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Archive for the 'success' Category

How ambition and Leonardo da Vinci can fuel your success

Friday, April 21st, 2017

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci
 
Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, or loss.
 
Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.
 
As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.
 
Your Challenge
 
Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines.
 
When you think of someone ambitious that you admire who comes to mind?
What qualities do they possess? How could you copy-cat or borrow these qualities and apply them to help you succeed?
 
Keep your ambition a secret—avoid the critics and those who may knock your confidence. When you start to flap your ambition wings other people may feel threatened or jealous
 
It’s cool to be ambitious. People want to hang out with ambitious, successful people. Pursue your big audacious goals! Do the things you think you can’t. Achieve the impossible
 
“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, businesswoman.
 
Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Leonardo da Vinci shares 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

Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Listen to Cassandra’s webinar presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series – “Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy” http://events.iteleseminar.com/?eventID=90661188 (The sound improves 20 minutes in – we were bracing for the worst storm in 20 years!)

Please feel free to cut and paste the above and share with anyone who needs a career rescue.

Here’s a few slides from the presentation, which includes strategies and tips to help you find happiness at work.

 

 

 

 

 

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

OR download a range of Cassandra’s Career Rescue books from her Amazon page here

FIND YOUR NICHE – PURSUE YOUR PASSION.

Listen to Cassandra’s webinar presentation, for the Alumni Career Speaker Series – “Find Happiness at Work: How to Create a Successful Career Strategy” http://events.iteleseminar.com/?eventID=90661188 (The sound improves 20 minutes in – we were bracing for the worst storm in 20 years!)

Please feel free to cut and paste the above and share with anyone who needs a career rescue.

How to pursue a job of passion and make a BIGGER difference in this world

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
I’m feeling excited about my call from San Diego with an American life coach Missy Strasner. Here’s what I was asked: Specifically to share your story of how you pursued a job of passion and made a BIGGER difference in this world! “
 
Missy found me while searching on amazon under “passion” and “careers”— which again shows the power of passion to connect, inspire, and promote your talents and skills, products and services with like-minded souls.
“Wow. You are a rock star and I am wowed at how you are making a difference! Rock it! I admire your success and how you have started something out of intention and passion and created something ENORMOUS! I LOVE the vibe and content and what you have created and would love to have you be part of my project.”
 
Missy is currently hosting an interview series which she says has, “An incredible panel of experts and extraordinary individuals in their industry, successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, business professionals, entertainers, and founders of global companies, etc.).
 
“The plan is to reach a massive amount of people with the message to be brave. To play a BIG game in life, create social impact and inspire.”
 
The topic Missy has asked me to chat about also relates to her story.
 
“I was living in fear and in scarcity afraid and paralyzed by limiting beliefs, and yet it was robbing our world of my true gifts. I want to create a spark to those who are living in fear to push through the resistance and go after something meaningful to them and our world and to live NOW.”
 
The interview series will launch May 3, 2017 via Audio with 21 Experts/Entrepreneur’s to share their inspirational story.
 
I’ll keep you posted with links and more information when the show goes live.
But here’s a few thoughts ahead of the show:

how I pursued a job of passion and made a BIGGER difference in this world!

I worked in roles that I hated before turning my attention and intention to finding a job I Ioved

My ‘hateful’ jobs taught me a lot about what I really needed and valued in a career

My horrible work experiences, including being threatened by a manager who vowed to “smash my head in”, helped me realise my calling—to help other people in similar traumatic work situations to survive and thrive

Being coached by Carol Galloway, a holistic and deeply spiritual, creative and insightful career coach, with a background in psychology, freed me from fear. I adapted the drawing a did with her in one of our ‘art-therapy’ sessions, to become the cover of my first book in the Mid-life Career Rescue trilogy, “The Call for Change.

Concentrating on the skills I loved using, and asking myself: “How can I make a living from writing?” enabled me to combine my passion for writing and inspiring others by creating a range of self-empowerment books. I wrote these books as much as to help myself as to help others—which is why they are so meaningful and helpful to me

When I left the security and confinement of a 9-5 job, I created a business with the intention of becoming a ‘Lovemark’, I knew this was the only way to differentiate myself from going nowhere ‘blands.’ Like Kevin Robert’s, the former CEO of advertising powerhouse Saatchi and Saatchi (New Zealand) I passionately believed, and still do, that Love is the way forward for business

I share many of my experiences and also tools and techniques that have helped others find fulfilling careers in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series and other books available for immediate download fromAuthor.to/CassandraGaisford

I’m feel blessed to have helped so many people find fulfilling lives and careers, including training people to become Certified Career and Life Coaches

In the end I found my passion was Passion – helping others find, embrace and share their passion with others…and still pay the bills
These are just some preliminary thoughts – more soon!
Notes:
My authorpage on Amazon
“Mid-Life Career Rescue (The Call For Change: How to change careers, confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.” Take the stress out of making a change, confirm your best-fit career and move toward your preferred future#1 Amazon Best-Seller. Available in print and eBook from Amazon—getBook.at/CareerChange

How stressed are you?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

When we are calm and happy the quality of the decisions we make far exceed those made when stressed out of our brains.

Stress is something we all feel everyday. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself, or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will. If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted—making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back  in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life, and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as —OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learnt. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression and suicide. It’s that serious—no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being.

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work, or your life.

YOUR BODY BAROMETER TEST

How stressed are you?

Take the following body barometer test by taking note of any symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

Physical Signs of Stress

  • Increased heart rate/Pounding heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and back muscles
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Unable to pass urine or incontinence
  • Trembling/Twitching
  • Stuttering and other speech difficulties
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Being easily startled
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Dryness of mouth or throat
  • Cold hands
  • Susceptibility to minor illnesses
  • Itching
  • Chronic pain

Emotional Signs of Stress

  • Tearful
  • Impatience
  • Frightened
  • Moody
  • Highs and lows
  • Feeling of loss
  • Depressed
  • Anger
  • Irritated
  • Short-tempered
  • Grief

Cognitive/Perceptual/Thinking Signs

  • Forgetfulness
  • Preoccupation
  • Errors in judging distance/space
  • Reduced creativity/creative thinking
  • Lack of concentration
  • Diminished productivity
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Orientation to the past
  • Diminished reaction time
  • Clumsiness
  • Disorganization of thought
  • Negative self-esteem
  • Negative self-statements
  • Diminished sense of meaning in life
  • Lack of control/Need for too much control
  • Negative evaluation of experiences
  • Negative thinking
  • Pessimism

Behavioral Signs of Stress

  • Carelessness/Accident prone
  • Under-eating/Over-eating
  • Aggressiveness/Fighting/Hostility
  • Increased smoking/Starting smoking
  • Withdrawal
  • Argumentative
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Listlessness
  • Nervous laughter
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Impatience/Agitation

Take a look at the following stress-busting tips and create your own stress management plan. Starting from a positive, healthy foundation will help you make changes in your career and life successfully.

