Monday, April 6th, 2020

Awesome new ways for job hunters and career changes are waiting for you…

 

“Keep dreaming in colour

And drawing your dreams

On cement floors

Until they are realised.”

~ Alicia Keys

For years  I have been passionate about passion. For a long time, I made a career from this by working as a career and a life coach. Something I still do – but less and less. Largely because my other passion is writing. It wasn’t until mid-life that I finally figured out how to generate income doing what I love – writing, researching and helping others.

I got my first break when one of New Zealand’s largest newspapers the Dominion Post ran with my idea to share career advice with their readers. What started as a short-term gig ran for over four years. During this time many people wrote to me asking me to compile my career advice into a book.

Voila. Here it is. Short, sweet articles that combine practical tips with inspirational true-life stories of how people have applied the strategies I’ve shared in my columns and in coaching sessions.

“I say we change through desperation or inspiration,” says Nick Williams.”The idea that you could do something joyful, that you love, that you’re happy doing and get paid for it is just not in most people’s consciousness.”

As I write, the world is in lock-down. The Coronavirus has forced a rethink for many people around the world. Careers once thought enduring have disappeared and may never return. It seems no one is untouched.

It would be easy, but dangerous, to give up on feeling happy at work. Being unhappy at work is bad for our health, our relationships, and our careers. Now more than ever we need to reinvent our careers and our lives and place happiness centre-stage.

You may feel like Laura, who wrote to me, “I just thought this was a good opportunity for me to re-assess work options as I think my priorities have changed over the last few years.”

Or, Ray, who is a pilot and about to be laid off. “What else can I do?”

Perhaps you are blessed with financial security but yearn to do something meaningful and find your calling and purpose.

Whatever your reasons, you’ll find plenty of practical and inspiring career changing tips and job hunting strategies in Happy at Work—including employing yourself.

We’re all getting older. And bolder. We want to feel happy, not insecure and stressed. We know we have more in our mid-life tanks. We want to do what we love when we ‘grow up’ and still pay the bills.

I’ve always found reading about other people pursuing their passions, and overcoming significant obstacles in the process, has inspired me to act on my own heart’s desire. I hope reading Happy at Work will inspire you to make some positive and fruitful changes in your life too.

For convenience, I’ve divided Happy at Work into three vital stages: Dreaming. Discovering. Succeeding. Be wary of rushing to succeeding. Stages one and two will help ensure you are excelling at something worth living for.

If anything, COVID-19 has taught us all that life can be short. While we’re here let’s give living our best life a serious shot!

GRAB YOUR COPY OF HAPPY AT WORK NOW FOR THE REDUCED PRICE of $3.99. Available for pre-orders and purchases prior to midnight 9 April. Releases 8 April

 

To purchase on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/HappyAtWork

To purchase on iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>

 https://books2read.com/u/31G55D

To purchase on Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/happy-at-work-for-mid-lifers

AUDIO COMING SOON!

 

 

Be Happy at Work!

What readers are saying

“I have recently been told my role has been disestablished and I will be made redundant – what an awful term. I have found Happy at Work 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.” ~Keith Lewis

“We have been thumbing through Cassandra’s new release, certainly a much-needed guide for so many out there today, inspirational, I am already soaking up some of her wisdom. Like good wine, it makes the heart glad.” ~ Joan W.

“Today I went for an interview at the hospital for the two positions I have applied for. I have read lots of your book and it helped me hugely. I let my passion shine, had a great answer when they asked about my weak points and I definitely let them know I wanted the job…and I got it!” ~ Julie Millar

“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. I know Cassandra as a fellow spirit and friend. She was with me on the island of Maui participating in my Sumi ink workshops. I have experienced with her some of her mid-life passages. I trust her, respect her, and understand that her book is invaluable. I urge you to utilize 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.” ~ Max Gimblett, visual artist

“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. Those who have found what they were born to do usually have usually developed a generosity of spirit and want to hold a hand out to others who are still searching. In this book, Cassandra has done just that. Out of the blessings she has won for herself, she shares generously with you where to look, and what signposts to follow. She guides you to trust yourself to be able to bring your inner and outer worlds together, so that how you make your living in a way that reflects who you are and what is precious to you.

