Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Be the hero of your own life story

img_6740I feel honoured to have interviewed MICHAEL HAUGE on the Cassandra Gaisford show. Michael is a top Hollywood story expert, author and lecturer who consults with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys and public speakers throughout the world.

He is also the best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read. Both of which I highly recommend.

Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and has worked in the film and television industries for more than 35 years. He loves movies! And he loves figuring out what makes them work. And he loves helping people tell their best stories too – people like actors Will Smith and Morgan Freeman, or Devon Franklin, Vice President of Production, Columbia Pictures (to name-drop just a few)

We’ve become great friends after I purchased Michael’s books and had the great fortune to attend his seminars when he was in Auckland recently speaking at The Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in August.

You can learn more about Michael here: www.StoryMastery.com

If you visit his site you’ll find lots of information on story, plus information on his one-on-one coaching session. I’ve had a session with him and got so much value! And if you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get a list of key story questions for whichever discipline interests you.

I’ll share the link to the interview when it goes live. In the meantime you can learn more about many of the critical skills you need to master to become the hero of your own story in many of my books—below are just a few which will help.


3D_bookThe Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

 

3d_book-6Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More getBook.at/BoostYourSelfEsteemAndConfidence

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Sunday, January 17th, 2016

To fulfil your potential you have to step out of the comfort zone

shoot for the stars by Kimberly Gordon ReelandWhilst it’s commonly stated that we should do what comes naturally, this may not be the best advice!

To fulfil your potential you have to step out of the comfort zone of doing what you do well and embrace the uncertain world of trying something new.

In doing this you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing whether you swim on a new current of fulfilment and success – something others refer to as ‘flow”.

Just as Jilly did, the wonderful lady in her 70’s who has become a photographer, and whose story I shared in Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy).

Listening to Jilly’s stories of reinvention, it’s clear to me that variety, learning and new challenges are some of her most important values. “‘I’ve always followed my dream – I wasn’t a mid-lifer who found what I wanted to do. I always took chances and jumped in with both feet!” She said. 

Read her inspiring story in Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy), or check out her website – her work is really, really special. Her natural affinity for dogs, and the skills she’s developed with the camera, creates something truly magical. She has now had several exhibitions with two more coming up next year. Also she has been invited to join Getty Images.

 

 

But what if you  don’t swim? What if you sink? At least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried, and the great fortune of implementing your lessons learned in your next attempt!

 

Refresh Your Life With Change

Sticking with what you do well can be the worst thing to do if you want to live a meaningful life. To develop new skills, new ways of being to become someone other than who you believe yourself to be takes a willingness to change.

As astrologer Sarah Varcas shares, “It takes courage and fortitude, a willingness to be a new-born again, discovering life from scratch, adopting a new perspective and fresh guidelines. Of course we can take our strengths and abilities with us on the journey. They’ll come in more than handy! But to see them as the be-all and end-all, the extent of our ‘tool kit’, is to live a half-baked life in the shadow of who we could actually be if we allowed ourselves to grow.”

Here’s a few questions to ponder, the answers may prove liberating:

  • What would you be willing to try if you were 10 times bolder?
  • What would you try if you knew success was guaranteed?
  • How could trying out new ways of being or working enrich your life?

 

Finding My Passion and Purpose

I put into motion my own advice late last year and published my first two books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series on Amazon. What fun! I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

Since embarking on change I’ve published a book a month and recently penned my third book: How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, is more of guide, than a book – a nice short, easy to implement tool kit to help you live and work with passion and purpose.

The Amazon details and link are here: http://amzn.to/1W0IreR

A new thing I did for the first time was creating my own cover – using my own art work too. The feedback I’ve received about both the book and the cover has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have perceived. I gain from the satisfaction and fulfilment of being fully autonomous in all aspects of publishing and gaining from the immediacy and intimacy of the feedback from readers.

“Simply delightful, witty quick read, packed with excellent information. I’m actually believing now, I could change my career after 18 years!” Wrote one Amazon reviewer.

“I feel I want to read this book now! The red energy swirl suggests an invitation to enter a journey of discovering ones passion,” shared another person when she first saw the cover.

Of course, sometimes when you try new things, even successful new things you can attract criticism. I did when I wrote my second book. A reviewer said,  “I loved the inspiration, content, and message. There book rambles a lot though.”

Ok, I thought. I won’t ramble in my next book – I’ll be more concise!

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love is available through Amazon at the special introductory price of $.99 for a limited time. http://amzn.to/1W0IreR

 

P.S. Sometimes losing is actually winning. As Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D wrote in the Biology Of Belief, “I sincerely want to thank the New York publishers who turned down the book proposal. Without you, I was able to create my own book – just as I wanted to do.”

 

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Don’t stress: how to conquer the 21st-century evil

stress lessWork-related stress is one of many modern-day evils. Rather than rage an all out assault, in one foul swoop, job over-load makes a far more insidious, stealthier attack.

