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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Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Your personal invitation to a free, life-changing online event…

Are you at a fork in the road?

Have you ever thought to yourself “There has to be more to life than this?” At some point, most of us have.

Here’s the incredible thing…

Sometimes when you’re at a fork in the road, one simple well-timed suggestion or idea can cause a major shift—the one that leads to your breakthrough.

That’s why I am so excited to invite you to join me for a free online event called What the Fork? Discover a Practical and Nourishing Plan to Feed Yourself For Health and Happiness

Healthy Living Coach Sheree Clark is interviewing all sorts of health and lifestyle experts, and I am honored to be one of those she hand-picked to feature!

This event is a unique chance to listen to dozens of the best health, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle authors, teachers and researchers give their insights into what they have found to be true from their years of experience. Many of the experts you’ll meet arrived at their own “make it or break it moment” because of an event in their lives, and they’re willing to share what they’ve learned with you.

The experts in this series all want to help you discover the incredible opportunities you have to uplevel your own life. We believe that a healthier lifestyle is about more than just what you put in your mouth or how many steps you walk in a day. It’s about viewing yourself—and the things you allow into your life—in a holistic and integrated way.

I’m inviting you to participate as my guest in the entire What the Fork? event for FREE!

You’ll find out how to:

  • Be at peace, whether you’re strolling in the garden or dealing with the tech support people
  • Eat more healthfully, and without feeling deprived
  • Finally get your hormones and your thyroid under control
  • Address brain fog, fatigue, sugar ups and downs
  • Feed your entire family—pets included—for longevity
  • Follow your passion and still pay the bills

…And much, much more….

If this sounds exciting to you, you absolutely must listen in! Join me and the other experts for FREE by clicking the link below and registering today.

Click here to access What the Fork? 

By the end of this event you’ll have the knowledge and the tools that will bring you the vibrant life you’re looking for! So, what the fork are you waiting for? Take a sneak peek at some of the amazing experts here and see my book Mid-Life Career Rescue featured on American Television  (8 minutes 45 seconds in)

But wait there’s more! Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel both knew the importance of taking a holistic approach to success—including looking after your well-being, your mind, your spirit and your relationships. To coincide with this special summit, and to celebrate Leonardo’s birthday this month (April 15, 1452) I  have a FREE gift.

The Art of Success Boxed Set (Books 1-2) Leonardo Da Vinci & Coco Chanel: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life. Get two books for one reduced price of $9.99 for a limited time. Instant download here >>getBook.at/SuccessBoxset.

Learn Leonardo da Vinci’s and Coco Chanel’s success secrets and let them guide and mentor you. Three life coaches and two empowering books to help you transform your life rolled into one important resource.

P.S. You may also like to check out the Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy. Listen to my presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series 2017 here  (The sound improves 20 minutes in!)

There’s loads of inspirational stories and sparkling images to uplift and encourage you to pursue your dreams. You can see a few samples on my blog here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/find-happiness-at-work-how-to-create-a-successful-career-strategy

P.P.S. Each interview in Sheree’s Fork in the Road series will be available for a limited time. Register now and don’t miss a single tip, strategy or important tidbit!

Click here to register for What the Fork? 

Please share this blog with anyone you know who may need a boost.

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Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Guess who’s celebrating?

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

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

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

But that’s another story. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Powerful creativity: making space to create

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xxx Hannie”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

How to harness the power of love


But as Nick Williams shares in the foreword to my book, Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life  “No-one ever told me when I was growing up that something I loved could be a career.”

Most of us can relate to that: doing something you loved and then getting paid for it simply wasn’t a career option that we were aware of or encouraged into. Too many of us believe that work needs to be a relentless and life long activity doing something we’d rather not be doing, but that we have little choice over. We just have to do it to survive. And as long we are not enjoying it, are suffering, bored, stressed or are sacrificing ourselves, then that is real work, and we deserve to be paid for it. 

Too few of us have been bought up to believe that it is possible to make our living doing something we love, that lights our hearts up and stirs our passions. 

