Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Confidence and self-esteem – nine strategies to acquire them today

I’ve been noticing a common theme over the years – a massive self-esteem and confidence melt down. Not just in those who come from coaching, but in the faces of people I meet in the street, and the stories I hear. It always pangs my heart when I see really great people, with awesome skills and abilities wrench the handbrake on their life and career success because they just don’t believe they’re good enough.

Reasons vary but the results are the same: lack of self-belief and low self-confidence stop many people from following through on their dreams. Fortunately this doesn’t have to be a permanent setback. Boosting confidence and self-esteem are skills which can be learned – and many times the strategies are deceptively simple.

I hope you or someone you care about finds this newsletter helpful. Please feel free to share. And I’d love to hear from you if anything struck a chord.

Wishing you happiness and joy


ps I hope you like this image I drew of Sandro Botticelli’s Venus – she seems apt for this newsletter which celebrates BIG LOVE :).

Confidence and self-esteem – nine strategies to acquire them today

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates.” – Thomas Szanz

Many clients come to coaching saying, “I just want to be myself, but I don’t know who I am.” Others say, “I want to re-invent myself.” Some people may not state these questions so clearly. But all clients come to coaching because something in their life is not working. If it was they wouldn’t need help. Many of them complain of feeling “stuck;”of having “a dull, throbbing, ache deep inside;” or a sense of unhappiness with who they are and the results they are currently achieving in their lives.

Lack of self-awareness and low self-valuing often lie at the core of the issue. They may not know how to repackage their lives, in what direction to head, or what’s really getting in their way. They may not be aware of their own self-limiting beliefs and patterns, or the negative, confining impact of others’ ideas about what they are capable of or what’s best for them.

Even when the answers are clear many people resist the changes needed to achieve more happiness and passion in their lives. Fear and a lack of courage often lie at the heart of this reluctance or resistance. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, believes that the cause of a person’s fear is a basic and crippling lack of faith about themselves and their capacity to make positive and successful changes. A common word used to describe this self-faith is ‘confidence.’

But change is good, isn’t it? For some people change is like death — the death of one’s self as it stands today. It means crossing into the unknown. Some people thrive in the face of uncertainty, others wither and wilt. Being more cautious isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What matters is that you take steps to move forward courageously. If you seize up in the face of change you may just need more reassurance and support to take on new experiences.

If your self-esteem needs a boost the following strategies will help. Record your responses in an inspirational journal:

Reclaiming Your Self-esteem

1. Do what you’re good at. What activities and/or special talents do you have that give you the most satisfaction? It’s amazing how confidence and self-esteem can soar when you’re doing something your great at. Whether it’s baking a cake, or solving a puzzle or anything else that absorbs your attention, when you do something you enjoy and have a knack for it feels great.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” ~ Patanjali

2. Write down ten things you are most proud of. Celebrate the goals you have already achieved. You are probably so busy focusing on the things you have to achieve next that you can forget to give yourself an encouraging pat on the back for the things you have already accomplished. Or perhaps, like many of my clients when they initially come to coaching, you’re mind is locked onto all the things you don’t like about yourself – a sure recipe for self-esteem disaster.

3. Define life success. One of the most empowering things you can do for yourself is to define your criteria for life success. Something Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post , and said to be one of the most influential women in the world, also advocates in her awesome book, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.” After collapsing from exhaustion and literally hitting the ground ( breaking her cheekbone in the process) while  lying in hospital she began to ask herself a lot of questions about the life she was living. Working 18 hour days, seven days a week and accruing massive wealth didn’t, she resolved, make  her a true success.

“When we completely define our identify with our job, we operate from fear,” Arianna Huffington says. “And it often stops us from being true to ourselves.”

