Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Stress Less – Sleep Your Way to the Top

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”

~ Arianna Huffington, businesswoman

Time stays long enough for those who use it well and protect it fiercely. But many people either, find it difficult to switch off at night, or they sacrifice their sleep in the mistaken belief they’ll be more productive.

Sleep plays a vital role in your health and wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep helps you maintain your mental and physical health and enhances your quality of life.

Modern science proves conclusively that if you skip out on sleep you’re compromising not just your productivity and efficiency, but also your health.

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a February 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleeping less than seven hours a day, they report, can lead to an increased risk of frequent mental distress, impaired thinking, reduced cognitive ability, and increased susceptibility to depression.

Lack of sleep also increases the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. None of which will aid your quest for happiness and prosperity.

When stress becomes too much, is your quality of sleep affected? The next time you’re worrying and feeling anxious around bedtime, try one of these simple hacks to relax and quieten your mind enough to fall asleep:

Take time to unwind after a stressful day

Before going to bed, take some time out to unwind from the stresses of the day. Allow at least 30 minutes before bed for a quiet, ‘preparing to sleep’ activity. Enjoying a calming cup of herbal tea, listening to soothing music, reading a novel or book of poems (paperback), an aromatherapy bath with lavender and other scented oils, or even a relaxation or meditation practice.

Clear mental clutter

If you have the events of the day or other issues running through your head before bedtime, start writing them down in a journal for you to revisit later. The simple act of writing down your troubles – and noting how you feel about them in that moment – can help you make sense of the root cause of your problem and free up some space for more important activities like sleeping.

Schedule time to worry

If you want to sleep better, you need to empty your mind of all thoughts, tasks and stresses. Another way to clear your mental chatter is to ‘box your worries’ by scheduling in dedicated ‘worry time’. This is a programmed time that is dedicated to – you guessed it – worrying. A scheduled 30-minute window in your day allows you, and even encourages you, to think constructively through the problem.  Many of my clients tell me that when their ‘worry time’ comes around their issue has disappeared or become less important.

If the issue is still lingering, by granting yourself some time to focus on the issue worrying you, you’re forced to either formulate a solution, or to let it go.

Be proactive and create a to-do list

Another active way to clear your head and get to bed is with a master to-do list. Write down ‘things to do’ in a list in your diary so that you don’t need to keep thinking about them over and over. This is why planning your ‘tomorrow’ the day before is also an effective strategy. You can sleep well knowing that you have your bases covered. This also minimises decision fatigue.

Did you know that humans are only capable of keeping seven to nine different things in our working memory at once? When you try to recall all the tasks you need to complete, this uses up valuable mental energy and can prevent you from sleeping soundly.

Creating a list transfers your chores from your mind to the page (paper or digital), freeing up valuable brainpower. You’ll be better able to analyse tasks and prioritise, delegate, or even eliminate some of them. It’s a win-win success strategy.

Numerous studies reveal that a to-do list can also make you happier. Don’t sweat it if  you don’t manage to cross everything off your list, the act of compiling one can still help you reach your goals, manage your stress levels and help you relax enough to get some well-earned sleep time.

Disconnect

You can also enhance your sleep by turning off all devices and leaving them outside your bedroom.

“I will not sleep with my phone in my room,” Jessie Burton, the author of The Muse, shared on one of her blogs. After suffering from burnout and severe anxiety she created a not-to-do list to restore and protect her mental health.

In the next chapter, you’ll dive deeper and uncover the life-changing benefits of unplugging, taking control of technology and enjoying regular digital detoxes.

Call to Action

If lack of sleep is keeping you awake and night, and making you tired during the day consider reading and applying the strategies in Arianna Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.

Be ruthless about prioritising your well-being. Remind yourself of the benefits that flow while you sleep, and when you enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness 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.

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Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Are you ready to quit a job you hate? How to stop overthinking and take the leap

Are you ready to quit? Read this inspiring post by a woman I am training to be a Worklife Solutions Coach—Lucy O’Connor from Monday Hustle.

The day I did what people tell you not to

Monday Hustle’s Diary

Today, I resigned.