Little warning signs, like rising irritability, tiredness, and a faint sense that all is not well, are often ignored. Pushed to one side, rated as insignificant, many people mistakenly believe stress can be pushed to one side – something that can wait. Until it’s too late.

“It’s a busy time of year,” you may say. “I’ll take a break over the holidays.” Or you may convince yourself that once you get your current project finished you’ll get some rest.”

You continue to burn the candle at both ever-diminishing-ends, drinking endless cups of coffee to stay awake, or drowning in alcohol to help your over-active mind escape.

Your boss wants more productivity from you.

More. More. More.

Like Mathew’s company – a leading NZ financial institution. Despite their escalating profits they’ve cut back his bonuses. He has to work harder to earn back what he’s lost.

But, worse – they’ve cut back on employees too. Mathew’s so overloaded he’s beyond stressed. Relentless deadlines, sky-rocketing unachievable targets, and insatiable demands led to a heart-attack.

“They need me. We’re short-staffed at work,” he tells me, as he returns to work. Prematurely.

When is enough, enough?

“The world continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough”, author Bede Jarrett, once said. Passionate anger, constructively used, can become the fuel that drives you to embark on transformational, liberating change.

 

What are the 21st century evils?

Let’s start here (I know there are more) – greed and fear and narcissism.

Greed of the corporations who want more, more, more. For less, less, less.

I know there are good employers out there. But I know the opposite is also true. I hear the war stories every day in my work as a career counsellor and psychologist. The worst employers inflict fear on employees in myriad of ways.

Maybe you haven’t been told you’re expendable in so many words, but the inference is there. “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” one woman was recently told, when she tried to challenge bullying behaviour. “Get on with it, or we’ll reduce your hours and you can go and stock shelves.”

Really? Is this how people treat each other. No wonder recent workplace surveys report over  83% of the workforce is disengaged.

The narcissistic employer only cares about one person, one goal, one world view. Theirs. Do you have a narcissistic boss – check out this article >>  I’ve had many!

Dis-empowered, fearful employees worry that if they push back and say, “This job needs two people,” or if they try to work less hours, in order to hopefully achieve more, they’ll get over-looked in the next promotion round, or marked down as under-performing in their performance reviews. Worse, they worry they’ll be sacked.

No money, no life. Right?

“We know the people who will do well here,” a former manager once said to me on my first day at work. “They’re here at night, and they’re here in the weekends.”

No one dared question this mentality. Certainly not me, then a recent graduate, and single-mother with a mortgage to feed. I watched colleagues fall like flies. Heart-attacks, anxiety attacks, depression. Succumbing to the consequences of work-place stress. Many lost their battle with the booze. Some lost their marriages. When I developed shingles, and was warned that I might go blind, I knew this wasn’t my best life. This wasn’t any life. Not one worth living.

Power up for health

As Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor, psychiatrist and author, once said, find meaning in your situation. What are you learning? To stand up for yourself? To value your health? To value your relationships? To value YOUR LIFE?

If Viktor can find meaning witnessing the truly evil behaviour of Hitler’s mindless followers, and suffering at the hands of the German’s hostilities in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau, you can find meaning in your workplace evil.

 

Heed the early warning signs

Think traffic lights. Green, yellow, red. Green – all’s going well, things are flowing. You’re in the passion and well-being zone.

Yellow, things are getting a little congested, your natural zest is slowing. It’s time to take your foot off the brake. It’s definitely not time to accelerate your pace, or take a chance and risk running a red.

Red! You ran the stop sign. What on earth were you thinking? Someone’s going to pay – that someone is you. If you’re ‘lucky’ you might get let off with a warning. If your luck’s out – bad. You’re dead. Physically or mentally. Whether it’s a heart attack, or a nervous breakdown – it’s a long journey back.

Like Clive who burnt out so badly one morning he just couldn’t get up. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t function at all. It took three years…and only now can I say, “I’m back.”

At 55 he’s reinventing his career. And yes, he’s found meaning and purpose from his own suffering. To help others live significant lives – devoid of stress.

“I’ve been to too many funerals, and heard to many pre-death confessions, where people have told me, “My life has been one of regret…I wish I had….”

So Clive, is taking his life back. Reinventing his career, his life. Living and working with passion and purpose – and balance! He’s training to be a life coach and working as an EAP counsellor. He couldn’t be happier – and healthier.

 

You’re human. You have limits. Your life matters.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will.  If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted – making you sick.

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 remove 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.

 

What can you do right now?

You have three choices:

  1. Know what you can change – and change it
  2. Accept what you can’t – and live with it
  3. Leave. Leave a situation that is creating harm.

 

Peter hated his job so much he quit, with no job to go to. You may not have that luxury. You may not be that impulsive.

Perhaps quitting, will take time. But whatever you do, take action. Don’t remain passive. Do not be a victim. Plan your escape. Put more energy into finding your next job, your next best-fit career, than you do your current work.

