*

Archive for the 'The Art Of Success' Category

How to finish a book, film-script or any other stalled project: knock the bugger off

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

“Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.” ~ Heather Morris

I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer. As you can appreciate this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration we all felt encouraged, emboldened and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope. Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects,  but I was also reminded of the finality of life.  For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival, and who used the infinitesimal freedom of movement his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive.

As Heather said to me, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“BTW my book is the true story of the Tattooist in Auschwitz concentration camp and the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that danteesque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married and lived very happily for over 50 years.”

I invited Heather to share her story and she generously emailed me the below:

I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003.   I was 50 years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays, he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier. 

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita’. 

Over the next three years our friendship grew as slowly his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.  

It didn’t matter.  I fell under his spell. 

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent?  Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted convoluted story I was starting to make sense of, the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me. 

It was all of these things and more.  I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov.   It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay.   He got to read it and loved it. 

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died.  At that time I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years but failed to ‘get it up’.  

I took the option back and after a rewrite started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world.  It did well, often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Awards in 2016

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told’; that it was ‘oscar bait’.   But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium. 

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion’, I did a Kickstarter campaign to  raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up. 

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.  

I was getting no-where. 

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain.  In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary said ‘knocked the bugger off’. 

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story.  The have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.  And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it. 

I am now 64-years-old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully in 2-3 years time a film.  

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.  Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way.  I tell myself it is The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.  

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story.  I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.  

A lot of very talented people / editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honoured to have my name on.  My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.  

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favourite screenwriters William Goldman who references the children’s book ‘The little engine that could’.  

“Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.”

Harper Collins have come on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent! She began with a film-script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via the Internet—and opportunity then came knocking.
It’s a reminder to us all that many times you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset. As Heather said, “Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.”
Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.
Later, more good news came too—her brother’s cancer has taken a u-turn. The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk one of the tumors in his lung, and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease. Who knows what further miracles the future will bring. But we all agree—there is power in story and in creativity!
So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to make it big!

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

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

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

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Are you at a fork in the road?

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

Here’s the incredible thing…

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll find out how to:

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

…And much, much more….

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

Click here to access What the Fork? 

By the end of this event you’ll have the knowledge and the tools that will bring you the vibrant life you’re looking for! So, what the fork are you waiting for?

Check out this little clip of my book on American TV… Around 8 mins in!

You’ll be able to take a wee peek into some of the incredible people Sheree has on the show. Sheree Invites you to tune into her 2017 “What the Fork?” interview series. She reveals just a few of the 30+ guests, including JJ Virgin, Jennifer Cornbleet, Joe Tatta, Debra Atkinson, Cassandra Gaisford and Joy Loverde. To enjoy the series, which begins May 1, 2017, visit www.sowhatthefork.com

This is going to be one amazing interview series, as you’ll see when you hear fabulous Sheree Clarke discuss as she profiles some of the other experts. Excited to participate in the healthy lifestyle event with @Sheree_Clark

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

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

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

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

There’s loads of inspirational stories and sparkling images to uplift and encourage you to pursue your dreams.

You can see a few samples on my blog here >> http://www.cassandragaisford.com/find-happiness-at-work-how-to-create-a-successful-career-strategy

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

Click here to register for What the Fork? 

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

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

Guess who’s celebrating?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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

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

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

But that’s another story. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#InternationalWomensDay #passion #inspiration #stressless #happy #healthy #beautiful #books #success #photooftheday #freedom #love #IncredibleWomen #Takeyourchance

How to boost your self-belief by playing detective

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

It’s the messages you tell yourself that matter most, says celebrity hypnotherapist and author, Marisa Peers. “Belief without talent will get you further than talent with no belief. If you have the two you will be unstoppable.”

Coco Chanel believed from a very early age that the door to her freedom and self respect lay in securing and maintaining her independence.

She also believed in the power of being loved as a woman. She had no desire to be a man—only to be loved by them. “A woman who is not loved is no woman”, she once said.

Many people mistakenly sacrifice their relationships in pursuit of successful careers. Unhelpful beliefs, including, “You can’t have it all” or, “You can’t have a relationship and be successful,” may partly be to blame.

You may not be aware of your own self-limiting beliefs and patterns, or the negative, confining impact of others’ beliefs about what you should be doing with your life. Perhaps you’ve defined your life according to what others think you are capable of, or believe you should settle for.

Even when the answers are clear you may resist the changes needed to achieve more happiness and passion in your work or personal life. Fear often lies at the heart of this reluctance or resistance.

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, believes that the cause of people’s fear is a basic and crippling lack of faith about themselves and their capacity to make positive and successful changes.

To get at some of the core beliefs standing between you and the success you desire ask yourself, “I’ll do anything to achieve (insert goal/dream) just don’t ask me to do that (insert the fear or belief that holds you back.)

