Sunday, February 28th, 2016

How to maintain worklife balance

me and new dressIMG_5431I finally did some sewing this weekend. It must have been six years since I last got out my Bernina. Many years ago people used to call me ‘pot plant’ because I always wore floral dresses…and during my days contracting to the Prison Service in New Zealand, many of the staff used to say, I looked like an exotic flower and thanked me for brightening up their work environment. So it seemed important, and fun, to carry on the tradition!

Importantly, making time for creativity and hobbies is one of the most important ways I maintain balance.

When was the last time you took time out to do something you love? Perhaps you can relate to my client Mary who told me she was suffering from ‘burnt-toast’ syndrome – always giving to others and fulfilling others needs at the expense of her own.

Another client, Clive – also a minister – who I am training to become a life coach, shared with me how many times he hears people say on their death beds that they wished they had done more of the things they loved with their life. No one ever regretted spending less time at work!

Living a life with no regrets is a great way to maintain balance – as I share in my video below. Just five or 10 minutes doing something you love can refresh and energise you!

Another client I am mentoring as she prepares to plan her move from salary slave and career misery to self-employed fulfilment, told me she had absolutely no spare time. I challenged her to set the timer, step outside and meditate for three minutes instead of turning on the tele.

I found our session awesome (not a word I use often as I feel it is over used and therefore has lost some of its strength) but this time I use it with all of its strength and intention, ” she emailed me.

“I used my 3 minute meditation to clear my head a little and to calm it! Which it did, and then something magical happened, something appeared and formed and I have been going with it ever since, just a little inspiration and something to ‘play with’.. Have also been VERY energized and so have also been getting on with more solid tiny gems!”

What can you do in the few minutes, hours or next few days to restore some balance?

If you’d like to feel more awesome – I’d love to help. Drop me an email or reply to this post if you’d love to book a coaching session – you’ll be glad you did. XXX


Sunday, February 21st, 2016

how to boost your courage and overcome fear

Dr Suess and Failure and RejectionI love my job! Just had a fabulous session with a wonderful woman I am training to become a Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach. Her ‘homework’ task today was coaching me through one of the steps in our Free To Be Me life coaching programmeCourage: challenge your fears. Was an amazing experience!

Amazingly she shared with me how anxious she was prior to our session, but the strategies in the workbook she was coaching me through, and others she had worked through in prior sessions, really helped her. Incredible testimony to the fact that when we challenge ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ and follow our passions we really can fly free.

It was such a powerful experience I thought I’d share some of the strategies here.

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront  fear, pain, danger or uncertainty. In some traditions,fortitude holds approximately the same meaning as courage. Whatever meaning you subscribe at the heart of courage is the willingness to take action in spite of real or perceived obstacles to success.

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

Wishing you happiness and joy


Thriving not surviving

“If you allow your fears to keep you from flying you will never reach your height.” ~India Arie, Singer

I once saw a guy walking down the road with a tee-shirt which read: “A life lived in fear is a life lived in hell.”  It’s so true but it doesn’t have to be!

Fear can be a great protector. But left unexamined and unchallenged it can lead people to a state of inaction, anxiety and depression. Passionate people act differntly. Live life to the full they actively challenge their fears and live happier and more fulfilled lives as a result.

Make no mistake – positivity doesn’t always come easily. Being free to be you often takes great courage. Not only does it mean taking on new experiences in the external world, it often requires taking a new look at your internal world – actively challenging and changing who you are and who you want to be.

Sadly people often put more energy into resisting change and preserving the status quo than they do in embracing change. Changing can be hard work. It means taking a risk and stepping into the unknown. Some people fear change because they believe that they might lose what they have – even though what they have has long lost its lustre or may be nothing meaningful to them at all. For many people change means taking responsibility and ending years of blaming others, being a victim, or living in denial or in a state of apathy.