It’s fine. I’ll be fine. We’ll survive this. Me AND my bank account. I’ll have to suffer through a few ‘better not’ moments at the dairy counter, dissuade my friends out of a coffee catch up in favour of a ‘lovely walk’ (I hate walking),  and take the T out of TopShop for a while. But it ain’t all about the money honey. It’s about the flippin’ Dream. And I’ve always been a firm advocate for The Dream (spelt with capital letters cause that’s how important it is). I buy into all those clichés (not literally, cause I can’t afford any more) – life’s too short, the world is your oyster, you can be anything you want to be. Because sister, what else is the point??!! I’m 25 now and I gotta give the dream some room to move. I’ve spooned The Dream while it slept for too long. It’s time to gently shake it awake, welcome it into the real world, and let it get on with what it needs to do to not only survive but thrive (first Bridesmaids reference).

Right now, I have a great job in sales, which any beginner would kill for – I am working for a great company, around great people, doing something that society says ‘I should be grateful for’ because someone would kill to have my job. But therein lies the problem. Someone else would love to have my job. Overall, I’m not happy with my situation. I have been working in the role for a year which isn’t that long in the scheme of life, but you know what? That’s a year of not being 100% happy, a year of waiting for something else to happen, a year of my where I have been distracted from putting my dreams into action.

So many people get ‘stuck’ on a path because they keep getting opportunities, they are good at something, they don’t back themselves to do something else. But I’m determined to give The Dream a chance. We each have a certain uniqueness to offer and no two of us are exactly alike. So we have an opportunity – to be the best possible version of ourselves and try to crack whatever it is we actually want to do with our lives. We can’t be the best possible version of someone else’s Dream. But we are the masters of our own. For most of us, we aren’t going to get that golden ticket lying down and waiting for it.

So today, I decided to practice what I preach. I’m going out into the real world with my passion, my drive and the small amount of money I have in my bank account. I’m starting the chase right bloody now. If I commit myself to being the best possible version of me, and direct my energy towards The Dream, that surely is the recipe for a fulfilling life with very few regrets. It’s not going to always be easy, and it won’t always be fun, but it will always be alive – and hopefully, eventually, something’s gotta give. Will you join me in the hustle to be your best self? Cause girl, you gotta hustle. Even on the most uninspiring day of the week. #MondayHustle

#MondayHustle

“Stop overthinking and take the leap.”

Read more about Lucy’s inspiring career change here >>http://worklifesolutions.nz/lucys-reinvention-story-hustling-her-way-into-a-new-career/

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Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Your personal invitation to a free, life-changing online event…

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? Take a sneak peek at some of the amazing experts here and see my book Mid-Life Career Rescue featured on American Television  (8 minutes 45 seconds in)

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.

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

How to harness the power of love


But as Nick Williams shares in the foreword to my book, Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life  “No-one ever told me when I was growing up that something I loved could be a career.”

Most of us can relate to that: doing something you loved and then getting paid for it simply wasn’t a career option that we were aware of or encouraged into. Too many of us believe that work needs to be a relentless and life long activity doing something we’d rather not be doing, but that we have little choice over. We just have to do it to survive. And as long we are not enjoying it, are suffering, bored, stressed or are sacrificing ourselves, then that is real work, and we deserve to be paid for it. 

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. 

Which is why I’ve collated a few of my favourite posts over the years—to share my love and great conviction that no matter what your age or stage you can live and work with love.

“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 is one of life’s great joys,” says Nick.

And he echoes what we know to be true. Even if you don’t think it’s possible for you, these inspiring stories may awaken the courage and tenacity to make your dreams come true.

1.) Turning Her Dream into a Reality—Reinventing Joy Again. This story is close to my heart…it’s about my mom. And it proves that you don’t have to have a background in something or formal training to turn your passion into a profitable career. ““They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible, she says.” Read more here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/success-story-turning-her-dream-into-a-reality-reinventing-joy-again/

2.) Have you considered starting a business on the side while holding down your job and then taking the leap to self employed bliss? Choose and grow your own business with confidence by reading inspiring stories of others who have made the leap to more love, and less career ground hog day. Here’s a calorie-free example to wet your appetite >> Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

3.) As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares in this Mid Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy, when you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your true Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable. Read Annie’s story here >>


4.) Oh I do so love people with healthy obsessions—passionate people are vitamins for the soul. David Styles is nuts about water lilies. It’s such a passion that he’s nearly run out of room for them all—so now he has bathtubs overflowing with all his loves. Check out this fabulous ‘bathhouse’ and more about how a healthy obsession can be a liberating thing here http://www.cassandragaisford.com/david-loves-lilly/

