learn:

  • Why successful people follow their passion, not their pension
  • How to identify your REAL priorities
  • How working with passion can cure many modern-day ills – stress, depression, anxiety, overwhelm and boredom
  • How to be happy and successful
  • How to double your productivity effortlessly
  • How to boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change
  • How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths
  • How to change jobs and find a career you will enjoy, including self-employment

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

If you’re too busy, too tired, too stressed out to read a lengthy book, this concise guide comes to your rescue.

Quit just existing and start really living! Start this course now to start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

Enroll before 15 November and receive these free bonus gifts:

FREE copies from a selection of Cassandra Gaisford’s Amazon best-selling books:

  • 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
  • Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love
  • Boost Your Self-Esteem: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More
  • Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

Click here to learn more or to enroll— https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

Productivity Hacks for Authors

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

How to Boost Your Productivity Without Endless Sleepless Nights & Breaking Into a Sweat

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

~ Margarita Tartakovsky, blogger

Palomino horses cantering in field

If working smarter, not harder and doing less but earning more is your goal, and I’m guessing it is because you’ve been drawn to this checklist, you’re committed to finding ways that balance effort with ease.

We all want to be more productive but do we really know what this means? What does productivity look like? What does it feel like? How can productivity benefit your life—will it accelerate your wealth, happiness, and fulfillment? What might it steal—your sanity, relationships, health, and wealth?

These are questions many of us never ask—until it’s too late. Avoid barking up the wrong tree and chasing an ideal that may lead you further from the things that really matter, pause for a minute.

Before you dive into these checklists and charge into applying the productivity tips and tools I share, ask yourself what does productivity mean to you?

“Productivity is the outcome of your efforts”, says Laurie Wills, a former bank executive. “It’s how much you get out, versus how much you put in. The question you need to ask,” he says, “Is when you look at what you’re getting out is it what’s important to you?”

As you’ll discover, many of these simple hacks will help maintain your focus, boost your energy, top up your reserves and fill your productivity tank simply and easily.

21 productivity hacks:

  • Begin with why: Get clear about what’s most important to you, the outcomes you seek, and your motivating reasons ‘why.’
  • Purposeful productivity: Share your gifts with the world. Work with purpose. Work by priority. Work for prosperous productivity.
  • See your goal achieved: You go where your vision Think big, feel big, and see your goal achieved.
  • Measure your success: Determine your most critical measurements of success or Key Performance Indicators
  • Tackle the toughest items first: The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complicated. Tick of the toughest items before tackling things you can do more easily.
  • Affirm for success: Use empowering affirmations to boost flagging motivation, overcome obstacles and stay focused, enthusiastic and confident about your goals.
  • Understand the rules: If you want to fast-track your productivity in any endeavor start and stay smart—understand the tried-and-proven rules of your chosen field.
  • Model your heroes: Who do you admire? Who has achieved the prosperous productivity you yearn for? Become a diagnostician and analyze their success strategy.
  • Successful daily habits: Identify daily rituals that boost your productivity and makes these a daily habit. Repetition and consistency are the important things.
  • Miracle mornings: When you win the morning, you win the day. Take time to ‘be’ (center and prepare yourself) before rushing into ‘doing’
  • Journal your way to productivity: Create a productivity journal with empowering quotes and other sources of inspiration, or embark on cathartic journaling to boost confidence and self-belief.
  • Your not-to-do list: What can you simplify or subtract from your life to free up some space for enhanced productivity?
  • Meditate: Stressed, fatigued or overwhelmed minds will never be productive. 80% of successful people have some form of guided mindfulness practice.
  • Embrace Technology: Format and publish your books with Scrivener and Vellum. Use dictation to write faster, Ghostreader to improve flow, Grammarly to check errors and Evernote to store and retrieve ideas quickly.
  • Batch to hatch time: Dedicate blocks of time to similar tasks is a powerful and simple way to decrease distraction and increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Get Organized. Chaos is the enemy. Declutter and get organized. Spend time each day, each week, developing systems to streamline your efficiency.
  • Boost your energy: Sleeping well, eating well, walking or some other form of exercise, and reducing alcohol are some of many effective ways to create and sustain highly productive energy.
  • Aromatherapy for mental alertness: The simple truth is, even if you are unaware of the power of smell, aroma affects your mood. To feel sharper and more alert, rosemary, peppermint and cardamom are just are few essential oils to try.
  • Focus: Juggling too many balls? Prioritize them, set a timer, and allocate segmented time for all the competing activities you feel must get done.
  • Take the procrastination challenge: It might seem counterproductive, but sometimes the best way to be productive is radical acceptance—flow with your current mindset.
  • 15-Minute Sprints: Small increments of progress help to maintain momentum over the longer-term— making it more likely you’ll finish larger tasks. Set the timer and just ‘do it’—you’ll be amazed at what you achieve.

Suggested Reading:

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing/Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More

getBook.at/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing/ Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

 

Did you enjoy this post?

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

 

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

How to use aromatherapy to boost your mental alertness

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

If you believe in aromatherapy…it works! If you don’t believe in aromatherapy…it works!

~ Cristina Proano-Carrion, aromatherapist

Along with your skills and capabilities, it is your state of mind that determines how productive, successful and happy you will be.

