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Archive for the 'Excerpt' Category

Create The Ultimate Happiness Mindset: The Holistic Blueprint to True Success

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

“The very essence of diamonds is to bring joy into the lives of people.”

William Goldberg

Who or what inspires you? Think about the sorts of books and magazines you love to read, or people and things you love to listen to, learn about, follow or be around.  What about them is interesting to you? How do they bring joy into your life?

Look for your heroes and heroines and allow others’ enthusiasm and passion to excite you! Play detective. Do some research, go and talk to people who are joyful and purposeful about some aspect of their life, read books about inspiring people or themes that really capture your imagination. Listen to podcasts, watch Youtube, and other uplifting sources of inspiration.

As I write this chapter, I’m inspired by the 2020 US Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. I love the values she espouses. I love her tenacity and eloquence. I love her inclusiveness and willingness to use her voice to create positive change. I love her powerful spiritual manifesto.

She has inspired me to become more active in my community to reduce alcohol harm. This is just one example of how she has inspired me.

I began planning my three billboards to increase awareness of safe alcohol consumption leading up to and during the Christmas season.  At such times drinking spikes and so does domestic violence, sexual assault, drink driving deaths, suicides and other forms of harm.

Today I met with the police, my local MP and set up a meeting with my Mayor and spoke to a major booze retailer to gain support, and began to build awareness of my initiative. I was encouraged when the policeman in charge of reducing alcohol harm said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing your billboards.”

I was inspired by the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri about a mother who was frustrated nothing was being done to find her daughter and so she created billboards to build awareness of her plight. And also my friend Christine who said, “Gosh that billboard woman reminded me of you.“

That was three years or so ago. Now I have finally become passionately angry enough and joyfully sober to do something about it. I’m not talking about teetotal I’m talking about safe drinking.

Because nothing is being done by the government who only seem to talk, talk, talk I have decided to do something myself.  As I write in  “Mind Your Drink: The Joy of Sobriety” and “Your Beautiful Mind” the booze barons and litigious lobbyists currently yield more political and economic power than those whose lives they destroy.

I give thanks and gratitude to presidential candidate Marianne Williamson for her activism and encouraging us all to be the change we want to see and reminding us that we as a people can and do wield power.

What could you do to get more inspired? How can you, too, become a source of inspiration for others?

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

 

Finding Joy—Why High Vibe Energy is Health and Happinesses New Superstar

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

“We store memories in our bodies. We store passion and heartache. We store joy, moments of transcendent peace. If we are to access these, if we are to move into them and through them, we must enter our bodies.”

Julia Cameron

Our bodies are storytellers. Like any great story, there are chapters with villains and heroes, plot twists, hidden dangers and deeper truths within the pages. Our storytelling body never lies, however, many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs their body is narrating.

When you don’t do the things you love your health can suffer. Common signs of neglecting your joy and purpose can include, headaches, insomnia, tiredness, depression, anger, frustration, and irritability. It’s easy to ignore or rationalize the feelings of discomfort, but the reality is your body—and your soul—is screaming out to be saved.

When we enter our bodies, we enter our hearts. Have the courage to say ‘enough’ and pursue more satisfying alternatives.

 

When you feel unfulfilled, or frustrated where and what do you notice in your body? How does this differ from times when you are joyful?

 

 

Listening to The Signs—How I Avoid Burnout

Looking back now I count myself lucky that I developed shingles when I was a stressed-out employee. The company offered me a lot of support—albeit reactively, including career counseling, time off to see the doctor and wellness leave.

None of this is available when you are your boss, at least not without directly affecting your pocket. Having had shingles and being warned that I might go blind, and also witnessing people have heart attacks at work, I knew this was a place I didn’t want to revisit.

So I am super vigilant to heed the early warning signs and put preventive strategies in place, and draw on these (topping them up when I need an extra boost) during times of heavier-than-normal workload.

I’m as guilty as anyone of having a propensity to over-work. I love what I do with such a passion it doesn’t feel like work at all. I’d happily work weekends and nights if need be. But I know I’m not a machine. I know I need to rest. I know that working long hours is not smart.

