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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Monday, August 21st, 2017

How to do it scared—even if you don’t have the courage of a lioness

Most of the successful people I know made massive leaps toward more fulfilling futures despite their doubts, fears, and anxieties.

I know I did. When I started my business I had no idea whether anybody would even come to me for guidance—let alone pay me.  I was a single mum struggling to pay my mortgage. I didn’t have a safety net. When I look back on my life I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. I built several successful businesses, uprooted my life and moved to the end of New Zealand and I’ve reinvented my career as an author and intuitive coach. But guess what? Everything that I do, I still do scared.

What gave me the courage and confidence to change? An obsessive desire to follow my passion to prosperity.

Does this resonate with you? One of the simplest ways to boost your courage and confidence is to read a book that guides and empowers you to make changes. It worked for me and it will work for you. Talking with a career coach made a massive change too. Suddenly I had somebody on my side, cheerleading me along.

Right now, I’m super excited to be coaching amazingly, incredible men and women who want to live lives of significance. Women, like Lynnie Galloway who is training with me to become a Worklife Solutions Certified career and life coach. It’s so much fun helping her develop her brand and business, The Treasure Chest. And importantly, it’s rewarding to share my passion and skills with her and know she will be helping others follow their passion to prosperity too. Read more about Lynnie’s story here—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/rebirthing-a-new-career-lynnies-reinvention-story/

And then there’s the amazingly energetic and uber-inspiring young woman, Lucy O’Connor who is reinventing her career and recreating her business Monday Hustle. ““Stop overthinking and take the leap. You’re never too young for a career change!” she says. And she’s walking the talk—and she’s doing it scared! Read more here>>http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/lucys-reinvention-story-hustling-her-way-into-a-new-career/

One of my biggest tips to help you have the courage of a lion is to follow your obsessions. Check my latest blog post here>> http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/become-audaciously-obsessed-how-passionate-obsessions-empower-your-productivity-and-prosperity/

Or be inspired by other phenomenally talented men and women—and who better to spotlight as we bask in the energy of the Leo new solar eclipse than Coco Chanel—born under the sun-sign of Leo. Here’s a small excerpt from my book, The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

AWAKEN THE SEER

If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing

~ Coco Chanel

Several years ago when I was in New York I stumbled on a book that was to change my life—Psychic Living: Tap into Your Psychic Potential, by Andrei Ridgeway.

“In this technological day and age filled with busywork,” Ridgeway writes, “many of us neglect our psychic potential. Our instincts are repressed and our inner voices buried.

“For many people, the word ‘psychic’ is so titanic, they can’t accept it. They don’t realize it’s a normal state of being, that as a lover, and a friend, we use this part of ourselves all the time.”

Some people claim Coco Chanel was intuitive to the point of being psychic. She could see into the future, spot needs for which there would later be demand, and had a brilliant knack for creating the right product at the right time.

Some ways to awaken your psychic potential include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Aromatherapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Prayer
  • Heart-based spiritual practices
  • Free-writing/journaling
  • Reading oracle or tarot cards—something which Coco did regularly

 

Your Challenge

How could you awaken or strengthen your psychic potential?

Engage all your senses so you can feel, taste, touch, smell and hear your future.

I have always been able to see what others were unable to see; and what they did, I did not see

~ Salvador Dali, artist

 

To succeed, we need role-models..”The Art of Success” inspired by Coco Chanel gives you that! The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) is available in print and eBook from Amazon – navigate to here getBook.at/CocoChanel

 

DEVELOPING A  MILLIONAIRE MINDSET

Or does your mindset need a boost? I know my mine does. I’ve been working like a trojan this year. As I write to you now, I’m excited to share that n just a few hours I’ll be boarding a plane and flying to Bali, Indonesia with my mum. For two glorious weeks, we’ll be doing girl bonding. I can’t wait to tell you all about my travels to this magical, mystical island.

If you can’t get away, rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with my new book, The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing, Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

“While my book may be complete and receiving more traction than I could possibly have hoped for, I now find myself worrying about my ability to do the promotion and ‘selling’ of it that I’m led to believe is expected of me. Self-Doubt.  This is more scary to me than having the book read and I will use your inspiration to teach myself the confidence I am going to have to find and deliver on in the coming months. Your book is brilliant work,” wrote author Heather, whose soon-to-be-released book The Tattooist of Auschwitz wrote, after reading my book, The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing, Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset.