4. Choose to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind. Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama says that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness. He believes that if you train the mind to be happy, you will be. Likewise, you can train yourself for higher self-esteem. Some people affirm for what they want by writing in a journal how they want to feel for the day. Others work out the things that lead them to feel sad and find ways to remove these things – like not watching the gloomy news and staying away from toxic people. Others make a conscious effort to do something every day that makes them feel happy. List at least ten things that make you feel happy. What are some steps you can help yourself to feel happier?

5. Set challenging goals. How much you like yourself is often reflected in the level of goals you will set for yourself. Generally, people who like themselves and feel valuable set higher and more challenging life goals. Aim high. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? How could you make this goal a reality?

6. Honour your core values.When you live by a clear set of values, it’s easier to align your life with what is most important to you. When you honour your core values you honour your true self. What are you doing now that is not congruent with your values? What steps could you take to ‘live’ and ‘be’ your values?

7. Enhance your energy. People with high self-esteem seem to have a reservoir of energy, and seldom get sick or let life’s setbacks keep them down. Their energy and enthusiasm for life encourages them to take care of their body, mind and spirit. What five things could you do this week that would make a positive difference to your energy levels?

For me, I love to walk in the fresh air – most times in the sea; meditation is an awesome energy booster which I aim to do twice daily; eating the right foods – especially fresh vegetable, fish and proteins; music lifts my soul – right now my new favourite mood music is Piano Stories by renowned musician Joe Hisaishi; and of course, my biggest energy booster is following my passion and helping others to do the same – it’s such a blast!

Some of the ways my client’s boost their energy is singing and dancing, going to comedy shows, catching up with positive friends, travelling – even on short trips, and riding horses. Having fun is great for the soul.

8. Maintain a positive attitude. Attitude determines your altitude. The more positive your thinking, the more positive your feelings, the more positive the outcome. There is nothing more powerful and creative than your thoughts, so you may as well make them positive and uplifting. How can you stay positive?

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

9. Be passionate. Passion takes hold of you and feels like ‘fire in the belly.’ It is a source of power that enables you to get fired up about life and make a difference. The more passion and zest you feel, the more alive and brightly lit you are. Enjoy a daily tonic and make passion a regular event. What can you do to experience more passion in your life?

Above all, to reclaim your self-esteem – be your biggest fan not your worst critic. 

As actress Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Take the breaks off your career this winter! Save 60%.

Unhappy at work or want to plan a change for the better? Take the breaks off your career this winter and beat the winter blues with our Pre-Winter Coaching Special.Designed to support you to begin, develop or complete a career or life change, and learn the principles and practice of Passion Driven Living this mini-coaching programme includes:• 3 x 30 minute Skype video or telephone coaching sessions, one per month, individually scheduled and customised to suit your personal requirements.

• Email write-in days to answer your questions and support you to stay on track and keep the momentum going.


Special Full Pay – only $449 + GST

(normally $750 + GST)

Special Monthly Instalments – only $149 + GST per month

Book now and be into win

Schedule an appointment with Cassandra, or successfully refer a friend, and go in the drawer to win a pamper special – a relaxing, de-stressing spa treatment

On April 30 a winner will be drawn at random. Be sure to check the Facebook page to see if you are the lucky winner.

Hurry, this great pre-winter special deal ends midnight 17 April

Call today! +6421873833 or send us an email to book your sessions.

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Obsessions lead to career success

Pursue your passionate obsessions for career success

“How do you find a job that doesn’t feel like work?” asked one lady on our Facebook page yesterday.

Finding a job that makes you happy begins inside out. First you must clarify who you really are and what makes you tick. Focusing on the things that make you happy will make it much easier to identify your best-fit career options and have confidence in your decision-making. The best way to clarify what makes you really happy is to get clear about your passions – the things that fire your soul, fills you with a sense of purpose and brings life to life. This is where many people struggle, often lamenting, “I’m not passionate about anything.” The truth is we are ALL passionate about something – many times we’ve forgotten or been too busy surviving to notice what thrills us.