Get excited!

New is exciting

New is unexpected

New is that moment of stunned silence when you first see it

New is intuitive-know-how that makes everything effortless

New is the joy that you may never have experienced

New says, choose me

And new never cares what other people think

New is the changing you – the new job, the new career, the new way of working and living that now waits

Of course, making the right move, does take some planning.

Get real about what’s important

“I used to be the sort of person who usually put her head down and worked towards a goal and if I worked hard enough and aimed for my goal, then success would follow. And for the first time my life plan wasn’t working out,” said Juliet de Baubigny, a powerful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Her entrepreneurial genius, is said to have contributed to the transformation of companies such as Google and Amazon.

Several years ago her marriage ended in a bitter divorce, her young son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and she ended up in the ICU with bilateral pneumonia, all within six months. “It makes you question faith and humanity, “she said. “So I thought, how do I redirect this?”

Juliet – heeded the call for change – embarked on a quest of discovery.

“I consulted every shaman, every psychic, every priest to learn about what was really important to me what my value system was.” The result? “The things that matter most in life are health, family and doing what you love.

Juliet’s imparts her wisdom to her children, “Do what you love, work hard, tell the truth and be kind.”

If only more kindness prevailed at work. Just think what a better place the world would be.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again. Do not, under any circumstances stay in a job that is making you physically ill. Perhaps, your mindset needs to change. Perhaps it’s the job. But whatever the cause, take action now to find the cure. Conquering this escalating modern day evil is so critical that I devoted a whole chapter to it in my new book, Mid-Life Career Rescue. And readers agree. As one reviewer wrote:

“An important book for anyone in a job that is making them physically ill

Cassandra Gaisford’s book, Mid-Life Career Rescue, puts passion first, exactly where it should be! She gently nudges us out of complacency by reminding us our career doesn’t have to be life-draining if we are willing to take time figuring out what we want and the skills we have to actually do it. And then brilliantly she provides all the action steps we need to make a move by asking simple, yet powerful questions to help us find the answers already there inside of ourselves.

I definitely recommend reading the chapter on stress in her book. I wish I had the valuable information she laid out 15 years ago when I went through a ‘brown out’,” one step before complete ‘burn out.’ If I knew what physical signs to look for I would have left that job way earlier than I did. Unfortunately for me I learned the hard way what a stressful job situation can do to you both mentally and physically, but you don’t have to. Instead, you just need to read Mid-life Rescue, and follow the advice of Ms. Gaisford.”

Learn the easy way

Work-related stress may be one of many modern-day evils; but it’s one you can wage-war on. Take your power-back. Proactively identify workplace stressors and seek to eliminate or minimise their impact.

The best weapon in your armoury? Love. Work with passion – do what you love, and love yourself enough to maintain the balance. Love your job, love your health, love your relationships. Love your friends. Love your family. You can have it all – sometimes doing less, really does give you more.

 

So my friend, tell me, “How will you reclaim your one precious life?”

 

I’ll leave you with these wise words from Rumi,

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all. Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invites them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

 

 

Career expert Cassandra Gaisford, is the author of the Amazon #1 best-selling book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

Visit www.worklifesolutions.co.nz and get her free eBook, “Find Your Passion.”

 

P.S. Perhaps, the solution to workplace stress is to employ yourself. If you’re a mid-lifer wanting to explore this as an option, my good friend Brian Jones, has written an excellent book – called “Over 50? Start Your Business! Build Wealth. Control Your Destiny. Leave a Legacy.” It’s on special currently –  only $0.99 on Amazon. What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Do you hate Monday’s? 3 ways simple ways to change careers

Do you hate Monday’s?

So many people dread Mondays…hopefully not you! I read recently that there are more fatal heart attacks on Monday at 9am, than at any other time of the week. A shocking, but not surprising statistic. When you hate your job you’re health is the first to suffer.

According to Dr. Larry Dossey, a Texan physician, deeply rooted in the both the scientific and spiritual worlds, ‘the best predictor for a first heart attack is not any of the major risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes mellitus), but rather job dissatisfaction!”

Dr Dossey’s view is that our thoughts and feelings about the loathing, dread or challenge of our work can create a heart attack. How? According to leading psychopharmacologist Candace Pert, thoughts and emotions create a chain of toxic chemical reactions in the body.

So it makes sense, if you want the opposite to be true – a healthy body, mind and spirit – you’ve got to be happy at work.

I was so miserable at work once, it took all my positivity to get through the day. Here’s a couple of things that helped me while I tried to find another way to make a living. You’ll notice, sitting around whining to others isn’t one of them!

