Monday, April 6th, 2020

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


“Keep dreaming in colour

And drawing your dreams

On cement floors

Until they are realised.”

~ Alicia Keys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To purchase on Amazon, click here>>

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

To purchase on Kobo, click here>>




Be Happy at Work!

What readers are saying

“I have recently been told my role has been disestablished and I will be made redundant – what an awful term. I have found Happy at Work very useful in terms of information provided and tools available for self-awareness and future planning. This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers. I feel energised every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.” ~Keith Lewis

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

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

“Guides are necessary throughout mid-life, this book is a guide. Teachers to face and touch are guides. Mid-life will not be rushed. Everybody experiences mid-life. It is a sacred journey, a sacred path, the Way. I know Cassandra as a fellow spirit and friend. She was with me on the island of Maui participating in my Sumi ink workshops. I have experienced with her some of her mid-life passages. I trust her, respect her, and understand that her book is invaluable. I urge you to utilize this book as an inspirational tool and carry it as a treasure. Persevere with your mid-life, bring into consciousness your childhood dreams, as they will become your living realities.” ~ Max Gimblett, visual artist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You have probably heard all this many times before, but at 55 yrs and with 38 yrs of full-time work behind me, the biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth. I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the “mind chatter”. Your book, the Michael Hill biography and Lyn Grabhorn’s Your Life is Now are a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence. Then there are a few good friends who at the moment have become very important to me. Honestly, your book Happy at Work is a treasure.” ~ Keith Lewis

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



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


To purchase on Amazon, click here>>

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

To purchase on Kobo, click here>>


Available in EBook, paperback —AUDIO COMING SOON!

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Why training to be a life or career coach is the go-to-career change strategy

Self-transformation is the door to freedom


“The greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
Lao Tzu

Is your job stressing you out? I know how horrid it feels. I know how it feels to be like Cath who emailed me yesterday,

“I’m finding I am just miserable in my work at the moment, and things don’t seem to be improving so need a bit of a change. Just not even sure where to start. And I so desperately want to be a life coach.”

For years Cath has had a dream. More than anything she wants to be a life coach. She’s been thinking about it for years. And now she is finally ready to take the leap. Yesterday, she confirmed she’s ready to train with me and take advantage of my one-one-coach training experience to radically transform her life. Like I once was, she’s recently divorced, hates her joy and is a single mum. She needs a career rescue which is fulfilling and has longevity.

Do you dream of running your own holistic, location independent business? I’m passionate about helping people change careers and create businesses they love and still pay the bills!


If you share my passion for helping others and are seeking work that is fulfilling, financially rewarding and flexible becoming a career and life coach may be just what you have been looking for!

Work with passion and purpose! Become an accredited life or career coach.


As well as being an award-winning artist and bestselling author I’m also the director of Worklife Solutions—we train passionate, purposeful people to become career and life coaches and I mentor counselors and life coaches to level up their business.


Manifest your dream of running a holistic business from home.  Learn more here >>

How would it feel to be in control of your earning ability? What if you were free to work when you want, the hours you want, and where you want?

Discover how to make money as a life coach, create a side hustle, earn extra income on the side, and easily create your own online business using Worklife Solutions fail-proof system & attract your first paying client in weeks.  All from the comfort of your own home – or exotic destination (the photo above was taken just before I made a coaching call with a client who was also based overseas.)

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

I’m a woman on a mission.

I’m passionate about passion, joy and helping others live abundant, prosperous and beautiful love-filled lives. I know from experience this is possible for us all—and I also know from my personal and professional experience that it’s hard to achieve on your own.

I love helping people discover their purpose, passion, and potential.

I love guiding people to find their beauty spot—that unique place that resides within us all where talent, interest, and motivation intersect and enthusiasms collide.

I adore coaching creative people and helping those with a passion for helping others fulfill their potential and share their gifts with the world.

I’ve lived a chameleon life, shaping-shifting to find my place in life. I’ve had some horror jobs and experiences—and thankfully, some millionaire moments too. With over 30-years professional experience helping people transform their lives, as a therapist, career counselor, life coach, intuitive, expert trainer, and bestselling author of self-empowerment and romance books. . .
. . .if you’d love to live a life of joy, fulfillment, and prosperity you’re in good hands.

I absolutely adore the variety I have in my life—and it’s proven to be a smart strategy. Diversifying my income streams enables me to adapt quickly to change. From chaos, I have found opportunities to not only survive but thrive.