This is an edited extract from 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 by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn  how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

The Power of Love

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Passion, love, joy—call is what you will, but the eternal truth is that love is where the magic is. 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.

P.S. If you’re in the mood for romance and you’re curious about my romance novels, check out this post where I share why I write (and read) romance novels https://molliemathews.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/why-i-write-romance.  

I also have a special Valentine’s treat you may like to nibble on. The Gemstone Billionaires Boxed Set contains my first two books in a romantic series set against the beautiful backdrop of stunning Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like heartwarming, sexy and sweet romances with a touch of comedy, you’ll love sharing the journey with these authentic men and women longing to find their special soul with heart.

Gemstone Billionaires Series Box Set: Two Sexy New Zealand Romances: Italian Billionaire Brides: The Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage, The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride

getBook.at/GemstoneBillionaires

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 

How to start a business on the side while holding down your job

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Start a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence.

A big shout out to my client who has started her business today—while holding down her current job. Catherine’s started smart by taking over an existing business – check it out here http://www.lifeconsulting.co.nz/

Learn from other inspired and inspiring entrepreneurs and make a calculated leap to self-employed freedom and fulfilment. Fourteen individuals tell you their stories in  Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late. 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. Here’s an excerpt:

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

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:

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.

  • 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.
  • They planned for success. Their business and marketing plans were living documents and they managed their finances extraordinarily well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • They took calculated risks. They always looked before they leapt, but they leapt nonetheless. Courage and confidence was something they built as they went.
  • 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 organisation 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 organisation 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 programme. Her personality, variety of skills and zest for life just really resonated with me.

I realised 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 programme 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 utilise 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 realised it would take 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 two-three 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 onto 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 programme 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 realise 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.

Do it scared – how to charge forward with new confidence and follow your passion to prosperity!

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Do it scared—most of the successful people I know started and continued to create despite their doubts, fears and anxieties. If this is a challenge for you Scott Allan’s new book (aptly titled, “Do It Scared“) comes to your rescue. One of the many memorable things you’ll learn is the importance of mastering your mind. You may have heard this before and know it to be true, but it’s easy to forget and often hard to put into practice.
Stay vigilant, the author warns, stay strong—don’t let self-doubt rob you of your mind mastery. “What do we fear most?” Allen asks, “Confronting problems.”
But herein lies one of the many cures contained with this brilliant book. “Do It Scared” shares proven strategies and powerful formulas to help you transform problems into solutions. The advice is challenging and compassionate – Allen knows how you feel…he’s been there. He’s hit rock bottom and he’s hauled himself out. Now through the honest of his truths and the generosity of his spirit he’s sharing the lessons he’s learned to help you forge a confident identity, master your life, do the things that scare you most and achieve greater personal power.
I really liked the tone and presentation throughout this book. The summaries, or “key takeaways” reinforce key messages and learning at end of each chapter helps consolidate these truths. I particularly enjoyed the strong and evocative words the author uses. Words like “manipulate forge, confront and charge forward.” Softly, softly, fluffy fluffy doesn’t work. You need to don your armour, sharpen your sabre and attack your doubt demons.
One of the sections that really resonated with me was the one on habits and the five steps for breaking bad ones. Allan’s advice to recognize disempowering routines and replace them with winning ones is pure gold! For me one of the triggers that creates a failure habit is being assaulted by energy attacks (negative people, outbursts from others, their drama etc.). As a result of reading “Do It Scared rather then run, withdraw or retreat I’m going to be a rock (not literally!) – people can storm all around me and I’m not going to take it personally. I’m not going to try and fix them either. They can vibrate how they want. What counts is my new habit of maintaining my positive, winning vibration.
Thank you Scott! Thank you also for your section on the lifesavers practices – Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, and Reading to improve my thoughts for the day etc. As a result of reading this book I am tooled up with weaponry to defeat the doubt demons and charge forward with new confidence to follow your passion to prosperity!
5.0 out of 5 stars! An excellent book that inspires you to succeed beyond your fears.
A DEFINITE READ FOR CREATING THE ULTIMATE MINDSET! Available from Amazon here http://amzn.to/2kbwNkp
Five things I’ve “done scared,” to follow my passion to prosperity.
1.) I completed this painting of my grandmother, Molly and entered in a portraiture competition.  It was the first portrait I’d ever painted and the first time I’d experimented with painting with oils. My painting was selected as a finalist in The Adam Portrait Award and Exhibition, Wellington Feb 2008. I was so excited!
2.) I entered another competition with a mixed media triptych  (again a first) and won! “Love Stain” was the Supreme Winner Wai Art Awards May 2008.  When I got the call telling me that I had won  I didn’t believe it.  never expected to one. My only goal was to do it scared and put my art out there DESPITE the fear of judgement. “That can’t be right. You must have made a mistake, ” I recall saying. “That other on—the realistic one of Leda and the Swan was far better than mine.” They assured me the painting had won. “Why?” I asked – still disbelieving. “Because it was different,” they replied.
3.)  I commissioned and had built an architecturally designed home, and subdivided my existing property—despite being a single parent with no savings!
4.)  I moved away from my home town of 50 years,  and brought a 10 acre lifestyle property with my partner going unconditional without selling our properties first.That was scary – but exhilarating now that the terror has passed!
5.) I completed my psychology degree, after a then-year study break, at the age of 47—completing four 300 level papers in less then 10 weeks.
6.)  I opened myself up to love again after having my heart broken.  That was scarier than anything ever done. And also the most fulfilling.
7.)  I rescued my daughter from a violent attacker – and did so in a loving, empowered way—even though ever bone in my body was terrified. But I refused to fight terror with terror.
 Looking back on my life there are so many things I’ve done scared—and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

The astrology of success

Friday, January 27th, 2017

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.

 

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

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

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.”

Success Story: Turning Her Dream into a Reality – Reinventing Joy Again

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Joy spent 10 years as a Legal Conveyancer—but wanted to do something more creative. “I looked around one day and thought to myself, ‘Joy do you realize that shortly you are going to be the eldest one around here?’ I didn’t feel enamored with that thought.”

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. A simple quote, and her desire for change helped her decide to leave the security of her steady wage.

“I had read the quote, ‘Don’t make a permanent decision for a temporary feeling’ but I knew my feeling would not be temporary. I was determined it would not be, and I would not let it be.”

Her long-range vision was always to start up a successful interior design business. However, before branching completely on her own she brought into a franchise operation called Biggie Best.

“Buying the franchise was a great way for me to learn the skills required to be in business on my own. Because of all the backing of head office, and the fantastic systems and support I received, I was able to build my confidence as well as gain some experience, which all helped me to know with certainty that going out on my own in this industry was something I really wanted to do.”