  1. Look for the silver linings that can help you transform a crisis into an opportunity. What’s the gift of being unhappy at work. Chances are your career dis-satisfaction is the call for change!
  2. Happiness isn’t something that just happens – it’s something we actively participate in creating. There’s no better place to start than training your mind, and shaping your attitude.Even when life turns to lumpy custard find something to be grateful for.
  3. Take control – feeling helpless, accepting the unacceptable, and procrastinating about taking action can lead to feelings of depression, hopelessness and quickly erode your confidence. Taking action will quickly help to get rid of the job blues. What can you do today to take control? Downloading my new book and working through my roadmap to success might be one of them!

If you, or anyone you know, could do with a career rescue, or you just want to make some new intentions for 2016, my new book Mid-Life Career Rescue is on sale at Amazon today at the special price of $0.99. Unhappiness at work does not discriminate for age! The book is not just for mid-lifers but people in their 20’s, 30s and 40s too.

It’s currently ranked #1 in Hot New Releases!

Here is the link to the book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017L7G3B4, please help me to keep it growing, by downloading and leaving a review. The review can be one simply sentence, and hopefully you’ll mark it 5 stars!

Thank you!

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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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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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Monday, August 17th, 2015

Your turning point: Career Rescue for Mid-lifers: Break free of the job trap

the choice is yoursSeveral years ago my good friend and artist Max Gimblett wrote a foreword for my book, Happy At Work for Mid-lifers. As I prepare to re-release an updated version of this book, to be available on Kindle late September, I thought his sage advice was a timely reminder. So many people think age is against them as they move through their 40’s and 50’s and beyond.

And it’s true – to a certain extent. As one of my mid-life clients told me. Yes, there is ageism. Yes, employers do seem to favour employees in their 20’s and 30’s.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. What’s needed, I told her, is a mindset shift. You have to be the change you want to see. You have to go forth and show the world what experience, passion and purpose can achieve. And you have to do this consciously.

As Max Gimblett wrote: “Mid-life is a crucial point in the life cycle. Childhood, the warrior and power decades are past. Mid-life is an invitation to resolve the complexes not yet made conscious and move forward into the so happy years of creativity and health, of full abundance…Persevere with your mid-life, bring into consciousness your childhood dreams, as they will become your living realities”

I love the sentiments Max shares and the hope and encouragement there for you as you persevere with aspirations to live your best life, marching bravely toward and beyond your mid years.

If it’s time to reawaken and recommit to your childhood dreams I hope this blog helps.

“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.” ~ Max Gimblett

 

Your childhood dreams

When I was a child I always dreamed of being a writer. No, more than that – I actually was a writer. From as young as 9 I was submitting short stories and poems to the children’s section of the Sunday Star Times and being published. Like you, as I became older, I was ‘encouraged’ to do something more practical. I began training as an accountant and for a time even worked in a bank. Now, nearing 50, I’ve made a conscious decision to re-embrace my childhood dreams.

The take home point – it’s never too late to be yourself.

New Zealand fiction author Barbara Anderson, Lady Anderson,  became internationally recognized in her 60’s despite only starting her writing career in her late fifties. She once said, “I often wondered why did I leave it so late?”

“I’d love to follow my passion if my mortgage would let me,” one of my clients said.

Ever wondered what childhood dream jobs pay? Forbes magazine recently wondered the same thing – click here to find out the surprising results.

You may be heartened to see your pick on the list.

What makes you sparkle?

What makes you spark? What inspires you? What gives you so much satisfaction that you would do it for free? What are you passionate about and how can you translate this into a rewarding career?

These are questions many people changing careers never ask. The answers lie at the heart of the cure.

Many mid-lifers have had years of conditioning during which they were told that work was something to be endured not enjoyed. During The Great Depression of the 1930s people considered themselves lucky to have a job. School reinforced this scarcity mentality by channelling people into a limited range of gender specific roles.

But times have changed. Social, demographic, technological and economic changes have lead to greater opportunities for people. Many mid-lifers are working from the comfort of their own homes courtesy of the Internet, for example. Others have ‘brought themselves a job’ by starting their own businesses.

Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’ and the times when men and women were steered into a narrow range of career paths. People’s expectations about the role work should play in their life has changed too. Now more than ever increasing numbers of people are seeking satisfaction and fulfilment from their work. Even the word ‘career’ is going through a process of reinvention.

What does the word career mean to you?

‘Vocation, calling, heart’s desire, who I am, life purpose’ are words many happy people use to describe their careers.

Doing what you love and doing it well is also a cure during economic downturns. There will always be a demand for people who are good at what they do and who do it well.  The key to recession proofing your career and surviving and thriving in the face of uncertainty is knowing how to do what you love and still pay the bills. If you’re unsure how to do this – ask your way to success and look to others who are living and working with passion in their mid-life years.

 

The power of passion – something just for you

If you haven’t checked out our Facebook page yet, come on over. I’ve got a special video reading just for you!

If anything resonated with you in this blog I’d love to hear.

