Monday, May 14th, 2018

How to Change Careers and Manifest Your Dream Job or Passion-Driven Business


“What counts for me, in business and in life, is making a difference. That and having fun. Okay, it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s b***** stressful,” says Laurie Wills, a mortgage expert with a passion for butterflies.

“But work feels less like a slog when I get to help awesome people make their dreams come true. I’m lucky to have clients I’m proud to call friends. Of course, the odd bottle of champers I’m sometimes sent goes down a treat too.”

But Laurie yearned to be free from the confines of an office. He wondered if he needed a break from the industry. But then after analyzing what he really needed to be happier at work it came down to two central themes.

More freedom and control.

He sold his shares in his first mortgage business and after a short break started a new business, Awesome Mortgages. With a vision for the future and a blueprint about how he wanted to operate, he re-engineered his processes. An early adopter of new technology, at the time of writing, he remains one of very few, if any, mortgage advisers working remotely.

“It was exciting to see some of my clients make a move to a warmer climate, and I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do too.”

It was an audacious move that definitely paid off. Together with his partner, they left Wellington and moved onto their own lifestyle block overlooking the magical Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

It was a dream that wouldn’t have come true had he not spent time early on in his career planning, getting clarity about how he wanted to live and work in the future. But the move wasn’t without some apprehension.

“How will people feel if we’re based in the Winterless North,” I wondered. “Will they balk and walk if they can’t do business over a caffeine shot? What about the tie, the dark suit, the polished shoes? Will a T-shirt and shorts send the wrong message?

“I thought it could, but my partner, said, ‘Trust me. It’s what you do, the results you get, and the integrity you do it with, that attracts people to you, and keeps them coming back. That, and all those razor-sharp deals.’

“We kept our dreams alive by creating a manifestation board on the fridge. One of the captions we pasted was, ‘Thriving Up North.’ And that vision has come true. The financial years since making the move have been the biggest, most financially successful in my career as a mortgage expert.”

In the first year alone after swapping his pinstriped suit for shorts, Laurie helped his clients purchase in excess of $65 million dollars worth of property. In the following two years, all records have been broken.

There is a myth that people’s highest income earning years are over after fifty, but as Laurie’s experience shows changing it up can pay big dividends.

“Best of all we’re both happier as a couple,” he says. “Plus, I’ve still been able to pursue my passions.”

Laurie’s passion is researching exotic butterflies. He is renown by many as the Indiana Jones of the butterfly world, due to his exploits and intrepid exploring in jungles, inaccessible mountains, and dangerous landscapes. He’s discovered many species new to science and co-authored several important scientific articles.

His passion sustains him, but he accepts it’s not something he can do to make the kind of living he aspires too. While he’s also passionate about negotiating the best outcomes for his home-buying clients, his day-job funds his lifestyle and passion. And now that he’s taken control back and re-engineered where, when and how he does his work he has better balance.

“Some of the negotiations I’ve concluded while up a tree, butterfly net in one hand, iPhone in the other, while in Papua New Guinea. I’ve also helped people buy homes while I’ve been high in the mountains of war-torn Bougainville.

“Then there were the mortgage negotiations made all the sweeter while I was swinging in a hammock in Fiji. But most of my help has been given while enjoying my own slice of paradise back home. I really do think the warmer climate has given me superpowers when it comes to getting the best outcomes for my clients.”

Yip, there’s a myth in the mortgage industry which Laurie has happily proved wrong, that you have to don a tie, work relentless nights and weekends, and invade peoples’ privacy by going to their homes.

By making positive changes in his life that better reflect how he wants to live and work he’s proved recent research conducted by the University of Cologne right—happier people earn more money and that makes life even sweeter.

In the next chapter, we’ll summarize the key themes and help you find your sweet spot.


This is an edited extract from The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here—


For help to stress less and love life more, discover the joy and freedom of being your own boss—

Midlife Career Rescue: (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late” by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop—

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Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Are you ready to quit a job you hate? How to stop overthinking and take the leap

Are you ready to quit? Read this inspiring post by a woman I am training to be a Worklife Solutions Coach—Lucy O’Connor from Monday Hustle.

The day I did what people tell you not to

Monday Hustle’s Diary

Today, I resigned.

It’s fine. I’ll be fine. We’ll survive this. Me AND my bank account. I’ll have to suffer through a few ‘better not’ moments at the dairy counter, dissuade my friends out of a coffee catch up in favour of a ‘lovely walk’ (I hate walking),  and take the T out of TopShop for a while. But it ain’t all about the money honey. It’s about the flippin’ Dream. And I’ve always been a firm advocate for The Dream (spelt with capital letters cause that’s how important it is). I buy into all those clichés (not literally, cause I can’t afford any more) – life’s too short, the world is your oyster, you can be anything you want to be. Because sister, what else is the point??!! I’m 25 now and I gotta give the dream some room to move. I’ve spooned The Dream while it slept for too long. It’s time to gently shake it awake, welcome it into the real world, and let it get on with what it needs to do to not only survive but thrive (first Bridesmaids reference).