Heather also shared the below, including how her daughter-in-law, who is not a writer, benefitted from reading, Developing A Millionaire Mindset:

 

I started reading this when you first sent it to me, got sidetracked quite early on, too much going on over here both with family and publishers.

I went back to it on Wednesday in the right frame of mind and couldn’t put it down.  Not only could I not stop reading but when I had finished it I went back to page 1 and read a second time.   I just knew I’d only fully absorbed 50% of your wonderful advice and wanted it all.   My son and daughter-in-law, plus 2 little ones were around today and at one point my daughter-in-law was lamenting the pressures on her both at work and as a mother.  She is a very senior economist for the state government working outrageous hours and with immense pressure on her as she manages the State health budget, the biggest in the government.  I gave her my ipad and told her to flick through your manuscript and read what she thought might help her.  She disappeared into another room for an hour and came back thanking me and saying she felt empowered to make changes, not for financial reasons, but to get her life back on track and determining what is really important for her and her family not her employer.

Part of my pressure has been getting my manuscript, again, into a publishing mode.   Dymocks, the largest bookstore franchise in Aust are having their annual conference in Sydney in 2 weeks time and they asked if they could showcase my book.  This put the pressure on to get an ARC ready and to the printers.  This happened only on Friday.   Attached the ARC cover FYI.

While my book may be complete and receiving more traction than I could possibly have hoped for, I now find myself worrying about my ability to do the promotion and ‘selling’ of it that I’m lead to believe is expected of me.   Self-Doubt.  This is more scary to me than having the book read and I will use your inspiration to teach myself the confidence I am going to have to find and deliver on in the coming months.

Brilliant work girl.

 

These comments and those below in response to my questionnaire have been incredibly fulfilling to receive, but they are also a reminder of how books can literally change lives—one word at a time.

THE PROSPEROUS AUTHOR FEEDBACK QUESTIONNAIRE

Question 1.a.)

What did you like about the sample/book and why? (if anything!) 

 

response:

How you brilliantly tied together your opening quote on each chapter with your own thoughts, expanding on the statement in a fun and totally digestible manner.

 

Question 1.b.)

 

Would you be willing to write a short comment that I can use to help market The Prosperous Author Just one or two sentences—or more.

Your reader testimonial and comments for marketing:

Cassandra has crafted a book that is not only easy to read, digest, provoke self-evaluation and encouragement, but is entertaining and enjoyable to read on every level, in every chapter.  You just know she has ‘walked a mile in your shoes’ and is willing to share her experiences and invites you to ‘walk a mile in hers.’  She motivates and inspires while challenging the reader in a gentle way to seek the best in themselves and go for it.  Love your passion Cassandra, you have my admiration for what you have achieved and for what you encourage others to achieve.

 

Question 2.

Do you have sense of what is at the heart of The Prosperous Author How does this feel, as a reader? Could this be improved? What suggestions would you like to offer?

Your response:

Giving each reader the permission to be themselves.  Yes learn from your many amazing anecdotes, look for and find what is hindering or stalling you, the reader, from advancing, always staying true to your individual passions, beliefs, faith.  At all times in the writing process dream big, find ways to obtain and maintain self-belief in your abilities, and push to expand them.  Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves get off your butt and seek them out

 

Question 3.

What was your favorite chapter? Could this be improved? What suggestions would you like to offer?

Your response:

Your Health is your Wealth.   Maybe because I’m at the older end of the spectrum I took this chapter on board and realized I need to do more for not only my physical health but mental health.

 

Question 4.

Did I miss anything? Was there a topic that you would have liked included? What suggestions would you like to offer?

Your response:

You aced it girl.  Nothing missing from my perspective

 

Question 5.

Are they any places where I went on too long? Was anything boring? Repetitive?

Your response:

  1. Short, sharp, succinct and to the point.

 

Question 6.

Were any sections too short?

Your response:

Maybe the one on Allow no Doubt.  Attitude, attitude, attitude plays a huge part in how I approach everything in life, my writing in particular.

 

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing, Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset is available in print and ebook for Amazon here—
getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor.

 

Read more of Heather Morris’s inspiring journey to global publication and how she summoned her inner-lioness here>> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/how-to-finish-a-book-film-script-or-any-other-stalled-project-knock-the-bugger-off/

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Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

How to create a passion-driven career or business—Fourteen individuals tell you their stories of transformational change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back
to working for someone else.”
Alan Sugar, Entrepreneur and host of The Apprentice, UK

Fourteen Individuals tell you their stories…

Their backgrounds and dreams are as unique as you are. What unites them is their creativity, passion, and integrity. In my latest book Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself they share their fears, their struggles and their joys as they overcame obstacles and pursued their dreams of self-employment.

