Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

How to create a passion-driven career or business—Fourteen individuals tell you their stories of transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back
to working for someone else.”
Alan Sugar, Entrepreneur and host of The Apprentice, UK

Fourteen Individuals tell you their stories…

Their backgrounds and dreams are as unique as you are. What unites them is their creativity, passion, and integrity. In my latest book Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself they share their fears, their struggles and their joys as they overcame obstacles and pursued their dreams of self-employment.

They were doing something they love; their passion drove them.

The list below is what they have in common. As you read this list think how many strategies could apply to you:

  1. Making money was not their sole motivation. Their businesses grew from a desire to serve others; they were not trying to force something on others or to make a killer sale. Instead, they wanted to make a positive difference and create something of value. They didn’t badger people into buying their goods or service.
  2. They cared about whether or not they could help a prospective client. If they could, great. If not, they were either quietly persistent until they were needed, or they moved on.
  3. They planned for success. Their business and marketing plans were living documents and they managed their finances extraordinarily well.
  4. They shared. They communicated their vision, goals, and plans with those important to them, and they researched their clients and stakeholders constantly to learn how to do things better together.
  5. They listened. They listened to their staff, their families and their clients. Then, and only then, when they understood their issues, fears, needs and desires did they offer a solution.
  6. They started smart. When employing others, whether on contract or as salaried staff, they hired the right people for the right job. And, when necessary, they gave their people the training, systems, environment, and recognition to do their job well.
  7. They took calculated risks. They always looked before they leaped, but they leaped nonetheless. Courage and confidence were something they built as they went.
  8. They believed in themselves, or faked it! Even professionals doubt themselves – but they don’t let self-doubt win.

“You have to believe in yourself. Even when you don’t, you have to try,” encourages Serena Williams, tennis super-star and 21-time Grand Slam champion.

“There are moments when I am on the court and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this’. But then I fortify myself and say, ‘I can, I can’ – and it happens. If you believe in yourself, even if other people don’t, that really permeates through and it shows. And people respect that.”

If the strategies above sound like things you can do, or are willing to try, chances are self-employment is right for you. Be sure to get off to a good start, and be inspired by those who have walked the path of success.

 

Client Success Story: Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

Lisa Conroy, Director and Empowerment Coach for women’s lifestyle, career, and wellness. Box of Chocolates, www.boxofchocolates.co.nz

Lisa Conroy’s passion for helping others led her to start her coaching business. The seeds of change were also cultivated during a stressful time in her former job.

Leading up to my coaching training I had been working for a major sporting organization for eight years. They were going through massive change and unsettling times. I was up to my fourth restructuring with this company, and management informed us that they were moving the organization to another city. It was an eight-hour drive away, and an expensive place to transport my family to live.

It had been a toxic environment for some time, HR was non-existent, and I saw first hand during this time of transition amongst the team, the effects of stress and uncertainty. I knew going to the new venue was not in my family’s best interest, so I had to think about my options, which led to a call for change. The idea of coaching and helping others with their life and career goals appealed and seemed to be a growing industry.

I did some investigating and found Cassandra Gaisford and her Worklife Solutions Career and Life Coaching certification program. Her personality, variety of skills and zest for life just really resonated with me.

I realized becoming a life coach would allow me the freedom, flexibility, and independence to do work that I loved in an industry that seemed very rewarding and much needed.

I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but I love a challenge and felt this was the perfect fit for my interests, skills, and goals.

My new coaching journey began, which led to a career combo. I decided to start my own business within three weeks of starting my coaching program and haven’t looked back since…

Do something you love

I have always wanted to have my own business doing something I loved. Once I started my coaching training, I felt this was the perfect match for me to be able to utilize my skills and help others to reach their lifestyle, career and wellness goals.

I also wanted the freedom to be able to work on new ideas and create my own style by offering a unique service in the Wellness industry through my combination of coaching, art therapy workshops, wellness retreats, Reiki healing, and aromatherapy pamper parties.

Deciding what to do

My initial focus was purely on the lifestyle, career and wellness coaching but realized it would take the time to build my brand, Box of Chocolates, along with gaining trust with clients and networks.

I went into this with a realistic view that it would take twothree years to build to a point of going full time with my business ideas. I also believed that if I had a few alternative strings to my bow, it would assist me in offering a variety of services to a wider audience and give me alternative sources of income.

I was drawn to running wellness retreats where my event management skills, love of wellness and creative activities, and relevant workshop topics would help me attract the right women. Women who wanted to feel empowered and find new inspiration for their lives, and be able to share and learn from others in a safe and nurturing environment.

I was also interested in gaining a certification in Reiki healing as I felt this would complement my coaching and retreats/workshops, which then led me becoming an aromatherapy consultant too.

This year I will be focusing on increasing my impact/marketing reach strategies by striving to increase my coaching capacity to offer Skype sessions/coaching packages globally online as well as within New Zealand.