Enjoy this book and let it guide you to the work that is in your heart to do.” ~ Nick Williams, author and work philosopher, London, UK

Your new book looks really EXCITING and INTERESTING – so well done! It’s full of EXCELLENT material, pitched at a practical level, which will be the key to its success” ~ Paul, HR manager

Really good stuff, needed stuff. Cassandra helps you to learn who you are and what you want to be ‘when you grow up.’ This book is of maximum benefit.” ~ Joe Gutje, investment banker, New York

WOW! Happy at Work is fantastic so far. It’s so easy to read.” ~ Wendy.

Your book looks incredible! Very inspiring” ~ Anne, registered occupational psychologist

“I like the layout. There are not big blocks of text which could bore the reader. The material flows nicely and your use of quotes is really effective. Cassandra makes you think and reflect. I think it is really good and interesting. I showed it to my boyfriend and it has got him thinking about what he really wants to do with his life.” ~ Sophie, systems analyst, London

This is excellent and very timely. I can already think of several clients that can benefit from this book.”~ Beth Gallego, career practitioner

“You have probably heard all this many times before, but at 55 yrs and with 38 yrs of full-time work behind me, 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, the Michael Hill biography and Lyn Grabhorn’s Your Life is Now are a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence. Then there are a few good friends who at the moment have become very important to me. Honestly, your book Happy at Work is a treasure.” ~ Keith Lewis

Good on you for doing this project – it will take peoples attention off what is and place it upon what they would like – doing so you have given them a helping hand – how very cool.” ~ Mark Olsen, artist

 

 

GRAB YOUR COPY OF HAPPY AT WORK NOW FOR THE REDUCED PRICE of $3.99 (eBook). Available for pre-orders and purchases prior to midnight 9 April.

 

To purchase on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/HappyAtWork

To purchase on iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>

 https://books2read.com/u/31G55D

To purchase on Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/happy-at-work-for-mid-lifers

 

Available in EBook, paperback —AUDIO COMING SOON!

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Start strong! Make 2020 your best year yet! Discover freedom, find happiness & change your life

 

Could you do anything if you only knew what truly makes you happy?

Do you want to find your purpose and true calling?

Feeling stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed or depressed?

Get off the treadmill. Break free of being a salary slave. Make the leap to a more fulfilling career in 2020 and beyond. Career Change 2020: Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love will show you how.
The Career Change 5 Book-Bundle Box Set includes celebrated career change expert Cassandra Gaisford’s  (BCA, Dip. Psych) more popular and successful career-changing books.

Book One: Midlife Career Rescue: The Call For Change, will help you:

  • Strengthen your creative, outside of the square, thinking skills to discover a job you love
  • Flame the embers of inspiration and passion
  • Overcome current stress and symptoms of burnout
  • Master the fear of failure, boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change

Book Two: Midlife Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy, will help you:

  • Explore and clarify your passions, interests, life purpose, values, transferable skills, and natural gifts and talents
  • Identify ways to beat any skills gaps
  • Build a strong foundation for career happiness and success by identifying your criteria for job and life satisfaction
  • Have the courage to quit, or fall back in love with a job, you’ve come to hate

Book Three: How To Find Your Passion and Purpose, will show you:

  • Why successful people follow their passion, not their pension
  • How to identify your real priorities
  • How working with passion can cure many modern-day ills – depression, anxiety, overwhelm, and boredom
  • How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths
  • How identifying your PPT will reveal your life purpose and true calling
  • How to follow your bliss to increase profit, peace, and prosperity

Book Four: Midlife Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, will help you discover:

  • How to decide what to do and find an idea that will be successful
  • How to create a passion-driven business and still pay your mortgage
  • How to start a business with zero start-up capital and finance your career
  • How to develop a side-hustle and monetize a hobby or interest you love
  • How to escape the 9-5 drudge, live and work anywhere and join the new rich

Book Five: Stress Less. Love Life More, will show you:

  • How to stop worrying, reduce anxiety, eliminate negative thinking and find happiness
  • Why following your bliss provides stress relief
  • How to tune into your body barometer
  • How to anticipate potential stressful things before they occur
  • Practical methods for managing common and extraordinary stressors
  • How to build life-affirming coping strategies
  • How to rediscover joy and love life again

 

Save Now! 5 books that will change your life—for the price of one.