5.) Love attracts love—when you follow your passion wonder go-incidences happen. One of my great loves is Leonardo da Vinci and his portrait of Lisa del Giocondo (nee Gherardini)—more universally known as The Mona Lisa. So obsessive is my interest into this painting that my partner often jokes that there are three of us in our relationship: Me, him and The Mona Lisa. Happily for me Lorenzo feeds my addiction by sourcing helpful research and inspiring me daily. Read more here >> 

Do you need more encouragement? Thoughts do become things. Scientists Gregg Braden and also Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, have evidenced this. But hope can only flourish when you believe that what you do can make a difference, that you recognise that you have choices, and that the your actions can create a future which differs from your present situation. To boost your hope muscles turn to this post—inspired by Leonardo da Vinci >> 21 Ways to Turn Your Thoughts to Hope

I hope you’ve enjoyed these wee morsels of temptation. 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.

There’s loads more inspiration on my blogs and in my books. Where ever you are, who ever you are may love infuse your day.

These stories were excerpts from the following books by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to harness the power of love and follow your passion to prosperity, click the links below to your online bookshop.

Midlife Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late 

 Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love 

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci)

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

How to reinvent your career and your life: Pivot—change careers and live again

Creating Your Past and Your Future: Celebrate Your Audacity

What amazing feedback one of my client’s Lisa Conroy received! Incredible! So proud of her – living and working as she does with passion and purpose! Her success story is just one of many that have enriched my life this year – I’m thankful that having trained her to become a life coach that I have been able to play a small part in her success. Lisa proves that when you follow your bliss, life really can be a wonderful Box of Chocolates. Check out the feedback below.

As we near year end, it’s a great time to celebrate your wins, lick a few wounds, and resolve to create an extra-ordinary future.

The chances are high that you’re a lot like me—I didn’t inherit a fortune, I’ve had more than my share of challenges, and like waves in a storm, there’s always more hurdles to surf. But successful people, like Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci, and the guy on the street corner praying he can make his mortgage, we keep swimming against the tide of mediocrity.

So take a moment, recollect, note and recall all the things you’ve achieved, all the dreams you’ve dared to dream, all the trials you’ve weathered—and most of all celebrate just how fabulous you are.

Like the lady who wrote to me (below) and reminded herself she already was successful—she has a wonderful husband, beautiful children….and a kind and generous heart.

Fortune favors the kind…and the audacious!


Are you looking for more inspiration or the ultimate Christmas gift?

if you still need a career rescue, or know someone that does, you’ll love my new books – plenty of inspiration for young and older


Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here:
getBook.at/CareerRescue

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

I just received the most amazing feedback re The Art of Success – brought tears of joy to my blue eyes

“Hi Cassandra, I just had to tell you how much your Coco Chanel book means to me. I can’t even express all the emotions I am feeling right now. First of all, I never realized how much I have in common with her. Abandoned by my father, daughter of a narcissistic mother (which is like not having a mother at all). I’m also a Leo. Second, I relate to so many of her characteristics, as well. I’m fiercely independent and strong-willed, but riddled with doubts. Reading this book was like looking into a mirror for me; one that reflects both my past and my future. Your book is an answer to the prayer I’ve had in my heart recently. I will be referencing it often. I have so much to work on concerning myself, and I see this book as a much-needed tool to help me move past the limiting beliefs I can’t seem to let go of. The quote about living a life with a husband and children and people you love? That helped me to realize that I am already a success in Coco Chanel’s eyes. SO EMPOWERING!!!!! Thank you so much for the gift of this book.”

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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

How to Make a Successful Career Change

liberate-yourself-this-fall

I received this message from a lady in the US today in response to my Are You Happy at Work Survey:

“Besides my boss, I very much like and respect the people I work with. I’m challenged by the environment but mostly get off a bit on that challenge. However, I find myself deeply resentful of my status. To experience more happiness, I’d need a change in status: from contractor to FTE. Which would result in better compensation, more security, and room to grow. In addition, I do a great deal of reporting which I can do but don’t have either aptitude nor enjoyment in. Finally, I feel like little I do has a positive impact and I’d like to better be involved with making a positive impact.”

