Monday, November 2nd, 2020

Do you want fries with that…

 

 

One of my coaching clients asked me this recently: “I keep asking myself how can I combine my love of travel, beautiful places and growth/learning with the skills of conceptualizing, strategizing, investigating, writing, and advising—while having time and location freedom and eventually earning an excellent living—as well as when starting out, allows me to maintain a full-time job and family? What’s a stretch but still realistic?”

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know I’m a big fan of the law of attraction and manifestation. Which I why I believe following what lights you up and speaks to your heart is a winning strategy. It also leaves plenty of room for what I call a Career Combo—a career that marries your passions, enthusiasms and soul purpose.

The truth a career combo will tick many boxes for you – including an aspect of learning and exploring things new to you. The fact is that any career change or business you start, even if a side-gig at first will need a diverse skillset.

“Continue, as you are, to research the options and perhaps put a ring around a date when you feel you will have done enough research and it is time to make decisions,” I shared with my client.

When I was investigating becoming a career and life coach I contacted people who offered life coaching as though I was a potential client and in some cases, I sat down with them to experience their process. And then I realized I didn’t like the way they did their things and I adapted and combined my diverse experiences to create my own unique way of working. This is what I call, harnessing your Passionpoint—the intersection of your skills, talents, interests, purpose, values and goals etc. I talk more about this in my Midlife Career Rescue series of books. Gosh, I made such a great living when I focused on that and a great lifestyle too… Plus there was plenty of scope to diversify—thus feeding my love of variety.
In today’s unstable economic environment the only security is that you have a saleable skill. Not placing all your golden eggs in one industry or way of working allows you to hedge your bets and better ride the changing tides of fortune.

So it was super cool when the following day my client emailed me back and told me that she had found a company that was working a ‘career combo’.  “I shared this with you as it confirms what you’ve been telling me all along, that you can combine passions,” she wrote to me. And it inspired her to take a chance on her dreams.

 

As I share in Coco Chanel, Life Coach:

 A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.

~ Coco Chanel

In French chance means ‘luck’. Chanel and Chance sound so similar as if they were created for each other.

Coco Chanel deeply believed in the power of luck—taking chances, and following opportunities defined her—even when there was no guarantee of success.

She believed in harnessing the arbiters of good fortune and the power of dreams and oracles as oracles of future success.

When she was a poor young woman cloistered in a convent orphanage she dreamed of a romantic life, fuelling her dreams of happily-ever-after with romantic novels she read again and again.

When the chance came to live the life she had imagined she grabbed it—aligning herself with wealthy men who could provide the life she wanted.

So it’s no surprise that one of her most popular and enduring perfumes is named ‘Chance.’

“Unexpected. Unpredictable. Irresistible. Delicately sparkling, endlessly romantic, vibrant, fresh and spirited,” are just some of the words used to describe this popular perfume—it’s no chance that they also define the woman behind the brand.

Upon Coco’s death a pack of Tarot cards were discovered in her apartment, the number five, which was her lucky number, was on top. A collection of symbolic objects was scattered throughout her room. She looked for signs and symbols in the ordinary, a spray of roses, a pure white camellia, a Catholic icon, and also believed in theosophy. All of which boosted her belief in the power of chance and bolstered her confidence in taking inspiring action.

 

My client was flicking through journals from years back and she came across an excerpt where she had written she wanted to become a career counsellor. “I forgot I had written that,” she shared with me in her coaching session.

“It seems to me so much can be accomplished by training and certifying with me as Worklife Solutions Career and Life Coach,” I said to her. From our work together and from the issues she was overcoming, including major issues of guilt, she was learning what I knew she would later come to teach—just as I had. And she was fired up about helping women in midlife empower themselves and overcome exhaustion, Training as a life coach, not just career, would enable her to work holistically.

Which is exactly what I did. I realised that when I interviewed other career coaches they approached work too narrowly. They didn’t think about life! I never looked back and make a fantastic income with so many ways to offer services – all location independent. Training with a New Zealand Life and Career Coaching company also enables people who train with me to stand out from the crowd. Kiwi’s do things differently! Just look at our beautiful Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden. Her compassion, her kindness and her unique approach to tackling world issues is infectious and admired.

Very often, it’s not until life throws us a curveball that we go in search of answers. Like Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer and author of Lean In. Following the sudden death of her husband, she went in search of tools to help her better handle her grief and pain. When I was embarking on a career change, stressed out of mind, suffering shingles, I devoured every book and every strategy which could help me not only survive but thrive. I share many of these tools in my books, including Stress Less, Mid-Life Career Rescue and Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy 

 

WHAT IS A CAREER COMBO?