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/CareerChange2020Box

Bonus excerpts from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose and The Little Princess

Don’t Settle…find joy and success in the RIGHT career

Give yourself or someone you love the gift of career nirvana in 2020 and beyond!

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Monday, November 11th, 2019

Easy, Inspiring Ways to Whip Yourself Out of a Rut in Your Life, Relationships and Career

“Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul,

and then walks grinning to the funeral.”

Kahil Gibran, Writer

Many people trade off their deeper joy for material comforts and status that can only ever give fleeting satisfaction. They get stuck in the comfort rut. They settle for their actual self―what’s easy, comfortable, or an area of competence they know. They settle for a stagnant plateau that doesn’t stretch or fulfill them or enable them to grow. Outwardly, they may appear happy and successful but in fact, they are bored, frustrated, and flat.

We all like to be comfortable, to do well and feel a sense of safety and security, but the comfort rut is a bit like staying in bed―you just keep lying around because it feels comfy and familiar. You may convince yourself that you’re happy in maintenance mode, but in your heart you know it’s zapping your energy and it’s time to make the leap to an invigorating change.

Sometimes the signs of being in a rut are not obvious. But there may be other warning signs―emotionally, mentally physically and spiritually―that you should pay attention to. Do any of these sound familiar?

• You don’t feel inspired about your life or work

• You have trouble keeping your focus

• You feel tired, and find it hard to get motivated

• You reminisce about the past, or

• Brood about your future

Can you think of some rut-busters you used in the past to pull you out of a rut in your career or life? What helped you recharge and find new inspiration? Perhaps it was a change in location; making new friends; rediscovering what intrigues you; stepping away from it all; revisiting your goals; taking on a new challenge or learning something novel.

Sometimes the best way to gain a fresh perspective on your career is to step away for a while. Take a long vacation where you unplug from the world and enjoy some time to yourself. When you provide some distance from your life, everything looks clearer and summoning the courage for change is easier.

Security is mostly a superstition designed to keep is safe. As Helen Keller once said, life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

Making a leap into a new life and being true to your ideal self can be the most comfortable, joyful, liberating feeling of all.

How could any discomfort you may be feeling now serve you if you push through?

What rut-busters would help support and invigorate you?

 

When I first started publishing my writing over 15 years ago, I felt completely out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t structure my writing or write succinctly. At first, I compared myself to everyone else, but gradually I learned to relax and enjoy the process of being a beginner again. Now I own my own publishing company, am a bestselling author, and incorporate many helpful writing and creative principles into the way I run and manage my business. But none of this would have happened if I hadn’t found the courage to try writing professionally for the first time.

Everyone gets into ruts. But the best way to pull yourself out is to acknowledge why and when they occur and never pretend the danger-zone isn’t there. A rut can be a wake-up call and a golden opportunity to lean out and lift yourself higher toward a new, exciting direction.

 

This is an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available NOW!

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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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Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

How to hatch a job when all the odds seem stacked against you

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket during your job hunt, spread the quest for success and have a minimum of 6 different options on the go. This will help minimise anxiety and disappointment. I recall being given this tip by a career coach I worked with when I was really unhappy at work and had developed shingles.

The same coach who got me to draw how I felt during the job search process. And, as I shared in my mid-life career rescue books,  I drew the picture of the bird trapped in a cage with the door open but she didn’t think she could fly. My coach cried.

But then she and I developed possible solutions, including applying for a minimum of six jobs even if I didn’t think I had a hope of getting them.

And I didn’t think I had a hope.

I really felt nobody would employee me. But my coach kept me focused on my dreams. She helped me realise what I really needed it in a job to feel happy – at work and in life.

And she help me believe that even though I thought it was impossible…that maybe – and that was a tiny, tiny maybe for me at the time with how I felt – that  maybe I could make my dream career come true.

So I applied for these jobs – even ‘far out’ ones I didn’t think I could get. But I still only had five job applications in my career basket.  So on a wing and a prayer, and because I needed one more to keep my coach off my back, I made a “cold call” (they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them) and approached an organisation that I thought had the integrity and true commitment to caring for people in the workplace  that I really needed and which was lacking in my current role.