Everyone feels fear at some stage in their life, but the truly successful people nip it in the bud before it takes hold and strangles a joyful life from them – much like the noxious weed convululous sucks the life from flowers in the garden. Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and do it Anyway summarises some of the fearful experiences people feel:

  • Don wants to change his career of 14 years and follow his dream of becoming an artist, but he fears the loss of his salary.
  • Mary Alice is an actress who wants to discover why she finds all kinds of excuses for not attending auditions.
  • Sarah wants to leave a marriage of fifteen years but is afraid of being alone.
  • Ted wants to get over his fear of ageing. He is all of thirty-two.
  • Jean is a senior citizen who wants to confront her doctor; he treats her like a child and never gives her any “straight” answers.
  • Patti wants to expand her business, but can’t make the required leap into the next step.
  • Rebecca wants to confront her husband with things that    have been bothering her.
  • Kevin wants to get over a fear of rejection that makes it   very difficult to ask a woman for a date.
  • Laurie wants to know why she is unhappy when she has    everything one could possibly want in life.
  • Richard is retired and feels useless. He fears his life is over…

And so it goes until everyone’s story is heard. The tension quickly fades and relief is expressed on everyone’s face. First, my students begin to realise they are not the only ones in the world feeling afraid. Second, they begin to see how attractive people become as they open up and share their feelings. Long before the last person has spoken, a feeling of warmth and camaraderie pervades the room. They are strangers no more. Although the backgrounds and situations of the class members vary greatly, it does not take long for the surface layers of their particular stories to disappear, opening the way for everyone to touch on a very human level.’

The common denominator is the fact that fear is keeping all of them from experiencing life the way they want to experience it.


Courage – seven ways to feel the fear and do it anyway

 Overcoming Your Fears

“You can’t possibly hit the ball when you are thinking of all the ways you can miss.”

Ultimately, everything we do in our lives is driven by our fundamental need to avoid pain and our desire to gain pleasure: both are biologically driven and are, whether we are aware of them or not, controlling force in our lives. Pain is a great motivator! We will do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. Often, it is not until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of making a change, that people find the motivation to change.

 1.) Feel the pain

 Step into your future – what will your life look like, how will you feel if the status quo remains. Clarify by listing or identifying the pain of remaining the same. Hate your job – what will happen if you stay stuck? Over your relationship or yearn to be with someone you love – what will life feel like if you don’t take a risk and make a change? Ask yourself, ‘and what else? And what else? Until your list is exhaustive.

 2.) Affirm for what you want

Let desire drive you. What do you want more of in your life? How will your life be different, better? Get clear about your preferred future and then affirm for what you want by saying out loud what you wish to be true. See below for a few tips on how to construct powerful affirmations:

Guidelines for Constructing Affirmations[1]

 1 . An affirmation should be short, simple, and direct. “I believe in myself” is preferable to “There are a lot of good qualities I have that I believe in.”

2. Keep affirmations in the present tense (“I am prosperous”) or present progressive tense (“I am becoming prosperous”). Telling yourself that some change you desire will happen in the future always keeps it one step removed.

3. Try to avoid negatives. Instead of saying “I’m no longer afraid of public speaking,” try “I’m free of fear about public speaking” or “I’m becoming fearless about public speaking.” Similarly, instead of the negative statement “I’m not perfect,” try “It’s O.K. to be less than perfect” or “It’s O.K. to make mistakes.” Your uncon­scious mind is incapable of making the distinction between a positive and a nega­tive statement. It will respond to a negative statement in the same way as a positive affirmation (for example, “I’m not perfect” becomes “I am perfect”).

4. Start with a direct declaration of a positive change you want to make in your life (“I am making more time for myself every day”). If this feels a little too strong for you just yet, try changing it to “I am willing to make more time for myself.” Willingness to change is the most important first step you need to take in order to actually make any substantial change in your life. A second alternative to a direct declaration is to affirm that you are becoming something or learning to do some-thing. If you’re not quite ready for a direct statement such as, “I’m strong, confi­dent, and secure,” you can affirm “I am becoming strong, confident, and secure.” Again, if you’re not ready for “I face my fears willingly,” try “I’m learning to face my fears.”