They were doing something they love; their passion drove them.

The list below is what they have in common. As you read this list think how many strategies could apply to you:

  1. Making money was not their sole motivation. Their businesses grew from a desire to serve others; they were not trying to force something on others or to make a killer sale. Instead, they wanted to make a positive difference and create something of value. They didn’t badger people into buying their goods or service.
  2. They cared about whether or not they could help a prospective client. If they could, great. If not, they were either quietly persistent until they were needed, or they moved on.
  3. They planned for success. Their business and marketing plans were living documents and they managed their finances extraordinarily well.
  4. They shared. They communicated their vision, goals, and plans with those important to them, and they researched their clients and stakeholders constantly to learn how to do things better together.
  5. They listened. They listened to their staff, their families and their clients. Then, and only then, when they understood their issues, fears, needs and desires did they offer a solution.
  6. They started smart. When employing others, whether on contract or as salaried staff, they hired the right people for the right job. And, when necessary, they gave their people the training, systems, environment, and recognition to do their job well.
  7. They took calculated risks. They always looked before they leaped, but they leaped nonetheless. Courage and confidence were something they built as they went.
  8. They believed in themselves, or faked it! Even professionals doubt themselves – but they don’t let self-doubt win.

“You have to believe in yourself. Even when you don’t, you have to try,” encourages Serena Williams, tennis super-star and 21-time Grand Slam champion.

“There are moments when I am on the court and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this’. But then I fortify myself and say, ‘I can, I can’ – and it happens. If you believe in yourself, even if other people don’t, that really permeates through and it shows. And people respect that.”

If the strategies above sound like things you can do, or are willing to try, chances are self-employment is right for you. Be sure to get off to a good start, and be inspired by those who have walked the path of success.

 

Client Success Story: Business Can Be a Wonderful Box of Chocolates

Lisa Conroy, Director and Empowerment Coach for women’s lifestyle, career, and wellness. Box of Chocolates, www.boxofchocolates.co.nz

Lisa Conroy’s passion for helping others led her to start her coaching business. The seeds of change were also cultivated during a stressful time in her former job.

Leading up to my coaching training I had been working for a major sporting organization for eight years. They were going through massive change and unsettling times. I was up to my fourth restructuring with this company, and management informed us that they were moving the organization to another city. It was an eight-hour drive away, and an expensive place to transport my family to live.

It had been a toxic environment for some time, HR was non-existent, and I saw first hand during this time of transition amongst the team, the effects of stress and uncertainty. I knew going to the new venue was not in my family’s best interest, so I had to think about my options, which led to a call for change. The idea of coaching and helping others with their life and career goals appealed and seemed to be a growing industry.

I did some investigating and found Cassandra Gaisford and her Worklife Solutions Career and Life Coaching certification program. Her personality, variety of skills and zest for life just really resonated with me.

I realized becoming a life coach would allow me the freedom, flexibility, and independence to do work that I loved in an industry that seemed very rewarding and much needed.

I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but I love a challenge and felt this was the perfect fit for my interests, skills, and goals.

My new coaching journey began, which led to a career combo. I decided to start my own business within three weeks of starting my coaching program and haven’t looked back since…

Do something you love

I have always wanted to have my own business doing something I loved. Once I started my coaching training, I felt this was the perfect match for me to be able to utilize my skills and help others to reach their lifestyle, career and wellness goals.

I also wanted the freedom to be able to work on new ideas and create my own style by offering a unique service in the Wellness industry through my combination of coaching, art therapy workshops, wellness retreats, Reiki healing, and aromatherapy pamper parties.

Deciding what to do

My initial focus was purely on the lifestyle, career and wellness coaching but realized it would take the time to build my brand, Box of Chocolates, along with gaining trust with clients and networks.

I went into this with a realistic view that it would take twothree years to build to a point of going full time with my business ideas. I also believed that if I had a few alternative strings to my bow, it would assist me in offering a variety of services to a wider audience and give me alternative sources of income.

I was drawn to running wellness retreats where my event management skills, love of wellness and creative activities, and relevant workshop topics would help me attract the right women. Women who wanted to feel empowered and find new inspiration for their lives, and be able to share and learn from others in a safe and nurturing environment.

I was also interested in gaining a certification in Reiki healing as I felt this would complement my coaching and retreats/workshops, which then led me becoming an aromatherapy consultant too.

This year I will be focusing on increasing my impact/marketing reach strategies by striving to increase my coaching capacity to offer Skype sessions/coaching packages globally online as well as within New Zealand.

Finding an idea that would be successful

A belief in my abilities, along with a determination to be of service and offer a solution to key problems facing many women helped me find an idea I thought would be successful.

When you can tap into understanding who your niche market is and what they need, you can then build a strong foundation of core services to assist them.

I took a leap of faith but I knew in my heart that every time I coached someone it didn’t feel like work to me, it was so rewarding seeing my clients grow from strength to strength and be able to reach their true potential with a boost in confidence.

When you are coming from the heart and follow that guidance, you will always be supported to find the people and resources you need.

However, that doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for it to happen. Action and dedication are required to build momentum, along with commitment and trust in your abilities to manifest your dreams and goals.

I also knew that there were not many people holding retreats that offered a unique Zen and creative style that my program offers – you have to think outside the box and run with it! I went along to lots of Wellness industry events, seminars, network meetings and got a feel for what people were needing and built my strategies around that.

Finding the right product for the right market

I did my research, I talked to successful coaches in the industry and I asked for feedback from all my clients, I went online to see what trends were coming through and what topics were hot, locally and internationally.

I read lots of industry related books and blogs and signed up to sites that inspired me to keep my finger on the pulse on what was working successfully for others that I could leverage off.

Keeping your energy levels high

I’m not a big fan of the saying ‘hard work’ as it has stressful connotations. You need to be passionate about your services and ideas, and you need to have the ability to encourage others to use them. It is also important that you make time to promote yourself and get your messages across to your targeted market through various avenues.

Start small and take your time to build confidence, so that when you realize you’re onto a good thing, it doesn’t feel like ‘hard work’ but is exciting to see your business and ideas coming to fruition.When you are coming from a place of authenticity, it will always come through and people will naturally want to refer your services because they benefit from your genuine concern and skills. This is always going to be your best source of repeated business and will quickly amplify your brand through referrals you can use in your marketing material…

To read more of Lisa’s story, be inspired by other entrepreneurs, and gain practical strategies to help you plan your beautiful business, purchase your copy of  Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself  TODAY! Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself is available in paper back and e-Book version from Amazon.

Or contact me for your bespoke, individually tailored passion-driven mentoring program—http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/services-for-individuals

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Friday, July 14th, 2017

How To Turn Rejection into Relentless Creativity

 

 

Do you ever feel not good enough? I do. And so do many other successful, talented and capable people. My friend and fellow creative, Courtney Kennedy, the author of Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life recently sent out a newsletter which I loved.

Courtney Kenney is a book launch consultant as well as the author of four books on creativity and writing.

Her undergrad studies in Psychology focusing on anxiety led to a fascination with how our minds work as well as what motivates us. Courtney spent sixteen years as a project manager working for high-tech companies in the U.S. and Australia.

After a layoff in 2015, she spent time exploring her creative side in addition to rediscovering her love of writing. Courtney writes about creativity, writing, and self-publishing. Finally, she recently, she started a consulting business where she helps authors launch bestselling books.

I hope you find her newsletter and podcast as inspiring and encouraging to read and listen to as I did. Here is it below:

Do you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve been laid off, dumped, or rejected? It’s fear and anxiety.

 

When we are rejected, we are threatened, and our brains go into defensive mode. Fear kicks in; we become sick with stress. But, there is a way to deal with the hurt.

 

Recently I appeared on the podcast, FEAR NOT: Living Beyond Your Fears with Billy Atwell, where I discussed my fear of not being good enough.

 

I explained how I got laid off a few years ago and channeled all my feelings of failure into writing.

 

Writing changed my life. By making space for creativity, the anxiety and stress were turned down.

 

Whatever fears you may be dealing with, pursuing creativity can help…

 

Instead of seeking empty pleasures, let’s pursue relentless creativity to chase away the fear. Writing, or however you choose to express your creativity, can be life-changing.

 

If you get a chance, check out the interview. It’s a quick one—just 12 minutes. Click here to listen: livingbeyondyourfears.com/courtney-kenney-feeling-failure-not-good-enough/

 

Takeaways include…

•    How making time every day to be creative will help you with fear.

•    Being creative will increase your self-esteem.

•    The act of creativity will help you be more emotionally resilient.

