Thursday, January 7th, 2016

How To Find Your Passion and Purpose

Find Your Passion and Purpose ebook coverv3The Passion Pack was where my latest book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, all started. A simple idea with a powerful message – follow your passion!

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, a concise guide to making the most of your life, began its journey as a set of 40 cards created to help people live and work with passion.

The vision was simple: a few short, easy to digest tips for time-challenged people who were looking for inspiration and practical strategies to encourage positive change.

From my own experience, I knew that people didn’t need a large wad of words to feel inspired, gain clarity and be stimulated to take action.

In coaching and counselling sessions I’d encourage my clients to ask a question they would like answered. The questions could be specific, such as, ‘How can I make a living from my passion?’ Or vague, for example,  ‘What do I most need to know?’

Then I’d ask them to pick a card at random. Without fail, they were astounded by the card’s potent relevance. Disbelieving eyes widened in astonishment as they read either the quote or the main message they received. Many would say, “These cards are magic.”

Orders flooded in from global recruitment consultancies, primary schools, colleges, universities, not-for-profit organisations, financial institutions and other multi-national commercial entities. I was asked to speak at conferences around the world about the power of passion. It was amazing to see how popular and successful The Passion Pack became, transcending age, gender, and socio-economic differences.

In this era of information obesity the need for simple, life-affirming messages is even more important. Which is why I’ve resurrected The Passion Pack, and transformed the tips and tools from the wisdom of words on cards to those on pages – both digital and paperback.

 If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a page at random, or work through the steps sequentially. I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Clive, a 62-year-old man who had suffered work-related burnout, did! He thought that creating a passion journal, Tip 10 in this guide, was childish – something other stressed executives in his men’s support group would balk at. But once he’d taken up the challenge he told me enthusiastically,

“They loved it!” They are using their passion journals to visualise, gain clarity, and create their preferred futures. Clive is using it to help manifest his new purpose-driven coaching business.

Let experience be your guide. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’, and embrace how you feel, or how you want to feel. Honour the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

Laura, who at one stage seemed rudderless career-wise, did just that. She was guided to Tip 14: Who Inspires You? Following that, her motivation to live and work like those she looked up to sparked a determination to start her own business.  It was that simple.


Following your passion is the key to success

The feedback I’ve received has been validation of my deepest belief that following your passion is the key to success. This combined with strengthening your creativity and imagineering skills is one of the most magical, empowering and practical things you can do to manifest your deepest desires.

As I did recently – pursuing a dream to publish my books on Amazon. Within days of its release, my first book in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series: ‘The Call For Change’  became a #1 bestseller on Amazon in the category of Work-Related Health.  The link to the paperback and eBook is here >> 

Book two, Mid-Life Career Rescue series: ‘What Makes You Happy’  was met with similar success. In less than 24 hours of release it also became a #1 bestseller. The link to the paperback and eBook is here >>

It’s  also confirmation of the benefits of working with purpose and the importance I place on helping people feel happy. Your health is everything! Be sure to value it. Now.


Finding joy – the path to success

“Aren’t you setting people up for failure?” a disillusioned career coach once challenged me when I told her my focus was not on helping people find any job, but finding one that gave them joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she needed a career change.

Twenty-five years of cumulative professional experience as a career coach and counsellor, helping people work with passion and still pay the bills, answers that question. I’m setting people up for success. I’m not saying it will happen instantly, but if you follow the advice in my books, it will happen. I promise.

I’ve proven repeatedly with the successes I’ve gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, rationally and practically, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works. In this book I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy, and the reason behind my success with clients, is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy in life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.

As media giant Oprah Winfrey once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

Passion’s pay cheque

By discovering your passion you will tap into a huge source of potential energy. Pursuing your passion can be profitable on many levels:

  • When you do what you love, your true talent will reveal itself; passion can’t be faked
  • You’ll be more enthusiastic about your pursuits
  • You’ll have more energy to overcome obstacles.
  • You will be more determined to make things happen
  • You will enjoy your work
  • Your work will become a vehicle for self-expression
  • Passion will give you a competitive edge
  • You’ll enjoy your life

“New Zealander’s aren’t ready for passion,” an international publishing company told me when I first approached them with my book idea. Incredible! Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing.

I was told a similar thing when I was accepted to speak at an international careers conference in San Francisco. “Selling passion to Americans is like selling coal to people in Newcastle,”  I was warned. Yet I spoke to a full capacity crowd.

Let my experience guide you – other people aren’t experts in your life. Act on your own conviction. Let love, desire, and passion, not fear or ambivalence or apathy, or other peoples projections, propel you forward.

Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that’s why there is so much unhappiness in the world.

Again this is why I wrote my latest book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose.

And it’s why passion and purpose are core themes in all my books. And in my life. And why I’m dedicated to helping those who want more passion and purpose too.

An inside look at the cover

Small enso for interiorThe emphasis on energy is so vital that I decided to create my cover using a Sumi ink painting I created in Maui.I had won the Supreme Art Award for another painting and spent the money to study Sumi ink painting with Zen Buddhist artist Max Gimblett

The 2000 year-old art form of Japanese brush painting is spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism. Sumi-e’s earliest practitioners were highly disciplined monks.

I can still recall the energy and power of loading the brush with rich red ink and with ‘all mind, no mind,’ breathing deep from my core, and meeting the page.

It’s been great to receive feedback about the cover from readers. “It’s fabulous. Eye-catching and inspirational’, wrote one person.

“I feel I want to read this book now! The red energy swirl suggests an invitation to enter a journey of discovering ones passion.”

Of course, not everyone loves the cover. But that is my point. Not everyone will endorse what you feel passionately driven to be or do. Do it anyway. As I did, when I  first created The Passion Pack.


Fear Of Success31: Fear Of Success. It’s a timely reminder of just how far following my passion has taken me – the shy girl who was once afraid of being seen. The quote is as apt for me as I feel it may be for you:

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”

Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late.

Here’s to living with passion and purpose!

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, is available from Amazon in paperback and eBook.

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Monday, December 21st, 2015

How to be happy with yourself – prioritising what’s important


“Values are a matter of what guides you through every day, every task, every encounter with another human being. Yet we are often unaware of what our values are.” ~ Richard Bolles, Author

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Sometimes the job of your dreams may be the one least likely to pay the most. But it’s not always about the money. Right? There’s more to being rewarded for the work you do than the pay cheque you take home at the end of the week.

Job satisfaction, fulfilment, quality of family and private life and mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health are too often left out of the equation when evaluating job opportunities.

Most people will say that having enough money to live comfortably is important to them. But not everyone is willing to work for less money in order to have other needs meet.

For these people what they value most is not money, it’s something else more important to them – such as working for a specific cause, helping people, being creative, being challenged or having great work-life balance and plenty of free time.

Being aware of what your non-negotiable values are, and proactively ensuring these needs are met at work is vitally important. A career choice that is in line with your core beliefs and values is more likely to be a lasting and positive choice. It allows you to be who you really are, and do what you really need, in order to achieve what you want.

What Are Values?

Your most important values are the things you feel very strongly about. Your values are who you are and who you want to be. They are the ideals that guide or qualify your personal conduct, interaction with others and involvement in your career.

Like morals, they help you to distinguish what is right from what is wrong, and good from bad. They’re signposts which direct you to your best-fit career and inform you on how you can live your life in a meaningful way.

Your values are formed in a variety of ways through your life experiences, the way you are uniquely wired and the choices you make. They’re who you are and who you choose to be.

Jilly’s Story


Jilly left home when she was only 14. As she says, hers was not a conventional life. Now in her 70’s, her most important values centre around independence, autonomy, creativity and freedom. It’s not hard to understand why. Now living in a medieval village near to Menton, France, and working as a photographer and journalist, her life and work reflects who she is and the things most important to her.

Listening to Jilly’s stories of reinvention, it’s clear to me that variety, learning and new challenges are important values too. “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!  I ran a drama school with a one-time husband, I was an actress, I owned two restaurants, one in London, one in Hobart, Tasmania.

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My grand passion though was dogs and bred and showed dogs for over thirty years and  during the 1980s, had one of the top breeding and showing kennels in Old English Sheepdogs  I also judged the breed all over the world. I’ve lived in America, in Australia, in Wales, in London, and, for the past 25 years, in France. I was never ever a person who needed a mid-life boost as it were.”

Jilly, says she always had what others call courage. “In fact had I not said ‘yes’ to every opportunity in life I knew I’d always worry what I’d missed. It seemed to me it took more courage to say ‘No’ than to say ‘Yes’.” When she was 67, new adventures beckoned, and she picked up a camera.

“I didn’t get into photography because it was something I’d always wanted to do – in fact, during my years showing Old English Sheepdogs, I was endlessly taking photos of the show dogs and puppies, so perhaps that was the beginning of my creativity in photography.

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But about eight years ago a blog about a town not far from me drew my attention, and I thought ‘I can do that!’ and so I did. My photography was woeful – crooked buildings, and horizons – not that I knew it at the time. But slowly by looking at other photographer’s work, I started to ‘see’ what I needed to improve.  I got inspired and gradually improved my skills (I still am!).