5. It’s important that you have some belief in—or at least a willingness to believe in your affirmations. It’s by no means necessary, however, to believe in an affirmation 100 percent when you first start out. The whole point is to shift your beliefs and attitudes in favour of the affirmation.

3.) Find out what stops you

What’s stopping you? List all the obstacles – real and imagined that stand in your way. What’s your biggest obstacle. This is your rock. Swarm all over it by identifying possible solutions and taking constructive action until you have cracked your ‘rock’ and turned it into dust.

4.) Challenge your fears

I love the acryonym FEAR – Fantasised, Experiences, Appearing, Real. When we are fear based we have a tendency to catastrophise and imagine the worst that can happen. Work with this positively – what’s the worst that can happen? Is that realistic? Where’s your evidence for that? If reaslistic, would that be so bad? How can you minimise the likeihood of your worst fear happening.

Are you prepared to do a Dr. Suess, and try, try again? Gathering examples of people who have turned failure into success is incredibly empowering and motivating. Where on earth did you learn that failing is bad? It’s only bad when getting something wrong stops you in your tracks. Learn and grow and power up for your next attempt!

5.) Harness the power of neuro-associations

 Whatever pleasure or pain we associate or “link” to a situation, creates specific thought patterns which trigger specific parts of our brain or neuro system. As a consequence, not only do these associations trigger feelings but the pleasure or pain we associate to a situation also stimulates neuro-response which determine our behaviour. That’s why it’s so critical to take control of your thoughts.  Through gaining greater awareness of your current neuron-associations you can break the pattern of allowing your unconscious conditioning or patterns to control you.

Before you can harness the power of neuro-associations three things need to be in place: 1.) a commitment to change 2.) changing current behaviours 3.)  and conditioning new, empowering associations by overriding old associations, installing new choices and reinforcing new habit are formed.

Do this and you’ll be conditioning your mind for success.  If you then link pleasure to this new choice by reminding yourself of all the benefits that will flow and reinforcing these new habits with an emotional reward (something you buy or do for yourself that makes you feel good), you’ll find that your new associative patterns will take root more quickly.

 Mary’s story: from career rut to freedom
Even though Mary yearned for the freedom of being her own boss she was afraid of leaving her salaried job. She associated self-employment with financial suicide. Conditioning her mind to success she began to challenge her assumptions and to to actively look for examples of people who were flourishing as entrepreneurs. She was heartened to discover many examples of people who had excelled financially once they’d left their salaried jobs. She further intensified positive associations by reminding herself of the joy, creativity and self-fulfilment self-employment would enable her to experience, and the liberation of working from home and enjoying better worklife balance while her son was young. She made an action plan of steps she needed to walk on the road to success and rewarded herself with special things for her home office each time she ticked off a task, such as researching competitors, meeting with collaborators and finishing her business plan. Furnishing her office intensifed positive associations and she really yearned to spend more time at home. Things really took off for her when she created a business card and started ‘acting as if’ she was already full-time in her new self-employed role. People started requesting and paying for her services, and having gained confidence she started reducing her hours, and within months took the leap and quit her job. “I can’t believe I’m living my dream,” she told me, “I’m so lucky.”   The truth is Mary ‘created’ her luck through all the positive changes she made – all supported by a fundamental mindset change.

6.) Plan for success

“Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” ~Mark Twain

It’s not NASA Science to know fortune favours the prepared. Motivator Guru, Anthony Robbins, is amongst the many people who have studied what separates successful people from what he calls ‘life’s losers’. His view is clear: in order to gain greater personal success and fulfilment you must learn to control the motivating forces of pain and pleasure.