Until then,

Wishing you every happiness and success

Cassandra

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

3 super fast ways to stress less and get your energy back

Close-up of a heart balloon with a bandage on it

Close-up of a heart balloon with a bandage on it

If you’re like me you’re normally a powerhouse of productivity, but there are times when we all get fatigued. It may be because you’ve been putting in too many hours without a break, or it may just be the weather, the full moon – or anything else from an endless list of things that can zap your energy. Whatever the cause  may be it’s so important to listen to your body barometer. Feeling sluggish, lethargic, demotivated, depressed, overwhelmed forgetful, irritable or just plain stressed out are just a few of the many warning signs it’s time to make a change.

Why are we so stressed?

Like me, you probably have way too many things going on in your life and they’re not necessarily all bad. But even good things like having loads of passions, or loving your job so much you don’t want to stop, or being enthralled with all the fascinating threads on social media, can take a toll when done to excess.
So many of us are working too many hours, doing too many tasks, have too many activities, or are juggling several high stress jobs while raising a family. Don’t get me started on the crazy love-hate affair people have with their not-so-smart phones. Put simply, many of us are suffering from information overload – or what I call information obesity.
If you’re feeling stressed, if your energy is depleted, if you’re mojo needs some more juice to carry you across the finish line, then here’s something that will help.
Three of my favourite super fast ways to get your energy back. Many of the strategies require little time investment but have multiple benefits. If boosting mental performance and creativity, improving the quality of your love life and relationships and boosting your career and work success sounds good to you. Read on 🙂

hugh jackman meditation1. take a mind spa – meditate

“Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree,” says French Buddhist monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard. ”It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.”

Science has proven that when people meditate they alter their brains in a good way – lowering stress levels and increasing energy and positivity amongst many other important things. If finding time to do two lots of 20 minute meditations sounds too hard, start small. Even giving your brain a break for 5 minutes can do wonders for your energy and sense of well-being.

Meditation is not just about distracting yourself from stress and pain; it literally changes you at the genetic level, writes Arianna Huffington in her best-selling book, Thrive.

“Meditation is the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large.” ~ Arianna Huffington

“Meditation is the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large.” ~ Arianna Huffington

Ridding yourself of self-limiting thoughts, controlling your reactions, discovering an inner contact with a creative source, and having more creative insights are just a few of the benefits that can flow from meditation. The whole experience is primarily an experience of wholeness, rightness, and power.

2. massage for mind, body and soul

One of my favourite ways to top up my energy is to lie back and let someone else do all the work. Massage – isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessary health behaviour for the busy person. You can’t beat a good therapeutic massage –  it’s up there with meditation when it comes to delivering multiple benefits. As I send out this newsletter I’m heading off for a hot stone massage, here are just a few on the health benefits:

+ Drains and cleanses the lymphatic system – riding the body of built up toxins and boosting the immune system that helps us fight illness and disease

+ Relieves built up tension and promotes flexibility in the body

+ Cleanses the liver-relaxing the ducts in the liver, promoting easier flow

+ Increases serotonin levels – the chemical responsible for healthy sleep. A one hour massage has been proven by scientific research to deliver benefits equivalent to sleeping for six-eight hours. Great for the sleep deprived!

Best of all for one blissful hour I get to do NOTHING. Be sure to tell your massage therapeutist not to babble away during your massage – make it your sacred time.

If you don’t like being touched, try a Reiki massage – it’s hands off, clothes on and all about restoring your energy.

 

3. smell your way to health with aromatherapy

I’m a big fan of the power of nature and for a quick boost you can’t beat essential oils. They don’t call the healing power of smell aromatherapy for nothing. Once again the benefits are endless.

Having said that, some people are strangely suspicious. One lady, a health care worker at Wellington Hospital accused me of peddling snake oil when I suggested a few drops of lavender oil would help alleviate some of her tension.
You have to find the solution that’s right for you, but it’s important to be open-minded. The proper use of essential oils can enhance your emotional outlook and provide support and help balance your emotions during the day. Without providing an intimidating lesson in olfaction (the science of the sense of smell), the inhalations of these naturally occurring synergistic chemicals provide triggers to our brain.  These triggers effect our emotions.  Inhalation of these wondrous molecules also provides physical benefits that can work together to aid in our emotional state.

For example, Lavender is a well known mildly analgesic, useful for healing headaches, wounds, calming the nerves, insomnia and mild depression.

Rosemary on the other hand is a mild stimulant and is used to treat physical and mental fatigue, forgetfulness and respiratory problems among other ailments.

Here’s few blends professional aromatherapists recommend for alleviating some of the symptoms of stress:

Three drops Clary Sage, one drop Lemon, one drop Lavender
Three drops Grapefruit, one drop Jasmine, one drop Ylang Ylang

Put on a tissue, or in a diffuser or blender, inhale and enjoy.