Some of the things I do to look after my health include:

• Regular massages

• Meditating twice daily

• Taking regular breaks

• Working only with clients I click with

• Taking time out for my passions and hobbies

• Making time for my relationships

• Writing morning pages

• Writing my daily gratitudes in a journal

• Looking at and updating my passion journal

• Switching off from technology

• Surrounding myself with inspirational people whenever possible

• Reducing, and at times, eliminating alcohol

• Eating healthily

• Tuning in to the spiritual realm

• Spending time in nature

• Regular silent retreats

• Eliminating negativity

• Exercising regularly

• Following my mantra, “If it’s not fun, I’m NOT doing it!” Sometimes this requires an attitude shift.

• And making room for joy

It may look like a long list, but in reality, most of these things only take a few minutes—many can be batched. Others, like meditating and going for massages take more time out of my day; but they replenish my energy and allow my mind and heart and spirit to work more effectively.

 

What can you do to stress less, and laugh more?

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”

Deepak Chopra

Recently, I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who were holding an art auction to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me – “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

The photo above is me feeling joyful at work—successfully narrating my story of how I overcame bullying, The Little Princess.

Sharing my story to help others, is the same joy I experienced when I donated my paintings.

Grab a free sample or purchase from your favorite audiobook retailer. To listen on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. 

Available for pre-order NOW!

 

How Finding and Following Your Joy Can Create a Life of Peace

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

 

“Peace is the gift you give yourself when you wake up and chose joy.”

Cassandra Gaisford

Joy does not always come easily. Life is challenging—sometimes overwhelmingly so. Like anything worthwhile, finding and following your joy often involves great commitment, courage, and sacrifice.

Joyful people are prepared to give up things they once enjoyed or people they may have endured to live a more peaceful life. They’re prepared to wave bye-bye to addictions that keep them boringly distracted, disconnected, or toxically numbed. They commit daily to waving farewell to deep diving into narcissism, drama, and negativity.

They affirm with joy ‘yes’ to letting go of pain, fear, and judgment. ‘Yes’ to embracing unconditional love, vulnerability, taking risks and coping with the possibility of failure. “Yes!Yes!Yes! To embracing their essence and being who they truly are.

Joyful people aren’t always chasing ‘happy.’ Contribution, compassion, and caring—for self and others—are more important virtues.

The compensation for being ‘real’ is a bigger, richer, more fulfilling life.

What are you prepared to trade-off to be more joyful? What are you prepared to change in your life?  What or who would help you? What or who would stop you?

 

This has been an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love—COMING SOON.

How You Can Travel With Your Trauma and Lead by Example With Hope—Never Fear

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

 

“I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear.”

—Michelle Obama

We live in traumatic times, but traveling with our traumas we can navigate our way to understanding ourselves and other people a little better. We can delve deep into psychological awareness and educate and empower ourselves by understanding what’s happening for ourselves and others.

We have a choice when it comes to taming trauma. We can run from it and let it defeat us or we can embrace it and allow it to become something better.  You can use that education to extend compassion, sympathy, and understanding and journey into the mind of someone who is going through something you have suffered and survived yourself.

Trauma comes to us for a reason and a purpose. It comes to teach us more about ourselves, about our resilience and our capabilities beyond the trauma itself. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit. It’s seeing past the fog to the strength beyond that illuminates the way through these trauma times.

We have a choice. We can choose to let these things overwhelm us or we can fight back and be more positive for it. We can see the silver lining around any circumstance and choose positivity.

Finding joy in trauma is no easy task but with daily well-being practices like meditation, journaling, creative expression, essential oils, and other health behaviors, including counseling, you can find yourself returning back to your usual self.

The other side of trauma is connection and hope. When you heal yourself, you shine a light for others to follow in your steps.

How can you travel with your trauma and lead by example? If you got out there and used your experience and education to build a country liberated from trauma, how would that feel? How would it feel to help people thrive? Do that!