How can you minimise the likelihood of your worst fear happening? What strategies can you employ to minimise risk? What the best that could happen? How can you plan for success? Break it down into manageable chunks. What steps – big and small need to happen and when to increase the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.

Years ago as a single parent I dreamed of being my own boss. Yes, the fears were real – I worried no clients would come, I worried that without a guaranteed income I would starve – and many other worries that went round and round in my head. But the pain of remaining stuck in a job that didn’t fulfil me was taking a toll. It was hard to get leave to look after my daughter in the seeminly never ending school holidays. It was soul-destroying seeing others take credit for my work and having a boss who micro-managed me. I yearned for more freedom, autonomy, creativity and to work less and earn moreJ.

Over the course of a year I planned for success – researching the market, upskilling, approaching the Dominion Post and then successfully writing my careers column to build market awareness, and then finally having calculated the risks of self-employment and planned for success made a leap. Man, what a fulfilling, life-affirming leap it was too!

7.) Visualise creatively

Visualisation is the creation of a clear mental picture of the goal that you desire.  Make a clear mental picture and then imagine or “image” the goal as already realised.  See it as a reality and play that picture over and over on the screen of your mind until you can see it with perfect clarity.  Draw it out or do whatever is necessary to create that mental picture.  Think about it over and over and over again until you impress it deeper and deeper and deeper into your subconscious.

Before you start visualising your goal achievement/success in your mind you may wish to write your vision down.  Remember to write it in the present tense as though it is already a reality: Another option is to create a vision board or passion journal and place images that reflect your preferred future.

One of the things many people would love to do is to be their own boss – either by employing themselves or starting a business. One of the common things standing in their way is fear. If this sounds like you, you may like to check out 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


Paul Brodie review Employ Yourself Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 5.26.06 pm

Barry Watson review Employ Yourself Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 5.26.58 pm

Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself) is filled with inspiration and stories from people like you. They dreamed more for their life and  -felt the fear and succeeded anyway. In Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself) they share their fear slaying strategies with you. Available for instant download from Amazon.


Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Employ yourself: How to start a business

Your Beautiful Business


“For great brands to survive, they must create Loyalty Beyond Reason…The secret is the use of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.”

~ Kevin Roberts, former CEO worldwide of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi

 I’m sending you big love today – Valentine’s Day. I’m dedicating myself to love this weekend by being with the people I love and surrounding myself with the things I love – including many beautiful memories. The story below is from my archives of inspired entrepreneurs living and working with passion!

This gorgeous young lady is a polenta diva – running her own business in the time-honoured tradition of her ancestors. Many visitors to Puglia avoid the ancient sea-port town of Puglia. Preferring instead the tranquil vines and olive groves of rural Puglia. Many have been told that Bari is dangerous; that if they venture out, they will surely be robbed.
Lucky for me, I was on a photography workshop with Carla Couslon where I met some very adventurous and non-too-timid ladies. Carried by our passion for photography we intrepid enthusiasts chased our dream to capture the sensuous passions of the pasta ladies of Bari. Made infamous by foodies Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver  who also trekked across the world to soak up their charms these self-employed ladies are a wonder to behold.
They take their pasta (and polenta) seriously. This is not just pasta, this is their pride, the work they have been doing for decades and the source of culinary delight at their tables, and those who buy their delicious pasta every day. I was so blessed to have stepped into this enchanting realm and for a moment in time to lose myself in their passion-filled. Never have I, or will I again, taste polenta so magnifico, nor so freshly cooked either.

Many of us mid-lifers were never educated, encouraged or inspired to be our own boss. Yet employing yourself is a time-honoured tradition, a rite of passage, the ‘norm’ for so many. What is there to fear – only fear itself. Let desire, let passion, let love propel you forward into the wonderful world of self-employment.  One of the best and simplest (and safest) ways is to learn from others who have been there, done that, and gone back for more!

If you’d love to learn how to choose, create and grow an inspired and inspiring business, or just ready about people who do, check out my latest book: Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Available at the beautiful price of $0.99 for a limited time.