Feeling “deeply resentful” exerts a toxic toll on anyone’s well-being, but it can provide a silver-lining. The seeds of this lady’s Career Rescue are in her comments. To make the negative positive and to gain clarity in the process about your next best step, list the things you want less of, and those you want more of.

Using the example above:

She wants less: reporting, less insecure work, less low pay

She wants more: security, more room to grow, more enjoyment, and to make a positive impact

Drilling down further to make these ‘wants’ more concrete will enable you to begin to identify and manifest your best-fit career toward you. For example, asking and exploring your answers to open-ended generative questions such as: what does a positive impact look like? What kind of positive impact? For who?

Turning negatives into positives
I’ve used a similar strategy in my career, and professionally with my clients. I took my hate of working in an open-plan office, commuting, and being directed by a boss I didn’t respect, and changed it into, working from home, and starting my own business.

Similarly, I’ve quit paid employment jobs that sucked my soul and gone in search of salaried jobs that gave me joy and a deep sense of working with passion and purpose.

So take heart – if you’re not ready to make the leap into self-employment, where there’s pain there is a cure. You just have to name it, and claim it! A willingness to stop banging on about what you don’t like, and a commitment to focusing on what you do want will make all the difference – as will faith, hope and courage.

As Napoleon Hill made famous in his iconic book, “Think and Grow Rich”, ‘Success begins with a person’s will – it’s all in the state of mind.’ The lady who contacted me has already began the first step – she’s started reading books like my, Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. 

You’ll find more tips to help you keep a positive state of mind and clarify what makes you happy in, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy. Available for immediate download less than the price of a cup of coffee – getBook.at/MakeYouHappy.

And all of my other books – to see the full catalogue simply scroll to my author page here Author.to/CassandraGaisford

For my US friends – liberate yourself from a job you hate this fall!

#Happy #careerrescue #CareerChange #CareerCounseling

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Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

how do you define success?

“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.” (1)Many people have asked me how to I define success?

The important question is, ‘How do you define success?’

Below is a range of responses from my The Art of Success Questionnaire.

Do you notice any key themes? Are any success triggers for you?

  • Fulfilment from my own endeavours
  • You can be “in the moment” all the time
  • Living creatively, i.e. making a living off of my creativity, always learning and growing, new experiences and opportunities. Love of family and friends.
  • Validation, self worth
  • Free-will
  • Self contentment
  • Continuous learning
  • Pure happiness and contentment
  • Doing what you love and being good at it
  • Happiness, freedom, security
  • Contentment, respect, lasting, responsibility, ingenuity, purposeful
  • Happiness, joy, flow, money and fire
  • Freedom to live as I please
  • Everything in my life is balanced work, self, mind
  • Freedom
  • It means being happy in what I’m doing, fulfilling my life’s purpose, and being financially stable
  • Happy and fulfilled
  • Doing what you want, when you want with who you want
  • Living a heart centred life, doing what you love, being content
  • A feeling of fulfilment and contentment in all areas of my life
  • Realisation of a worthwhile goal
  • Being happy and living the life you’ve dreamed to live while helping others
  • Success means living a lifestyle that aligns with my values and being true to myself
  • Achieving even my smallest dreams
  • Success is finding your joy in life
  • Being true to myself, happy with where I’m at
  • Continuous growth and making a significant positive impact on people’s lives
  • Being happy to go to work and financially independent
  • Having done pretty much everything I wanted to do by the time I die

How do I define success? Success is finished books! Living a creative, soulful life with the freedom to live my life as I choose, doing something that inspires myself and others. And success is also living a life of no regrets.

“I thought I was learning to live: I was only learning to die,” Leonardo da Vinci once said. He valued wisdom, understanding and freedom of thought, through the pursuit of knowledge gained from his own experience.

Leonardo worked and lived with passion and purpose—following his own curiosities to serving and benefit humanity and to share his knowledge with others. And to live, and die, knowing he had lead a significant life.

“I want to create miracles,” he once wrote. And what a miraculous life of significance he led. Leonardo pursued his visionary principles unto his death, documenting all that he learned to benefit the lives of others. In the process he failed, and failed again. He faced the wrath, scorn and jealously of others. He faced poverty, grief and loss. And at times suffered extreme self-doubt and despair. But he never departed from his course.