 

Stress workbook cover copyI love writing these blogs to share with you strategies that work for me and for the clients I coach. I hope they help you improve your happiness, well-being and success. If you would like more help on this topic you can order my Stress Busting and Building Resilience eBook for only $12.99 via my website:
Stress Busting and Building Resilience – eBook

Cassandra Gaisford’s Stress Busting and Building Resilience eBook will give you tools to proactively identify and eradicate stress from your life. What you’ll learn from this eBook will reactivate and regenerate within you the innate health and well-being we are all born with and deserve.
You will become energised, inspired, happier, empowered and more successful. It all beings with taking care of you – and your precious mind, body and soul.

Just read this eBook and start feeling better – today!

My book : Stress Busting and Building Resilience is only available through my website.
http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/shop/stress-busting-ebook/

Cassandra Gaisford is a health psychologist, author and coach with a passion for helping people live their best life – full of joy, well-being and success. She was the resident life coach on Television New Zealand’s Good Morning Show and a columnist with two of New Zealand’s  largest national newspapers. She is the author of Happy at Work – now out of print and due for re-release in October 2015.

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Monday, November 10th, 2014

Overcoming your fatal flaw

“You don’t finish anything,” my daughter said to me today when I told her I was going to be a romance writer. No doubt she is referring to the 20 or so half-completed manuscripts buried in my computer; Or perhaps to the various works in progress still to be completed.

Yes, she is right. But this is only half the truth. I have finished many, many things. Some of these are small and some wondrous even to me now. Like the architecturally designed house I commissioned and project managed – all the more miraculous because I was a single mother with no savings. I’ve also completed many things to further my professional education. Many years ago, returning to study at age 27, and as a single parent of an energetic three year old, a Bachelor of Commerce. Most recently, spurred on by my own frustration at leaving so many things unfinished I dusted off my psychology books and, after a 10-year hiatus, completed the final four papers needed to finish my psychology degree.

What’s my fatal flaw? One of my greatest strengths is that I love so many things. Some call me the Renaissance woman – committing with joyful abandon to many, varied projects – fired up by the diversity and wonder of life and all the things that inspire me. On the flip side, my greatest strength is also, at times, my greatest weakness. Starting many things can rob me of the focus needed to complete – especially when time is a finite resource. My fatal flaw combines taking on too many things and then not finishing them prior to taking on new things!

Overcoming your fatal flaw

So often we’re busy looking to confirm what our strengths are that we forget to acknowledge our weaknesses, which, if left unaddressed, could prove to be our fatal flaw – the quality that prevents us achieving our goals and dreams.

In the world of romance writing the fatal flaw is the personality trait the hero or heroine must overcome in order to achieve their heart’s desire. In doing so they journey inward along their character arc – walking over what can feel at times to be a perilous tightrope where they are at their most vulnerable. But the rewards are great. It’s the world of happily ever after. And isn’t that what we all want?

To be the hero or heroine of our own lives requires embarking on the mythic hero’s journey – overcoming obstacles, and pushing forward courageously in spite of any lingering fears, arrogance or stubbornness.

The perfection in imperfection

Overcoming your fatal flaw and acknowledging your weaknesses isn’t about attaining a state of perfection. That’s way too much pressure to put on yourself – and quite frankly, quite boring. Imperfection can contain its own sparkle of beauty.

Many artists purposely instil a smidgeon of imperfection in their greatest works. Persian-rug makers, for example, weave in an imperfection, barely discernable to the eye, in their carpets. These traditional, hand-made Persian rugs have intentional flaws because the Muslim artists feel that only Allah is perfect and has the right to create perfectly. Note the emphasis on ‘intentional’ – it’s a rational choice not a blind, non-conscious default or habit.

One of the paintings by my favourite artists Max Gimblett has a bubble in the surface, which other artists may have tried to even out. Appropriately, the quatrefoil is called ‘Choice.’

We all have choices in life. To remain as we are or to embark on a process of continual improvement through self-development.

This year I’ve made a commitment to finishing projects. I’ve nailed my psychology degree, and am well on track with my commitment to update all the Worklife Solutions workbooks, including coach training resources. No mean feat with over 40 workbooks across the life coaching, career coaching and coach training certification programmes. Then I’ll turn my attention to my romance writing and Mona Lisa’s Secret– and I’ll finish one book this year for sure.

Your turn!

 Here’s a few questions which might help you leverage off your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. Take some time to reflect and jot some thoughts on paper:

What’s your greatest strength? How could this be a weakness?

What parts of your personality are you unhappy with?

Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel you must hide your weaknesses to avoid being criticised or keeping people from getting too close?

Are you taking any steps to confront those parts of your nature or personality that need improvement?

Have you ever thought about or received mentoring, coaching or counselling to help you grow and overcome your weaknesses?

As spiritual teacher and intuitive Sonia Choquette says, “True power lies in our ability to accept ourselves – the good, the bad, and the ‘ugly’ – and not to project our shadow side onto those around us. It allows us to embrace and accept the private ‘I’ behind our public personas. This is not to indulge or make excuses for those sabotaging aspects of ourselves, but rather to acknowledge that they exist and need to be overcome. We cannot overcome those disabling parts of own nature, which in fact steal our power away, if we do not acknowledge they exist. Until we do, we are not fully in charge of our destiny.”