Caste Fear Of Fumbling Out—How FOFO Can Change Your Life

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

 

“I try to focus not on the fumbles, but on the next plan.”

Barak Obama

In our Western culture, we often spend more time thinking of ways we could fail, fall, and fumble rather than ways we could succeed, soar and shine.

Focus is everything. By being kind to ourselves we give ourselves and others permission to make mistakes, grow and learn.

The hardest lessons and biggest fumbles often yield the biggest fruits. When was the last time you tested your fears?

If you felt the fear and fumbled anyway what’s the worst that could happen? Embrace FOFO—cast fear of fumbling out and make room for intentional joy.

How could you shift your focus from fumbles to fortuitous fortune? What’s your next plan?

Look for and collect examples of people who have turned ‘failure’ into joyful success.

Stress Less. Sense More

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

“Rejoice in the pleasures of being a personality in a sensual physical body, occupying a world that provides enjoyment alongside the hardships we face.”

Sarah Varcas astrologer.

 

If stress, anxiety, or depression has stolen your joy looking for things that nurture you and sanctify and awaken your senses can be a great tonic.

Surrounded yourself with things that spark joy. For example, incense or essential oils for smell; Crystals around you for sight; Hearing wonderful flute music and Arabian and Oriental tunes for sound; Tasting fruits, if you find it hard to stomach much else. For touch, you may love to draw in a mindfulness coloring book.

Regularly ground yourself with meditations, journaling your thoughts and feelings and being in your own safe, sacred, snuggly sanctuary.

Limit the things that trigger stress, like over-work, email, social media and stressful communications on your phone.

What little steps can you take to spark joy?

For me, looking at beauty, like these orchids which have JUST burst into bloom, makes me feel elated.

 

 

This is an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love, by Cassandra Gaisford and Hannah Joy. Coming Soon!

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

 How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

Tame the Email Monster: How to Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Email Overload

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Survival Tips From Anxiety Experts—‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Dress Joyfully

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Lorenzo and I dressing ‘joyfully’, Valentine’s Day 2016

 

The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.

~ Coco Chanel

 

Anxiety can feel like cancer—all invasive and equally as disruptive. But it’s not cancer. You can’t cut it out, section it, or annihilate with chemical warfare. Anxiety is a feeling. It’s got plenty to say and very often a lot to teach you.

You can ignore it, befriend at, or tackle it—but you can’t repress it for long. Somewhere, somehow your body keeps the score. The best approach is a multifaceted one, as you will discover, in many of my books, including The Anxiety Cure and The Art of Success, and Coco Chanel: Life Coach.

Shame, guilt, blame, loss, grief, privilege, insecurity, addiction, identity, love—anxiety feeds off them all. Anxiety is part of being human. It tells us we’re still standing. It tells us we’re still alive.

But too much anxiety, like too much of anything, is toxic to our mind, body, and soul.

 

What is Anxiety?

Definitions of anxiety vary. Anxiety to me is a crawling, ever-circling predator that feeds on fear and devours the things I love. It’s an overwhelming feeling of worry and sense of dread that can spiral out of control sometimes. Which is why I put a lot of time and energy into self-care.

Anxiety is the big brother of stress, toxic stress. It’s good to know this because, as you’ll discover proactively managing your stress levels and engaging in activities that increase resilience can help you tame this bully easily.

Most of us feel worried at some point in our lives and experience situations that can cause us to feel anxious. While the ‘right’ amount of anxiety can help us perform better and stimulate action, too much anxiety can tip things out of balance.

Feelings of worry or anxiety are part of a healthy emotional experience. Feeling anxious can warn you and urge you to take care. But when it comes to an intense, prolonged experience, anxiety can be excruciating, unbearable and even debilitating.

In the absence of panic attacks, we may think we are just worrying too much. Our struggles of constant worry may be ignored, minimized or dismissed and, in turn, not properly diagnosed, healed or treated. This is also the case for those with undiagnosed trauma.