Finding an idea that would be successful

A belief in my abilities, along with a determination to be of service and offer a solution to key problems facing many women helped me find an idea I thought would be successful.

When you can tap into understanding who your niche market is and what they need, you can then build a strong foundation of core services to assist them.

I took a leap of faith but I knew in my heart that every time I coached someone it didn’t feel like work to me, it was so rewarding seeing my clients grow from strength to strength and be able to reach their true potential with a boost in confidence.

When you are coming from the heart and follow that guidance, you will always be supported to find the people and resources you need.

However, that doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for it to happen. Action and dedication are required to build momentum, along with commitment and trust in your abilities to manifest your dreams and goals.

I also knew that there were not many people holding retreats that offered a unique Zen and creative style that my program offers – you have to think outside the box and run with it! I went along to lots of Wellness industry events, seminars, network meetings and got a feel for what people were needing and built my strategies around that.

Finding the right product for the right market

I did my research, I talked to successful coaches in the industry and I asked for feedback from all my clients, I went online to see what trends were coming through and what topics were hot, locally and internationally.

I read lots of industry related books and blogs and signed up to sites that inspired me to keep my finger on the pulse on what was working successfully for others that I could leverage off.

Keeping your energy levels high

I’m not a big fan of the saying ‘hard work’ as it has stressful connotations. You need to be passionate about your services and ideas, and you need to have the ability to encourage others to use them. It is also important that you make time to promote yourself and get your messages across to your targeted market through various avenues.

Start small and take your time to build confidence, so that when you realize you’re onto a good thing, it doesn’t feel like ‘hard work’ but is exciting to see your business and ideas coming to fruition.When you are coming from a place of authenticity, it will always come through and people will naturally want to refer your services because they benefit from your genuine concern and skills. This is always going to be your best source of repeated business and will quickly amplify your brand through referrals you can use in your marketing material…

To read more of Lisa’s story, be inspired by other entrepreneurs, and gain practical strategies to help you plan your beautiful business, purchase your copy of  Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself  TODAY! Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is available in paper back and e-Book version from Amazon.

Or contact me for your bespoke, individually tailored passion-driven mentoring program—http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/services-for-individuals

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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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Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Ditch The 9 to 5…

Let’s talk passion and purpose today…Have you been working in a job, career or industry that has left you feeling uninspired and wondering how you will ever get out of it?

Or, perhaps, you know your life is supposed to be purpose FULL and you long to be excited and full of energy and you don’t know what is next and how to go after it.

When you’ve been stuck in a job for a short time, or a long time, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or scared to leave it and make changes in your life and your life’s work.  But when you are OVER and want to find passion and purpose in your job, how do you do that?

You may have already read my book Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

Well, now some extra help is on its way—a free interview series to help you discover your passion and purpose—and still pay the bills.

This May, Missy has curated an amazing series to include TOP OF THEIR INDUSTRY EXPERTS!  21 extremely successful entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, writers, coaches, trainers and thought leaders influencers, marketing, social media and PR gurus will inspire you to see what is possible and how to overcome what is holding you back

I’m honored and excited to be a guest speaker as part of The “Ditch The 9 To 5 Summit” and I can’t wait for you to join me!


This is a FREE 21-day online video series event and begins on May 3, 2017.  Yes, FREE!

Together with the other speakers we’ll provide practical steps to help you leave an uninspired job and pursue your passion and purpose—and make great money doing it!

Missy has a vision to help people live a life of passion and purpose.  She also knows it is absolutely possible to make great money doing it.“Live with passion and purpose, otherwise you are selling out on yourself, those around you and the world.  Please share your gifts!” she says.

Taking a risk to go after what you love is sometimes scary. But when you are ready to feel passion and purpose it’s great to know what’s possible and be encouraged by others that you also can do this.

Missy has found 21 inspiring entrepreneurs, experts, authors, speakers, trainers, coaches and thought leaders around the world to share their tips on what has worked, best practices, and practical tools to guide you and help you plan for transformational change in your life.

Get fired up to live with passion purpose and learn how to make money doing what you love. 

Register now for the May 3rd launch! 
 

I look forward to seeing you there!

Get a head start on ditching your 9-to-5 with the Career Rescue box-set. Mid-Life Career Rescue-Three Book Bundle-Box Set (Books 1-3): The Call For Change, What Makes You Happy, Employ Yourself

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy navigate to here: getBook.at/CareerRescueBox

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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, March 9th, 2017

Guess who’s celebrating?

We celebrated International Women’s Day in New Zealand yesterday, ahead of my friends and readers in the States and UK. Aptly we were got to cheerlead amazing women around the world first—I’m proud to say that new Zealand was also the first country to give women the vote back in 1893. The United States finally began allowing women to vote in 1920, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. While the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia dragged his sandals—granting women the right to vote in 2011 (their right to freedom and liberty is still contestable—as it is for other women around the world.