And blow me down – if I didn’t get offered  the job I never thought I would get. Plus the company I really wanted to work for didn’t have a job but they created one for me – actually we co-created it, because I was so clear about what I needed and what I could offer. And they were clear about how I matched what they needed to. Proof that when passions collide expect to get hired. In fact they said to me, “Thank you so much for walking in the door.” (so if you’re nervous and feel your imposing on people – don’t be! They’ll be glad you showed initiative – and if they’re not? Move on.)

I became the National Manager of Careerlines for an Employer Assistance Programme provider – a new division which complemented their personal and crisis counselling services. They let me develop a new business, with all the tools and approaches I wanted and felt was important to help people make good career decisions, over stress and trauma in the workplace and find their happy place. My first client was suicidal – so I promptly asked for training to become a professional counsellor – just to be sure I was keeping people safe.

A few years later, with the experience behind me, I began my own business on the side – then went solo a year or so later! Yay!!

So long story short – you gotta dream – you gotta protect it. Even if it means faking it until you make it and applying for jobs when all your feel is despair. Stepping stones not quantum leaps to success!

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Powerful creativity: making space to create

As Courtney Kennedy writes in her new book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “Creativity is the missing ingredient for many of us.” Sometimes a reminder of its importance comes to us when we are most in need. As it did for my step-father Ted, a military man diagnosed with cancer and given only three weeks to live. How did he choose to spend his precious time? Surrounded by the wife and family he loved. And immersing himself in the world of water colour—a passion and talent we never knew existed.

One of the most treasured memories I have of our last weeks together was the time we spent painting, and my sharing with him what little I knew of this alchemical technique. Water colour, like life, flows where it wishes, seeping into the crevices of the pages of the stories we create and adding colour to our lives.

What drives us to create, and why—when it is so good for us—do we leave it so late?

Kennedy suggests, we just haven’t cleared some space— this may be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Ted, like so many people had been waiting for the days when he retired. While he found comfort, peace and a sense of purpose in his creativity— and a legacy in the many memories (and the few paintings) he left—as I watched him paint, a soft smile on his lips, light dancing in his eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder—”what if” …What if he had begun earlier? What if he’d had more time? What if creativity could’ve scare away cancer? In some ways it did. Three weeks became two precious extra years we all shared.

My daughter, a  naturally gifted writer and intuitive healer, shared with her friends:

“3 years ago today the world lost one of its earth angels. He reminded me a lot of how I envision the Archangel Michael.   Someone who was always there. Extremely patient, kind, wise and mysterious.

I was going through some of his medals that Grandma still has the other day. I know his job was always a bit of a mystery but I was taken aback to know that he was the Chief Information Officer for the New Zealand Defence force.

The importance of having a good male role model in a girls life is paramount. This man made so many things possible for not only me but for our family. He married into our family and treated us all like his own.  

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him…when I hear “Hit the Road Jack” on the radio. When I see a sail boat on the harbour or when I go about my day and realise the woman I am becoming today is so greatly shaped by his influence.

Most girls see a hero in her Grandfather more often then not, but this man was like a second father to me.  Cancer is a dreadful disease and Ted I’m so sorry that you were taken from us so early.  It still brings me to tears every time I think about the moments we could have continued to have with you that were robbed from us.

Thinking of you especially today.  I’ll never forget you Edward John Knowsley. 

Xxx Hannie”

Hannah’s  heartfelt sharing reminded me of several things—the power of creativity to leave a legacy and, importantly the power of speaking from one’s heart.  And also of the way natural gifts, so readily apparent in our childhood, if nurtured can blossom and bear many, many years of fruit. Clues to passion and also to your soul purpose can come in many forms—in rekindled memories of a hobby loved in childhood, as it did for Ted. But also other people’s unsolicited praise, as feedback Hannah received below, shows. I’m not so sure it was I who taught Hannah to write, as much as it was I who gave her some space and encouragement to write. But what really matters is not who encourages and shapes your creativity. What matters is that you loved the healing arts enough to spend time with them. And that you cherished them enough to devote yourself in some way to your gift.

As the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho shared on Tim Ferris’s podcast in 2016, he creates a very strong shield around him when he creates.