You may be surprised to learn how dismissing the impact of traumatic events is negatively impacting your anxiety. You may feel, as I once did, that things that have happened to you are, “normal” and “just a fact of life.” You may be heartened to discover that in no way has your life been normal. Sometimes unearthing the truth provides tremendous clarity and healing. It did for me. It will for you.

Actress Glenn Close recently revealed how her childhood gave her ‘a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)’. Only in her sixties did she seek help to heal the emotional trauma of being raised within a right-wing religious cult for thirteen years when she was just seven.

“I visited a childhood trauma specialist not too long ago—even at my age which is kind of astounding. But it establishes these trigger points that affect you for the rest of your life,” Close revealed in an interview in 2018.

“I think anybody who has gone through any kind of experience like that doesn’t want to be affected by it. I think it really is interesting how deep it runs,” she said.

Similarly, a client of mine who had suffered childhood sexual abuse as a young boy, waited forty years before seeking therapy. He felt so liberated finally purging those wounds and regaining his life.

We’ll look more closely at the intersection of trauma and anxiety, and discover strategies to heal in the chapter inThe Anxiety Cure which I have called, Trauma Triumph.

 

Symptoms

Anxiety can quickly spiral out of control and contribute to a range of mental health challenges.  The primary source used to classify mental illnesses is provided by the American Psychiatric Association and their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders known as the DSM.

Professionals referring to the DSM look for factors like excessive, hindering worry paired with a variety of physical symptoms, then use assessments to make a diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.

The DSM-5, for example, outlines specific criteria, or symptoms, to help professionals diagnose Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and, in turn, create a more effective plan of care. While some professionals may prescribe medication, as you’ll discover in this book, this is not the only, nor always, effective way to treat anxiety.

When assessing for GAD, clinical professionals are looking for the following:

1. The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.

2. The worry is experienced as very challenging to control. The worry in both adults and children may easily shift from one topic to another.

3. The anxiety and worry are accompanied with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms (In children, only one symptom is necessary for a diagnosis of GAD):

• Edginess or restlessness

• Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual

• Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank

• Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)

• Increased muscle aches or soreness

• Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)

Many people suffering from GAD also experience the following symptoms:

• Sweating

• Nausea

• Diarrhea

However, diagnosis can be an imperfect science, and other medical conditions, lifestyle choices (including excessive alcohol consumption, cannabis, and drug use, and undiagnosed traumas) can also lead to similar symptoms.

 

Your Anxiety Cure

If you are struggling with excessive worry, which makes it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities or increasingly leads you to feel depressed, some of the solutions that follow may be just the rescue remedy you need.

But like any medicine, you do have to take action.

For example, part of my self-care plan includes many of the things we’ll discuss in The Anxiety Cure, including regular:

• Massage

• Talk-therapy or counseling

• Time alone

• Prayer

• Meditation

• Low consumption of alcohol

• Defragging from social media regularly

• Journaling

 

One of my other favorite strategies is inspired directly by Coco Chanel—dressing joyfully. Here’s an excerpt from my books, The Art of Success: Coco Chanel and Coco Chanel: Life Coach.

 

Coco was a trailblazer in women’s fashion. When she arrived in trousers in Venice people were shocked, but shock quickly turned to awe. Women wanted what she had—and Coco was only too happy to sell it to them.

Her joyous color was black. She loved its simplicity and understated elegance. Perhaps it reminded her of the habits the nuns, who so tenderly cared for her, wore.

Whatever the catalyst was, Coco had the vision to turn black, the color of mourning, into the symbol of independence, freedom, and strength. She also created the now iconic little black dress!

Your joyous color may be yellow, blue, or gold. Or it may be multi-patterned and have all the colors of the rainbow. Floating dresses in the finest silk may instill you with confidence, or perhaps you prefer something more tailored.

Whatever you color, whatever you wear be sure that it makes you feel joyful.

Your Challenge

Act as if. Take a job or lifestyle idea you are considering, or have always wondered what it would be like, and act as if you are living that role. Dress the part.