Personally and professionally I’m passionate about passion. For over 25 fulfilling years I’ve made a living from following my purpose and helping others work and live with passion and joy. I’d love to show you how you can inspire others, make a difference in the world and build a successful global business from home.

Our philosophy is to work creatively, passionately and professionally to tailor training programs and coaching services which meet your individual needs and aspirations. I’m super excited to share my system and structure with you in using a combination of distance and web-based training.  Join me and let me show you how you can easily create your own online passion and purpose-driven business.

No age-discrimination. No barriers to entry. No onerous qualifications needed. Your skills and experiences are unique and valuable. Easily earn extra money on the side & build a beautiful life coaching business, share your knowledge, and be rewarded for it.

Enrol prior to 24 March and receive a whopping $500 off! Simple email me and enter the coupon code: MARCHPROMO

To learn more and enrol, click here>>ttp://

“The one on one mentoring was what really sold me.”

“I have always been passionate about empowering and motivating others and when I learned about life coaching as a career I knew it was something I was being drawn to pursue. As you can imagine, a google search for life coaching courses brought up hundreds of providers all with their own content of what they believed life coaching to be.

I was lucky enough to come across Worklife Solutions and their Certified Life Coaching Course. I sent through an email requesting information as I had through other providers, but was pleasantly surprised when I received a response from Cassandra and not someone employed to help with enrolments/course advice, I found her to be very warm and helpful in answering all my questions. As a mum and student I was looking for flexibility, content that would really help me develop my skills and confidence as a life coach, a personalised approach and for me to be able to learn from someone who not only has the skills and qualifications in the field of Life Coaching but tons of experience too.

The one on one mentoring was what really sold me as I will not have to contend with a large group of other students. And will be able to use that time to perfect the skills I learn in a way that some online courses could never assist. I am confident that with this course alongside with Cassandra’s mentoring that I am on my way to my dream career as a life coach.”

~ Celesté Stephens, trainee life coach

To learn more and enrol, click here>>ttp://




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Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Free Mid-life Career Rescue!

independence day employ yourself

Liberate yourself today…

We’ve passed the mid-point of 2016 It’s time to think about what you want your work-life to look like next year.

If you’re ready to make a change, but only wish you knew what it was, I have something that will help.

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed and stressed out to even think about a move to a happier place, I’ve got a cure too.

If you need a bit of inspiration, you can get it for FREE and start blazing your own trail to career nirvana.

Or, if you need all the above and more…read on!


Need a career rescue in 2017? Or know someone that does?

Liberate yourself, your friends, your family, your colleagues from their cubicles, and tyrannical bosses –  plan the first step to self-employed bliss, or boost your income and learn how to start a business on the side.

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is FREE on Amazon – but only for two days. Click the following link to get your copy today >>

Remember sharing really is caring. Share the news with family and friends who may benefit from a career rescue. They’ll thank you for it.

Spread the word! Care and share!

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is FREE on Amazon today. Click the following link to get your copy today >>

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Friday, December 4th, 2015

Faith in the Stars – Astrology For Career Change and Self-Awareness

Marianne ohagan“I liked the idea that astrology believes we all are special and have unique gifts. It was at that moment that my love of astrology was born.” ~ Marianne O’Hagan, Astrologer

So many people put their faith in psychometric tests, many of which are resounding failures in predicting job satisfaction, happiness or superior performance. Why not put your faith in the stars?

Whether you’re a believer or a non-believer, taking a peek at your astrological profile can boost awareness, confirm areas of potential strength, fuel belief and instil confidence.

Many years ago, bogged down by family dramas and workplace stress I sought the help of Marianne O’Hagan, a very accomplished, but also very science based astrologer. I was blown away by how much she knew about me. I later wrote, what became a very popular, article for the business and careers section of the New Zealand Herald,“An astrologist uses mathematics to predict success.”

For convenience, and inspiration, I’ve included it below. If you’re a skeptic. Great. So was I. Are you open-minded? Good, then give it a try

Despite having endured more than her fair share of suffering, Marianne O’Hagan is a woman who exudes warmth, compassion and a zest for life. Her traumatic childhood experiences, deep love of humanity and multiple job losses have guided Marianne to her true purpose in life, where she has carved out an impressive niche for herself as an astrologist.

“My twin sister and I were born into poverty during an air raid in south London at the time of the Second World War. Unlike my sister, I was born with clubfeet. My mother’s first words, ‘Oh what a shame’, plagued me for years where I felt constantly ashamed for not being a ‘normal’ child,” she says.