Right now, I have a great job in sales, which any beginner would kill for – I am working for a great company, around great people, doing something that society says ‘I should be grateful for’ because someone would kill to have my job. But therein lies the problem. Someone else would love to have my job. Overall, I’m not happy with my situation. I have been working in the role for a year which isn’t that long in the scheme of life, but you know what? That’s a year of not being 100% happy, a year of waiting for something else to happen, a year of my where I have been distracted from putting my dreams into action.

So many people get ‘stuck’ on a path because they keep getting opportunities, they are good at something, they don’t back themselves to do something else. But I’m determined to give The Dream a chance. We each have a certain uniqueness to offer and no two of us are exactly alike. So we have an opportunity – to be the best possible version of ourselves and try to crack whatever it is we actually want to do with our lives. We can’t be the best possible version of someone else’s Dream. But we are the masters of our own. For most of us, we aren’t going to get that golden ticket lying down and waiting for it.

So today, I decided to practice what I preach. I’m going out into the real world with my passion, my drive and the small amount of money I have in my bank account. I’m starting the chase right bloody now. If I commit myself to being the best possible version of me, and direct my energy towards The Dream, that surely is the recipe for a fulfilling life with very few regrets. It’s not going to always be easy, and it won’t always be fun, but it will always be alive – and hopefully, eventually, something’s gotta give. Will you join me in the hustle to be your best self? Cause girl, you gotta hustle. Even on the most uninspiring day of the week. #MondayHustle


“Stop overthinking and take the leap.”

Read more about Lucy’s inspiring career change here >>

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Thursday, December 24th, 2015

How to change careers mid-life and beyond – employ yourself

I’m sitting down on Christmas Eve giving thanks for all the awesome experiences this year has brought. Including our new home in Kerikeri, which is such an inspiring place to write.

Surrounded by so much beauty no wonder I’ve been so prolific. Both my books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series written up here went straight to #1 on the Amazon Best-seller list. Thank you to everyone who supported me by purchasing the books and taking the time and care to write reviews.

You can read this awesome 5-star reviews here, and purchase either of the books in paperback or ebook (downloadable immediately if you need a career rescue in 2016!)

Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change):  How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late

Mid-Life Career Rescue (What Make You Happy): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late

Can you help with ideas for my next book?


I need your help creating a title and subtitle for my next book in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. This book is very dear to my heart…it’s all about how to be your own boss, gain more freedom, enjoy more creative license to do what you want, how you want, and when you want, and earn more money too. All through self-employment and business ownership.

Please leave your ideas below or email me privately



Calling all self-employed  “experts” and wannabe self-employed. 😀 I’d really appreciate your help in insuring my book helps people make the right move. Could you answer these three quick questions…

1. What are the reasons people succeed as self-employed people or business owners?
2. Would topics do you think people would most like me to talk about to help them make the move to self-employment?

3. Who is someone inspirational I should consider including in my book

Please leave your ideas below or email me privately



‘Business is not financial science, it’s about trading … buying and selling. It’s about creating a product or service so good that people will pay for it.’– Anita Roddick Founder of The body Shop

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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 >>

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, January 21st, 2015

Live with audacity

you'll be happier than you know is possible


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

~ Madame Veuve Cliquot


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Your audacious move

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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Thursday, December 19th, 2013

following the signs to career nirvana

Hoping for a sign or something to put you on the right career path? Follow your heart and your intuition – listen to life’s whispers and notice what gives you joy.

Ask for a sign, by popping the Universe a question such as, “what is the right career for me?” Then start paying attention, noticing tiny GO-incidences that occur. A book that falls open at exactly the right place, a person you bump into, an opportunity that presents itself…or some other seemingly random event.

I remember one of my best opportunities presented itself when I bumped into a recruitment consultant at the lipstick counter at Mac – took me on a three year contract and a huge transformational journey working for the Department of Corrections in NZ prisons.

When writing this piece I recalled a wonderful story I wrote for the Dominion Post about Carlucci (Carl Gifford) a man who listened to what excited him and followed the signs. People thought he was mad but he persevered anyway – and now…well…read my updated version 🙂


Inspiration used to carve out an opportunity

A Wellington man has turned his passion into the rock that he has built a career on.

Sometimes the work you were born to do can come from the most unexpected things and places.