 

Let me know what you think about the episode. What is your biggest fear? What did you do to overcome it?

 

Making Money With Your Writing

You may remember Cassandra Gaisford whom I featured as a case study in Creating Space to Thrive. She has a new book called The Prosperous Author: Developing a Millionaire Mindset.

 

For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their dreams.

 

But the evidence-based truth is that the world’s most successful authors and artists do not starve. In fact, they thrive by leveraging off the power of their millionaire mindset and capitalizing on their creative strengths.

 

Cassandra is a holistic psychologist, award-winning artist, and bestselling author. Her book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, earn extra income on the side, or improve their mindset.

 

For one more day, Cassandra is offering a 5-Part Video Mini-Course and free copies of her Amazon bestsellers: Find Your Passion and Purpose, Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series, and The Art of Success. Simply order the book: getbook.at/TheProsperousAuthor and send your receipt to cassandra@cassandragaisford.com to claim your bonuses.

 

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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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Friday, January 27th, 2017

The Astrology of Success

FAITH IN YOUR STARS

“Arrogance is in everything I do. It is in my gestures, the harshness of my voice, in the glow of my gaze, in my sinewy, tormented face” ~ Coco Chanel Leo)

Much of Coco Chanel’s success can be attributed to her faith in the stars. Chanel believed in astrology. She was a Leo, symbolized by the lion, queen of the beasts, Leo is the sign of royalty. Proud and arrogant, yet loyal and brave, this sign if ablaze with warmth and fire.

Creative entrepreneurship is the true stamp of a Leo—and Chanel manifested this in buckets. Driven by passion, purpose, determination, a desire to lead not follow, the courage and fearlessness of a lion, and a serious need to be noticed. Making an impression is Priority One for many Leo’s—think Mick Jagger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julia Child and other flamboyant people who share Coco Chanel’s sun.

Chanel’s moon was in Pisces, making her intuitive to the point of being psychic, writes Karen Karbo in The Gospel According to Coco Chanel. This may explain her uncanny knack for predicting where best to place her energy to amass a great following and fortune.

Leo is also the fifth sign of the zodiac—a number Coco used to astounding success when she named her perfume, Chanel No. 5. She also leveraged off her faith in her stars and other spiritual tools to empower her mind, and sustain her during periods of darkness.

Most clients come with financial problems or relationship problems,” my friend and astrologer Marianne O’Hagan says. “They come looking for the hope of happiness in the future.”

Marianne knows personally and professionally. You can read more of her story in Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy—including how she started her own business by using her faith in the stars.

I’m a Libra in Western astrology and a Snake in Chinese astrology. It’s true when they say that Libran’s love harmony, balance and beauty. I love it when I receive feedback from readers, saying my book is “beautifully written.” Or, as a person who read my first Art of Success book, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, posted in their review, “This beautiful book wraps art around business and life and makes each hum with energy and creativity and brings the reader new vitality.

Google ‘best careers’ for Snakes and I’m told to avoid careers where I have to work too hard. ‘Working hard’ to me is doing something I dislike, working with people I don’t respect. Working hard is not marching to my own beat. But when I’m working in the passion zone, fulfilling my purpose, now that’s a different story.

Whether you’re a believer in the notion that whatever planets align at your time and place of birth can determine your intrinsic strengths, shape your character, relationships and fortunes, there’s plenty of helpful data to aid you in your quest for success. Keep an open mind and don’t take everything as total gospel.

Your Challenge

Go cosmic—gain additional insight about your astrological sign from any of the plethora of books, online resources and personal astrologers. Focus on identifying your strengths, Achilles heel, and best-fit-factors career-wise and in your personal life.

I liked the idea that astrology believes we all are special and have unique gifts. It was at that moment that my love of astrology was born

~ Marianne O’Hagan, astrologer

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

How to reinvent your career and your life: Pivot—change careers and live again

Creating Your Past and Your Future: Celebrate Your Audacity

What amazing feedback one of my client’s Lisa Conroy received! Incredible! So proud of her – living and working as she does with passion and purpose! Her success story is just one of many that have enriched my life this year – I’m thankful that having trained her to become a life coach that I have been able to play a small part in her success. Lisa proves that when you follow your bliss, life really can be a wonderful Box of Chocolates. Check out the feedback below.

As we near year end, it’s a great time to celebrate your wins, lick a few wounds, and resolve to create an extra-ordinary future.