 

I created this term many years ago, inspired by McDonald’s BigMac Combos and other hamburger bundles. Essentially, it’s a pick and mix approach to creating your career. Instead of fries with your main current breadwinning career, you might add a side-hustle.

I did this when I was fed up with the politics and lack of freedom and salary cap in my role as National Manager of Career Counselling for an EAP provider. I loved career counselling but I wanted to do things differently and I wanted to write books and I wanted to travel and not be stuck in a cubicle. So I started writing a column for the national newspaper, and I started my first company Worklife Solutions from the kitchen table and coached private clients during weekends.

Your career combo may have a very different kind of sauce. DJ Lemon, for example, is a barber by day. But a DJ by night.

If you’ve read my book, The Art of Success: Leonardo Da Vinci, or Coco Chanel, you’ll know that artists can teach all of us, no matter what your career trajectory so much about passion, perseverance and variety. Currently, my career combo includes writing romance novels as Mollie Mathews; creating healing art as Cassandra Anne Rose; and writing self-empowerment books as Cassandra Gaisford. Plus I am a life and career coach and I train other passionate purposeful people who would love a lifestyle career to become Certified Worklife Solutions Coaches too. These careers are all sandwiched between my love of empowering others, creating and sharing beautiful, sending more love into the world, healing, hope and joy—amongst other things.

I will write more about career combos in future posts and also in a new book. You’ll find plenty to inspire you in Midlife Career Rescue. Or, as many of my clients have, after reading the book, you’ll come to me for individual guidance, encouragement and support

 

“Women are always told, ‘You’re not going to make it, it’s too difficult, you can’t do that, don’t enter this competition, you’ll never win it.’ They need confidence in themselves and people around them to help them to get on.

~ Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, architect

 

What irresistible idea or opportunity could you take a chance on?

What signs, symbols or spiritual practice could you harness to boost your confidence?

 

 

Remember, Success is defined by the things you say yes to—what makes you happy.

 

 

Work with me! Get your mojo back. Reach out to me for spiritual guidance, career coaching, training and more. Take a chance!

 

While I am an advocate for alternative approaches to coaching and healing, I also value evidence-based techniques. My evidence is gained both from the extensive work I have done with clients, and also the transformational change I have created in my own life including:

  • Leaving a job I hated and creating one I love
  • Finding a loving relationship after years of loneliness
  • Raising a daughter as a single parent
  • Overcoming social anxiety and my fear of public speaking and presenting my passion-driven work model to a global audience
  • Bouncing back from suicidal ideation following a failed engagement
  • Supporting loved ones through periods of extreme despair, including substance abuse, relationship abuse and attempted suicides
  • Releasing my fear of judgment, standing out from the crowd and failure
  • Breaking free of self-sabotaging behaviour—including not being able to finish my books (now, in less than two years, I have written and published 28 best-sellers. My self-published book, ‘Mid-Life Career Rescue’ was an Amazon.com 2015 #1 bestseller. You’ll find many of my other self-empowerment books here—Author.to/CassandraGaisford

 

QTC Works! It Has Worked For Me and It Has Worked For My Clients

‘Thank YOU!  Our coaching was immensely helpful, and I have renewed hope for finding my way.  You are simply lovely, and brilliant, and wise.  So glad our energies aligned and I found you!’

~ Lisa Webb, artist, New York

 

‘Cassandra has been great to work with. She’s flexible in her approach, but also keeps the coaching sessions focused and productive. I was unsure about having the coaching via Skype, but it hasn’t been a problem at all. I still feel a strong sense of immediacy and connection and come away from our sessions feeling energized and empowered.’

~ Jan, communications professional, New Zealand

 

“A coaching session with Cassandra is like a light switch to a light bulb. My ideas were there but without that light switch, I wasn’t able to see them and manifest my dream of running a holistic business from home. Straight away, Cassandra was able to get to the heart of my core values and how to put them into a dream business. I now have the sense of purpose and drive to achieve my business goals. Cassandra’s warm personality and positive approach make her a joy to work with. I recommend her to anyone who wants to unlock their personal and professional potential.”

~ Shelley Sweeney, writer & Reiki practitioner, New Zealand

 

QTC therapy is available via phone or Zoom, anywhere in the world.

