Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Mid-life career rescue – are you ready to answer the call for change?

Mid-life Career Rescue_v7Excited – have just sent off the first round of edits for a double proof, for Mid-Life Career Rescue. Dare I say:


This book is powerful. I know it is. The life I have created using this awareness is amazing. The strategies are ones I’ve used successfully professionally with clients and personally myself during numerous reinventions – some self-determined, others forced upon me.

I stand by every one of the strategies you will learn here, not just because they are grounded strong theoretical principals, but because I have used them to create successful turnaround, after successful turnaround in nearly every area of my life.

This book is the culmination of all that I have experienced and all that I have learned, applied and successfully taught others for over two decades. I don’t practice what I preach; I preach what I have practised – because it gets results.

One thing I know for sure, is you’re too important to stay in a job you hate. You have treasures buried within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so do others. And bringing those treasures to the light takes faith and focus and courage and effort. It takes a willingness to answer the call for change, and people to help and support you along the way.

My clients and readers tell me they value the fact that my advice is gained from my personal and professional experiences and is both practical and inspirational.

Like Keith aged 55 whose position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service:

“The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self worth.  I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the “mind chatter”.  Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence.  Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have it very useful in terms of information provided and tools available for self awareness and future planning.  This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers.  I feel energised every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.”

I feel blessed to have been able to help Keith, and many others like him.


Would you like to help me ensure this Mid-Life Career Rescue reaches a wider audience? Leave a comment below or private message me, and let me know why you’re interested in supporting this project.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Mid-life Career Rescue: how to avoid a crisis

Mid-life Career Rescue_v7On my way to the herb garden this morning to meditate, I thought to myself, in a week I’ll be 50. A question then rose in my mind, “what do the ‘experts’ say about turning 50, and of mid-life?”

The word, ‘crisis’ appeared.

Only, despite a lot of research into the phenomenon of a mid-life crisis, I didn’t feel in a crisis at all. “50 and fabulous,” I said to myself determined not to approach my next decade with anything other than joy and optimism.

“We are really advocates of just getting as happy as you can be-which takes care of everything. Even if you do not have reason to be happy – make it up. Fantasize it. Make a decision that you are going to be happy one way or another-no matter what. I am going to be happy. I am going to be happy. I’m going to be happy.” – Abraham


No dress rehearsal

Yet Carl Jung’s views that a sense of crisis occurs due to the finality of life, also resonate. Especially as I grow older and experience the increasing losses of friends and family close to me – many of whom have left this earth far too prematurely.  Friends and family – my own and others – who in their 20’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and older have died. Death has no official end of year – a reminder not to leave the things you really want to do until it’s too late.

Perhaps I had my mid-life crisis in my 30’s – something I’ll share with you at the end of this post. Given that the official retirement age in New Zealand is 65, that would have made me mid-life in my career. Assuming I plan to retire that is. Dame Judy Dench, has banned the word ‘retirement’ from her vocabulary.

“You retire, you expire, “ said one inspiring man in his 80’s who continues to work and live with passion. “I tried retiring three times, in fact. And it bored me,” he said.

It’s mindset shift, say some.


A mindset shift?

Not everyone agrees. For some the mid-life years are filled with fear and trepidation. For others a gnawing sense they have not lived the life they aspired to live.

Many men go through a phase when they take a hard look at the life they’re living. They think they could be happier, and if they need to make a big change, they feel the urge to do it soon. These thoughts can trigger a midlife crisis,” says Dr. Eric Metcalf.

A true midlife crisis usually involves changing your entire life in a hurry,” says Calvin Colarusso, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego

Whether you change in a flurry or take your time to get it right, redundancy, lack of security, escalating costs, mean many will have to continue reinventing their careers – working into mid-life and beyond.

Add to this statistics which are staggeringly predictable year after year with the barometer pointing to the fact that over half the working population hate their jobs. Anxiety, depression, health deterioration, substance abuse, relationship melt-downs…the list goes horrifyingly on.


Unconscious career choices

Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. Many mid-lifers have never sat down and thought consciously about their career choices. They often say they, “just fell into it.”

Others made their choices based on other people’s expectations. Hannah said she chose nursing to get away from her family. John, a dissatisfied lawyer, said he chose law because his father was a lawyer. Mary, an unhappy accountant, chose her career because she was good with numbers.

Alex chose a career in the IT industry because that was where all the jobs were. He hates it. “Every day I go to work, grit my teeth and bear it,” he says.

Perhaps you can relate to some of these stories. Maybe you have ones of your own. Whatever the reason for your unhappiness, rest assured, where there’s a problem there is a cure.

“Mid-life is a crucial point in the life cycle. Childhood, the warrior and power decades are past. Mid-life is an invitation to resolve the complexes not yet made conscious and move forward into the so happy years of creativity and health, of full abundance,” says my good friend and artist, Max Gimblett, now in his 80’s, in the foreword to my first book, Happy at Work for Mid-lifers.