Lengthy, frequent and painful trips to the specialist to correct her feet meant she missed much of her schooling, and this along with an accident that left her deaf in one ear meant for most of her childhood she was told she was stupid. Naturally left-handed, raps on the hand designed to “encourage” her to use her right hand further hindered her ability to communicate.

Born under the sign of Taurus, Marianne dug her heels in and fought her way to success. She caught up on her schooling and mastered the ability to walk. But the trauma of her childhood scarred her self-esteem.

Marianne clearly remembers the day, during a period of deep questioning, that astrology became her life’s purpose. “Mother was reading her daily horoscope.

I asked her what it meant, and she told me that everyone had a star sign and that mine was Taurus the Bull. I suddenly realised that I was the same as everyone else – we all had star signs and we all belonged. I felt a deep sense of knowing. I liked the idea that astrology believes we all are special and have unique gifts. It was at that moment that my love of astrology was born.”

Marianne read voraciously on the subject; she coupled her reading with her love of mathematics and natural ability with numbers, and soon began drawing up astrology charts for her friends. She had an uncanny ability to predict people’s behaviour and forecast how their patterns and planetary activity influenced their lives.

Marianne’s passion for astrology remained a hobby for many years while she pursued more traditional careers. Initially she started her career as a hairdresser. Although she loved it she couldn’t stand on her feet all day and after six months reluctantly had to give it up.

“At that time I thought, what do I want to do with my life? I knew I loved maths so I set my sights on being a comptometer operator (the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculator). In those days it was a pretty prestigious job. I targeted a company who used these things, started at the bottom and was offered the opportunity to train. At first I was shocked. All my life I’d been told I was stupid and wouldn’t amount to anything and then my boss offered me the chance to train in an area I’d dreamed of. I cried.”

Later she up skilled as an accountant. She was good at the work but missed contact with people. While doing a stint as a recruitment agent she met a New Zealander, who she later married. They moved to New Zealand where she secured a top job working in a chartered accountancy. Two years later the company folded. She soon found another role but several years later she was made redundant again. As the economy worsened, work became less secure and Marianne faced six redundancies over a 15-year period. “I decided God was telling me it was time to start my own business,” she recalls.

Instead of taking the easy option and setting up her on her own as an accountant she decided to choose the path with heart and follow her passion for astrology.

“I changed my name, changed my vocation and my life changed. I made more money then I ever did working for someone else and I’ve helped so many people,” she says.

Doors quickly opened. She was asked to run seminars, which were hugely successful, and was then approached by Radio 2ZB. During the following three years she popularised astrology through radio talk back and became Wellington’s leading astrological consultant. With over 34 years’ experience, she now attracts clients from all over the world.

Several years ago, a near-death experience following a cerebral haemorrhage gave Marianne a new lease on life and she focused her efforts on writing her first astrology book, Lunar Astrology from the Horses Mouth, which she says will revolutionise the way people look at astrology.

“We all know how the moon affects the tides. Drawing the water in or releasing it out. If we are 90 per cent fluid it makes sense that humans are affected by the planets too,” Marianne says.

“I began by applying the phases of the moon to people and characterising people born under the various phrases. After seven years’ research and hundreds of interviews I saw how accurate lunar astrology was. People really did respond to that phase.”

So just how can astrology help?

“Most clients come with financial problems or relationship problems,” Marianne says. “They come looking for the hope of happiness in the future.”

According to Marianne, predicting success in others is all based on mathematics. “It’s the mathematical positions of the planets that actually create events – as simple as the tides going out at high tide, twice a day, and it’s predictable.”

She asks people for the time and place of birth prior to meeting them and draws up their astrological chart so she can understand, and in turn help them to understand, the aspects influencing them. As a result of their personalised astrological consultation, clients who have come to Marianne under extremely difficult circumstances leave with a deeper understanding of themselves, their problems and how to solve them.

“All my life I prayed to God, ‘God please make me a normal child like all the other kids’. But I see now that all this time I was being groomed for my life purpose. I have tremendous empathy for people and a deep compassion. People come to me for readings but what I am really doing is counselling them. I love helping people.”

Now in her 70’s Marianne is still living and working with passion.

Lunar Astrology from the Horses Mouth is available from Marianne O’Hagan’s website, You’ll also find her contact details there if you wish to book an astrology session in person, via phone or Skype.


This is an excerpt from career expert Cassandra Gaisford’s 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 and get her free eBook, “Find Your Passion.”

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Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Down Load My Free book: Mid-Life Career Rescue

Mid-life Career Rescue_v7Need a career rescue in 2016? Or do you know someone who does? Click here and be in the know during the free promo.