Become the best version of yourself now. Book your session by emailing me Cassandra@worklifesolutions.co.nz

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

Point of Change. Rewriting his Career in His 60s and Beyond—Brett’s Reinvention Story

Would you love to be a life or career coach? Discover how to be your own boss the affordable, fun, purposeful way

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

 

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalised help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

If you like my work you can support me on Ko-fi>>ko-fi.com/youinspireme 

 

 

GAIN MORE HELP HERE

Mid-Life Career Rescue Three Book Box Set

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EG1L3D6

To grab your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/mid-life-career-rescue-series-box-set-books-1-3-the-call-for-change-what-makes-you-happy-employ-yourself

 

5 Day Email Course: Career Rescue

How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love: The Step by Step Guide to Changing Careers

https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/5-day-email-course-how-to-confidently-leave-a-job-you-hate-and-start-living-a-life-you-love

ONLY $33 USD

 

Follow your passion and purpose to prosperity. Easily discover your passion and purpose, overcoming barriers to success, and create a job or business you love with my self-paced online course.

Gain unlimited lifetime access to this course, for as long as you like—across any and all devices you own. Be supported with practical, inspirational, easy-to-access strategies to achieve your dreams.

To start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement. Click here to enrol or find out more—https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

 

 

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Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

How others sabotage points the way to our passion and purpose

 

 

“The wound is the place where the light enters you” ~ Rumi


I wish to address the “stigma and misconceptions” surrounding mental health and in particular the trauma, often untreated, of the wounds of childhood, and offer hope and strategies to help.

As a child therapist, I have had the privilege of hearing from boys and girls, young and old, who told me that their mummies didn’t love them as they should.

“If I was my mother, I wouldn’t drink,” one 8-year-old said. His father was in prison and his mother was at the pub. Luckily he had an excellent GRAND-mummy who was raising him and bringing him to therapy to help with his anger issues.

“My mother wanted custody of my sister, but she didn’t come for me. She doesn’t want me. She doesn’t love me. I’m no good,” a 12-year-old boy referred, also for anger issues, told me.

“I want to kill myself,” a 10-year-old boy sobbed. “My mother is always yelling at me. The more I try to do to make her happy, the more chores she gives me and then she shouts when I can’t do it all. She wouldn’t care if I died.”

Look into their mother’s history, as I helped these children do, and as I have done to heal my own wounds, and they discover that their mothers are walking wounded. Their mummies (and daddies) rather than learn from their childhoods victimise all or some of their children.

One woman, now in her mid-fifties, was the daughter of a mother raised by an alcoholic. “I don’t remember my mother ever being sober,” her mother once confided in her. “And my father flew into violent rages” (and so did her husband).

A child of divorced parents once said to her mother, “If you don’t love my dad that means you don’t love half of me.”

I can see the logic, but also the mistaken belief – because her mother had raised her on her own and had given her more love than 202 fathers ever could.

Reflecting now, I wonder if a mother doesn’t or can’t love her daughter perhaps there is 50 per cent or more about herself that she doesn’t love either. Perhaps because of the damage inflicted by her mummy (or daddy) too.

Only love loves. It’s often a hard lesson to learn. So many unloved children suffer from mental illnesses, which if left unexamined extends into adulthood.

“I was four or five I ran away from home. It’s my earliest memory of wanting to find someone to love me,” a client shared with me. “I think my mother-story started at birth. I was the first-born— a girl. Not the son my parents wanted. But perhaps the daughter upon whom my father doted. They quickly tried again. My brother, my mother’s favourite, arrived with lungs that never stopped yelling, 11 months after I was born.”

“Don’t show off,” her mother scolded my client, then a child, when she would come home from school with A’s. “Don’t do so well, you know your three brothers find school hard.”

She told me that all of her siblings later excelled commercially.

“Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t be that. Don’t wear that. Don’t say that. Whack! Don’t be left-handed,” she was told with smack and smack.

“Don’t! Don’t. I soon lost myself. I became a mummy pleaser. Or, rather, I tried. Bending over to try to be loved, keeping quiet when I wanted to cry or share something that made me happy. I pursued careers in accounting and banking to make my parents happy—at the cost of my own mental and emotional health.”

I can assure you people-pleasing is not a winner’s strategy. If someone has taken a dislike to you, sometimes, like a person who hates eating fish, their distaste never changes.

Nor should you.

If you can’t be loved by your mother unconditionally then love yourself unconditionally. Warts, pimples, freckles, flaws and extraordinary talents and all.  Because you are a star. We all are. Some stars live in dark galaxies, and others need to live in the light to shine brightly.