 

Helpful tools: boost your self-awareness. Schedule a personality profile

Many times it can be difficult to accurately and objectively assess ourselves. This is where a good personality profiling tool can help.

 About Personality Profiling

Personality Profiling contributes to a more accurate and objective self-assessment and hence improved effectiveness in many areas of peoples lives, including personal relationships, workplace relationships, personal development and conflict resolution. It’s also a great way to highlight areas of strength and weakness and to use this increased awareness to development a plan of success.

I’ve long been a fan of the Myers Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) and use the latest expanded, interpretative report when working with clients. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a world-renowned and powerful personality inventory used extensively to help people build greater self-awareness.

I love the way it is ‘preference’ based not ‘trait’ based – they key difference being that by looking at our own preferences we are free to make changes if these preferences no longer serves us – given who we are and what we wish to achieve.

How does it work?

This questionnaire has 144 questions, is completed on-line, and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. These questions have been designed to help uncover your preferences.  There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions.  It is not a personality test!  Your answers will help show you how you like to look at things and how you like to go about deciding things.  Knowing your own preferences and learning about other people’s can help you understand what your special strengths are, what your potential weaknesses or “blind spots” may be, what kinds of work you might enjoy and be successful doing, and how people with different preferences can relate to each other and be valuable to society.

This questionnaire will then be complied into an extensive report.  This report is an invaluable personal and professional development tool, which provides insight into your personality preferences including:

Characteristics of your personality type

  • Strengths and weaknesses
    Natural gifts and talents
  • Careers and work environments suited to your personality type
  • Areas for development
  • Communication preferences and relationship management skills
  • How other people see you
  • How you react under pressure and stress
  • Conflict management

Take a look at the sample and see how detailed the report is: http://www.cpp.com/images/reports/smp267149.pdf

Spring special – save 60%

Take advantage of my Myers Briggs Spring Special available to my subscribers – just $495 + GST (in New Zealand).

Includes access to online questionnaire, initial assessment, personal report, career planning case studies and one-hour feedback session.

Hurry, this great spring special deal ends midnight 30 November

Call today! +6421873833 or send us an email coaches@worklifesolutions.co.nz to book your sessions.

 

Quotes to inspire

“A Persian rug is perfectly imperfect, and precisely imprecise.” ~ Anon

“When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself.”  ~ Deepak Chopra

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.” ~ Steven Maraboli

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Where there is no struggle there is no strength.” ~ Anon

“The best thing in life is finding someone who knows all your flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses and still thinks you’re amazing.” ~ Anon

 

Stay in touch

I hope this newsletter has inspired you to do whatever it is that you need to succeed. Whether this is to unleash your talents and strengths or work out some strategies to tackle your ‘fatal flaw.’

Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/worklifenz/ and other social media hubs for more inspiration and tip to help you succeed – you’ll see the links in the side bar.

So looking forward to staying in touch and celebrating past, present and future successes as we prepare to bid farewell to 2014 and celebrate a fresh, juicy new year. I for one, can’t wait!

Passionately yours

Cassandra

 

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Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Seven ways to be inspired

A good friend once told me that to be inspired is to be in spirit. I always wondered what spirit looks like. I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘spirit’ is much like ‘love’ – hard to define but easy to see and feel when present.

Leonardo da Vinci continues to inspire me. I call this mixed media painting I created the other day, ‘Three times inspired’ – combining a drawing of Leonardo Da Vinci’s study of the mind, my psychology studies and creativity (watercolours). Had so much fun drawing and painting this the other day.

In a world that can seem at times to be lacking inspiration and feeding on negativity, fuelled by anger, it can be hard to feel inspired. Here are a few of my tried-and-true ways to feed your inspiration. I hope a few ideas spark something in you.


Follow your passion

Notice what gives you a buzz and fills you with joy. If you’re struggling to identify your passion reflect back over your life and remember the times you were happiest.

Most recently when I look at the photos from my trip to Milan, Florence and Puglia in Italy three images stand out for me, capturing times when I was ecstatic with joy:
1.) surrounded by books in one of the most gorgeous book stores I have ever seen, owned by the most inspirational woman – Isabella. Here’s a piccie of me holding an Italian translation of Isabel Allende’s novel in a fabulous bookstore in Bari, Italy owned by Isabella.


2.) fabulous photographer Loc Boyle took an amazingly creative photo of a few of my new found photography friends while we were ‘assisting’ him in the streets of Martina Franca Taranto, in Puglia, at midnight – upside down in a wine glass!

3.) the third photo is of me arm deep in plaster, learning fresco in Florence and recreating a portion of Botticelli’s Primavera.