“I took workshops, (Carla Coulson and Nick Danziger – both life changing) photography friends helped me, I read endlessly on the subject and watched training videos. Eventually, instead of writing about my town with photos, I was taking photos for their own sake.”

I love Jilly’s motivation, ‘I could do that!’ How many times have you said that. But how many times have you acted on it?

“I do think life experiences have made me a better photographer – the technical side had to be learned, but it’s in what I choose to photograph that defines my work. I love, for instance, the world of street photography. For me, a good photograph needs to make the photographer and the viewer ‘feel’ something.


Jilly’s most recent creative endeavour blends her love for dogs with her passion for photography. “During my years as a dog breeder, exhibitor and judge, I always photographed my dogs in show pose. I think that gave me an ‘eye’ for a photo, as I had an eye for a dog, as we say.”


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.

Jilly is currently working on two books, one about the medieval hill village where she lives – not a book for tourists, as such, but one that will follow the daily lives of the people who live there and who have made her so welcome. The second book will be called Riviera Dogs.

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Saying yes to opportunities, makes your life richer

As Jilly’s story highlights, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities as they appear has made her life richer.

Jilly Bennett Photography:

Facebook: Jilly Bennett Photography

Jilly’s Photography Blogs: Menton Daily Photo

Riviera Dogs

This is an excerpt from career expert Cassandra Gaisford’s Amazon #1 best-selling book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy) How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

To celebrate the release of her new book she’s giving you something for FREE!

Click Here to Download Your FREE Find Your Passion Workbook

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Live with audacity

you'll be happier than you know is possible


“The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.”

~ Madame Veuve Cliquot


I ran into a former coaching client the other day and she told me how much she enjoyed receiving the newsletters. I asked her if there was a topic that she would appreciate me writing about as we head into a new year. So this one’s for Anita, and for all the other people who’d love to make a change for the better but feel they lack the confidence.

Ever since I read Madame Veuve Cliquot’s autobiography and came across a line in the book where she said, “Act with audacity.”

I loved the word, audacity. It spoke to me deeply, but I had no idea what it meant. Here’s what I read:


  1. boldness or daring, especially with confident disregard for conventional thought, or other restrictions.
  1. intrepid boldness


Our audacious move. I told my client our news, which I’m sharing with you now. Not to brag or boast at our good fortune but, as Anita encouraged, to inspire. We’ve been looking to make a change in location for some years now. Last year we ‘chanced’ (some would say the meeting was fated) across a stunning property just outside Kerikeri. Long story short, after overcoming many, many obstacles, the contract for the sale of the house was confirmed on 30 September – my birthday!

So many of you have asked for photos of Lorenzo’s and mine new home – Summer Hill in the Bay Of Islands. It’s such an amazing story of manifestation. From just a whisper of a glance through trees, a dream we never thought was possible.

The moment we walked up the sweeping tree-lined driveway I knew this was our ‘home’. We hadn’t even been around the front – which as you’ll see – has the most incredible uninterrupted views of the magnificent Bay of Islands.

Lorenzo hasn’t even been inside! (The house was tenanted, and still is, following the passing away of the founding owners).

From the Kiwi Sanctuary across the road, to the serenity of the architectural design of the house which sits harmoniously amongst 10 acres of lovingly planted trees, to the pond at the entrance where native birds flourish and where one day we hope to plant water lily’s, to the workshop where I can at last have an art studio (and lead/host some artist’s, writers and spiritual retreats), and the warmth of the tropical climate where our souls can breathe – Summer Hill couldn’t be more perfect.

I had the privilege of meeting Russell, the man (when we met in his eighties) who with his wife collaborated with the architect in the design and built the house (complete with a Yin Yang design to add to the feng shui harmony). Sadly he passed two years ago, but happily for us we now get to continue his legacy. They named their home Summer Hill, and painted it warm ochre yellow to reflect the homeland of his Australian wife and the area Summer Hill, in Australia, where these two lovebirds met.

We’re very much looking forward to possession date of late April 2015. In time we’ll embrace complementing the timeless modernist design with a revitalising interior update, and continuing efforts to protect our most treasured native bird the Kiwi (still at threat of extinction) and then to kicking back and enjoying special times with friends and family. We hope to see many of you there 🙂
Best of all because of the way we re-engineered the way we work both our roles enable us to work anywhere in the world. Plus traveling to the main centres is only a 40 minute flight away.