 

Promise me you won’t play small to make others feel tall. Be greater today than the story of your past. 

In John Dufresne’s excellent guide to writing a novel, Is Life Like This? he writes:

“We read novels because we need stories; we crave them; we can’t live without telling them and hearing them. Stories are how we make sense of our lives and of the world. When we’re distressed and go to therapy, our therapist’s job is to help us tell our story. Life doesn’t come with plots; it’s messy and chaotic; life is one damn, inexplicable thing after another. And we can’t have that. We insist on meaning. And so we tell stories so that our lives make sense.”

Everyone’s mean-mother story is unique. As one of my clients shared, “My issues with my Mum were a bit different.  She definitely had a victim mentality and while she would say she was proud of me and my brother with our achievements, there was always a little dig about how much luckier we were than she was.   She ‘took umbrage’ (her words) to everything and always seemed to turn an innocuous comment into a personal attack on her.   Threatened suicide several times which meant every time I had a fight with her, I had to ring one of her friends afterwards to check in on her to make sure she hadn’t done anything stupid.   I think when Dad left (when I was 15), she defined herself as a divorced woman and never recovered.”

Of course, it’s not just mums that can be mean, or manipulative. There’s plenty of mean and toxic dads out there.  If you think you were or are unlucky to have your mum or dad, I promise you one day you’ll look back and you’ll understand why you had your parents.

Like my book coaching client Heather who channelled her lack of love into teaching and later became a children’s self-empowerment author.

Similarly, author and creator of Hay House books, Louise Hay who was sexually and emotionally abused as a child, transformed her wounds into wisdom. Hay’s success lay in highlighting the power of our words to both heal and harm.

David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, based Livia heavily on his own mother, Norma Chase. He described her as being paranoid, sharp-tongued, abusive, and disregarding her son’s career achievements. Many of Livia’s memorable lines, such as “Poor you” (something my mother said whenever I tried to tell her how I felt) are what Norma Chase would say. Rather than be victimised he spent time in psychotherapy and channelled his experiences of growing up with a narcissistic mother into the mother of gangster Tony Sopranos.

Kiwi songbird, Kiri Te Kanawa, shared how her childhood wounds taught her an important life lesson. Kiri was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, on March 6, 1944, into a family that was too poor to keep her and she was adopted. “I learned early on to be self-reliant,” she once shared.

Actress Drew Barrymore divorced both her parents when she was fifteen.

In short, it’s easy to imagine who you may have become had your mother (or father) been kinder, nicer, sweeter.


But what if the real tragedy is, who would you not have become had life treated you differently? What if your life unfolded exactly as it should? What if there was a divine plan? There’s magic in believing that!

“Go laugh in the places you cried. Change the narrative. Everything aligns.

Which is why I write my books, especially those in the Transformational Super Kids series. Doesn’t the girl on my cover looks so happy!

If you’ve suffered at the hands of a mean or deranged parent here are just a few of some of the helpful resources I have found:

6 Signs You Have A Toxic Mother

https://www.bustle.com/articles/123975-6-signs-you-have-a-toxic-mother

 

Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt

Drawn from research and the real-life experience Peggy Streep has channelled her childhood experiences into an eye-opening exploration of the darker side of maternal behaviour and offers support.

 

The Power Is Within You

Louise Hay, who suffered emotional and sexual abuse as a child, narrating an excerpt from her Audiobook

https://youtu.be/LA4AXvz9AHc

 

Reprogram Your Mind Through Affirmations

My favourite hypnotherapist Marisa Peer shares empowering affirmations and examples from her life, including being told that she was ugly and wasn’t as smart as her brother. Learn to break the emotional blueprint of your parents; Discover the healing power of expressing your thoughts in a believing mirror – and making it funny.

https://youtu.be/L57HYnWVNfk

 

5 Ways Being Too Nice Can Hurt You

Kindness is always cool, but being a pushover can hurt you. Here’s a great article to help

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/5-ways-being-too-nice-can-hurt-you.html?fbclid=IwAR1hUyHwI9ADea7lVbHUXT9Z8nn9sQ1vU1ii3LTVxuA9OA1z_KwzXScnW4w

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

Many people with mother-wounds battle a failure mindset. This podcast celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

https://overcast.fm/itunes1407451189/how-to-fail-with-elizabeth-day

 