Workwise some of my most inspired times of late have been helping people identify and pursue their passions at work and in life. It’s so exhilarating seeing them caste aside their old selves and recreate new selves that give them the courage, confidence and permission to fly.
Following your passion can also involve things that give you a sense of meaning and purpose – identifying things that really annoy, anger, frustrate or upset you and that you feel inspired about resolving are good signposts to follow.

I get upset when I see people sad; and I get really irritated by ugly, uncared for surroundings – nasty graffiti really gets me going, as does listening to people bitch and backstab others. Helping people become happier and bringing more joy into the world are key passions I love to unleash.

 

Who inspires you?
Notice who inspires you and take a leaf out of their novel. Right now I’m lucky to be inspired by my clients, including those I am training to be coaches. I love the way they have the courage to move toward their preferred futures helping others they interact with along the way. Training coaches passionate about what I am – helping others follow their bliss – is doubly inspiring!

 

Follow your leaders
Who comes to mind when you think of people living an inspired life? First thought, best thought.

Photographer Carla Coulson, and authors Nora Roberts, Anna Campbell and Isabel Allende are just some of the people who come to mind. They’ve all had the courage to follow their passion for creative careers. Myself and eleven other photography enthusiasts followed Carla around Puglia, Italy gobbling up the tantalising smorgasbord of photography tips and inspiration she fed us during her photography workshop.

It was so inspiring. Not only did I meet Carla – a passionate woman who’s been an inspiration ever since I red her book Italian Joy, but for the first time in my life I was surrounded with other people who shared my passion for photographing beauty. Following my ‘leader’ and being around like-minded people topped up my inspiration well. Oh, and of course I was in Italy! The photo below is of eleven crazy female photographers and ONE shy quiet little guy … on our Caravaner’s Photography Puglia Workshop with Carla Coulson (things John for sharing!)

Who inspires you? Who could you follow? How?

 

Learn something new

After Milan I went to Florence where I did a fresco workshop to help with the scene I’m writing for my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret. I immediately fell in love with the technique. I went completely open-minded to the course and without realising it beforehand I quickly discovered the art of fresco combined so many things I love: watercolour painting, grinding pigments, mixing colours, sculpting, alchemy, and of course just getting my hands dirty. I haven’t felt so happy in years. It was heavenly being surrounded by artists in the centre of Florence.

What’s something new you’d like to learn?

 

Feed your soul
You don’t have to go to Italy to nourish your spirit. Surround yourself with everything that makes you feel inspired. Make it multi-sensory. What colours, sounds, tastes, textures etc. makes you sing? Wearing lace and velvet makes me feel inspired and I can do that anywhere!

Doing what you love also feeds your spirit. I agree with mega best-selling author Nora Roberts when she says, “I need to write to be happy.” As one of my client’s who has been suffering from depression for years said to me recently, “I know I need to be creating to be happy, I haven’t drawn for years.”

What do you need to do to be happy? Are you doing it?

 

Disconnect to connect
I’ve become painfully aware how cell phones, iPads and other devices, that supposedly connect us to everyone, are actually disconnecting us from life. Stepping away from technology opens your eyes to the beauty and inspiration that surrounds us and improves our relationships.

Only the other day I saw a dad and his young son out for a pizza dinner at Scopa. What should have been wonderful father-son bonding looked excruciatingly lonely. The son, aged nine or so, had his cell phone, neon screen blazing, pressed almost to his nose throughout the whole meal as he scrolled through his Facebook account. Clearly connecting to his digital friends was more important than being face-to-face with his dad.

Similarly, I was flabbergasted while in Queenstown cruising Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Rather than soak up the incredible scenic beauty people had their faces riveted to their screens – most likely informing the world where they were and what they were doing. Crazy!

 

Change jobs
If your job is draining you of energy know when to quit. “I’ve never seen him so happy and motivated and inspired,’ said one woman when her husband changed career. After years of being unhappy at work, and knowing desperately that he really wanted to be his own boss, Pete finally ‘felt the fear and jumped anyway’.  It was an inspired calculated move fuelled by knowledge that he was moving into the passion-zone and firmly out of the comfort rut.

Are you happy at work? Is it time to ‘spring’ into a new career?

 

Inspiration is a vitamin for the soul

“All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” ~ Charles Kingsley

These are just a new of my favourite ways to feed my inspiration. I hope they have been inspiring. Everyone needs a boost from time-to-time. Please feel free to share and do sing out if you need a helping hand – we’d be happy to help.


p.s. One of the gal’s (Julie Rowe) I went on a photography workshop with posted this piccie of us all deep in this wonderful underground treasure trove in Puglia, Italy – with the ever-inspiring Carla Coulson and the fabulous Loc Boyle. Made my heart glad remembering.

Mimmo Vestita, kindly opened his beautiful Mediterranean Roman Villa and garden to us Casa Vestita in the town of Grottaglie (revered for it’s beautiful hand-made ceramics) and led us down in to the exquisite Byzantine crypt that renovators found while restoring the garden. Closed for over 400 years, it was an incredible experience.

 

 

 

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