Your audacious move

‘I’d love to make a move like that, but I’m not like you. I’m not confident’, one client told me. It’s not the best of affirmations for manifesting your dreams. I respect that making a change for the better can be/is frightening for many, but I can’t over-emphasise how important it is to stay positive.

So what if you’re not feeling confident. What can you do? What if you don’t have heaps and heaps of money (like Laurie and I didn’t when we made our most audacious move). What if you don’t have an inheritance or some other cash cow to save you if it all turns to custard. What if there is no sugar daddy, or the security of savings?

Feel the fear, and do it anyway Susan Jeffers, author of the same titled book may encourage.

Step one: Be inspired. Get clear about what makes your soul sing. What is it you really want? Don’t look at obstacles – think opportunities and potentialities.

When we were manifesting our dream home we though about our criteria for happiness. Some of the top things included feeling warm all year round but still in New Zealand. This ruled out the South Island. We wanted to live in an inspiring, creative location, with minimal noise and maximum nature – but still close to civilization. Our new home in Opito Bay enjoys 10 acres of uninterrupted views of The Bay Of Islands, and is close to the vibrant township of Kerikeri.
Regardless of whether it’s a new job you want to manifest, a beautiful relationship or am exciting move, get clear about your criteria for satisfaction. What inspires you? If money were no object what would you love to do?


Step two: It’s all about taking calculated risks. Look at potential risks objectively but don’t let them paralyse you. Believe in yourself and trust that no matter what happens you’ll handle it. ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ you should ask. Followed quickly by, ‘how can I minimise this outcome?’

Think back to times when you’ve made successful changes in the past. What did you do well? What would you do differently?


Step three: Let love not fear propel you forward. My client who wanted to make a similar move like so many people was focusing on fear. Her mind was running through all the things that could go wrong. Great if you do step two above, but not so flash if you focus more on the risk that you do the gains.
In her example I reminded her that Wellington house prices are stagnating (especially when compared to other areas in NZ) and not predicted to make exceptional gains. Plus we live in an area prone to earthquakes. A move up North, where her daughter pleaded for them all to live, would be warmer, less stressful, closer to her family. Plus her current job offered the potential to transfer up to Auckland so she would have security of income. Still it felt like a big leap.

Love is stronger than fear – so surround yourself with reminders of what you want to manifest and how making a change will benefit you.

When Laurie and I were planning our move we framed a photo of Summer Hill, the house we wanted to purchase and using Photoshop added some encouragement someone gave us, “You’ll be happier there than you know is possible.” We also listed all the benefits and kept seeing ourselves as already there. We also surrounded ourselves with a ‘community’ of friends and acquaintances who believed in our dreams. A big success was the creation of what I call ‘the manifestation fridge’ – pasting feel good images, quotes etc. in the one place we were guaranteed to see it all the time!

How could you feed your love and keep your mind off fear? Another thought just occurred to me – what if you used a tendency to think negatively constructively? What if you identified all the things that could go wrong if you stayed the same and didn’t make a change.


Step four: Baby steps. ‘Make a plan Stan and set yourself free’ – the lyrics of a song I used to listen to encouraged. When Laurie and I manifested our move to Opito Bay it took four years of micro movements. Much like a game of chess, little by little, subtle move by subtle move it all added up to the grand move. How could we afford it? What would need to change? How do we need to change? What do we need to know? How do we know what we know – where is our evidence for that? What’s the best that could happen?

All these generative questions tapped into our higher consciousness, intuitiveness and creativity…guiding us toward pragmatic steps of rational, inspired action.
What baby steps could you take today? Tomorrow? After?


Step five. Surround yourself with cheerleaders. Often those closest to you are fearful, if not more fearful than you. Your dreams could make them feel inadequate. Worse scenario, unintentionally (or not) they may prefer to see you unchanged. Often your success highlights their own need to change it up. The best cheerleaders are often objective, impartial and skilled. That’s where a professional life or career coach comes in.

It’s hard to excel without a true pro shouting from the side-line, cheering you on or helping you perfect your technique. Find any Olympian or world-class athlete who hasn’t benefited from a professional coach, Just look at the All Blacks. Coaches trained in psychology and mind-power helped them ace the World Rugby Cup.

Your success inspires not threatens. No matter how skilled, clever and motivated a person may be, they seldom achieve their maximum potential without the right support network.
Who could support you?

These are just a few of the things we did to manifest our dreams and act with audacity. Exciting and challenging times ahead but it’s all heading in one giant life inspiring direction.

I hope there’s a few words of encouragement to inspire you to take a leaf from Madame Cliquot’s book and invent the life you wish to lead tomorrow. Keep me informed and I shall raise a glass of champagne to celebrate your success.



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