Complex Trauma

Many children whose mummies don’t love them can suffer from mental health challenges later in life. This article explores how ‘complex trauma’ can affect children and common effects. So often diagnosis sparks the beginning of healing. If you or someone you know has suffered from childhood neglect seeking the help of a  skilled therapist can be life-changing.

https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/complex-trauma/effects

 

Why would a mother sabotage her daughter’s success? You may be surprised how common it is

Read more here>>

And here’s a few thoughts from me:

  • Do what you love – joy boost your natural feel-good chemicals
  • Reading books or watching movies is a very good distraction
  • Say no to other peoples’ drama, affirm, “It’s not my monkey, this is your circus.”
  • Visualise what toxic behaviour looks like and summon the image when you need reminding of your own goodness. My image is a bulging, black rubbish bag (inspired by the three bags of crap someone threw from their car). People love hurling their own toxic shit at others
  • Don’t buy into other peoples lies. “You’re a failure” “You’re no good.” “You’re a disgrace.” “You’re selfish”. Or whatever toxic waste your accuser spews from their rancid mouth.
  • You do not need permission to remove yourself from an abusers tirades
  • Remember, it’s not you, It’s them. Be on guard for people with untreated NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) – it’s as pervasive as COVID-19 and just as toxic. As I shared in The Little Princess:

Happy people don’t attack others, the young woman reminded herself. Happy people don’t talk like this.

The little princess suddenly felt grateful for what the nurse was teaching her.

The little princess knew she would never be able to find and honour her soul purpose if she kept trying to please others.

The little princess would never be true to herself if she feared disapproval.

The little princess would never share her gifts and talents and passion with the world if she stayed small and showed no courage.

Follow your bliss dear readers—don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your passion and purpose with the world.

Much love
xxxx

 

 

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here: viewbook.at/WhyDoesntMummyLoveMe

To enjoy  your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here: https://books2read.com/u/38MdW6

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here:
https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/why-doesn-t-my-mummy-love-me

AUDIOBOOK
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/why-doesn-t-mummy-love-me

 

 

 

WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT

Love yourself unconditionally. Be a magic mummy!
When Annie’s mummy is mean to her she tries harder to please her, but nothing works. She believes she’s unlovable and thinks she’s bad. Until her friend, Lulu shares her story and tells Annie that some mummies don’t know how to love.

This is a classic, empowering book that every child, teenager and adult should have the joy of reading.
With a unique combination of beautifully simple stories, comforting words, and powerful uplifting messages, Cassandra has been delighting young children, teenagers and adults for over fifty years.

Cassandra cuts to the heart of the lesson we all need to hear, over and over again, helping us learn to self-soothe, surround ourselves with positive influences, be empowered and love ourselves unconditionally.

Creator of the delightfully beautiful and courageous, The Little Princess, Cassandra Gaisford is a global best-seller.
Why Doesn’t Mummy Love Me? is an inspiring story and personal development guide for girls with themes on self-love, self-esteem, self-reliance and resilience.

This book is especially for you if you’re:

  • The child (young or old) of an abusive parent, narcissist or a mother with borderline personality disorder, this book will aid hope and healing
  • A therapist—this book will help empower your clients
  • A caregiver or friend of an abandoned child, this book will aid understanding

What readers say

“A really good story. Very real and relatable…
I love that the Transformational Super Kids stories have a real rhythm to them that makes for easy reading for a child. Too often, I think stories along these lines still put the onus on the reader to change themselves to somehow appease the other person. Cassandra did not. In a very subtle way she has got across that the mother’s behaviour was unacceptable and that Annie caring about herself was not selfish but necessary. And lastly, the talk of being a magic mummy has a real sparkle to it – something a child could imagine doing and a helpful way out of a difficult situation.” 

~ Laura V.

I’m super excited to let you know the audio version of my new release. Why Doesn’t Mummy Love Me, is now available from Kobo (and other retailers and libraries too>>https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/why-doesn-t-mummy-love-me.  Listen to a free sample or purchase today:)

Suitable for children of all ages…yes, big kids too!

THOSE PAPERBACK AND EBOOK LINKS AGAIN:

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here:

viewbook.at/WhyDoesntMummyLoveMe

To enjoy  your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here: https://books2read.com/u/38MdW6

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here:

https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/why-doesn-t-my-mummy-love-me

ENJOY!

P.S. Are you being bullied? Heed the call for courage. You’ll love the first book in the series, The Little Princess.