Reinventing Joy Again

Joy’s desire to bring in more diverse stock clashed with the franchisers strict control forbidding diversion from their theme. It became clear it was in both their interests for her to gradually transition out of the franchise.

Joy was excited to finally be able to step into her own independence and opened her own interior design store, Maypole Interiors.

“I had no idea whether it would be successful or not but I was following a passion, and I knew I could pass that passion on to other people who did not have the same exposure to things beautiful.

I found the right product for the right market by finding the wholesale distributors who imported the things I loved.”

Maintaining Balance

Joy says hard work supplies energy if you love the work you are doing. She believes it is virtually impossible to run a good business if you have other things to concentrate on.

“A business takes full concentration. There is no room for anything else if you are to be successful. It cannot be played with.”

Maintaining some balance came naturally, she says. “My family was independent of me, and my husband was fully supportive. He loved the business. Cobwebs did appear—and stay—in the house.

Natural Talent and Good Management

Her beautiful window dressing, natural talent, great fabrics, products and success with clients meant finding clients came easily.

Joy never trained formerly as an interior designer, but had a natural talent for interior design and a passion for creating beauty. Something another astoundingly successful interior American-based designer Barbara Barry also shares.

Joy says her secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income lies in keeping good records of sales every month and through the year.

Other strategies that contributed to her success, she says were: “Having budgets set for both staff and myself of daily sales, knowing how much has to go through the till every week, and if not reaching that target working harder on shop displays and advertising.

Always presenting yourself well, being honest, truly honest with people when they were looking for something, even putting them off and losing a sale if you knew the product wasn’t right for them and having a smile to greet them no matter what you were feeling”, were also effective she says.

Be Brave and Fully Passionate

Joy’s advice to others thinking of starting a business is:

  • Be brave, but don’t start a business without being fully passionate about what you are trying to achieve.
  • Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you feel you can make a difference and make a happy experience for your customers.

And her steps to self-employment?

“They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible.”

If she could have done anything differently Joy says she might have moved to a different location where there was more foot traffic. “Location is perhaps the most important when you have a physical store.”

Following the death of her husband, Joy, now in her 70’s, decided to change the way she ran her business and works from her beautiful home, consulting for wealthy clients. She has also designed and had a self-contained cottage built on her inner-city Wellington property. In addition, she also runs a business through Airbnb where she shares her uniquely beautiful home with appreciative guests from New Zealand and overseas.

What You’ve Learned So Far

  • Not everyone is suited to being self-employed; but don’t prematurely discount it as a viable option
  • Starting small and starting something on the side may wet your appetite, give you confidence and intensify your desire
  • Start smart before you travel too far toward self-employment. Be sure to assess the pluses and minuses, learn from other people’s mistakes, and plan for success
  • Don’t assume you need to go into debt to begin—take the pressure off and look for more affordable ways to get started. You can always invest more capital when your profits begin to soar
  • Keep an eye on cash-flow, and ensure you have access to a line of credit for emergencies
  • Commit to ongoing growth—personally and professionally
  • Determine which of the six ways to employ yourself suit you best
  • Be courageous, brave and passionate. It’s worth it!

What’s Next

Lack of money doesn’t have to hold you back. Let’s look at how financing your career can be more affordable than you think.

This was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Start a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self-employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence. This handy resource will show you how.

#1 Amazon Best-Seller. Available in print and eBook—getBook.at/EmployYourself

Get Real About What’s Important: The Importance of Values in a Career Change

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

image_values

“The things that matter most should not be sacrificed to those that matter least.” ~ Dr Stephen R. Covey, Author

Values conflicts are one of the major causes of work-related stress. If you’re proactive you’ll get out unscathed, and as you’ll read later in this chapter, not getting your needs met may just lead you to your life purpose.

“I used to be the sort of person who usually put her head down and worked towards a goal and if I worked hard enough and aimed for my goal, then success would follow. And for the first time my life plan wasn’t working out,” said Juliet de Baubigny, a powerful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Her entrepreneurial genius is said to have contributed to the transformation of companies such as Google and Amazon.

Several years ago her marriage ended in a bitter divorce, her young son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and she ended up in the ICU with bilateral pneumonia, all within six months. “It makes you question faith and humanity,” she said. “So I thought how do I redirect this?”

Juliet heeded the call for change—embarking on a quest of discovery.

“I consulted every shaman, every psychic, every priest to learn about what was really important to me what my value system was.” The result? “The things that matter most in life are health, family and doing what you love.”

Juliet’s imparts her wisdom to her children, “Do what you love, work hard, tell the truth and be kind.”

If only more kindness prevailed at work. Just think what a better place the world would be.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again. Do not, under any circumstances stay in a job that compromises your values, or is making you physically ill. Perhaps, your mindset needs to change. Perhaps it’s the job. But whatever the cause, take action now to find the cure.  Conquering stress, this escalating modern day evil is so critical that I devoted a whole chapter to it in my first book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: The Call For Change. And readers agree. As one reviewer wrote:

“I definitely recommend reading the chapter on stress. I wish I had the valuable information she laid out 15 years ago when I went through a ‘brown out’,” one step before complete burn out.

If I knew what physical signs to look for I would have left that job way earlier than I did. Unfortunately for me I learned the hard way what a stressful job situation can do to you both mentally and physically, but you don’t have to. Instead, you just need to read Mid-Life Career Rescue, and follow the advice of Ms. Gaisford.”

Values in Business

Organisations have their own values and personalities too. Finding individuals who ‘fit’ their culture plays a key part in their hiring decisions.  And it’s a two-way street. Similarly your best-fit job or organisation is one that aligns with your values and allows you to be yourself.

Once you have identified your driving values you can begin to look for companies and roles that align with them. For example, if you identified ‘passion’ as important, look for companies that actively communicate and act upon this value.

Sometimes this may mean doing a little bit of investigative homework. Don’t just rely on what the advertisement or job description says, or what the recruiter or hiring manager tells you. Ask people who work there, customers who deal with them, and even competitors. Get the real story. It’s not what they say that counts; it’s what they do.

Not all companies actively live and breathe their values. But the truly great companies, businesses and individuals do.

Hot Tip! Increase your chances of a good values match by including a summary of your values in your CV, social media profiles like Linkedin, or your website if you have one. 

Overcoming Values Conflicts

The consequences of accepting a role or staying in a job where you’re values don’t ‘fit’ are huge. Job dissatisfaction; a feeling of not belonging; of not being appreciated, affirmed or valued; and serious depression can occur if no remedial action is taken. These feelings and experiences are commonly referred to as ‘values conflicts’.

One of my clients, Lynn, was the editor of a magazine. She had a real gift for innovative and lateral thinking, and creativity was something she valued. She assumed that when she accepted a new position as Chief Editor for another company that her creativity would be something they also valued.