Be inspired by Leonardo. Challenge conventional definitions of success and live a life on your own terms. Take the Art of Success Questionnaire here >>

I’ve found the insights people have shared super helpful as I wrote my book The Art of Success. It’s nearly ready to send out to my advance readers, before going to the editor and then to print.


How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life

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Monday, June 13th, 2016

How do you manage the balance between responsibilities to family with pursuing your own desires?

YOU ASK AND I’LL ANSWER

I received this lovely feedback from a lady who took The Art of Success questionnaire—she was asked in this brief survey, “If you could ask me one question related to success what would it be?”

Her reply was, “How do you manage the balance between responsibilities to family with pursuing your own desires?”

hannah and I my graduation

This is such a great question! When I was a single working parent trying to finish my degree this was a real balancing action. And now that I’m in a relationship it’s still a juggling act! 

I shared the above recently on my Facebook page and my daughter responded (without prompting from me). 

Here’s her reply—spontaneously evidencing what one of my bits of  advice would be:

Mum balanced extremely wel

Share your desires with those important to you—chances are they’ll be thrilled for you. That doesn’t always happen straight away. Sometimes people need to see the results or get used to the new you first. But if they love you and you speak your truth and commit to action it will happen.

Focus on the benefits—how will your family benefit when you’re following your passions and desires. What will they notice? What will be different? Importantly, what benefits will flow to you? How will you feel? How will you be different?

Examine your assumptions—another respondent to The Art of Success questionnaire said her biggest obstacle to success was, “guilt as my son is in his final year of school and I feel I need to be here for him”. 

What is she assuming? Where is her evidence? What might be another way she could succeed and still be there for him? How might she prepare for the day when he no longer needs her there? 

Without knowing her situation these are just a few questions (what, where, how etc.) we can all pose to stimulate solutions.

Hannah and I disneylandNegotiate and schedule “me” time—when Hannah was little and wouldn’t stay in bed at night I ‘negotiated’ an agreement with her. If she went to bed at seven and remained in bed, when I had finished my project (at the time these were assignments related to my degree)  I would reward her.

Hannah, as many small children aren’t, wasn’t the easiest to get to stick to her agreement.  I would set the alarm at seven pm.  And she would go to bed. She would get up and I would put her back to bed. I maintained the habit, no compromises, and eventually she complied!

One of the rewards was a trip Disneyland when I actually finished my degree. A promise I delivered on many years later!

Find your sacred space, and/or sacred hour—designate a room or go off site— do whatever it takes to find some space where you won’t be interrupted. Hang a sign on the bedroom door if you need to. Work out the times you’re less likely to be interrupted and schedule this as “your desire time,” or give your dreams a movie title, or some other fun and motivational  name to claim your sacred creative space.

Response-ability—look at the word responsibility. Break it down. Respons-ibility. You have more power than you think.  If your dreams and desires aren’t being prioritised by those around you make it your mission to swarm over this obstacle until you find a solution. You are able to respond differently. You have that power! Ask other successful people who have similar responsibilities. Look for your role models. 

Delegate—everyone in your family has a responsibility to each other.  Delegate chores and tasks and responsibilities so the load is shared. Don’t be too proud, stoic or soft, to ask for help.

Prioritise you—airlines have it right when they tell you to put your mask on first in case of emergency. If putting yourself first is an area you struggle with it’s time to boost your self-love…and perhaps your assertiveness skills.

#Find YourTime-Hack—you may be time challenged but even 15 minutes a day dedicated to your desires can build momentum. Eliminate leakage.  I haven’t had a TV for five years— it’s incredible how much time this has freed up.

Hannah her graduationDon’t settle. Your success will inspire others. Enough said!

I hope that’s been helpful. I’d love to hear what works for you. How do you manage the balance between responsibilities to family with pursuing your own desires?

YOU ASK AND I’ll ANSWER

Take the short success survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DDPJ9MM

HBK5 RenderThe Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed Personally and Professionally will be available in July 2016. To be the first to know and receive a free gift, click here

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Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Don’t let the critics stop you: 7 Tips for Handling Criticism

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” cropped

Do you derail your success by listening too much to, or overly seeking, the opinions of others? Do you let negative feedback stop you in your tracks?