Guides are necessary throughout mid-life, this book is a guide. Teachers to face and touch are guides. Mid-life will not be rushed. Everybody experiences mid-life. It is a sacred journey, a sacred path, the Way,” he wrote, then went on to say, “I urge you to utilise this book as an inspirational tool and carry it as a treasure. Persevere with your mid-life, bring into consciousness your childhood dreams, as they will become your living realities.

I love the sentiments he expressed. The hope and optimism and faith that I also share, that our dreams can become our living realities.


Making a living doing something you love

Nick Williams, Author of The Work We Were Born to Do: Find the Work You Love, Love the Work You Do, agrees. I had the privilege of interviewing and photographing him when I was in London for an article I wrote for The New Zealand Herald. Later he was good enough to write a review for my book.

“Too few of us have been bought up to believe that it is possible to make our living doing something we love, that lights our hearts up and stirs our passions. This I call the work we were born to do and is our true work. To find your true work is a great blessing, one of life’s greatest blessings I believe. And to be paid for your work rather than work for pay it one of life’s great joys.

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 pay-check is no guarantee of security. Following your heart and deeper self is the new security. Your heart is the well-spring of possibility and opportunity that will never run dry.

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.”


Mid-life Career Rescue

Book_v9My first book was such a success that it’s now out of print. Encouraged by people who keep asking for a copy I’m working on a revised version to be called, Mid-life Rescue: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

Right now I’m in revision mode. It’s great to meet my old friend again and to remind myself why I wrote the book in the first place.

Remember the career crisis I told you I had in my 30’s? You’ll soon see the significance of the book cover design!

People often ask me, ‘what made you become a career counsellor and life coach?’

I remember, in my 30’s, being so unhappy in one of my jobs that I developed shingles – a painful virus affecting the central nervous system. I felt trapped and unable to leave.

My confidence and self-belief had eroded miserably and even when I was offered career counselling I couldn’t see any options.

My career counsellor asked me to draw a picture and I drew a grey bird in a black cage. I told my career counsellor, “I feel like a caged bird. The door is open, but she has forgotten how to fly.” She cried and I sat there still feeling hopeless.

Eventually she helped me rebuild my confidence and strengthen my awareness of my strengths and my skills. Importantly she helped me to dream.

I realised I wanted more from my life and my work than to go to work, grit my teeth and bare it. Getting a new job didn’t happen overnight but it did happen.

The work the career counsellor did with me was so important, so vital – saving me from despair and leading me not just to finding a job I loved, but creating one which gave me a sense of purpose.

She literally gave me my life back – and now happily, I can serve others in this way too, as an author, qualified holistic psychologist, career counsellor, life and career coach, and a trainer of other coaches who also aspire to make a difference in other people’s lives.

My hope is that Mid-life Career Rescue will continue to inspire others to have the courage and conviction to believe that happiness at work is something anyone can pursue – whatever their age and stage in life.

As one mid-lifer who’d read the first book said, “Your booked changed my life!”


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Rejuvenate your life in four easy steps

Successful September first sign on the trees of our first springSpring is a wonderful time of rejuvenation. It’s a time to begin life anew. It’s a time to reflect on what you wish to remain the same and the things in your life you wish to prune.

Rather than leap too far into your future, pause a while and consider, when you get to the end of September and look back, what will tell you this has been a successful month?

Me? I’m manifesting happiness. Success to me includes surrounding myself with people who accept and love me as I am, believe in the beauty of my dreams, and who help them come true.

And vice versa. Success to me is also helping my clients and friends achieve their dreams too.

So it was heartening and soul enriching today to receive this email from a client, who when she first came to see me was very depressed, and feeling hopeless about her work situation. She now has a shiny new job and has created what I call “a career combo” – making time for her creative passions, while still enjoying her bread and butter corporate job:

“I am really excited about the role and kinda need to pinch myself that I have got it!! And I have just landed a paying client for my photography which is exciting!! Hope all is going well for you up north and you are living the dream! Once again thanks for setting me on this path!!”

Rejuvenate your life

Perhaps you’re like my client and like me, you’re ready to make some changes in your life. As the buds begin to flourish on the trees I’m aware of all the potentialities that exist, and of all the things that can flower in my life. I’m also aware that I need to cultivate the things that matter most to me and extract myself from things, people and situations, which in the grand scheme of things, matter least.

As you prepare to let go of old ways of being and make way for your new life, here are just a few of many ways that you can rejuvenate your life:

Harness the power of your mind. There’s three things you need to know about the mind, says UK Hypnotherapist and author Marisa Peer, it only does what it thinks you want it to do; it responds to the pictures in your head and the words you say to yourself; and it likes what is familiar.

So if you really want to make a change, rather than procrastinate or make excuses or engage in activities that take you further away from your goal, it’s really important you do the things you say you want to do. No excuses!

It’s also important that you surround yourself with images and words that reinforce your goals and desires, and which enable you to see vividly how you will feel when you have made a change for the better.