It was a huge shock to learn that they valued maintaining the status quo more than innovation, and that they did not affirm or value the changes she sought to create.

She also valued her independence and autonomy, and in her previous role her boss had been happy for her to work whatever hours and days she liked. His main criteria was that the job got done; he didn’t care where or how.

In her new role people preferred to work standard hours and questions were asked and eyebrows were raised when she attempted to work from home or worked anything other than the core Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm hours. Her boss’s assumption was, “If I can’t see you, you’re not working.” Not much trust there!

For her own health and happiness, Lynn resigned after three months. She realised that if she stayed any longer it would mean changing the very essence of who she was, and devaluing her needs.

In hindsight she wished she had taken the time to think about her most important values prior to changing careers, rather than having acted so impulsively.

“I guess I just assumed that it would be similar to where I was before. I could have saved everybody a lot of grief by clarifying my needs and asking a few more questions about the company culture before I started.”

Action Task! Get Your Needs Met

If any of your most important values are not being met to your satisfaction, what changes need to occur so that they are met? Some ways to check if your values are in alignment, and steps you can take to resolve any values conflicts, include:

1) Thinking laterally. Brainstorm with friends all the possible ways that people make a living from each of your main values. Think laterally. The aim is not to make a decision but to build an exhaustive list.

Choosing your best-fit career comes later. Right now, allow yourself to go wild and explore. Who knows what you may find. Use generative, open-ended questions like ‘who, where, why, when’ to create a wider list. For example, how can I make a living from (insert value)? Who is making a living from (insert value)?

2) Paying attention to your body barometer. Notice the times when you feel inspired – a sure sign your values are aligned. When you values are met there’s often a feeling of lightness or calm in your body, or a surge of excitement, joy and elation.

The opposite is also true. Heaviness in your shoulders or heart, a feeling of dread in your chest, a surge of anger through your body, are some of the many ways your body warns you of conflict.

3) Exploring and negotiating. Develop a list of questions designed to confirm whether your values align with any prospective employer or role you are considering. For example, if ‘respect’ is one of your values you may ask an employer, employee or another stakeholder: “How are differences resolved around here?”

If time freedom is important to you, make sure you negotiate flexible hours as part of your employment package. If work-life balance is important, target companies that actively support this. Check company websites, ask people who work there or contact organisations like the EEO Trust to learn more about who you’d like to work for and why.

4) Asking for your needs to be met. All too often people walk away from perfectly good careers without telling people what they need to feel happy, motivated and productive.  “Why is it that people only tell us what they want when they’re heading out the door,” one frustrated HR manager told me.

‘If they valued me, they’d know what I needed,” a client once said. Don’t rely on people being mind readers, and don’t assume they don’t care.

I once successfully negotiated working a four-day week in one job, and working from home in another. Initially my request was met with disapproval. I figured they were afraid I wouldn’t get my work done, so I suggested we give it a go as a trial. This allowed them to get comfy with the idea, knowing they could return to the status quo if I didn’t deliver. I got heaps more done than being in the office.

If you can’t get your needs met, it’s time to look elsewhere. I’ve done this many times in my career.

5) Playtime. If it is not possible at this time to get your needs met in your career, and you’re not ready to make a move, pro-actively seek ways to satisfy your values away from work. Taking up a hobby, joining up with like-minded people or volunteering are just a few possible ways to achieve this. Look for examples of people, places or things that align with your values. Meet-up.com is a great place to start.

Book_transparentbg copyThis was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

You’ll find more tips to help you clarify what makes you happy in, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy.

Available for immediate download less than the price of a cup of coffee – getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

How to become the hero of your own life story

Monday, September 12th, 2016

img_6740I feel honoured to be interviewing MICHAEL HAUGE on the Cassandra Gaisford show tomorrow. Michael is a top Hollywood story expert, author and lecturer who consults with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys and public speakers throughout the world. He is the best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read.

Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and has worked in the film and television industries for more than 35 years. He loves movies! And he loves figuring out what makes them work. And he loves helping people tell their best stories too – people like actors Will Smith and Morgan Freeman, or Devon Franklin, Vice President of Production, Columbia Pictures (to name-drop just a few)

We’ve become great friends after I purchased Michael’s books and had the great fortune to attend his seminars when he was in Auckland recently speaking at The Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in August.

 

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You can learn more about Michael here: www.StoryMastery.com

If you visit his site you’ll find lots of information on story, plus information on his one-on-one coaching session. I’ve had a session with him and got so much value! And if you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get a list of key story questions for whichever discipline interests you.

I’ll share the link to the interview when it goes live. In the meantime you can learn more about many of the critical skills you need to master to become the hero of your own story in many of my books—below are just a few which will help.

Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More getBook.at/BoostYourSelfEsteemAndConfidence
The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

 

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The Art of Success Gave My Mind Wings!
#storymastery #findyouressence #passion #lovestory

3 ways to find your elemental strength

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
“Why go about puffed up and pompous, dressed decorated with the fruits, not of their labors, but of those of others?
 
“Why go about puffed up and pompous, dressed decorated with the fruits, not of their labors, but of those of others?” asked Leonardo da Vinci – a man who valued living in his authentic essence above all else. Your essence is your point of difference and is often manifested when you draw upon your elemental strengths to produce original work.
Leonardo’s father recognised his exceptional gift for drawing and helped him hone his talent by apprenticing him to Andrea del Verrocchio, a master painter, sculptor and engineer.
However Leonardo also self-taught his way to excellence, learning new skills and tackling subjects he passionately wanted to understand but had little knowledge of.
Have you found your point of brilliance? Maybe you’re exceptional in drawing, dancing, cooking, or some other field. If that talent is combined with your deepest interests, values, ambitions and joy that’s where you ought to focus.
Whether you know your elemental strengths already, or you’re at a loss, it’s equally important to try new things. If you don’t branch out from what you have already mastered you cannot grow.
You may discover a point of brilliance you never knew you possessed. In humans, as there is hidden within the earth, sometimes there’s a vein of gold that you never knew you owned.
 
Your Challenge
• One way to discover your strongest skills and natural talents is to ask people close to you, “What’s my superpower?”
• Another is to notice all the things you love to do while expressing your unique talents and list past activities and accomplishments that accurately reflect these abilities
• What are some possible ways that expressing your qualities, talents and skills may fulfil current or future needs. How can you serve?
 
If finding your elemental strengths is a challenge for you you’ll find plenty of creative and practical ways to discover them in my Mid-Life Career Rescue trilogy—getBook.at/CareerRescueBox.
You’ll also find more wisdom from Leonardo in Cassandra Gaisford’s recent #1 bestseller, The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci), available now in paper-back and eBook from Amazon here getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess
 

21 Ways to Turn Your Thoughts to Hope

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

“One's thoughts turn toward Hope.Common obstacles to success include fear, self-doubt, and other crippling thoughts. But what if all you had to do to tame these uglies was cultivate hope?