Which is why I’ve collated a few of my favourite posts over the years—to share my love and great conviction that no matter what your age or stage you can live and work with love.

“To find your true work is a great blessing, one of life’s greatest blessings I believe. And to be paid for your work rather than work for pay is one of life’s great joys,” says Nick.

And he echoes what we know to be true. Even if you don’t think it’s possible for you, these inspiring stories may awaken the courage and tenacity to make your dreams come true.

1.) Turning Her Dream into a Reality—Reinventing Joy Again. This story is close to my heart…it’s about my mom. And it proves that you don’t have to have a background in something or formal training to turn your passion into a profitable career. ““They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible, she says.” Read more here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/success-story-turning-her-dream-into-a-reality-reinventing-joy-again/

2.) Have you considered starting a business on the side while holding down your job and then taking the leap to self employed bliss? Choose and grow your own business with confidence by reading inspiring stories of others who have made the leap to more love, and less career ground hog day. Here’s a calorie-free example to wet your appetite >> Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

3.) As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares in this Mid Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy, when you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your true Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable. Read Annie’s story here >>


4.) Oh I do so love people with healthy obsessions—passionate people are vitamins for the soul. David Styles is nuts about water lilies. It’s such a passion that he’s nearly run out of room for them all—so now he has bathtubs overflowing with all his loves. Check out this fabulous ‘bathhouse’ and more about how a healthy obsession can be a liberating thing here http://www.cassandragaisford.com/david-loves-lilly/

5.) Love attracts love—when you follow your passion wonder go-incidences happen. One of my great loves is Leonardo da Vinci and his portrait of Lisa del Giocondo (nee Gherardini)—more universally known as The Mona Lisa. So obsessive is my interest into this painting that my partner often jokes that there are three of us in our relationship: Me, him and The Mona Lisa. Happily for me Lorenzo feeds my addiction by sourcing helpful research and inspiring me daily. Read more here >> 

Do you need more encouragement? Thoughts do become things. Scientists Gregg Braden and also Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, have evidenced this. But hope can only flourish when you believe that what you do can make a difference, that you recognise that you have choices, and that the your actions can create a future which differs from your present situation. To boost your hope muscles turn to this post—inspired by Leonardo da Vinci >> 21 Ways to Turn Your Thoughts to Hope

I hope you’ve enjoyed these wee morsels of temptation. Today, sacrificing your deeper passions for the security of a pay-check is no guarantee of security. Following your heart and deeper self is the new security. Your heart is the well-spring of possibility and opportunity that will never run dry.

There’s loads more inspiration on my blogs and in my books. Where ever you are, who ever you are may love infuse your day.

These stories were excerpts from the following books by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to harness the power of love and follow your passion to prosperity, click the links below to your online bookshop.

Midlife 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 

 Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love 

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci)

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Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Podcasts to listen to

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

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

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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 http://www.maxgimblett.com/

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.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com.gb

Amazon.com.au

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Friday, December 18th, 2015

How to quit your job and still pay the bills

Fly free of your career trap

Fly free of your career trap. Cassandra’s new Amazon #1 best-seller will show you how. Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon here >>http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

Quitting is for winners…

My daughter quit her job yesterday – she’s never been happier. But only two days ago she was in tears. Months of bullying, manipulation by managers and being promised magic that never eventuated took its toll on her self-confidence and self-esteem.

But now she’s jumping for joy. She’s claimed her power back and made a stand for what she believed. And she’s done it all with her eyes wide open – clarifying first what she really needed in a job to feel happy.

Do you want to quit your job? Do you feel overwhelmed thinking about what else you could do? Or are you looking for a blueprint for success?

Quit a job you hate and start living again in the New Year and beyond.

My new book and Amazon #1 best-seller Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy, will show you how

“I wish I had this book ten years ago! Making a career change was really challenging, and overwhelming. This book is quick and to the point, very well organized making it a great easy-to-use resource. The step-by-step tools are what set it apart, though. I’m recommending this to my cousin who has been wanting to make a change but doesn’t know how. I really hope this book pushes him into action to find a career that makes him happy! Great stuff.” ~ Jason Sperling

 Is lack of finances holding you back?