I spent the day reflecting on how lucky I was to have been born in New Zealand and in a Western culture which, for the most part, values women and supports equality. However, there’s no denying that there’s still work to be done. Woefully New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence against women and their children. 30 per cent of women internationally are estimated to experience physical or sexual partner violence. That’s a third of the female population. That is reflected in New Zealand.

Which begs the question, “Why are (some) men so angry?”

But that’s another story. 

For now I’m writing to celebrate International Women’s Day—and to sound a call to us all (men and women) to uplift, embolden and encourage other women to succeed. Sometimes we need a mentor—someone trailblazing like Coco Chanel. Coco and the other strong, determined women whose wisdom I share in my The Art of Success books. Women like mega-talented, Iraqi-born British architect, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, and pioneering mathematician and astrologer Hypatia of Alexandria. They and other women, past and present continue to inspire and mentor me. 

The hurdles they, and other successful women like Oprah Winfrey, had to overcome seems cataclysmic in comparison to my own—and hopefully to yours. The torture they were subjected to—emotionally, mentally, spiritually and very often physically—in pursuit of their desire to live and speak freely.  But despite the struggles, they continued on. When we hear their stories the thing that lingers for many is an admiring curiosity about the qualities they possessed, and an awe-like wondering if we might acquire these traits too. Patience, perseverance, passion and persistence are just a few. And all the women I admire were driven by love—not hatred.

As I share in the foreword to The Art of Success:

“Whenever I’m in a slump or needing an inspirational boost I turn to people who are smarter or more skilled than me for good advice. I’ve done the same with qualities I’ve wanted to develop, like patience. “What would Mother Theresa do now?” I asked many years ago. Mother Theresa wouldn’t shout! She wouldn’t lose her cool. She’d send loving kindness and smile. And that’s what I did  whenever I got frustrated.”

I applied the strategies I learnt from studying the success secrets of courageous women (and men) to my own life—personally and professionally. If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company. Coco Chanel’s been there—as have every other person I admire. I’ve been there too. 

If you yearn for a better life, and are feeling discouraged, I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find some of them in the wisdom of your mentors, including those of Coco embedded in the pages of The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

Dig into this book and let Coco Chanel be your mentor, inspiration and guide as she calls forth your passions, purpose and potential. Be inspired by Coco for the special reduced International Women’s day price of $3.99 —in less than two hours you could be on your way to radically reinventing your life.

Through the teachings of Coco, extensive research into the mysteries of motivation, success and fulfillment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a holistic psychologist, The Art of Success will help you accelerate success. Together, Coco and I will guide you to where you need to go next, and give you practical steps to achieve success.

Coco Chanel believed from a very early age that the door to her freedom and self respect lay in securing and maintaining her independence. However, many people mistakenly sacrifice their relationships in pursuit of successful careers. Unhelpful beliefs, including, “You can’t have it all” or, “You can’t have a relationship and be successful,” may partly be to blame. It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

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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, 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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Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Podcasts to listen to

The Cassandra Gaisford Show*** The Cassandra Gaisford Show ***
 
I’m so excited to be re-introducing the podcasts I started 8 or so years ago. Technology has moved on – and I’m moving on with it. Thank you to Olivia Gamber, a career expert in the US for giving me some great tips – and interviewing me for her own show. I’ll let you know when this goes live.
 
The Cassandra Gaisford Show is where I interview inspiring men and women from around the world and tell you THEIR story of finding, launching, and growing their own passion-driven life and career. I call these people – Passionpreneurs Now let the journey begin…
 
I’m super excited to be interviewing Vesna Hrsto tomorrow. Vesna is a Melbourne-based naturopath and life coach who specialises in helping women have it all without burning out! Many of you will remember Vesna from that amazing sumitt she interviewed me for, “The Woman Reinvention Project: Fire Up Your Energy, Work With Passion & Enjoy More Freedom Now, By Doing Less.”
 
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 10.24.34 am
You can re-listen to this interview here
But before the show goes live here’s your chance: If you could ask Vesna anything what would it be?
 
Post your replies below in the comments section and I’ll do my best to weave them in to my interview or have them answered later.
 
To out find more about Vesna navigate to her site here www.vesnahrsto.com. To listen to some of my earlier (pre-historic but still inspiring) podcasts navigate to here: www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/media/podcasts
 
Some of my favourite podcasts currently include The Creative Penn Podcast, by Joanna Penn; The Self Publishing Formula, co-hosted by Mark Dawson and The Tim Ferris Show, hosted by the author of the 4-Hour Work week (and other amazing feats).

I love listening to passionate people share amazingly interesting things with others all around the world. And listening to a podcast is a great way to maximum limited time. I often listen to them while driving, doing shopping and many otherwise mind-numbing tasks.

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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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