The power of hope is grounded firmly in spiritual and religious practices but also in science. Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, Leonardo da Vinci, and even 18th century physicians, recognized the physiological effects of mind-power and hope on the body. 

Successful medical outcomes, even when the intervention is a placebo, further evidence the impact of maintaining a positive expectation. If like me, you’ve manifested miracles in your own life, by maintaining a positive expectation, you’ll know the power of hope.

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.

When you empower your belief in your ability to gain some control over your circumstances, you are no longer entirely at the mercy of forces outside yourself. You are back in the driving seat.

What you believe has a tremendous influence on the likelihood of success. Reframe your fears and buoy your dreams with hope. Not, “I’m afraid of failing ” but “I hope to succeed,” or something similar.

21 ways to turn your thoughts to hope

  1. Set achievement goals—not avoidance goals
  2. Take steps—no matter how small, everyday toward your goals
  3. Create more joy
  4. Surround yourself with positive, hopeful, optimistic people
  5. Affirm the positive
  6. Visualise a positive outcome
  7. Pray
  8. Journal your way to  help
  9. Be solution, not obstacle, focused
  10. Let go. Hope has a harder job when you hang onto things that no longer serve you
  11. Act as if
  12. Manage your words, thoughts, and feelings
  13. Tell yourself, “everything is working out for my highest good,” or something similar when setbacks threaten to knock your hope
  14. Remind yourself, “this too will pass,” when crap happens. Nothing is permanent. Nothing!
  15. Meditate
  16. Colour therapy
  17. Essential oils
  18. Rest and sleep
  19. Diet
  20. Spirituality, faith
  21. Let desire, not fear, lift you higher. Do the thing you fear and desire will triumph

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” ~ Arianna Huffington

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) by Cassandra Gaisford.

To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

Business ideas for how to start a business

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Leigh Johnson

Creating a business and making decisions that are in line with your core beliefs and values is more likely to be a lasting and positive choice.

It allows you to be who you really are, and do what you really need, in order to achieve what you want. And it will draw like-minded and loyal clients to you.

Benefits of your values-driven business

Creating a values-driven business:

  • Allows you to be yourself
  • Differentiates you from others
  • Plays a key part in creating a professional brand
  • Guides your decisions and interactions with others
  • Communicates with, and attracts, loyal customers
  • Fast-tracks meaningful relationships
  • Can inspire loyalty beyond reason.

So where then to begin? Inside out. First determine your own personal values and build your business or self-employment opportunity from this core.

This is the approach Leigh Johnson, then aged 46, took when she established her recruitment business.

Following her childhood dream

Having my own business was a childhood aspiration. I love being my own boss – the freedom, flexibility, taking responsibility, and creating something of value that helps others. Deciding what to do was easy. I was working as a recruitment consultant for a large international firm and found recruitment suited my skills and talents.

I decided to go out on my own, and was able to turn that into a successful business and get others to share my goals and values. I was up and running with very little start-up capital, just some cash from my own resources.

Creating her niche

I established the company values and defined the behaviours that went with those values from the outset. Finding the right market and level of service centred on:

  • Providing a professional and personal service
  • Employing the right people
  • Doing business with the right clients
  • Innovating to meet their needs.

I developed a brand strategy, created a simple business plan, leased premises and a CRM system, and bought 2nd hand furniture! I hired my first employee, kept focused on our specialisation, then got out there and told people about it.

It’s important for me to be trying new things. I was driven to be successful and this, along with continually learning and sharing, kept my energy levels high. Doing the ‘same old’ and/or repetitive work de-energises me. Going into business or being self-employed creates a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and also learn about yourself.

Taking a leap of faith

I knew my enterprise could be successful. Initially I worked 60 hours per week. I used specialists for advice and outsourced the things I wasn’t good at. Spending time doing the stuff that creates revenue, and starting to build systems from day one helped maximise the likelihood of success.

The advice I would give to someone who has never started a business is to surround yourself with people who have done it before, or are self-employed. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Get a mentor or coach!

Millions of people around the world create small enterprises so that they can feed their families. Start small, part-time and try out some of your ideas.

Finding customers

Business development (face-to-face meetings), networking, marketing and building brand awareness helped me grow my client base. Being socially responsible and creating our Skilled Migrant Programme, in partnership with Victoria University and the Rotary Club of Wellington, has also given the brand a very positive image.

Getting professional advice, (business advisor), using specialists (i.e. finance) focusing on business development and building market awareness have been the secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income.

Best and worst moves

Hiring migrants who brought great skills, excellent motivation and surprised me with their ability to keep growing has been one of the best moves I’ve made.

Knowing what I now know, I would always ensure I hired the best people. They don’t have to be the highest paid.

Worst move? Taking too much responsibility on myself when things weren’t going well which led to burnout.

Maintaining Balance

While I had a lot of technical skills, I’ve had to learn to let go, and trust others. Mistakes happen and we learn from them together.

To maintain balance and find time for my family I avoid being a perfectionist. I look for the 80/20. Sometimes good enough is just fine. And done is better than perfect.

To succeed in business you must be prepared to take responsibility and make decisions, some of which won’t be right but that’s okay. Just keep making them. I also take time out every quarter. You must trust your people and disconnect so that they can make decisions while you are away.

Action and Innovation

Lately, I’ve been using the word ‘enterprise’ instead of business or self-employment. Personally it has connotations involving action and innovation. Also it can be about being socially responsible while being economically sustainable.

Establishing her company values and ensuring her behaviours reflected those values from the outset helped Leigh create a strong brand—one she is proud of.

Her deep belief in equality and being socially responsible, and her passion for helping others is also reflected in her successful Skilled Migrant Programme, giving her brand a very positive image.

It was an inspired move. My own experience working as a recruitment consultant confirmed that many employers discriminate against people from other cultures. I was once moved so much by their plight I wrote a magazine article entitled, What Colour Are Your Skills, to focus attention on the fact that it is what people can do, not their place of origin that defines a person’s ability to do a job well.

Leigh now works less in the business and more on the business to maintain better balance. She is passionate about helping women who suffer as she has, from depression and anxiety, and shares her story of recovery on her personal blog: www.leighjohnsonnz.com/blogging.

At the time of writing, Leigh has also made a decision to retrain as a Well-being and Transition Coach, and I am honoured to have been her business coach and mentor through this journey. She’s also excited about a new online project that is in the planning phase.

I’m calling it: ‘Fabulous at 50—The Professional Woman’s Guide to Being Anxiety Free.’ This web-based programme will provide tools to help women avoid the negative experiences of burnout and anxiety, that can get in the way of enjoying what should be an exciting time of life.