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
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

How to build a business you love

Despite the Risk“I set out to build a business network that was different; a supportive, caring environment where women were inspired to grow, celebrated their achievements and could thrive amongst like-minded women who were all committed to succeed.”

I’m so excited to be sharing Vanessa Davey’s inspiring story of creating her successful business on a shoe-string with feminine based values of love, collaboration, empowering relationships and inspiring others to succeed. Vanessa is the founder and managing director of Venus Network, a business networking organisation for women.

I wanted work I loved
I started my businesses because I wanted work I loved. I wanted to wake up in the morning and be excited about my day. I was in an administration job and I just didn’t feel that way. I knew there was a greater reason for me being here, alive today.

I searched through the job wanted sections, and job vacancy websites but I couldn’t find anything that suited me or that I was qualified in. So I felt the only option was to start as a contractor so I could have freedom with what I did.

My determination that I wanted a job I loved, and the belief that this is our one life and I might as well see how much fun I could have, gave me the confidence to leave my job and the security of a regular salary.

Deciding what to do
I had been asked to help a couple of people with some professional organising when I was in the UK – that was my first taste of a high hourly rate.

I used the professional organising hat to travel and fund my way through 18 months of travel in America. When I finally made the decision to come home, although I went back into employment, it wasn’t long before I was making the decision to step out and start something on my own.

I contracted as a professional organiser for a few months but New Zealand is such a tiny place, plus we’re a huge DIY nation, back then I soon realised it wasn’t going to fly for a profitable business.
I had tried networking to get some clients and found that I really enjoyed the women I met, but didn’t enjoy the types of networking that were available.

So I had the idea to start my own place where I would enjoy networking. And Venus was born. It’s ironic that I don’t really enjoy networking. It’s exhausting and I find it draining.

The older I get, the less extraverted I am, which is changing my preferences around work. I knew that if I wanted to network in a more feminine way, then other women may want to do the same. So I put the word out and within a few weeks launched my first networking group. We now have 49 groups around New Zealand with a further 11 planned to launch this year.

Loving the creative freedom and living my values
I love almost everything about owning my own business. I love the freedom of making it how I choose. Plus I have a great set of skills that match business ownership…

You can read more of Vanessa’s story and those of other inspired, and inspiring, entrepreneurs in my soon-to-be released book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself.

In Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, you’ll learn:

  • Why successful people work with passion and purpose
  • How to identify your REAL priorities
  • How to decide what to do and find an idea that will be successful
  • How to find the right product for the right market
  • How to create a passion-driven business on shoe-string and still pay your mortgage
  • How to identify your signature strengths and beat any skills gaps
  • How to start a business with zero start-up capital and finance your career
  • How to start your business with a ‘career combo’
  • How to maintain cashflow and create a healthy profit
  • How to create and enjoy freedom of life style
  • How to maintain balance and avoid burnout
  • How to overcome the fear of failure, boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change
  • How to replicate proven marketing systems and sales strategies that Amazon bestselling authors and other successful business people use every day to find customers
  • How to create a Love Mark and Loyalty Beyond Reason
  • How to escape the 9-5 drudge, live and work anywhere and join the new rich
  • BONUS: Passion Driven Business Planning Journal Workbook
  • BONUS: Powerful Goal Setting Workbook
  • BONUS: Making Decisions and Choosing Your Best-Fit Career Workbook

If you’re like many people who’d love to be their own boss, but don’t know what you could do, this book will help provide the answers.

If you’d love to grab a copy , or know some else who’d love to start their own business, the following link will take you to the pre-release page, you’ll be prompted to leave your email so I can ensure you’re the first to know when it launches in mid Feb.

P.P.S If you know anyone else who dreams of being their own boss or is interested in starting a business please ask them to complete my quick Employ Yourself survey with them too. 

Here’s the link


Need some inspiration?

Click Here to Download Your Free Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal