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Posts Tagged 'Reinvention Stories'

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.

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.

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Rebirthing a New Career: Lynnie’s reinvention story

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

The burnout issues related very much to-

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Starting a business

Getting on with the coaching itself

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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