This is where empowering, feeling based affirmations come in too. If, as one of clients does, you desire to be a photographer, instead of affirming, “I am a successful photographer,“ try affirming, “It feels amazing, joyful, and so much fun to be a successful photographer.”

Instead of saying, “I want to be a writer,” you could say as Marisa Peer affirmed to herself when writing her book, “I love writing. This I what I’ve chosen to do.” Prior to this she had been feeling isolated writing and feeling a little resentful that she was not out having a good time with friends – which of course told her mind that she wasn’t really wanting to write. So instead, she retrained her mind, saying repeatedly, “I love this. It’s like having a lover I can’t wait to come home to it and I’m staying up all night with it.”

“When I wrote I would tell myself this book is great, this book is fantastic, this book is amazing. I constantly imagined people loving it. I’m really glad I told myself that when I was writing it, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the courage to keep doing it

Repeated practise produces outstanding results. Make your new desired state your habit. Practise. Practise. Practise. One of the things I do to create new habits and cultivate familiarity is to write at a regular time, in a regular place. I’ve also had great fun and success create a Star Chart, rewarding myself with stickers on my calendar when I achieve my daily goals.

“As you get into your groove, you find your faith.” ~Marissa Peer.


Cull bad habits. Aligned with adopting new behaviours is the need to eliminate any inappropriate effort, or habits, that create results you no longer want in your life.

Watching TV, for example creates the unwanted results of having less time to spend on more fulfilling creative endeavours or to improve the quality of your relationships. People’s growing addiction to Smartphones and social media updates is even worse.

Sometimes personality traits you once valued also have to be culled.

I can’t give you the recipe for success, but I can failure, try to please everyone, all of the time – some sage person once said. And never a truer word has been said.

For me right now I’m working at letting go of trying too hard to please and accommodating others agendas and apologising when others don’t like who I am and what I do and trying to make others feel better at the expense of my own happiness.

Instead, I’m placing a value on authenticity, joy, and happiness – as well as cultivating more mindful, compassionate assertiveness.

In our Free To Be Me life coaching programme we call these your Living Values. Living values replace outmoded values and behaviours that once may have served you, with those which allow you to be free to be you. Life’s too short and you’re too important not to live your best life.
brainphysiologyBe a seer. Take a page from the Maestro’s book, and do as Leonardo da Vinci would. Commit to making new discoveries based on painstakingly detailed, amazingly acute observation. Study people you admire and emulate or copy-cat their success.

If you aspire to be a published author you may wish to analyse what makes a great story with emotional impact. If you want to be a chef, travel the world via the Internet and find people who are experts in their field. Sign up for a class, interview them, or just start making some of their dishes to get a feel for what they do and how they do it.

If you want more confidence and self-esteem, think of someone you respect who possesses these qualities and when you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be more confident, ask yourself, ‘what would (this person) do now?” Then do that thing, even if you have to fake feeling confident in that moment.

If you want to change careers, or gain experience in a different field, when an opportunity comes up don’t turn it down because you feel your not ready, not good enough or any other self-limiting belief.

Trust whatever happens you’ll handle it. Know that the best learning happens when you have a hands-on experience.

Like my client Lissie who dreamt of being a fashion writer, who I’ve just put in touch with a Dutch fashion designer who’s wanting help with re-branding her business.

“I’m not trained. I’m not qualified, she said at first. “Where’s your evidence that you’re not ready? You love fashion, you love writing, you’ll be a natural. Give it a go – you may surprise yourself,” I encouraged her. “Ok, she said, taking a gulp, “I’ll do it.”

“Just met with Lissie,” wrote back the fashion designer, “What  a beautiful soul. She’s going to get started this week.”

What joy!


chakraCultivate everyday poise and balance. Practise balance and grace in everything you do. Find your centre, your core truth, and strengthen it.

Rediscover your natural alignment. Listen to your body barometer. Feelings of tension are clear messages from your soul that you’re off centre.

Feelings of calm confirm you are in a state of natural flow. Like I am now as I sit outside immersed in the Bay of Islands, overlooking the serenity of the sea, surrounded by silence, but for the birds who sing contently in the trees.

Sounds blissful – and it is. But bliss is something I work at every day. Yesterday a storm raged – not literally, but the devastation hurled at my partner and I by a disenchanted ‘friend’ really rocked our equilibrium.

As his holiness The Dalai Lama once said, “Negative thoughts are like weeds, they grow unattended. Positive thoughts are like flowers, you have to nurture them every day.”


So now I’m taking my power back. Yesterday is history, and now is the gift of the present-centred awareness. It’s spring, our successful September, and I have a wonderful rejuvenating vision for the future – one I intend on protecting from frosts that could destroy them, and nurturing so they may awaken and achieve their most beautiful potential.

I hope a few ideas have resonated with you as you cultivate your own Successful September. Remember, obstacles don’t have to stop you, you just need to find a way to overcome them.

Wishing you every success


P.S. What does success look like to you this September. I’d love to know.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,