Plenty of successful people have received scathing reviews, rejections and public humiliation from peers and critics, but they persevered with their vision anyway. You’ll know some of the more famous ones. Author J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series was rejected many times by publishers who told her there wasn’t a big market for children’s books. American singer Meatloaf was told that he was too fat to make it big, and no one would want to see him perform Bat out of Hell. It was too operatic and over the top they said. Film producer Peter Jackson was cautioned to stay away from his vision for a trilogy and produce The Lord of the Rings as one normal length movie.

Yet they, and others like them, stayed true to their quest, and all went on to be colossal successes.

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions,” said Leonardo da Vinci. This could be read two ways. The deception could be yours, or it may belong to others who think themselves more knowledgable.

Other people may believe their negative evaluation of you, your ideas, your work. But what if they are wrong? What if your vision, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s was back in the1500’s, is way ahead of the time? I recall it wasn’t so very long ago that the publishing industry said no one would ever read a book on a kindle – let along a phone!

Know when to listen and when to walk away.

Sometimes feedback is helpful. But not if it stops you in your tracks or if you are so consumed with garnering everyones approval you become immobilised. Nobody can stop you except you. You have to ignore your harshest critics. To thy self and to thy vision and belief you must remain true.

Imagine how many of Leonardo’s ideas would never have come to fruition if he’d listened to others. Forge ahead. Blaze your road to success with your victories – even if the victory is just the one you win over your self-doubt, your laziness, your procrastination, your thoughts that you have no talent, or some other self-defeating habit.

What’s worse – the disappointment of criticism and bad reviews, or the bitter, bitter disappointment of a life spent unfulfilled and loaded with regret?

I’m guilty!

I’ve been guilty of letting the opinions of others sway me too much in the past…and I know others do too, which is why I’ve made sure this important point is covered in my book The Art of Success: how extraordinary artists can help you succeed personally and professionally (Available from 4 July on Amazon.)

I realise that most of my life I’ve been seeking validation that I was ‘good enough’ especially when it came to my creativity and in particular my writing. I’ve entered writing competitions, approached editors and story consultants, and other ‘experts,’  in my search to become a successful author. Sometimes the feedback was helpful, but most often I’ve found acting on their advice has taken me further and further away from my authentic voice, and the vision of the stories I wanted to tell.

You’re not good enough – you’re more!

Other people have shared with me that the fear of not being good enough is stopping them from achieving success now. And this often plays out by listening too much to, or overly seeking, the opinions of others. “My own beliefs, some built over the years, many embedded in childhood, are holding me back”, shared one 30 year old women. What we were told as children is often the root cause of the mistaken beliefs we hold today. We’re more than what others think of us. Much more.

Success to this young lady means “validation and self-worth.”

Who controls self-worth? You do! What you say, think, feel and believe about yourself is such a vital component of your success. If you’re self-esteem needs a kick-start, if you mistaken-beliefs are dragging you down – take heart. There are so many skilled professionals who can help your reconnect with your point of brilliance.

What would you do if you thought you would not fail?

If this young lady could do anything, and knew she would succeed, and there were no obstacles, do you know what she would do?

Sing!

How wonderful! She reminds me of a client I had once who felt the same way. “But I’ve got no talent, “ she told me.

‘How do you know? Where’s your evidence?” I asked.

“I just know. I’ve never learned.”

“So how could you learn?” I asked.

And long-story short, she went to singing lessons and has now performed in musicals and sings regularly as her special joyful hobby.

Don’t let the passionless, envious people win.

“You think you can sing, but you can’t,” our neighbours four-year old child, spat out the window when my daughter Hannah, aged four also, was singing happily on the swing.

Hannah stopped singing, ran inside and cried. This same child also cut off Hannah’s long blonde hair when she went to play one day. An innocent game of hairdressers or one driven by jealously or spite?

Regardless, Hannah hasn’t let that stop her from following her path with heart, nor from being kind and compassionate toward others. What she has learned is to choose her company carefully.

What would you do, if fear was no longer an obstacle or you weren’t worried about criticism?

In 1987 the songwriters Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh composed “Come from the Heart” which included the following lyrics:

You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ll never get hurt
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.

Live with passion!

That’s where following your passion comes in. Passion is love in its most powerful and courageous form. I’ve achieved so many things I never thought I was capable of by following my passion – including public speaking to full-capacity audiences around the world. The saying, “Fake it ’till you make it,” always worked well for me. I felt the fear, and I showed up anyway.”

How do you stay strong in the wake of criticism?