“…so I can really use my time to do what I think I should do to fulfil this blessing it has been bestowed on me which allows me to live my personal legend, to become a writer against all odds Because Brazlilans don’t have a strong tradition and there are very few authors who can make a living out of writing, not in the US but over the world. However I was so committed to my work that it was my dream, it was my dream from the very beginning. I really enjoy what I do. I don’t work. In fact what I am doing is to have pleasure, and fun and social responsibility towards my readers towards myself, towards the world in what I live.

Courtney interviewed me in for her book and asked how I’d managed to be so prolific in the last few years. For me, as it is for Paulo my creative gifts are my purpose and I show them I’m serious by devoting myself to them.

But creativity doesn’t have to be about your soul’s purpose. It may just be a friend in times of need, a comfort when other elements are stripped away, a meditation and distraction when everything else seems out of control.

Why do we create? Because innate in all of us is the desire to create something of beauty, tranquility, joy. Creating pictures, for example, allows us to put into words what we feel but cannot say. What we value and which we savor. What we yearn for, but may no longer be able to possess. We don’t have to possess the genius of Leonardo da Vinci—we just have to be true to ourselves

For Ted, his illness called time on his cherished days on the sea—but in his art he sailed again, into the endless horizon, carried on a gentle wave of tranquility. We were all happy that when painting he found so much peace.

Cancer provided Ted with the space to paint. We wish it was his well-deserved retirement that had provided the impetuous. But then he loved his work so much he may well have never left.  His work, dedicated to protecting lives, was his passion and provided deep purpose.

As Courtney shares in her book, the opposite is true for so many others.

Many of us work jobs we don’t like. Less than half of U.S. workers said they felt satisfied with their jobs overall according to a 2016 report by the Conference Board. 2016 Gallup figures are worse; they found that only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged with work, and only 13% worldwide. Consider that we spend 10,500 days at work (assuming five days a week, fifty weeks a year between the ages of 23 and 65). Said differently, we work 36% of the total days that we’re alive on this planet should we live to be eighty.

We spend a huge chunk of our lifetime at work, yet one out of every two of us hate our jobs. No wonder many of us feel stuck on repeat—living each day without much thought.

That’s the situation I found myself in a few years ago. I was unhappy. We all have bad days; that’s a fact of life, but it was more than that–I was deeply uncomfortable with my situation and the path down which my life was heading. It wasn’t about regret, rather something important was missing.

And, despite feeling unsettled, there was much to be grateful for—good health, loving family, my husband, friends, and living in a peaceful time. I had built a good career, but I wasn’t happy with my job anymore. Something was missing.

I lived for the weekends. Sunday nights were the worst because it meant going to work the next day. I became a bucket of angst thinking about the coming work week and all my obligations.

Then, a close family member died unexpectedly and saw friends get cancer at young ages. And I realized the stuff I’d been told all my life: “Work hard, save all you can so you can afford the big house and retire comfortably,” was not guaranteed to come true for everyone.

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

My WWII-generation grandparents worked hard and scrimped most of their lives, only to sit in front of the television day after day in their elder years. After retirement, when they could have traveled, they no longer desired to or even had the energy for trips. That’s not how I wanted my life to be.

I was lucky to have supportive, career-minded friends. Many were passionate about their careers and loved their jobs. But many were like me—showing up at a job they didn’t enjoy. I was nearly vegetative on weekends after a long week spent at the 9-to-5 job and hours of unpaid overtime.

“There must be more than this to life,” I said to myself. What gives your life meaning?

Why not discover what makes you happy now? Why not reconnect with the activities that drive your passion and energy so you can move toward a life where you spend time in your happy place?

How many of us wait for “someday”‘ or for some  external encouragement? How many of us make the mistake we’ll have more time? Whether you dream of being a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, a painter, a carver or a gardener, or yearn to create in any shape, colour—why wait?

Pick up your tool of choice and feel happier today. As Courtney shares in her book, Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life, “research suggests creative people are happier than everyone else. Disregard the mental image of the starving, depressed artist toiling away in a studio. Anyone can be creative.” And being creative, she adds, will  change your brain, enabling you to  become more resilient to stress when being creative and making art.

Ted found his happy place creating.  When he died, I asked for nothing, only the unfinished painting he was working on before he passed.