When Carl Gifford left school he became a motor mechanic mainly because his father wanted him get a job and told him he had to choose before he was 10 what he was going to do for a living.

Being a motor mechanic did not really give him much satisfaction, so he switched to car wrecking, because it was a bit more lucrative. However, after trying that for a while he decided that wasn’t really him either.

Then one day what turned out to be his true calling leapt out at him.

“One day, I was driving around and I was inspired by some stone work I saw.  I thought “that’s what I want to do. Before you know it, I was off to a quarry. I started putting rocks together and thought ‘Hey! I’m good at this’ Before you knew it I had someone ringing me up, saying “come and do this.”

 Mr Gifford’s first stone sculpture can be seen at the Massey University campus in Wellington. It symbolises the struggle at Parihaka.

“It was quite a buzz for me that my very first sculpture was a very important sculpture.”

A stone mason by trade but no one sees the potential in rock like he does.  “You stare at them all day and you start seeing faces in rocks and you say “ooh I can’t sell that one- that’s a Rottweiler .Oh that’s the Virgin Mary”

“I see faces in rocks everywhere…all the time, even in the simplest of rocks…noses, faces…how weird is that?”


But as Placido Domingo once said, “When it becomes clear that no one else shares your level of passion, you are where you belong.”

And Mr Gifford certainly has carved out a special place for himself – inspiring and exciting all those who come across his works. His stone walls are in high demand and many are built for the rich and famous.

He has performed numerous jobs for the Wellington City Council beautifying the coastline, designed the baboon and tiger enclosure at Wellington Zoo, worked at Vogel house and is currently working on a big project for Peter Jackson.

However, what really seems to drive Mr Gifford is the passion and zest he has to make a world of pleasure for others.

The drive down Happy Valley road, between Owhiro Bay and Brooklyn, was anything but happy till his works of art started to appear along the roadside.

Several years ago, when I first interviewed him,  he had bought 25 hectares near the rubbish tip and started putting sculptures on it. “I’ve got big dreams for this place, but nobody believes them,” he said.

Not then anyway. With his passion and determination it wasn’t long until he realised his dream of expanding his empire. His happy place is called Carlucci Land – a fun park for adults and children, where everyone regardless of age, can recapture the joy of child-like play.

Not surprisingly, his main office is inspired by the Flintstones and he once owned a business he called Bedrock.
Too often people are afraid to stand out from the crowd. Often the innovative path is the path less followed but, as actress Drew Barrymore says “Originality is believing in your individuality, believing in yourself, and being willing to take risks, even though people might think you’re weird for doing it.”

Not only has Carlucci (Mr Gifford)  found a way to earn a living from his passion and create work that allows him to be true to himself, he has recaptured his youth in the process.

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

How inspiration can carve out a career opportunity

When you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that don’t open for anyone else ~Joseph Campbell, Author

 When thinking about the work you want to do, there is no better place to start than tapping into your deepest interests, obsessions and the things that inspire you. It may seem obvious but the sad reality is that less than 10% of people are visibly pursuing their passions. As one person in her 20s said to me, “Don’t you do what you love when you retire?”

It’s true that when you do what you love you’ll never work again. By identifying areas of interest or occupations that inspire you, you can create an awareness of a wider variety of possible career paths, opportunities and organisations that you would like to work for.

Many people don’t know what they are interested in. This is particularly the case if they are feeling depressed by their current work situation. In addition, even when they do know what interests them they may not have considered the important role of interests and areas of passion when it comes to making career choices that will stand the test of time.

Deeply embedded life interests do not determine what people are good at – they drive what kinds of activities and environments make them happy. It makes sense, though, that the more you enjoy something the more likely you will succeed at it. As the painter John Ruskin said, “Where talent, interest and motivation intersect expect a masterpiece.”

Passion@work – Tapping into Interests


Some people believe that you go to work, grit your teeth and bear it. Others say that it is unrealistic to expect job satisfaction. But these views couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are just a few examples of people who have turned their interests into fulfilling careers.

Joy spent years as a legal conveyancer – but wanted to do something more creative. One day she was driving to work, stuck in traffic, thinking, “What am I doing? This just isn’t me.” She was passionate about interiors and fabrics, and all her life she had dreamed of owning her own store. She left the security of her steady wage to start up ‘Maypole @ Biggie Best,’ a successful interior design store.

Maree was unemployed, but felt passionate about weaving. Her passion gave her the energy and courage to start selling her creations and now they are in demand all over the world and she employs more than 15 people.

Louise hated her job as a lawyer until she discovered how she could link her passion for animal welfare with her skills as a lawyer. She now works for an international animal rights organisation and wakes up every day looking forward to going to work, knowing she is making a difference in an area she feels passionate about.