One key element is focusing on your passion and how this adds value to others. Following your obsessions is just one of many ways to do this.

A healthy obsession can be a liberating and clarifying catalyst to your true calling and career direction. This is particularly the case for people in the mid-life zone, who find that with maturity comes renewed confidence and determination to pursue the things that truly interest them.

Obsessions Boost Health

A healthy obsession can lead to many things, including:

1) Life niche – creating a breath of air for those in its path and giving a competitive edge

2) True bliss – leading you to your vocation where being paid is the icing on the cake

3) Your point of excellence – unleashing dormant talents and natural gifts

4) Your life purpose – spreading seeds of joy and inspiration and benefiting others.

Passion’s Pay Cheque

By discovering your passion you will tap into a huge source of potential energy. Pursuing your passion can be profitable on many levels:

• When you do what you love, your true talent will reveal itself; passion can’t be faked

• You’ll be more enthusiastic about your pursuits

• You’ll have more energy to overcome obstacles

• You will be more determined to make things happen

• You will enjoy your work

• Your work will become a vehicle for self-expression

• Passion will give you a competitive edge.

From Sales Manager to Visual Merchandiser

Jane wanted to change her profession from a background in retail sales and management to something more creative and hands-on, and which was less management and sales focused. She  shared with me her obsession for beautiful fabric, but was struggling to identify her transferable skills and her passion for fabric could be combined into a new career.

After focusing on all the facets of her passion, including her natural gifts and talents, she successfully transitioned into her dream job.

I have just got the position of visual merchandiser for a furnishings chain. This job is going to enable me to use all those key skills that I have and a huge bonus is that I also get to work with fabrics, which is just perfect. I know I came across with confidence and the right attitude thanks to you reminding me that I need to ‘blow my own trumpet’ and allow my passion to shine.”

Finding Your Passionate Obsessions

Real passion is more than a fad or a fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a tap. Here are some questions to help you clarify the things you are most passionate about:

1) When does time seem to fly? When was the last time you felt really excited or deeply absorbed in, or by, something? What were you doing? Who were you with? What clues did you notice?

2) What do you care deeply or strongly about? Discovering all the things that you believe in is not always easy. Look for the clues to your deep beliefs by catching the times you use words such as ‘should’ or ‘must.’ These are signs that what you’re doing is not a passion.

3) What do you value? What do you need to experience, feel, or be doing to feel deeply fulfilled?

4) What pushes your buttons/makes you angry? How could you use your anger constructively to bring about change?

5) Which skills and talents come most easily or naturally to you? Which ones give you a buzz or a huge sense of personal satisfaction?

6) I love the following psychiatric definitions regarding obsession: a persistent idea or impulse that continually forces its way into consciousness (often associated with anxiety and mental illness); 2. a persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling. I know from experience when people are affirmed and rewarded for their unique abilities rather than sink into mental illness they shine. Of course it’s all about balance. I’m obsessive about passion – I collect articles compulsively about people who pursue their passion and surround myself with passionate people. Not many people would have a number plate called “pas10n” with the web page address below it “” Am I mad? Highly likely 🙂 But happy to be so – and I’ve made a rewarding career helping people live and work with passion. I also have a ‘rule’ unless I feel passionate about my work I’m not doing it.

One of my client’s is a self-confessed perfectionist. She has a sharp eye for detail and can spot a flaw like none other. Combined with her passion for travel and customer service, she’s currently investigating a career as a hotel inspector with a focus on luxury resorts. Seems like the perfect match to me. There’s nothing like going away on vacation and knowing that the place you’ve booked into knows the value of ensuring the ‘perfect’ stay when it comes to your accommodation. Because my client’s former career was as an accountant she’s also knows how to highlight the business impact of getting things right.

One of my favourite stories about people following their obsessions is my good friend Carl Gifford. He took his passionate obsession for finding faces in rocks and turned it into a wonderful play land for adults and children alike. Check out Carlucci Land here >>

What do you continually obsess about? How could you turn your obsession into a fulfilling career?