Me, I like to keep collections of good reviews and glowing feedback and read them regularly to boost my self-belief and confidence.

Something I need to do more of is self-publish the books rejected by mainstream publishers. This is something I’ve done successfully with my Mid-Life Career Rescue series.

I also love keeping a file of true stories of others who were criticised and succeeded anyway.

And I look at bad reviews and rejections constructively, and ask: “What is this teaching me? Is there something I need to learn?”

I did this following a Amazon review of my first Mid-Life Career Rescue book, where someone wrote that I waffled. As a result I wrote a shorter book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, which became a #1 Amazon bestseller.

Do you fear disappointment?

The respondent to my Art of Success questionnaire, the one who wants to sing, asked me an interesting question, “When you achieve one form of success, how do you not feel disappointed?”

Disappointment following success is not something I’ve thought about. “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant,” artist Georgia O’Keefee (credited with creating the highest-priced artwork by a female artist in history at US $44.4 million) once said, “There is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing – and keeping your unknown slightly beyond you.”

And that’s exactly what Leonardo did. His obsession with discovering new knowledge born from his own direct experience propelled him forward.

  • All life arises out of choice. What choices are you making now?
  • How can you stay strong in the wake of criticism?
  • How can you do more of what’s working for you, and less of what’s not?
  • What can you start and stop doing to boost your chances of success?

Too many people die with regret, burying their wonderful talents in coffins of disappointment. Whether you succeed or fail is irrelevant. Far better to say at least you tried. And who knows – you may just surprise yourself!

Take the success survey: Unlock the secrets to prosperity, find your point of brilliance and empower your success

Would you like to unlock the secrets to prosperity, find your point of brilliance and empower your success? Take the short success survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DDPJ9MM

The Art of Success: how extraordinary artists can help you succeed personally and professionally is available from 4 July on Amazon.

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Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

At a crossroads? It’s time for a fresh approach

This most beautiful card is from a set of oracle cards, called Nature’s Whispers, illustrated by Josephine Wall. An oracle is a potent guide that can you make better choices. Throughout history people have turned to an oracle to help them choose the best course of action. In historical times an oracle was believed only to be accessed via a high ranking priest or priestess. In some cultures certain landmarks were designated as oracles.

A deep belief in the powers of an oracle has spurred many famous people in history to achieve seemingly impossible goals. Kings, queens, geniuses and business people, including Coco Chanel  have founded careers based on oracles like tarot cards. The divinations that were ascribed to oracles were not viewed as ‘fluff,” ramblings or coincidence. They were regarded very seriously. These revelations were not from mere mortals, but believed to come directly from the gods.

In modern times where nothing seems certain, millions of people are turning to oracles once again to help them chart their personal course through life.

Is it time to step out of the box?

It’s time for a fresh approach, to step out of the box and old ways of doing things, the oracle card whispers. Does this speak to you?

Perhaps you’re like me, you’ve achieved success in one path but your soul aches for something new. Perhaps you’re like Cate whose job was so suffocating she quit. She’s definitely up for a new experience!

The card above, challenges us not to default back to the comfort rut, but to look for ways to create more magic in our world.

How to create more magic in your world

How can you create more magic in your world? Do you even believe in magic? Are you a person who refers to the spiritual realm of creativity and imagination as ‘fluff’? Or do you embrace the unseen world of feelings and all things spiritual?

“Do you want me to fluff it up?” A hard-headed, rational man once asked me when I asked him if he had considered my feelings when he made an autocratic decision without talking with me first.

“Oh, you fluffy types,” a boss in my workplace scoffed, when she was unwilling to consider other peoples feelings.

What about you? Do you honour your feelings? Do you listen to your heart? I hope so, this is where magic happens!