To read the first book in Cassandra’s Transformational Super Kids series, The Little Princess:

Amazon:

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase the eBook on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

To purchase the eBook on Kobo >>

https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/the-little-princess-7

AUDIOBOOKS

USA

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Little-Princess-Audiobook/B07WPH2KML

UK

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Little-Princess-Audiobook/B07WXPMFGC

Australia

https://www.audible.com.au/pd/The-Little-Princess-Audiobook/B07WYGKB5R

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

If you like my work you can support me on Ko-fi>>ko-fi.com/youinspireme 

You might like:

Do you feel guilty for wanting more from your career and life?

How Not to Let Things That Make You Sad Get in the Way of Being Happy

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can follow your passion and purpose and create a rewarding career, click here http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and receive a free gift when you sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters and get more help to live your best life.

 

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Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Stress Less – Sleep Your Way to the Top

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”

~ Arianna Huffington, businesswoman

Time stays long enough for those who use it well and protect it fiercely. But many people either, find it difficult to switch off at night, or they sacrifice their sleep in the mistaken belief they’ll be more productive.

Sleep plays a vital role in your health and wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep helps you maintain your mental and physical health and enhances your quality of life.

Modern science proves conclusively that if you skip out on sleep you’re compromising not just your productivity and efficiency, but also your health.

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a February 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleeping less than seven hours a day, they report, can lead to an increased risk of frequent mental distress, impaired thinking, reduced cognitive ability, and increased susceptibility to depression.

Lack of sleep also increases the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. None of which will aid your quest for happiness and prosperity.

When stress becomes too much, is your quality of sleep affected? The next time you’re worrying and feeling anxious around bedtime, try one of these simple hacks to relax and quieten your mind enough to fall asleep:

Take time to unwind after a stressful day

Before going to bed, take some time out to unwind from the stresses of the day. Allow at least 30 minutes before bed for a quiet, ‘preparing to sleep’ activity. Enjoying a calming cup of herbal tea, listening to soothing music, reading a novel or book of poems (paperback), an aromatherapy bath with lavender and other scented oils, or even a relaxation or meditation practice.

Clear mental clutter

If you have the events of the day or other issues running through your head before bedtime, start writing them down in a journal for you to revisit later. The simple act of writing down your troubles – and noting how you feel about them in that moment – can help you make sense of the root cause of your problem and free up some space for more important activities like sleeping.

Schedule time to worry

If you want to sleep better, you need to empty your mind of all thoughts, tasks and stresses. Another way to clear your mental chatter is to ‘box your worries’ by scheduling in dedicated ‘worry time’. This is a programmed time that is dedicated to – you guessed it – worrying. A scheduled 30-minute window in your day allows you, and even encourages you, to think constructively through the problem.  Many of my clients tell me that when their ‘worry time’ comes around their issue has disappeared or become less important.

If the issue is still lingering, by granting yourself some time to focus on the issue worrying you, you’re forced to either formulate a solution, or to let it go.

Be proactive and create a to-do list

Another active way to clear your head and get to bed is with a master to-do list. Write down ‘things to do’ in a list in your diary so that you don’t need to keep thinking about them over and over. This is why planning your ‘tomorrow’ the day before is also an effective strategy. You can sleep well knowing that you have your bases covered. This also minimises decision fatigue.

Did you know that humans are only capable of keeping seven to nine different things in our working memory at once? When you try to recall all the tasks you need to complete, this uses up valuable mental energy and can prevent you from sleeping soundly.

Creating a list transfers your chores from your mind to the page (paper or digital), freeing up valuable brainpower. You’ll be better able to analyse tasks and prioritise, delegate, or even eliminate some of them. It’s a win-win success strategy.

Numerous studies reveal that a to-do list can also make you happier. Don’t sweat it if  you don’t manage to cross everything off your list, the act of compiling one can still help you reach your goals, manage your stress levels and help you relax enough to get some well-earned sleep time.

Disconnect

You can also enhance your sleep by turning off all devices and leaving them outside your bedroom.

“I will not sleep with my phone in my room,” Jessie Burton, the author of The Muse, shared on one of her blogs. After suffering from burnout and severe anxiety she created a not-to-do list to restore and protect her mental health.

In the next chapter, you’ll dive deeper and uncover the life-changing benefits of unplugging, taking control of technology and enjoying regular digital detoxes.

Call to Action

If lack of sleep is keeping you awake and night, and making you tired during the day consider reading and applying the strategies in Arianna Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.

Be ruthless about prioritising your well-being. Remind yourself of the benefits that flow while you sleep, and when you enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Powerful creativity: making space to create

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xxx Hannie”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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