Acknowledge the things you don’t believe and challenge them. Interview your beliefs, by asking them the following questions.

  • “Where’s your evidence for that?” (That being what ever you fear or hold to be true?)
  • “What’s the worst that could happen if you pursued your passion? How bad would that really be? How can you increase the likelihood of success?”
  • “What tells you that you could follow your dreams?” (a nice shift from focusing on the problem, to looking for solutions instead).
  • “What have you tried recently that worked? What you are you doing now that works?”
  • “Who do you know that is happy at work? What could you learn from them?”
  • “How does your (supportive other) know you can do this? What difference will it make to them when you are happier?”

You’ll find other helpful strategies to challenge self-limiting beliefs in my book, Boost Your Self-Esteem and Confidence: Six Easy Steps to Increase Self-Confidence, Self-esteem, Self-Value and Love Yourself More.

I’ve also included a helpful section in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy. In this book I share my experience following reading, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, by Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Your Challenge

So often we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are. If your beliefs are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, seeking help from a qualified practitioner with expertise in reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

Chances are you don’t need to see a therapist to move beyond self-limiting beliefs, but if you do, great. Go do it. There’s magic in that.

You can also learn from some of the most powerful, effective and simple techniques used by practitioners working in the realm of positive psychology and mind reprogramming—including hypnosis

I told my audience that if they changed their beliefs they could change their lives ~ Dr. Bruce Lipton, cell biologist

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.

Powerful creativity: making space to create

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xxx Hannie”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started wondering what would give my life more meaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always in our hearts (and now also on our walls 🙂 Rest in peace darling Ted—until we all see your again

Edward John Knowsley, 11 ApriI 1947 –  22 Feb 2014

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

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

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 

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.”

How to dream big and make it happen today

Monday, December 5th, 2016

images-2“I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like,” ~ Coco Chanel, businesswoman

In the movie, ‘The Pursuit Of Happiness,’ Will Smith, who plays the role of a homeless man, says to his son, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.”

As a child Coco dreamed big. The flames of her desires were in part fueled by reading romance novels full of dashing heroes and heroines living absurdly, audaciously opulent and liberated lives. 

I’m sure plenty of people tried to sabotage Coco’s dreams of success—but she dreamed big dreams anyway. She once said that she would pretend she didn’t hear people who criticized her, and could not see people with whom she disagreed. Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit are an inspiration to young and old.

People, impatient to see the realization of your dreams may say, “Show me the money” or “You’ve left it too late,” or some other downer message. 

Ignore them.

“It’s already been done,” people said to Tim Ferris when he first mentioned his idea of starting a podcast. Instead of letting others talk him out of starting his show he did it anyway. His podcast is now ranked #1 business podcast on all of iTunes, and it’s been ranked #1 (of all podcasts) on many occasions. It is the first business/interview podcast to pass 100,000,000 downloads. It was also selected as iTunes’ “Best of 2014” and “Best of 2015.” He’s been called the Oprah of radio.

Your Challenge

Dream big. Everything starts as someone’s daydream

Fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles

Become audaciously obsessed

Dream big but plan small. Baby steps will lead to bigger success

Anchor your dreams within your heart and feel as though they are already achieved

Create a soundtrack to feed your dreams. I still love Miley Cyrus’s The Climb, particularly the encouraging lyrics to persist and persevere, “Ain’t about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side—It’s the climb.”

“Remember, you go where your vision is. Think Big, feel big, and know in your heart that you are one with God, and you will project a radiance, a glow, a confidence, a joy, and a healing vibration which bless all who come within your orbit now and forevermore”

~ Joseph Murphy, PhD, author and New Thought minister

 

WANT  MORE HELP TO MANIFEST YOUR DREAMS?

This has been an excerpt from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel).  You can learn more from Coco, find your point of brilliance and read motivational musings from really big dreamers like Tim Ferris, Leonardo da Vinci, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, Igor Stravinsky and other inspirational stories of success.  Available in print and eBook on Amazon. Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

 

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.

 

cassandragaisfo (4)

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

 

3d_cover (5)

 

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
 

5 ways to be super inspired in your everyday life

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Yes, I’m about to engage in shameless name-dropping, but hey…I’m so excited about the passionate people who banded together last weekend  to inspire, support, encourage and cheerlead people’s quest  for success.

Last weekend’s I had the huge joy of attending the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. Aptly named, “All You Need is Love”, the conference’s theme captured the key messages contained in my newest #1 best-seller, The Art of Success. It’s a book dedicated to love.

Here’s 5 of the many things I learned from attending the conference that may ignite the seeds of your own inspiration and fuel your success.

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People.  It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by people who are either pursuing, or have achieved the things, you also aspire to. I loved hearing how successful some of my fellow writing friends have become since I last saw them. Especially my tribe from my former home city, Wellington.