The chances are high that you’re a lot like me—I didn’t inherit a fortune, I’ve had more than my share of challenges, and like waves in a storm, there’s always more hurdles to surf. But successful people, like Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci, and the guy on the street corner praying he can make his mortgage, we keep swimming against the tide of mediocrity.

So take a moment, recollect, note and recall all the things you’ve achieved, all the dreams you’ve dared to dream, all the trials you’ve weathered—and most of all celebrate just how fabulous you are.

Like the lady who wrote to me (below) and reminded herself she already was successful—she has a wonderful husband, beautiful children….and a kind and generous heart.

Fortune favors the kind…and the audacious!


Are you looking for more inspiration or the ultimate Christmas gift?

if you still need a career rescue, or know someone that does, you’ll love my new books – plenty of inspiration for young and older


Career Rescue: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here:
getBook.at/CareerRescue

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel)

To preview this book or purchase navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

I just received the most amazing feedback re The Art of Success – brought tears of joy to my blue eyes

“Hi Cassandra, I just had to tell you how much your Coco Chanel book means to me. I can’t even express all the emotions I am feeling right now. First of all, I never realized how much I have in common with her. Abandoned by my father, daughter of a narcissistic mother (which is like not having a mother at all). I’m also a Leo. Second, I relate to so many of her characteristics, as well. I’m fiercely independent and strong-willed, but riddled with doubts. Reading this book was like looking into a mirror for me; one that reflects both my past and my future. Your book is an answer to the prayer I’ve had in my heart recently. I will be referencing it often. I have so much to work on concerning myself, and I see this book as a much-needed tool to help me move past the limiting beliefs I can’t seem to let go of. The quote about living a life with a husband and children and people you love? That helped me to realize that I am already a success in Coco Chanel’s eyes. SO EMPOWERING!!!!! Thank you so much for the gift of this book.”

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Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

how do you define success?

“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.” (1)Many people have asked me how to I define success?

The important question is, ‘How do you define success?’

Below is a range of responses from my The Art of Success Questionnaire.

Do you notice any key themes? Are any success triggers for you?

  • Fulfilment from my own endeavours
  • You can be “in the moment” all the time
  • Living creatively, i.e. making a living off of my creativity, always learning and growing, new experiences and opportunities. Love of family and friends.
  • Validation, self worth
  • Free-will
  • Self contentment
  • Continuous learning
  • Pure happiness and contentment
  • Doing what you love and being good at it
  • Happiness, freedom, security
  • Contentment, respect, lasting, responsibility, ingenuity, purposeful
  • Happiness, joy, flow, money and fire
  • Freedom to live as I please
  • Everything in my life is balanced work, self, mind
  • Freedom
  • It means being happy in what I’m doing, fulfilling my life’s purpose, and being financially stable
  • Happy and fulfilled
  • Doing what you want, when you want with who you want
  • Living a heart centred life, doing what you love, being content
  • A feeling of fulfilment and contentment in all areas of my life
  • Realisation of a worthwhile goal
  • Being happy and living the life you’ve dreamed to live while helping others
  • Success means living a lifestyle that aligns with my values and being true to myself
  • Achieving even my smallest dreams
  • Success is finding your joy in life
  • Being true to myself, happy with where I’m at
  • Continuous growth and making a significant positive impact on people’s lives
  • Being happy to go to work and financially independent
  • Having done pretty much everything I wanted to do by the time I die

How do I define success? Success is finished books! Living a creative, soulful life with the freedom to live my life as I choose, doing something that inspires myself and others. And success is also living a life of no regrets.

“I thought I was learning to live: I was only learning to die,” Leonardo da Vinci once said. He valued wisdom, understanding and freedom of thought, through the pursuit of knowledge gained from his own experience.

Leonardo worked and lived with passion and purpose—following his own curiosities to serving and benefit humanity and to share his knowledge with others. And to live, and die, knowing he had lead a significant life.

“I want to create miracles,” he once wrote. And what a miraculous life of significance he led. Leonardo pursued his visionary principles unto his death, documenting all that he learned to benefit the lives of others. In the process he failed, and failed again. He faced the wrath, scorn and jealously of others. He faced poverty, grief and loss. And at times suffered extreme self-doubt and despair. But he never departed from his course.

Be inspired by Leonardo. Challenge conventional definitions of success and live a life on your own terms. Take the Art of Success Questionnaire here >>

I’ve found the insights people have shared super helpful as I wrote my book The Art of Success. It’s nearly ready to send out to my advance readers, before going to the editor and then to print.


How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life

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