Have your colors professionally confirmed by a trained image consultant—when you dress in the colors that suit your skin tone you’ll look younger and feel fabulous.

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

~ Coco Chanel

 

To grab your copy of the Art of Success: Coco Chanel from Amazon, click here>>
getBook.at/CocoChanel

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3npKQK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

Don’t Just Live Your Passion—How To ‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Achieve Success

How to Age Positively in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

How to Age Positively in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Embrace The Changing World of Work!

It is a great time for mid-lifers to make the leap to a new career, but for some people, this means reframing their expectations of employment. 

Embracing the new world of work, where it seems likely that many people will continue to work in paid employment into their late 60s, 70s and beyond means a mindset change for not just employers but also, more importantly, for individuals themselves. 

Many countries and organizations are facing a critical skills shortage as fewer and fewer younger people enter the workforce and mature workers continue to opt-out of mainstream employment. 

Among these messages of impending disaster at a conference I attended in Italy it was refreshing to hear delegates from France, Italy and Australia reframe the issues from a problem to an opportunity and to speak about positive aging and the “gift of longevity.”

But so many of the more ‘mature’ clients I coach still feel their age is a problem. They worry that they are too old to change careers, and despair they have left it too late to change. 

“My life has been a life of regret,” one of my clients said. At the ripe young age of 45, he couldn’t see much hope of improving his situation. 

Similarly, Mike, a professional man in his late 50s told me he was too old to change career. He also worried that employers would feel the same way. After reading this book and some follow up coaching he changed his mindset and opportunities flooded his way. 

He’s now working in a role that his friends say looks like it was tailor-made just for him.

You’re never too old to learn new skills and you may even discover a new talent.

If you feel your age is against you it’s time to get a mindset shift. There are numerous ways to maintain a positive approach to increasing age. Here are just a few examples:

 

1.) Start collecting evidence of positive aging. Compile an inspirational mid-life file and add clippings, photos, quotes, and ‘case studies’ of people who have made it big, or are happy at work, in their twilight years. Look for your role models.

Gather at least 10 examples of successful people in your age group and above. You’ll see a few of my favorite examples further below.

2.) Create an image board or journal. Paste inspirational quotes, pictures, and clippings which celebrate maturity in the workforce and life. Motivate yourself by adding to it and looking at it regularly.

3.) Turn age into an asset. Don’t be disheartened by people who think your age is against you. Write down a list of the benefits of hiring a mature worker. Widen your awareness of the positives by asking others to add their views. Armed with your own self-belief and a few powerful strategies to market yourself, you’ll be unstoppable.

4.) Network with other like-minded people. Talk to other mature job seekers, check helpful websites, and network with organizations that provide tips and examples to help you succeed and stay positive.

5.) Get career fit. Learn a new skill or get up to date with new technology that will help you gain the job you want. You’re never too old to learn, and you may even discover a new talent.

 

I’ve reinvented my career numerous times, and a big factor in my success has been my willingness to learn new skills and invest in my development.

Recently, I’ve entered the brave new world of audiobook narration and creation.  The wonderful thing about being an author is that there is absolutely no age discrimination and it’s a role you can enjoy well into your twilight years.

I’m currently editing my audiobook file (narrated by me) of Midlife Career Rescue: The Call For Change, and I’m super excited to have found out today that The Boy Who Cried is now available in audio. Check it out here, and listen to an excerpt for FREE!

To check out an excerpt for FREE and grab your Amazon, click here>> getbook.at/TheBoyWhoCried

 

“A wonderful tool…

This book is a wonderful tool for anyone seeking to begin the journey to self-reflection and healing from difficult childhoods. Therapists will find this book useful for their patients young or old. To return as a child to discover where the source of the pain begins has always been valuable, but actually relating it to present day is key to understanding. Highly recommended.”

~ Alma Hammond, Author

6.) Rekindle a sense of adventure. Re-awaken dormant creative skills and adopt a playful approach to life. Take on some FTEs – first-time experiences. Can you think of anything you’d love to try? Like Carla Coulson, who in her 40’s gave photography a go, found a new passion and has now made it a rewarding career.