Monday, April 7th, 2014

Time to get your new career on the move?


You’ve probably held it said that endings herald new beginnings. Many of us if we are forced to confess will admit that unless we got an encouraging, or more often what seems to be a discouraging, nudge we never would have been brave enough to make a change for the better. I received this message from a lady I once did a colour analysis for several years ago. Happily we got rid off all her horrid and ageing blacks and glammed up with all the gorgeous colours of autumn that this beautiful red head suited.


Although at the time I wasn’t doing any career coaching with her I recall she was interested in one day working as an editor. Perhaps it was my intuition guiding me, but whatever it was when I emailed her several weeks ago to ask if she would like to help edit some of my writing the timing could not have been more perfect.


At the time of my request she was already in full-time employment and promised to do my editing in her spare time. But, as you’ll see below the whole thing has become what I call an amazing GO-incidence – spearheading her quickly into a new and rewarding career. As you’ll see, ‘When you focus on your passions and move towards your desire, life rallies to support your success’.



From Career Loss to Career Gain – Lee’s story*


‘It’s easy to sit in a comfortable environment and think, one day I’ll take that step. This forces your hand and away you must go. I am beginning a new chapter and I certainly intend it to be all about being Happy At Work and changing things out in the mid and beyond time of life : ) Curiouser and curiouser…”

“How is this for strange coincidence,” Lee wrote to me “~ the week following letting you know about proofreading your work, there was an odd meeting at my place of work whereby one of the new company directors quit his role. (History, small NZ business bought by Australians amalgamating boutique multi-media agencies late last year. Our company was in a bit of financial trouble due to changing media climate.)

The following week, remaining the director arrived into office and explained that they were quitting any association with previous major client and sacked our previous GM (highly dramatic, change of locks and security guards on premises). Found out since, bills not have not been paid this year. The week after, new company fails to pay our month of March wages and will not go to mediation about this. Under advice, we all walked away and will potentially have to wait for liquidator to sort out unpaid wages.

Outcome, of course, now unemployed and seeking new job. Timing could not have been more perfect to proofread your work. It is being very helpful for me. I will seek new paid employment in the near future, but I will pursue the goal of my own business to become mistress of my own destiny. (My last employment was terminated by other Australians seeking to reduce cost of labour, roles outsourced to India that time.)

The great thing about this is the potential created. It’s easy to sit in a comfortable environment and think, one day I’ll take that step. This forces your hand and away you must go. I am beginning a new chapter and I certainly intend it to be all about being Happy At Work and changing things out in the mid and beyond time of life : ) Curiouser and curiouser…

All I can say is how beastly her work situation sounds – and to not be paid on top is horrid. But I love and admire her attitude. I’m a firm believer that such ‘tests’ are go-incidences…pointing us in new directions. It’s all a matter of choice. Choice in how we felt we think and feel, and choice in how we react. A positive mindset and well thought out strategic plan with lashings of passion is a strong predictor of success.

Right now Lee is busy working on her business and marketing plan, revising her website and building up her social media profile and networks to build awareness of her new business. I for one will happily be a referee and provide testimonials for the excellent work Lee has done editing my eBook’s and Happy At Work For Mid-lifers book ( currently out of print pending a new edition).

Some of the many things that bodes well for Lee’s new venture is her passion for editing – her love and deep enjoyment of getting things right. Lee has recently up-skilled in this area and completed a diploma in editing and she is also taking the time to get things right before launching her new career. She’s benefiting from some external, objective, and professional coaching – I’m doing some business coaching with Lee to help her prepare for the not-too-far-away day when she launches her editing business.

But best off all, like so many mid-lifers, she is looking forward to no longer being at the whim of fickle employers but to being mistress of  her own destiny.

Take the breaks off your career this winter and plan a change for the better.

* Name changed to protected privacy

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