‘I’d love to quit my job if my mortgage would let me,” someone wrote to me.

I hear you! I’ve been there too. Here’s a few things you may want to consider:

1.) Plan your great escape. If you can’t afford to quit right away, make an escape plan. Put the challenge out there, “How can I quit my job and still pay the bills?” Ask friends, family, Google. Listen to your intuition. Could you negotiate a four day week to give you time to develop a hobby into a career? Is it time to spruce up your CV and activate a job search plan?

2.) Do some creative accounting. Could you take out a loan with family to see you through? Leverage off a loan interest credit card? Sell your kids? (I’m joking!) You get the idea. My daughter’s using her downtime to promote her business ideas – hours after resigning she generated the equivalent of a week’s wages.

3.) Utilise equity. Burt Munro, of ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ fame mortgaged his home. Could you use the equity in your own home to finance your career? If you don’t want to remortgage you could try asking for a mortgage holiday. Many banks allow 2–3 months of no mortgage payments.

4.) Share the load. Who else has a stake in your success? Perhaps they may be able to inject more cash into your joint cash flow. Keri had always earned more than her husband. Her dream career meant taking a $40k drop. Together they worked on a strategy to help him advance his career and earn more money. Not only is he happier in his job but now Keri has built a flourishing business as a corporate life coach.

5.) Seek investors. Use other people’s money to create the momentum you need. Remember there’s good borrowing – borrowing to increase wealth – and bad borrowing – borrowing so you can consume more. Most people spend all their spare income on non-asset-producing consumption. Banks, family members and friends are all possible sources of investment income. Sam Morgan, who established TradeMe, convinced his dad to back him, and earned him millions of dollars in return. You may not pay back millions but if your idea is sound, your investors can sleep at night knowing they will be repaid.

Money doesn’t have to be an obstacle to making a change to more fulfilling work. With sound planning, a willingness to prioritise and juggle conflicting demands, financing your career can be more affordable than you think.

“I took the risk of putting my money on the line for the company.” ~ Calvin Klein, Designer

Give the gift of happiness. Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy makes a great Christmas present for friends, family or colleagues fed up with work.

Paperback version available now too.

 

To celebrate the release of my new book I’m giving you something for FREE!

Click Here to Download Your FREE Find Your Passion Workbook

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue – the rise of the older worker

AA030453Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue 

Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for writing your book?” In part, it was my experience as a psychologist and career counsellor, and the  experiences of my clients. Like, those who were made redundant after 40-years of loyal service, and offered only 2 hours of support to help them rebuild their shattered lives.

Or the lady in her 50’s who told me, “My boss has offered me one hour of career counselling. She said, ‘If you can’t work it all out in that time, you’re more useless than I thought.’  Really? How could someone say that to another person? My client was so traumatised, so demoralised, so depressed, she’d lost all her self-esteem. “What say we do the skills exercises,” she said to me, ” and we find out my boss is right, I don’t have any talent.”

And, I’ll never forget my first client, who told me, all he wanted to do was die. I realised then that a career coach and career counsellor doesn’t just help people find a job, or minimise workplace stress, they help people reclaim themselves, their soul, their lives. They help people take control back and reclaim their power.

But the ‘why’ which motivated me to write was also the emails I received from people who read my newspaper columns in the New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post, and the depth of their hopelessness and despair. Despair that stretched beyond them, affecting those who loved them. Many of them couldn’t afford to see me, or anyone else, professionally to get the help they so desperately needed.

Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”

Career Rescue

It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.

It was the experience of this man and many others like him that resulted in my decision to write my first book Happy at Work for Mid-Lifers. And it was the success and the feedback from those that read it that that led me to release a revised and updated version as Mid-Life Career Rescue.

As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. In the search for employment, it’s not uncommon for mid-lifers to make over 500 unsuccessful job applications.