7.) Challenge your assumptions. Divide a page into half. List any negative assumptions you might have about your age and on the other side write some counter statements. Here’s an example to get you started

Negative Assumptions

Employers prefer younger workers

Affirming Counter Statements

Demographic research shows that companies are going to need to recruit from a more mature labor pool

“There is no substitute for bravery, creative thinking, and imagination if you want a rewarding career.”

~ Peter Biggs, Former CEO of Creative New Zealand

Plenty Of Time To Make It Big

The encouraging news, according to some experts, is that life begins in the late 40s. Evidence suggests that many people don’t reach their potential until well into their 50s and 60s.

American grandfather of motivational books, Napoleon Hill, whose best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, was published for the first time in 1937, discovered from an analysis of more than 25,000 people that those who succeed seldom do before the age of 40, and usually do not strike their real pace until well beyond their 50’s.

This data should be encouraging for those who ‘fail to arrive’ before 50 and offers compelling evidence that people should approach the mid-years with hope and anticipation!

It’s never too late

Here are just a few people who have achieved success in their later years:

1) Author Helen Hoover Santmyer was 88-years-young when her book And Ladies of the Club was published. It stayed on the New York Times Best-sellers list for eight months. It was her first novel in 50 years.

 

2) A failure at 65, Colonel Sanders was world-famous and wealthy at 80. His father was a miner and his mother worked in a shirt factory. Harland Sanders had to give up school in the sixth grade because he was so poor.

He eventually opened a small home-town restaurant in the Kentucky hills. All looked well until the highway was rerouted and he lost everything. He was 65 at the time and faced with a future barely surviving on social security, his motivation to try again kicked in.

“My government is going to give me a hundred and five dollars so I can eke out an existence. Surely there is something I can do for myself and other people.”

Tapping into powerfully creative questions like this unlocked the key to what would be his major success—his mother’s secret chicken recipe.

Turned down by numerous restaurants at the time he turned potential failure into another inspired idea—franchises. It was an instantaneous hit, and the rest is history!

 

3) Fifty-five-year-old Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis.

That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which went on to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.

At the heart of Rhonda’s inspirational series of products and resources is the law of attraction.

“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts.

 

If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.

Action Questions: How can you think positively?

Take a leaf from Rhonda’s secret to success and change any stinkin’ thinkin’ that may be lingering. Answering the following questions may help:

What results are you currently experiencing that you would like to change?

What thoughts would you need to change?

What thoughts would remain the same?

What things have supported you in maintaining a positive state of mind in the past? How could they be helpful now?

Can you think of some other strategies to help you keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want?

“We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”

~ Harrison Ford, Actor

Client Success Story: From Unemployed to Franchise Manager

Aged 48, Ngaire returned to New Zealand after running a business in outback Australia. Things had not gone well after an economic downturn in the rural economy and she walked away from her business. Ngaire tried her hand at a few other things but realized there were few prospects for her in Australia so came home.

She returned penniless and alone with no work prospects. She was unsure if her skills were suitable for more modern careers, and initially thought about learning computer skills.

However, a friend encouraged her to read this book and work through a career coaching process. This helped her recognize and value her experience and realize how her current skills could transfer into other jobs.

Ngaire had always walked easily into work because she had lived in a town where everyone knew her and there was plenty of work.

After learning how to value and communicate her transferable skills and experience she re-wrote her resume and was successful in getting a job as a shop manager for a national food franchise. Her new employer valued her prior experience, maturity and management potential.

Ngaire achieved great success in her role and turned around many problem stores. She was quickly promoted and given more responsibility. Her pay packet received a nice boost too!

It takes courage and strength of character to leave a situation and start over again. Ngaire’s secret to success was drive, determination and a solid work ethic.

Initially despondent and fearful, she is now happy, confident and not worried about her future. Ngaire realizes that there are more opportunities out there and that she has the power to create her own luck and seize opportunities that come her way.