Jasmine survived redundancy by purchasing an irrigation business – in this way she was able to combine her love of the outdoors and gardening.

Nora complained that even though she was good at what she did nobody ever asked her if she enjoyed it. The trouble was she had lost sight of her own interests and enthusiasms too. Coaching helped her to tap into her life-long fascination with books. She is now pursuing a career as a literary agent – combining her legal skills and passion for literature.

Charles was interested in books and movies. He brainstormed all the ways people could and do make a living while working in these areas. His list included: movie director, stage designer, script-writer, make-up artist; book critic, photographer, illustrator, marketing, public relations etc. His friends added several other ideas, including editor, sound person and costume designer. Charles highlighted writer of children’s books, illustrator, and photographer as possible career options he would like to look into further. He found that a good place to start was which has in-depth profiles of most roles. However, nothing beat informational interviewing – talking to people doing the job he wanted.

Synchronistic Support

The more passion and zest you feel, the more alive and brightly lit you are. When you follow your bliss you can’t help but tune into and attract opportunities that allow you to express and act upon the things that most interest you.

For years I have been collecting articles about passionate people. I am passionate about passion! It wasn’t a rational decision. I didn’t plan to be passionate about it. Only when I sat down and consciously thought about how I could make a living from the things that interested me did the penny fall. Then almost by magic people came into my life who provided further support to my dreams. I began to write down in my journal some of my ideas, even though I had no idea how I was ever going to make my dreams a reality. But step-by-step little coincidences began to build, and before I knew it I was on my way to building a business where helping people follow their passions was a core theme. The truth is when passions collide expect to be hired!


 From Student to
Gallery Assistant

Jane came to see me for career coaching. She was a woman in her 40s and the single parent of a seven year old. The year previously she had started studying toward a Bachelor in Interior Design. While the area interested her, she wasn’t enjoying all the computer work involved in the course and was feeling increasingly isolated. She also feared that after four years of study she may not find a job. As we talked, it became clear that interior design was not her true passion.

Initially she asked me to help her find a job. She had been applying for lots of jobs but with limited success, and was beginning to feel despondent about the chances of finding a job that would allow her to be home for her son when he finished school, and that would offer the flexibility she needed.

We worked through a dream job exercise to help her focus her efforts more successfully and she suddenly became really animated and excited. “Ever since I’ve been in the seventh form I’ve always wanted to be an art dealer. I’ve always believed my purpose is to promote art and help creative people make a living from their creativity. It’s crazy – I had completely forgotten.”

Together we worked on several strategies to help bring her dream into a reality including market research and informational interviewing. Collecting images of her dream gallery and presenting these on a ‘story board’ helped make her dreams more real. “I’m so excited – I can really feel my passion growing. This is what I really want to do!”

As a result of her market research, Jane resurrected a partially completed arts degree and is now studying marketing and art history at university. Several weeks later she ran into a woman who owned a gallery and was offered a part time job helping them market their exhibitions. “I can’t believe it. This is my dream job. The gallery is exactly how I imagined it on my story board – it’s even got an architecture studio attached, so it combines all my passions. I feel so lucky. I’m so excited.”

4 ways to feed your inspiration and identify career options:


  1. Identify all the things that interest you and using  your top five interests, list or brainstorm as many possible career options or ways to make money from these interests.
  2. Start an inspiration file and gather examples of other people following their bliss.
  3. Highlight the career options you are most interested in.
  4. Using the list of career options that you have generated, identify ways you could find out more information about them. Be sure to include talking to people doing the job you want.

Quotes to inspire

“Love is not only something you feel. It’s something you do.” ~ David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church, New York City

“To be inspired is to be in spirit – a place that comes from your soul.” ~ Cassandra Gaisford, Author

“Until you know that life is interesting – and find it so – you haven’t found your soul.” ~ Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.” ~ Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, French palaeontologist, biologist and philosopher

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Monday, February 25th, 2013

Employ yourself


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

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

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

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

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

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

Where’s a good place to start?

First Things First! Start from the Heart

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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Friday, February 8th, 2013

How to create a new business


Got to love a man pushing a mower – far more pleasant than those horrid weedeaters!

This is a screen shot from the upper portion of a new business and website I have been involved in creating for Awesome Mortgages.  Building businesses are incredibly creative and satisfying. I took most of the photos, wrote the content and co-designed the site:) So much fun. I hope you can see the passion shinning through

You can read more about the brand development and the importance of the Awesome colours here>>

Like us!

Would love it you came across and liked Awesome on our Facebook page – – our goal is to help people into happy homes!

Trying to get our likes up to 100 by close of day. Anything you can do to help would be awesome! Friends, family – all welcome!

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