Find out more about Leigh Johnson, and the wonderful work she does here: www.leighjohnsonnz.com and on her blog.

Action Task! Start Smart

Identify and record any lessons you can learn from Leigh’s experience that you could apply to starting, or redefining, your own business. Summarise some possible action steps.

Book_transparentbg copyBe 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.

Employ yourself feedback at 2.33.02 pm

Three ways to turn your weakness into a strength

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” cropped

Don’t let your weakness deceive you!

Too often people focus on their weaknesses without reframing them as strengths. This can rob you of confidence, self-esteem and your next great opportunity to truly shine.

Your greatest weakness is also, very often, your greatest strength. It’s all about timing and context.

My greatest weakness? Distraction—including getting excited about my next book before I’ve even finished the one I’m working on! My heart is racing, I feel breathless, excited…as though my eyes will burst forth in a flood of joyful tears…Coco Chanel! Yes, this amazing lady will be the next focus of my The Art of Success series!

 

Writing room Teh Art of Success

I had just finished reading her biography, and then stumbled across a newsletter in my inbox, with a link to some amazing newly discovered images. One of the many reasons I don’t unsubscribe from some newsletters is because sometimes, when I least expect, I will be delighted! (confession – I have over 200 emails in my inbox – I’m an email hoarder!)

Here’s the cover for the first book in the series – also a passion project. For Leonardo da Vinci I chose the Flower of Life to symbolise everything this renaissance genius believed.

When I was at architecture school we were challenged to create sets for a play—we had to distill the essence of the lead character as simply as possible. I still recall the set we designed for Mae West—a black backdrop with a simple red raised rectangular platform in the centre.

My greatest weakness is also my greatest strength
I have no problem generating ideas—something my clients value when they are feeling stuck. I’ve been hired for coveted role in business environments because of my creativity, in this regard. And when I wrote a column for 4 years for The Dominion Post and also contributed to The New Zealand Herald people said, “I love your column. I keep some of them pinned on my wall. How do you come up with so many different ideas?”

Recently I was interviewed by Olivia Gamber a US Career Expert. Do you know what she put as the lead quote?

“The biggest skill you need to have during a career transition is an imagination.”

If your imagination could do with some stimulation check out the interview here http://occupationalolivia.com/how-to-overcome-your-mid-life-career-crisis/

Like Leonardo da Vinci I am naturally curious about everything. Avoiding a thinking rut, and following seemingly unrelated themes is an efficient and simple way to stimulate new ideas.

What’s your greatest weakness?

Your greatest weakness can also be your ‘unfair advantage’ —it’s what comes so easily, or what you do effortlessly, that others find difficult.

Your weakness may be what others criticise you for. For example, I was often told I was too sensitive and needed to toughen up. Yet I am highly empathic, and intuitive with natural psychic skills—something I use in my writing, painting and business mentoring.

Three ways to turn your weakness into a strength

Work for fit! If you’re stubborn and inflexible, for example, pick a work environment, role or project  where your  bloody-minded focus will achieve the results needed.

Complement. Pick a team, role or group where you can complement the current skillset.

Prepare.  “What is your greatness weaknesses?” is a standard interview question. Don’t run through your list of weaknesses without highlighting examples of where either your weaknesses was a strength in a certain situation; or demonstrating it’s an area you have invested time and skill developing self-mastery.

For more ways to clarify your best-fit, environment, role or job check out the Career Rescue Series, or How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

signature my name angie edited

p.s

So, what should the cover be for Book Two of The Art of Success: Coco Chanel. Leave a comment—share with friends—one of your ideas could be on my next #1 best-seller!

Book One of  The Art of Success (Leonardo da Vinci): How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed Personally and Professionally will be available in July 2016. To be the first to know and receive a free gift, click here https://worklifesolutions.leadpages.co/the-art-of-success/

 

Midlife Career Crisis? Become Self Employed: Choose And Grow Your Own Business With Confidence

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

You don’t always need buckets of money, or the courage of a lion, to start your own business. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs have started their businesses on a shoe-string budget, and launched new careers while combining salaried employment. Many have felt the fear and launched their business anyway.

I was in my mid-30’s, a single parent, holding down a steady job, when I started my first business, Worklife Solutions (worklifesolutions.co.nz). I was worried and fearful that I’d fail, but I did it anyway. It’s one of the most creative, joyful endeavours I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve created many more businesses and helped people all over the globe become successfully self-employed.

Like Lisa Conroy, who shares her story in my latest book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, and other budding entrepreneurs who’ve taken a strategic route to finance their businesses.

It’s hard to believe that I was ever an employee, feeling trapped and miserable in a job that gave me zero flexibility, capped my income and shackled my independence. 

My Mid Life Crisis

I know what it’s like to reach the middle of your life and yearn for something better, but wonder if you have what it takes to make it on your own. I was a single parent, with no one else to pay my mortgage. I wanted more time and freedom to balance child-care with my own desire to have control over my own destiny. And I wanted my income to be determined by my own efforts, not by the mood or whims or dictates of a boss. I wanted to be in control, riding the winds of fortune and navigating the fluctuating economic landscape.

More than that I wanted to rekindle my passion and creativity in both the workplace and home. And I wanted to make a living doing the work I felt born to do.

I was uncertain about how I could employ myself and create a business I’d love with such a passion, that one day I would say, “This isn’t work; this is fun.” But it did happen, and it can happen for you too.

I’m not a risk-taker. Not a reckless, foolishly optimistic one anyway. I was afraid like you might be. I doubted anyone would hire me, or that I could convince others to buy my products and services. I worried that if I severed the safety chord of a regular wage I may not be able to pay my mortgage.

I’d lost my confidence, and worse, I’d lost my self-esteem, trading in my health and happiness for the ‘security’ of a regular pay cheque. I had a mortgage to feed, and a daughter to support on my own, and so I boxed on. But I never gave up on my dream.

I started feeding my soul by reading books by, and about, inspired entrepreneurs. I subscribed to entrepreneurial magazines and devoured articles. (Back then podcasts and YouTube weren’t alive and streaming.) I drew up a list of benefits I felt I’d gain from being self-employed, and trained myself to focus my mind and heart on what I hoped for, not what I feared.

I calculated my hourly rate as an employee and quickly realised I could work less hours and earn more if I employed myself. The final push I needed to take the leap came when my friends, who were turning fifty, encouraged me to join them on a girls trip to Italy. My boss turned down my application to go on leave. “You’re needed here,” she scolded.

“I quit,” I replied. And I haven’t looked back.

Self Employed Bliss – Be Happy: Work With Passion

I have more freedom, work-life balance, creative control and autonomy, and greater work security as a self-employed worker. I get to choose the work I will or won’t do. I earn more than I did having my salary capped as an employee, but  I love what I do with such a passion that I would do it for free. “That wasn’t work, that was fun,” I said to a client recently.