Her employer had the foresight to take on a mature person, and together they benefit in ways they hadn’t foreseen.

Robert Kiyosaki, multi-millionaire entrepreneur and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is right when he says, “There is no one in your way except you and your doubts about you. It is easy to stay the same. It is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives. If you take on your self-doubt and your laziness you will find the door to your freedom.”

 

A Time Of Renewal

You are as old as you choose to feel. I know many people in their 70’s and 80’s who are still leading active work lives and enjoying a more healthier existence as a result.

“If you retire you expire,” says 88-year-old Boyd Klap who vows never to stop contributing.

Check out this video (https://vimeo.com/122707475) and watch the value of being mutually inspired and inspiring, and of maintaining a spirit of curiosity through and beyond your middle ages.

You’ll see Mandy Scott-Mackie who had just embarked on a mid-life career adventure in outback Australia and hear Boyd Klap who tried retiring many times and got bored! I apologize for the sound quality—Wellington’s infamous wind got the better of us.

 

Action Task! Visualize Your Future

For some, getting older can herald more opportunities. While for others, especially those without a nest egg, or a working partner to fall back on, seeking help to reinvent their lives and careers is critical.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, going with the flow and waiting for life to ‘happen’ won’t provide the emotional and financial security you seek. Actively plan for your preferred future, because that’s where you’re going to be spending the rest of your life.

The following sensory visualization exercise will not only help you clarify your preferred future, but it will also help you power up your subconscious mind:

 

1) Draw a timeline and put yourself on it.

Project yourself toward your preferred future – 10, 15, or 20 years from now. How old will you be? Note this down. Now create your ideal life in your mind’s eye. Engage all your senses and record your responses to the following questions (try visually displaying your responses on an image or dream board).

What sights are around you? Are you surrounded by people who love you, or enjoying the solitude of nature? Are you living overseas in an elegant, romantic, calm environment or are you somewhere more high energy, bustling and commercial? What colors and things surround you? What do you see?

What can you hear—the peacefulness of the country, cries of acclaim for something you have done, laughter, live music, birdsong or something else?

What smells fill the air? The smell of your partner’s cologne, or perfume as you work from home? The sweet aromatic smell of freshly picked grapes from your vineyard? What does your preferred future smell like to you?

How does your preferred future feel? Is it like the warm, smooth earth surrounding the lifestyle home where you live and work? The silky coats of the horses you train? The fine linen of your business suit, or the smooth denim of your jeans as you turn up to deliver a seminar? Notice all the textures that surround you.

How does your ideal life taste? Are you enjoying the foods from your organic garden? Fine cuisine on your overseas travels? Amazing meals out dining with clients as you travel the world? Or something else

By visualizing your preferred future and engaging your senses you have taken the first step in making your dreams your reality.

2) What’s stopping you from living your dream now?

Note these things down, but resist the feeling of being stuck by actively willing your mind to create solutions. Ask generative questions like: How can I make my dream real? Where can I get help? How can I make a change?

Look back along your timeline and think about all the steps you would have to do to make things happen.

Who would you need to talk to? What information would you need to know? What finance would you need to acquire? How can you acquire it? What training or new skills would you need?

3) On your timeline begin to map out the stepping stones to your success and do something every day, no matter how small, to move you closer to your dream.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. This is only the beginning of your career adventure. The rest of the exercises in this book will help you fill in any gaps.

Preparing For Success

There is only one security in this life—the ability to manage change. Below are a few strategies to help you prepare for a successful change:

1.) Increase your self-awareness. “Pause for a cup of tea, David Lange, former Prime Minister of New Zealand once said, when people were rushing prematurely into critical decision-making that affected the country’s future. Increase your self-awareness. Take time out to clarify what it is that you really want—and why.

How can we have a knowledge economy if we lack self-knowledge? Listen to my interview on Radio New Zealand about this and other issues related to changing careers—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/media.