Leanne Morgan, for example, writing as Leanna Morgan, currently also working as the head librarian at New Zealand’s Kapiti Library, has forged an incredible career writing romantic fiction and publishing these herself. Her income has flourished so much so that she’s resigned from her librarian role to concentrate on writing full time. Her story is a fabulous reminder to us all that your day job can feed your dream career and, if and when the time is right, allow you to transition safely to the next chapter in your life.

The same can be said for former Wellingtonian and now USA Today Bestselling Author, Bronwen Evans. Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009, and was sold to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Best First Historical. Invitation to Ruin was also won the RomCon Readers Crown Best Historical 2012.She’s since gone on to win the RomCon Readers Crown three times. Her first book in her Disgraced Lords series hit the USA Today bestsellers list and she has hit it several times since. Her success is even more inspiring because she also worked in a ‘conventional career, ‘ while writing, but because she is also dyslexic.

2. Connect with the pro’s. One of many international experts who spoke at the conference was Hollywood-based story consultant, author and lecturer Michael Hague. His passion for storytelling and love of films was super inspiring—reawakening my own slumbering passions and instilling in me an even greater commitment to mastering the art of great story telling. One of the things I manifested prior to going to the conference was having Michael sign one of his books that I had purchased, “Writing Screenplays That Sell.” So I was elated when he suggested this pose for this piccie, and invited me to join him and another successful Kiwi romance writer, Tessa Radley, to see the Auckland sights. Michael has worked with some  of  the most successful people in Hollywood, including actor and producer Will Smith, and after hearing him speak and reading his book, I can  appreciate why.

3. Visualise and Affirm For Success.  Mindset is  everything.  Before going to the conference I visualised successfully pitching several of my works of fiction to literary agents and editors. Then when the  time came for my appointment I felt so nervous I almost didn’t turn up. But I put on my big girl pants (or rather my favourite dress), reminded myself that these powerful and influential people weren’t defined by their job title, but were also just normal people like me, affirmed my belief in my stories, practiced my pitch, visualised success and showed up—reminding  myself to also have fun. The result? I walked away with all two international editors from big publishing houses, and one New York based literary agent, interested in acquiring my work.

4.  Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.  Following on from the example I gave above, it’s important to discuss the fact that people always think that I’m a naturally confident person. The truth is I feel fear just like you do. I tremble at the thought of meeting new people, and quake at the idea of self-promotion. But I’ve learned that to achieve success I must control my fears, believe in my dreams and take action on my goals.

Currently the NY-based literary agent has three partial manuscripts of mine and is assessing my self-empowerment books, including offering to help me negotiate a recent request I’ve received from a Vietnamese publisher for the translation rights for my  Mid-Life Career Rescue series, and The Art of Success.

As they wrote  to me, “In Vietnam, more the 40% percent student choose the wrong career after graduation. So we think that your books are very useful for young people in Vietnam. It’s would be great if we could have your titles in our books line.” I’m thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to help more people make life-affirming choices.

If fear or low self-esteem is something you struggle with, make this your no.1 self-development focus. I have a new book coming out this month which I know will help. More about that in my next newsletter. If career dissatisfaction is  weighing you down you may like to  check out my other  books already available on Amazon. Simply navigate to my author page here >> Author.to/CassandraGaisford.

5. Invest in Your Dreams. Going to the conference wasn’t super expensive, but it did cost money. Hotels, conference fees, air travel, and  attendance at Michael Hague’s one day, ‘Story Mastery’ workshop. But I treat such expenses less as a cost but more as an investment. One I intend to maximise. So when Michael said he’d love to work with me on developing my story Mona Lisa’s Secret I didn’t hesitate to pay for a coaching session. Afterall, as a coach myself I know  the value of working with a pro, and paying the best, to  fast track success.

So yes, I did some name-less name dropping but I hope you’ll appreciate the theme. To be inspired you need to surround yourself with inspiring people and invest in your own success. You may not be able to get to a conference but that needn’t stop you. There’s plenty of online forum’s and virtual workshops you can attend. Michael Hague, for example has video copies of his international workshops which you can purchase and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Other experts will too.

I’ve also written about and sharing inspirational stories of success in my series Mid-life Career Rescue. Like Annie Featherston’s metamorphic rise from disillusioned teacher to award-winning romance writer in Mid-Life Career Rescue What Makes You Happy.

Many of the above tips and more easy to implement strategies can be found in my latest #1 Amazon bestseller The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, available now in print and eBook from Amazon here getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

I hope you’re feeling inspired after reading this post. I’d love to know what resonated with you.

Love and best wishes

Cassandra

P.S. If you’ve read my books and enjoyed them – have you left a review on Amazon? Reviews are gold to authors like me and help readers find our books. Please consider leaving your feedback on Amazon on Goodreads. Thank you!

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

how do you define success?

Monday, July 11th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and LifeThe Art of Success: 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 >>

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/

 

*