If you feel like I once did, wondering if being your own boss will ever happen for you, help is at hand. If you fear that if you leave a job you hate, you won’t be able to pay the bills, my latest book, Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will help you start smart. 

If you’ve bought into the mistaken belief that owning your own business will cost a bomb, or wreak havoc with your work-life balance, Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will set you straight. If worrying about the taxman or legal stuff is putting you off starting a business, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Or perhaps you worry running your own business will be stressful. If so you’ll love the section, “Burnout Blitz.”

If you dream of being happy and working with passion and joy, I encourage you to consider taking a calculated and inspired leap into self employed bliss.

Self employment is an excellent option for Mid-lifers

While some employers may consider your age or wealth of experience to be a liability, that same experience is an asset when you are running your own show. 

Prospective clients and customers care more about the value you can provide than they do about your age. And running your own business can also offer you the freedom, flexibility, purpose, and autonomy you crave. Plus, if you structure things right from the outset you’ll end up with more money in your wallet.

How To Become Self Employed

Could you do anything if you only knew what it was? For less than the cost of an expresso you can fast-track your way to clarity, happiness and success.

I wrote Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself for people like you who yearn for more freedom and autonomy and have ever thought, ‘I want to start my own business, but I don’t know what to do.’ 

Whether you are a start-up entrepreneur, or a businessperson looking for a fresh start Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will help you make the right moves to choose and grow your small business with confidence.

This isn’t a quick-tips-start-your-business-tomorrow, follow-these-steps-in-this-exact-order kind of book. Simply put it’s based on my real-world experiences starting and growing many successful businesses, and the experiences of other people like you. Women and men in their mid-life who want to be their own boss; to live and work with passion—and still pay the bills!

‘To create meaningful music,’ Neil Diamond sings, ‘You have to look into your own life experiences.’ The same wisdom applies to employing yourself—to create a meaningful business turn to your life experiences and leverage off the things that have shaped you. Therein you will find your passion and purpose. 

Like Barry Watson, whose bad boy behaviour and close shave with divorce led him to create a business helping others save their marriage. And Joy Gaisford who had no idea whether her business would be successful but followed her heart, and pursued her passion and natural talent for creating beauty in others people’s lives. 

In Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself you’ll read about Dame Wendy Pye who was dumped from her job and, vowing to prove her former boss had made a huge mistake, went on to create her own multi-millionaire dollar publishing business.

Be inspired by Leigh Johnson. After establishing a successful recruitment business, and following a period of depression Leigh yearned to help others. She contacted me to help her define her brand and gain the skills she needed as a coach.“I want people to know how great they are already,” she says of her new mission.

“I give credit to Cassandra Gaisford (www.worklifesolutions.co.nz and www.cassandragaisford.com for helping me unclutter my thoughts and clear the way to make the decision to become a Well-being & Transition Coach,” she shares on her blog.

Fast-track Your Success

Read stories of entrepreneurial rejuvenation I share in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself and learn from people who have felt the fear and become self-employed anyway! Let love, inspiration and passion propel you forward.

I felt especially inspired by the true accounts of people who beat the odds by starting a business and how they became successful. The variety of examples of entrepreneur stories given makes you realise that anything is possible with enough will and determination! Cassandra paves the way for you to have belief in your ideas and to run with them. This book will have you excited about the future, dreaming big and living boldly…” ~ Amazon review

Employ yourself! Live the entrepreneurial life and create a product and service so good that people will pay for it.

Book_transparentbg copyMid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late, is available in paperback and eBook from:

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself

Brilliant Career Inspiration

How to create a new life – harness the power of one and achieve your goals

Friday, January 1st, 2016

one thought,
one feeling,
one intention,
one desire,
one challenge

A very warm greeting to you on this most auspicious day  the first day of the first month – the beginning of a wonderful new year.

One has become my favourite number. I love its simplicity. In an era where overwhelm threatens the peace and equilibrium of so many, ‘one’ makes things easy.

My one goal last year was to overcome my own self-doubt and follow my passion for writing. I love writing. It’s what I was born to do. If I don’t have a pen in my hand, a notebook at the ready, I feel lost, anxious, irritable, Writing soothes my soul. Writing allows me to connect with others and to express the things I care deeply about.

And so with this in mind, I made one promise to myself in 2015 – to publish one book. And then another in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Books which would share my own mid-life journey to career nirvana, and the journey of other seekers too.

And in turn, my hope was that sharing these stories would inspire you.

So it’s been exciting to read the reviews and hear from people who have read my first books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. People like Hillary who said, “This is the perfect gentle nudge needed to move me forward and make those scary life changes.

I was scared last year too. I wondered how my books would be received. I wondered if anyone would like them. I feared public rejection, bad reviews, losing the time and money I had invested – all those things. But my desire was stronger. I didn’t want to wonder, ‘what if.” What if I had taken a risk and published my book. I took the risk, and it’s been worth it. I chose to change my focus  – to create in my minds eye everything I that dreamed of and saw in my mind’s eye, that I wanted to become ‘true.’

Going to bed last night on New Year’s Eve after celebrating the last day of 2015, to find Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy) twas #1 on the best-seller list on Amazon was amazing. And waking up today on the first day of 2016 and finding it was still #1 was fun!

So if there’s one thing I would encourage you to do this year it would be this – feel the fear and follow your passion anyway. Be curious, be playful, be adventurous and see where these feelings take you.

If you know anyone who needs a gentle nudge this year to make a change for the better the link is here http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

What’s one intention you could make this year that, when followed through, would make a tremendous difference to your life? Please let me know on in the comments section of this blog

In the meantime I leave with you with this inspirational sculpture created by renown New Zealand Sculptor Chris Booth. My partner commissioned it for my 50th birthday last year. Together the three of us named it Viewfinder, which I love given my passion for photography. Of course, a viewfinder is the tool that enables you to find your point of focus. The viewfinder is the single most important user interface on any camera. And your viewfinder – your point of focus, the thing that captures your interest, your attention, your passion, is the most important tool in creating your best life in 2016. Set your focus, capture your desires and allow them to motivate and guide you throughout the hours, weeks, and months which follow.

Viewfinder Chris Booth web

I wish you a very happy new year. May 2016 bring you continued happiness and joy.

How to change careers – follow your passion not your pension

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

20120416-Chiens Diaporama  (1 of 1)-26

It’s my great privilege to share a sneak peek at Jilly Bennett’s incredible story of reinvention and her amazing photography.

I first met Jilly in 2014 when I was chasing my many passions in Italy. We both signed up to follow another passionate woman, photographer Carla Couslon, with whom we travelled around Puglia learning more about photography and a life worth living. Carla’s books Italian Joy and Chasing A Dream spoke to us all, luring us to distant shores.