There are many ways to empower your mind—working with essential oils is one of the most effortless. The sense of smell is the most basic and primitive of all our senses and is of vital importance to authors.

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

The simple truth is, even if you are unaware of the power of smell, aroma affects your mood.

Scientists now believe that all of our emotions are the result of neurochemicals such as noradrenaline and serotonin being released into the bloodstream, and mood swings are thought to be a result of these influences, particularly when they are in the extreme. Given these facts, it’s not hard to see how essential oils can help balance and influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

“Feeling educated about essential oils is such an empowering experience because there are so many different oils you can work with,” writes Clinical Aromatherapist Andrea Butje in her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils. “They all offer the nourishment of the plant they are distilled from in a single drop, and education helps you understand which oils to reach for at which times. Nature works holistically…and so do we.”

As I share in my book, The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, Coco Chanel knew the alchemical potency of flowers and plants. She surrounded herself with nature’s elixir and amassed a fortune from the essential oils which helped make her perfume Chanel N°5 famous.

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future,” Coco Chanel once said.

The transcendent alchemy of the potions that went into the Chanel N°5 formula was not left to chance. Grieving after her lover Boy Chapel’s death, jasmine, ylang ylang, vetiver and other restorative scents imbued Coco’s Chanel N°5 with hope, healing, and the sensual confidence that love lost would be found again.

Aromatherapy, using the scents of plants and flowers, is one of many ancient remedies validated by modern science today. It’s the Swiss army knife of all things healing—physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

“Feeling educated about essential oils is such an empowering experience because there are so many different oils you can work with,” writes Clinical Aromatherapist Andrea Butje in her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils.

“They all offer the nourishment of the plant they are distilled from in a single drop, and education helps you understand which oils to reach for at which times. Nature works holistically…and so do we.”

There are so many different essential oils that can help you. Here are a few essential oils and natural therapeutic remedies to help increase your alertness, refresh and uplift your mind, body, and spirit:

1.) Laurel Essential Oil: Motivates people who lack energy or confidence. It also strengthens the memory and helps maintain concentration, especially during prolonged tasks.

2.) Rosemary Essential Oil: Instills confidence during periods of self-doubt and keeps motivation levels high when the going gets tough. It is also said to help maintain an open mind and to make you more welcoming of new ideas.

3.) Cardamom Essential Oil Stimulates a dull mind, dispels tensions and worries, and nurtures and supports the brain and nervous system. Many people find it of great support during challenging times.

4.) Peppermint Essential Oil: With its refreshing scent peppermint works like a power boost for your fatigued mind, making you feel sharper and more alert.

The following blends are great ‘pick-me-ups’ for your weary mind:

Alertness:

• Ginger, 6 drops

• Grapefruit 5 drops

• Juniper Berry 4 drops

• 15 ml of a carrier oil

Energizing:

• Lavender 8 drops

• Lemon 2 drops

• Orange 6 drops

• Rosemary 4 drops

 

Your Challenge

Investigate the power of smell. Read more about aromatherapy for achievers and learn about essential oils for success.

What scents imbue you with confidence? Courage? Productivity? Sharpen your most potent tools—your heart and your mind. Become a perfumer—experiment with essential oils until you find a winning blend.

Create your own success blend, or have an expert create one for you. Beginning with how you want to feel is a good place to start.

 

 

 

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

Do less and earn more today!

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

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

Stress less—love life more. How to build real resilience

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

 

 

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

 

Have you been unhappy at work for so long that some of the symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched?

Or is the idea of making a change causing you to feel anxious? Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heed The Early Warning Signs

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

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

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

 

The Biology Of Stress

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

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

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

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

 

Listen To Your Body Barometer

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

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

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

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

Mid-year sale – how you can change careers, boost motivation and empower your success for less

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

 

MORE PASSION and PROSPERITY LESS GROUNDHOG DAY!

Mid-year sale – how you can change careers, boost motivation and empower your success for less

Are you looking for the perfect motivational kick-start book? Look no further. My self-empowerment eBooks will fire the flames of desire, clarify your best-fit career and life direction, improve your relationships and empower your courage to go for your dreams.

Give in to your enthusiasms this month with my Follow Your Passion to Prosperity collection, with 40% off all my eBooks you’ll be up all night! Feel the burning desire in your heart with 40% off and buy now.

Navigate to my author page on Amazon—Author.to/CassandraGaisford. Chose your favorites, and enjoy straightaway—in less than two hours be on your way to sculpting a new way of living. 

Email me your receipt to go in the drawer to win a FREE FOLLOW YOUR PASSION TO PROSPERITY COACHING SESSION! 

Be quick! Sale ends TODAY!

 

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! All #1 Amazon books in The Mid-Life Career Rescue series are FREE. Two days only! Navigate to my author page on Amazon—Author.to/CassandraGaisford

 

 

#MidLifeCareerRescue #BeBoldForChange #MondayHustle #FollowYourPassionToProsperity #changinglives #WorklifeSolutions 

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

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

Monday, May 29th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Challenge

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

Did you enjoy this post?

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

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

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was getting no-where. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blank bookcover with clipping path

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

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

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

Did you enjoy this post?

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

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.

*