To create more magic in your life:

  1. Create with the intention of filling your life with joy, passion, love and happiness etc. Feelings!
  2. Work toward your desires by experimenting and maintaining the wide-eyed, open-hearted curiosity of a child. Try new things. Do new things. Feel new things.
  3. Give up being right. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Magic is lost in the mire of excessive perfectionism. Mistakes bring lessons opportunities, and eureka moments!
  4. Choose love not fear as your decision making criteria. When faced with a choice ask, “Which choice is lighter?” This is one of the ways your intuition speaks to you. “If you could see what’s shimmering in your soul waiting to be set free what would it look like?” Questions like these open up a sense of possibility. Find a quiet space and let your spirit speak to you.
  5. Find your muse and feed her. Venus the goddess of beauty and Isis, goddess of magic are my muses. I feed them by looking for beauty and opportunities to create more magic in my life every day. Dabbling with oracles, aromatherapy, reading metaphysical and spiritual books are just some of the many ways I open my mind and heart to magic. Which god or goddess are you? You may like to take the goddess quiz and find out.
    http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess_quiz/index.html

  6. Who is living a magical life? It may be someone past, present or future who inspires you to follow their path to success. In my writing life I aspire to write as Isabel Allende does, with magical realism.
  7. Value your imagination. This month’s Pisces new moon offers a great gift by strengthening your creative imagination. As Astrologer Kathy Pagano notes, “We spend so much time in our Waking Mind, our rational-deal-with-the-outer-world-mind that we don’t leave any time (except for when we sleep) for our Dreaming Mind.”

    Your dreaming mind works in the magical realms of imagination. Give yourself the gift of time and sit in waking silence. Step into the multi-dimensional worlds where symbols, images and metaphors are the language of magic and where life glitters with meaning and purpose. What does the image above say to you. Really look deeply at Josephine’s beautiful creation – there’s a lot of wisdom waiting for you. Do the butterflies urge you to break free of your cocoon? Does the rainbow encourage you set forth in search of your pot of gold? Does the ocean beckon you to leave the safety of the shore and to swim toward your dreams? Or something else

    It’s the perfect new moon to give rise to your dreams and visions. Pisces, a water sign, forms a doorway to other realms, say Kathy, a way of being which lets you shape-shift into your true, authentic self.

“Each day is like a painting, ” writes Andrei Ridgeway is his book Psychic Living. “When we get out of bed in the morning, we are faced with a blank canvas. We can make anything we want, a Rembrandt, a Picasso, a cartoon. Many of us aren’t aware of this. We reach for the same brush, dip it in the same colour, and add another layer to the picture we have been painting for the last ten years.

“A psychic wakes up differently.  she knows that today she is a different person, that she has grown during sleep, that her cells carry new information. Instead of dipping into the green she used yesterday, she plunges her brush into the pastel blue or the cherry red. She lives as instincts guide her rather than old fears. She might end up in the same office, sitting at the same desk, but she walks and fresh, knowing that within the parameters of her responsibilities, she can be whatever she wants.”

Do you know what you want? What you really, really want?

Everyone has psychic potential. As children this was the realm in which we walked. But all to soon we were scolded to “grow up.”

But the key to living a magical life is to recapture the spirit of childhood, maintain a playful curiosity (as Leonardo da Vinci did), tune into your instincts and listen to your heart. Follow your interests and enthusiasms and  be open to new pathways to learning.  Above all, trust your path with heart. She will never fail you.

Manifesting dreams

Many people dream of working in the sanctuary of their home, or while travelling the world. I’ve shared a few of these realities in my four #1 Amazon bestselling books – Midlife Career Rescue and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose all accessible from my author’s page here http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B016LGWES2

So much magic has happened in my life since writing these books and being inspired by the lyrics song an Eagle’s song  and using this as my guiding mantra, “I dream I’m on vacation, it’s the perfect career for me.”

Tomorrow I’m being interviewed by The Travelpreneur Club  in The States – their mission, as mine is, is to inspire others to start, launch, and grow their own location independent business. Freedom! Fun! Passion, purpose and profit – are all possible while working in inspiring locations around the world.

Last month I was interviewed by Vesna Hrsto a Melbourne-based Naturopath, Mind-body Medicine specialist and Life Coach, for her Woman Reinvention Project. You’ll be able to listen to a range of inspiring experts – including me – providing strategies to help you life your best life, when it goes live on March 28th. For more details visit  www.thewomanreinventionproject.com

My story was also included in Jeanette Martin’s very fabulous book, Write Your Book at 50.

All these things happened as if by magic. I didn’t have to leave my idyllic lifestyle property overlooking the Bay of Islands! You’ve heard the saying, when you follow your bliss, doors open for you….

Enter the passion zone and let the doors to magic open for you!

If you’d love some help manifesting more magic in your life, consider scheduling a one hour coaching session with me. Simply email  me cassandra@worklifesolutions.co.nz. I’d love to work with you.

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