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Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Mid-life career rescue – are you ready to answer the call for change?

Mid-life Career Rescue_v7Excited – have just sent off the first round of edits for a double proof, for Mid-Life Career Rescue. Dare I say:


This book is powerful. I know it is. The life I have created using this awareness is amazing. The strategies are ones I’ve used successfully professionally with clients and personally myself during numerous reinventions – some self-determined, others forced upon me.

I stand by every one of the strategies you will learn here, not just because they are grounded strong theoretical principals, but because I have used them to create successful turnaround, after successful turnaround in nearly every area of my life.

This book is the culmination of all that I have experienced and all that I have learned, applied and successfully taught others for over two decades. I don’t practice what I preach; I preach what I have practised – because it gets results.

One thing I know for sure, is you’re too important to stay in a job you hate. You have treasures buried within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so do others. And bringing those treasures to the light takes faith and focus and courage and effort. It takes a willingness to answer the call for change, and people to help and support you along the way.

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

Like Keith aged 55 whose position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service:

“The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self worth.  I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the “mind chatter”.  Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence.  Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have it very useful in terms of information provided and tools available for self awareness and future planning.  This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers.  I feel energised every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.”

I feel blessed to have been able to help Keith, and many others like him.


Would you like to help me ensure this Mid-Life Career Rescue reaches a wider audience? Leave a comment below or private message me, and let me know why you’re interested in supporting this project.

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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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Monday, May 19th, 2014

Boost your courage: challenge your fears

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you happiness and joy


Thriving not surviving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 Overcoming Your Fears

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

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

 1.) Feel the pain

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

 2.) Affirm for what you want

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

Guidelines for Constructing Affirmations[1]

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

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

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

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

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

3.) Find out what stops you

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

4.) Challenge your fears

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

5.) Harness the power of neuro-associations

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

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

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

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

6.) Plan for success

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

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

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

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

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

7.) Visualise creatively

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

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

[1] The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook

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Monday, April 7th, 2014

Time to get your new career on the move?


You’ve probably held it said that endings herald new beginnings. Many of us if we are forced to confess will admit that unless we got an encouraging, or more often what seems to be a discouraging, nudge we never would have been brave enough to make a change for the better. I received this message from a lady I once did a colour analysis for several years ago. Happily we got rid off all her horrid and ageing blacks and glammed up with all the gorgeous colours of autumn that this beautiful red head suited.


Although at the time I wasn’t doing any career coaching with her I recall she was interested in one day working as an editor. Perhaps it was my intuition guiding me, but whatever it was when I emailed her several weeks ago to ask if she would like to help edit some of my writing the timing could not have been more perfect.


At the time of my request she was already in full-time employment and promised to do my editing in her spare time. But, as you’ll see below the whole thing has become what I call an amazing GO-incidence – spearheading her quickly into a new and rewarding career. As you’ll see, ‘When you focus on your passions and move towards your desire, life rallies to support your success’.



From Career Loss to Career Gain – Lee’s story*


‘It’s easy to sit in a comfortable environment and think, one day I’ll take that step. This forces your hand and away you must go. I am beginning a new chapter and I certainly intend it to be all about being Happy At Work and changing things out in the mid and beyond time of life : ) Curiouser and curiouser…”

“How is this for strange coincidence,” Lee wrote to me “~ the week following letting you know about proofreading your work, there was an odd meeting at my place of work whereby one of the new company directors quit his role. (History, small NZ business bought by Australians amalgamating boutique multi-media agencies late last year. Our company was in a bit of financial trouble due to changing media climate.)

The following week, remaining the director arrived into office and explained that they were quitting any association with previous major client and sacked our previous GM (highly dramatic, change of locks and security guards on premises). Found out since, bills not have not been paid this year. The week after, new company fails to pay our month of March wages and will not go to mediation about this. Under advice, we all walked away and will potentially have to wait for liquidator to sort out unpaid wages.

Outcome, of course, now unemployed and seeking new job. Timing could not have been more perfect to proofread your work. It is being very helpful for me. I will seek new paid employment in the near future, but I will pursue the goal of my own business to become mistress of my own destiny. (My last employment was terminated by other Australians seeking to reduce cost of labour, roles outsourced to India that time.)

The great thing about this is the potential created. It’s easy to sit in a comfortable environment and think, one day I’ll take that step. This forces your hand and away you must go. I am beginning a new chapter and I certainly intend it to be all about being Happy At Work and changing things out in the mid and beyond time of life : ) Curiouser and curiouser…

All I can say is how beastly her work situation sounds – and to not be paid on top is horrid. But I love and admire her attitude. I’m a firm believer that such ‘tests’ are go-incidences…pointing us in new directions. It’s all a matter of choice. Choice in how we felt we think and feel, and choice in how we react. A positive mindset and well thought out strategic plan with lashings of passion is a strong predictor of success.