I adore Jilly’s zest for life and the way she so poignantly shatters mistaken beliefs about ageing. As you’ll see and read for yourself in my latest book, ‘Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy) How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late’. Available in paperback and ebook from the following Amazon link http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

I loved including Jilly’s story, especially when I read reviews like those below:

If, like me, you’re sick of reading/hearing ‘find your passion’ and you’ve no idea what to do – this book has it covered! I liked that the author explains how to actually go about finding your ‘passion’ or ‘purpose’. And she included the ‘reality testing’ step as well. I’m at a mid-life career crisis point – a very useful read!” ~ Amazon Review

“This book asks you all the basic questions and provides direction to . It provides numerous examples of success based on passion for the cynics amongst us. And you can do all this in the safety of the work life you dislike. Now it is your turn to find out how the book ends.” ~ Simon Weiner

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Follow this blog link to view Jilly’s photos and be inspired by her story:

http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/how-to-be-happy-with-yourself-prioritising-whats-important/

Three days to train a horse. Three days to change a habit.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

IMG_2846Golden Dream, one of the pregnant mares we’ve been babysitting, started eating the fences while we were away for three days. My partner said, ‘Something has got to change, either the horses changed their behaviour or they have to go.’

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with writing or any act of creativity? I didn’t want the horses to go, just like I don’t want to give up my dream of being published in fiction.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of talk that it takes 21 days to change a habit, but where’s the evidence? Why 21 days? What if the truth was it only takes three days to change a habit? That would be cool.  Three days is manageable, easier to chew and simpler digest. Then add three more days, and three more, until voilà you have achieved seven sets of three and a new habit is ingrained. Of course it can’t stop there. A new habit has to continue to be effective.

I proved my horse theory of behavioural change today. Day three and the horses are retrained, I’m still working on training myself to change unhelpful behaviours, including procrastination, but here’s a few things I’ve learned recently from other pro’s:

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task. Robert McKee, story guru to the stars, including Peter Jackson and many other high achieving creatives, says it takes 10 years before you can master the craft of writing. Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today best-selling novelist and author of one of the top 10 blogs for self-publishers, wrote recently of author Blake Crouch’s 10 year journey through different forms of publishing – his Wayward Pines series is now a TV show. 10 seems to be a magic number, just like 3.

 

Think like a pro and be prepared to learn

Think and act and feel like a pro. No one achieves pro status without some sort of apprenticeship. Like any apprentice you have tasks to learn from other experts on the journey to craft mastery.  Joanna Penn, for example attends workshops and learns from other successful people in her field. Other pro’s do the same.

“Excellence of any kind is based upon knowledge,” says Robert McKee. “You have to do research, you have to know what it is you are trying to do. The more you understand what you are trying to do the better you will be at it. The notion you can rely in instinct is foolishness.”

 

Do the work

“Show up, show up and soon the muse shows up too”, says author Isabel Allende. Show up, put your bum on the seat, and put your pen in hand and do the work.  “You can’t actually make a living from writing if you’re not actually writing, ” says Joanna Penn – very wisely! Some authors suggest writing at a set time every day, others advocate for a more flexible approach. Know what works for you and stick to it. Determine the goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s a quota, a set amount of time to write, or a defined task to conquer, determine what you are going to do and stay at work until your done.

 

Write faster

Prolific Amazon best-selling author Steve Windsor, warns against over thinking. Write faster, he says. This is a great way to minimise the internal critic and the perfectionist. They can come out to play later, the main thing is to get down the bones, at least then you’ll have something to work with. If you have no words you have nothing to go back and edit later. Steve Windsor speaks from experience – with nine books out in eight months he knows how to be a writing machine.

 

Practice habit creep

Changing human behaviour is often considered to be one of the hardest things to do in business and in life, writes James Clear.  James studies successful people across a wide range of disciplines — entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and more — to uncover the habits and routines that make these people the best at what they do.

What if,  he asks in a recent newsletter, we trusted that becoming more successful  came as a natural side effect of improving our normal routines? It makes absolute sense that as our normal habits improve so will our successes – whether this is because our daily word count goes up, or we churn out more books over a year, or what ever else we want to achieve.

James Clear has coined the phrase ‘habit creep’  to describe the idea of ‘slightly adjusting your habits until behaviours and results that were once out of reach become your new normal‘.

He advocates two primary ways to change long-term behaviours and improve performance for good:

  1. Increase your performance by a little bit each day. Most people take this to the extreme, he’s says.
  2. Change your environment to remove small distractions and barriers. Most people never think about this.

 

I’ve been implementing many of these strategies to increasing success. I’m breaking the task of finishing a book of fiction into manageable tasks. I’m practising habit creep and writing fast by working in 40 minute intervals of timed writing bursts, followed by 10 minutes of cardio!It’s so important as a writer not to be sedentary.

I’ve also changing location, moving out of the house and into the garden to minimise the distraction created by unlimited WIFI and interruptions at home. Look, even Golden Dream is cheer-leading me on as I write!

Watching podcasts by writing professionals, and joining writing forums and communities of writers with similar aspirations has been fabulous too, tuning up my mindset and providing me with ‘my tribe’ and a sense of belonging.

It’s day one of making these changes in my writing life, but having trained the horses to stop eating the fence in three days by making slow, incremental adjustments to their routine, I’m optimistic that I can create new habits that lasts a lifetime too.

 

Everyone gets obsessed with achieving their very best day—pulling the best score on their test, running their fastest race ever, making the most sales in the department. I say forget that stuff. Just improve your normal day and the results will take care of themselves. We naturally make long-term changes in our lives by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviours.” ~ James Clear

How to whip writers block and procrastination into shape – take the challenge!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

This month I’ve been taking part in NaNoWri challenge – 50, 000 words in a month, via the Harlequin site.

Never mind that I started late. I’m there now and clocking up words on my new idea for a romance novel.

Working with a group of like-minded people, even if they are all on-line, is incredibly, incredibly motivating and encouraging.

The other thing that works well for me is rewarding successes – and offering myself bribes.

My first bribe was a scented candle when I reached 10,000 words.

Now my next bribe will be a massage when I’ve made 20,000 words – only (she says optimistically) 6160 words to achieve this reward.

I’d like to achieve by the end of this NaNoWri challenge. So what with four days left that leaves 1540 words a day, maybe 770 in the mornings and the same in the evenings to pace myself. She says have devoured the eBook Daily Rituals (which is a brief analysis of some of the world’s best known and loved authors. A great read – very encouraging on so many levels.

I could stretch it to 25,000 then I’d achieve the huge psychological challenge of attaining the halfway mark to a completed book – but with only four days left and a lot happening in my personal life I don’t want to set myself up to fail.

What are your favourite ways of whipping writers block and/or procrastination into shape?

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