“It’s particularly hard being an unemployed, single  female in your late fifties, says Helen Walmsley-Johnson, a self-styled protesting middle-aged woman and the author of a new book, The Invisible Woman. ” I didn’t realise I had hit middle-age until until my wheels started to spin in the quagmire of ageism. What happens is your options narrow. If you say, ‘I’m a 60-year-old woman’ people can’t see you in front of them. Something pops into their head, which is how they envisage a 60-year-old woman. And that’s not how we are now – it’s now how I am.”

As a coach I’ve helped people overcome ageism and either get hired, or employ themselves.

But once again, I’m aware that not everyone can afford to see a professional coach. So I thought a book would be a more affordable, accessible option.

The Rise Of The Older Worker

Your life expectancy is on the rise, so if you don’t like your job at 50, change it. You don’t have to prove yourself or impress others, you’re freer now, than at any other time in your life, to be your true SELF.

Yet, so many people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. Even non mid-lifers do that! “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28 year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change, “ said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits.

And there’s plenty of examples, if you look for them, of golden-oldies living and working with passion. Like Artist Jacqueline Fahey, who is just about to turn 86. She says this time in her life is friendlier to being creative than the years when she was being a wife and mother.

“I don’t have to prove myself any more,” she says. ‘There are plenty of people who disapprove of my painting, writing and what I hold forth about. I don’t like or dislike it; I just don’t care.”

When one of my clients, Marion, realised that unless she made some positive changes in her life now, people would not remember her as she wanted, she refound her appetite for life.

 “I don’t want people to say ‘she was a nice lady who played it safe.’ I want to be scandalous! I want my kids to say, ‘what’s mum up to now?’” she laughed.

Marion gave up the security of her teaching career in The States, moved to New Zealand and purchased her own beauty therapy business. Lonely, following the death of her husband 15 years earlier, she also plucked up the courage to date again. “I’m using my new experiences to show older woman that they can love and live again and I’m pampering them in the process!”

Viva la Mid-Life Revolution!

As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives.

I also believe that people need fewer check boxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many – and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >>

I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast – but to reassure you that, if you purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue from Amazon, or download Happy At Work For Mid-Lifers from my website, you’re in safe hands.

When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an ageing workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was – wait for it…

to help people have an imagination!

As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes I’ve gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works. In my books I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy, and the reason behind my success in my own life and 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 Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.

Setting You Up For 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 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 Mid-Life Career Rescue or Happy at Work For Mid-Lifers, it will happen. I promise.

Your Life Is Waiting

“I’ve spent 40 years looking out of the window wishing I was somewhere else,” one of my clients told me. That’s not only depressing but also such a huge waste of talent and precious time. Life’s too short to spend days, weeks and years in a job that robs you of energy, zest and enthusiasm.

We spend over 3,000 hours a year at work, and when we’re not at work we’re thinking about it. Work-related issues are major sources of stress and career unhappiness. Left unresolved they can spill over into other areas of your life, infecting your relationships with colleagues, family and loved ones.

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.

Your story can be like Mandy’s, who in her 50’s, after reading my first book Happy at Work for Mid-lifers  wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:

“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down – it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months.  It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”

And what a new life it was. Mandy packed up her old life as a disillusioned consultant and unhappy wife in New Zealand and moved to outback Australia after successfully applying for a new role. She landed a three-year contract as an Infrastructure and Assets Manager, overseeing the construction of the Art Centre and new houses, as well as the commercialisation of the airport and the development of major roads.

“I wanted a new adventure and I’ve found one!” she wrote to me. “I’m excited and terrified.” Others saw Mandy as an inspiration, paving the way for other mid-lifers to make courageous life and career changes.

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

Keith was 55 when his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service. “The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth,” he wrote to me.

“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 found it very useful in terms of the 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.” (put feedback link into the web page for this book)

Reach For Your Dreams

Passion, happiness, joy, fulfilment, love – call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book encourages you to reach for your dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations you have for yourself. You have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people like you who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose.

 

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Sunday, November 15th, 2015

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

Do you hate Monday’s?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you!

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