Right now Lee is busy working on her business and marketing plan, revising her website and building up her social media profile and networks to build awareness of her new business. I for one will happily be a referee and provide testimonials for the excellent work Lee has done editing my eBook’s and Happy At Work For Mid-lifers book ( currently out of print pending a new edition).

Some of the many things that bodes well for Lee’s new venture is her passion for editing – her love and deep enjoyment of getting things right. Lee has recently up-skilled in this area and completed a diploma in editing and she is also taking the time to get things right before launching her new career. She’s benefiting from some external, objective, and professional coaching – I’m doing some business coaching with Lee to help her prepare for the not-too-far-away day when she launches her editing business.

But best off all, like so many mid-lifers, she is looking forward to no longer being at the whim of fickle employers but to being mistress of  her own destiny.

Take the breaks off your career this winter and plan a change for the better.

* Name changed to protected privacy

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Monday, February 25th, 2013

Employ yourself


“If you take on your self-doubt and your laziness you will find the door to your freedom.” ~ Robert Kiyosaki, Millionaire.

In these days of limited job security and continual restructuring, increasing numbers of people are considering starting their own business. Others yearn to do something more creative with their lives and follow their true path with heart. If the job you want doesn’t exist or you’re looking for more freedom and autonomy starting your own business could be just the tonic you need.

Some people are afraid of taking the first step toward self-employment. Others know in their heart it’s what they really want but procrastinate when it comes to making a move.  But it’s amazing how the Universe turns to support you when you take action.

Only a fortnight ago a woman contacted me saying she needed someone to help kick-start her dreams of starting her own business as a career coach and HR consultant. Two coaching sessions later here is what she wrote:

Tomorrow night I start work with my first career coaching client!!!
I’m developing some ideas about my business card and got a really positive response from Yoobee (formerly NatColl) about getting a designer from there. Haven’t met with a designer yet but as a result of the conversation with the lady there (a tutor or maybe HOD I suspect), I have an appointment with her to talk about my career coaching services. Very exciting. I also have the name of somebody who is just starting her own Web Design company, have had a really enthusiastic response from people in my target market who say things like “I know heaps of people who …..”. And, I’ve had some encouraging conversations with people about ways we can work together, etc where there will be mutual benefit. I’ve talked to an accountant and got myself sorted from that aspect too.
And the sun keeps shining which is fantastic!
See you next week. I doubt I’ll have my business card done by then but I’m sure it’ll be closer than it is now and I will have worked through the business plan template.”

Now that’s one lady who’s happy at work. Soon she’ll be able to shed her old job and be happier still!

Where’s a good place to start?

First Things First! Start from the Heart

To succeed in life you have to be passionate about what you do. As multi-millionaire businesswoman Anita Roddick once said, “We communicate with passion and passion sells.

Pursuing your passion is profitable on many levels. Firstly, when you do what you love, this is most likely where your true talent lies, so you’ll stand out in your field.

Secondly, you’ll be more enthusiastic about your pursuits; you’ll have more energy and tenacity to overcome obstacles, and more drive and determination to make things happen. When you do what you care most about and believe in with passion, your work will be not something that you endure but something that you enjoy. More importantly, work will become a vehicle for self-expression.

Thirdly, passion sells. People like to do business with people who are passionate about their products and services. You’ll also come across more genuinely to people – passion can’t be faked. When global financial services company KPMG re-branded with passion as a core theme, profitability soared.


“When it becomes clear that no one else shares your level of passion, you are where you belong.” ~ Placido Domingo, Opera Singer

Look for examples of passionate companies and people making a living from things they care deeply about. Here are a few Kiwi examples to get you started:

• Brian Clifford is passionate about helping people, and bugs. He has combined his passion into a successful business as a pest controller. “All the rats, all the maggots, all the cockroaches all over the place. These are the things I love doing,” he says. His business motto is “If it bugs you, I’ll kill it!

• John Holley has turned his passion for bones into a business, Skulls Down Under, selling skeletons to museums all over the world.

• Charles Royal’s passion for finding a way to incorporate traditional Ma¯ori foods into modern dishes led him to start his own business – Kinaki Wild Herbs. Air New Zealand now serves pikopiko and horopito in its first and business classes.

How could you turn your passion into a self-employment opportunity?


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