For my mother, and his daughter Lisa, I framed some of his paintings. We placed them around the room where his funeral service was held. All his army comrades were astounded to learn this great mind, also yielded such artistic sensitivity and talent.

I have Ted’s paints, and his brushes, and the beginnings of a new picture—like a still life, caught in a moment of pulsing time. We shall leave Ted’s painting for him to finish, but it is as though this is the view he foresaw—never knowing that one day my partner and I  would call the Bay if Islands home.

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂

Rest in peace Edward John Knowsley (11 ApriI 1947 –  22 Feb 2014)

Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci share how creativity can improve your happiness, health and success in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life by Cassandra Gaisford.

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Coco Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

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Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Your Body Barometer Test

Book_whitebg copy 2Excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue

You may have already been feeling stressed before you picked up this book. Perhaps you’ve been unhappy at work for such a long time symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched.
Or perhaps the idea of making some changes is causing you to feel anxious. Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.
Stress is something we all feel everyday. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you you’re alive and can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a reason to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can even be hard to remember the things that make you happy or to believe in yourself. Your self esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Stress can even take its toll when you’re looking forward to making a positive change.

Stress that goes on for too long cumulatively builds up and can make you sick. Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress – if not addressed, our body’s adaptive resources become exhausted. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much bad ‘stress,’ so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively removed the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back  in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

Heed the early warning signs

According to a definition from The Department of  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures we face in our lives, and it arises when we feel we cannot cope. This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying you can’t cope, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you’re not aware of how much strain you’re under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy, she can’t remember the last time she felt really joy.

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as – OVERSTRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Listen to your body barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they start to seed you’ll avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work and/or your life.

How stressed are you?

Take the following body barometer test and highlight any symptoms you’re currently experiencing. Then take a look at the following stress-busting tips and create your own stress management plan at the end of this chapter. Starting from a positive, healthy foundation will help you make changes in your career and life successfully.

 

Your Body Barometer Test

Physical Signs of Stress

• Increased heart rate/Pounding heart

• Sweaty palms

• Elevated blood pressure

• Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and back muscles

• Headaches

• Diarrhoea/Constipation

• Unable to pass urine or incontinence

• Trembling/Twitching

• Stuttering and other speech difficulties

• Nausea/Vomiting

• Sleep disturbances

• Fatigue

• Being easily startled

• Shallow, rapid breathing

• Dryness of mouth or throat

• Cold hands

• Susceptibility to minor illnesses

• Itching

• Chronic pain

Emotional Signs of Stress

• Tearful

• Impatience

• Frightened

• Moody

• Highs and lows

• Feeling of loss/grief

• Depressed

• Anger

• Irritated

• Short-tempered

Cognitive/Perceptual/Thinking Signs

• Forgetfulness

• Preoccupation

• Errors in judging distance/space

• Reduced creativity/creative thinking

• Lack of concentration

• Diminished productivity

• Lack of attention to detail

• Orientation to the past

• Diminished reaction time

• Clumsiness

• Disorganisation of thought

• Negative self-esteem

• Negative self-statements

• Diminished sense of meaning in life

• Lack of control/Need for too much control

• Negative evaluation of experiences

• Negative thinking

• Pessimism

Behavioural Signs of Stress

• Carelessness/Accident prone

• Under-eating/Over-eating

• Aggressiveness/Fighting/Hostility

• Increased smoking/Starting smoking

• Withdrawal

• Argumentative

• Increased alcohol or drug use

• Listlessness

• Nervous laughter

• Compulsive behaviour

• Impatience/Agitation

Action tasks: Stress-busting and Building Resilience

Whether or not a person experiences stress at work depends upon the person’s perception of what is going on and the person’s coping skills. It is not the circumstance, it is your REACTION to it that counts.~ Dr Al Siebert, Author

 

1) Identify what’s stressing you out – stress is cumulative, and if it is prolonged or we have too much on the go at once our normal coping skills can be diminished.

Making a list of all the things that are worrying you or that stress you out, and then trying to work out solutions is an effective way to get some control over your stress levels. Think possibilities not actualities to unlock creative ways of resolving.

2) Take control – remember it is not the event which is stressful but your reaction. You can beat the stress response by taking control of the things you can influence with events that are foreseeable.

For example, Mary’s boss used to stress her out because he always dumped things on her at the last moment. To reduce her stress levels she decided to proactively manage his diary, and she also called a meeting and told him she would work more effectively if she could have a greater lead time to prepare. He was glad she told him as he had no idea his behaviour affected her in this way.

3) Prepare – identify stressful events in advance, and minimise the stressful situation – e.g., get up earlier to avoid running late, go to interviews for jobs you don’t want so you can practise and be less stressed and more skilled when the interview’s for a job you want.

You can also reduce your stress reactions by doing things that build resilience, i.e., if you know you have a heavy load coming up factor in more self-care activities, improving your diet, having a massage, meditating, relaxing or exercising, are just a few of many ways.

4) Plan your defence – what is the most realistic solution to your current situation? What options do you have? Plan small, realistic steps: don’t try to do everything at once. Choose a few important goals: some things may have to go by the board. Praise yourself when you achieve a goal on the road to success.

5) Try a different view – all the stress experts agree that it the way that we view events that creates stress. In 2013, research by The European Heart Journal found that those who believed stress affected their health ‘a lot’ or ‘extremely’ had a 50% greater risk of suffering a heart attack, even when researchers adjusted for biological, behavioural and psychological risk factors

So if you want to reduce your stress levels you need to change the way you view stress and the things that cause it. It’s the old glass half full or half empty battle! Here’s a few helpful ways to do this:

a) Do a reality check – look at the here and now: will what you are worrying about or stressing over ever happen? Where or what’s your evidence? If it did happen, what would be the worst case scenario? Is that so bad? Will it kill you? Is there a way to minimise the risk of a bad outcome? What can you do in the here-and-now.

b) Self-talk – Thought is energy, so it’s critical to think and talk positive. Compelling research my Dr, Bruce Lipton, a developmental biologist best known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person’s beliefs, reveals that thoughts really do become things. If you want to create a positive outcome you must grow and foster positive beliefs – even if in the short-term you have to fake-it-to-make-it.

Resist saying things you don’t want to make real. Instead of saying, “I can’t cope,” try replacing it with, “I can do this; I’ve handled change before,” or, “I trust myself to be able to handle this.”

To see confirmation of the power of language on your DNA view this clip on YouTube, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWAuc9GivFo) – Dr. Emoto’s, a water researcher from Japan, findings on the energy of thoughts. His water demonstration shows without doubt how your thoughts and intentions shape the physical world.

Positive messages create shiny, diamond-like reflective qualities while negative thoughts create deformed, collapsed structures with black holes and yellow tinged edges. We know this intuitively every time we’re around someone who is negative but many stressed out people don’t realise their negative, complaining, or angry energy is toxic to those around them. As Einstein once said, “everything is energy.”

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” ~ Wayne Dyer, Author

I hope you enjoyed this sneak preview – to be in the know when Mid-Life Career Rescue is released please email careerrescue@worklifesolutions.co.nz

Best wishes

Cassandra

P.S. Send me an email if you’d like a free copy of my workbook Stress Busting and Building Resilience.

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Monday, October 12th, 2015

Slay the doubt demons by amplifying the positive

A passion for horses and the big love they shareJust reminding myself to focus on the positive as I finish my revisions  for Mid-life Career Rescue – it’s so easy to get caught in a mindset of ‘not good enough.’

So I’m taking a leaf from the advice I share with my own clients – remind yourself of positive things others tell you when traitorous doubts seep into your consciousness.

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

Like Keith, who purchased the first edition of this book, when aged 55 his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service.

“The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self worth,” he wrote to me.

“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 really teary as I read this now. And it’s further confirmation to remember to thank those who make a difference in your life, you never know when your own words of gratitude will reach through time and reciprocate the blessing.

Passion, happiness, joy, fulfilment, love – call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book, Mid-life Career Rescue encourages people like Keith to reach for their dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations they have for themselves.

We all have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose.

Because what is passion?

Love.

And if you don’t have love…

Well, I’ll let you decide

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PS I hope you LOVE  this image of Georgia whose horses graze in our pastures. Just look at her passion for horses and the big love they share.

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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

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.

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN TO JOIN THE CAREER RESCUE LAUNCH TEAM.

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.

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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

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

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