2.) Play. Approach the career planning process with an adventurous, curious spirit. In the early stages remind yourself that you are exploring. Deciding can come later. Nurture and encourage curiosity and allow yourself to dream. Ask yourself, “what if…”

It’s also interesting to note the increasing emphasis being given to adults now to embrace their inner, fearless child. Tap into the ‘kidult’ trend to help with modern-day challenges, advocate a range of experts, and work towards an idealized world, free of restraint. You may just surprise yourself.

3.) Spend time researching your options and generating alternative possibilities. Actively challenge any assumptions that may be holding you back.

4.) Affirm the positive. Keep your mind on what you do want and off what you don’t. Your truest beliefs become your thoughts, your deepest thoughts become your words, your spoken and unspoken words become your actions, your concrete actions become your habits, your conscious and unconscious habits become your values and your values become your destiny.

5.) Get inspired! Surround yourself with all the things that give you joy. Sidestep the things that give you stress and look after your health so you have energy to make changes.

6.) Plan for success and set yourself free. Know when it’s time to stop thinking about changing and time to take concrete steps toward your preferred future.

Work through the exercises in this book and buddy up with someone who believes in the beauty of your dreams and can help you stay on track.

 

Client Success Story: From IT Account Manager to Travel Agent

Bill Kwan’s wake-up call happened in his 40s when increasing stress levels made a career move not just a nice thing to do, but a necessity. As his wife said, “If you don’t leave now it will kill you.”

Some people may have taken the easier option by taking stress leave or an extended holiday, but Bill chose to take a career leap and shift from a senior account management role with an international IT company to work in an area that had always interested him —travel.

He initially worked as a travel consultant for a local travel agency. However, changing careers did come at a price.

“I didn’t just take a salary drop—it was a salary plummet,” he says. However, what he sacrificed in salary was made up for in personal fulfillment. “I gained more time to spend with my wife and daughter, play golf and work in an area that I love.”

“Follow your desire, but make sure you plan for success,” Bill says.

Bill already had his eye on his longer-term goal when he accepted the junior role as a travel agent. Two years after making his first move he purchased his own agency.

“Often people try to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Margaret Young, Author

 

This is an edited extract for 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​

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> getBook.at/CareerChange

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3Roqyn

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

What Makes You Happy? The Success Secret Midlife Career Changers Need to Know

Why Pursuing Your Passion Not Your Pension is The Ultimate Mid-Life Career Change Strategy

 My story: how my dark nights of the soul awakened my passion and purpose

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Don’t Just Live Your Passion—How To ‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Achieve Success

Monday, August 5th, 2019

 

In honor of the fashion icon’s birthday this month, I’m celebrating with her most famous words of wisdom.

Those on whom legends are built are their legends.

~ Coco Chanel, businesswoman

 

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her family tree. She wasn’t endowed with a fortune with which to build a fortune. She didn’t even have a family to support her. It’s for these reasons and many like these that I regard her as one of my master life coaches.

Coco had to overcome obstacles to success just like you and I. She suffered many hardships, including the death of her mother when she was young, being abandoned by a father who didn’t love her, growing up in an orphanage, and the stigma of her early years which plagued her throughout her life.

She suffered extreme poverty, self-doubt, low-self esteem and craved love. People jealous of her talent also spread malicious rumors and tried to undermine her success.

But she didn’t let obstacles stop her from doing the work she loved. The pursuit of excellence born from her experience, fueled by her determination to be an independent woman, and the desire to liberate others, ultimately led to her success.

Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit are an inspiration to young and old.

I created the Art of Success and series to reveal how the success secrets and strategies of extraordinary artists like Coco Chanel can help people like you and I succeed—personally and professionally.

Successful artists have always struggled, but they persevered anyway. And it is this willingness to pursue their calling in the face of many challenges that holds lessons for us all.

Who Is The Art Of Success: Coco Chanel Book For?

If you want to challenge conventional definitions of success and live life on your own terms, this book is for you.

If you’re an aspiring creative, or an accomplished one, The Art Of Success will provide support and encouragement to continue the journey.

If you suffer from fear, doubt, procrastination, or overly seek validation from others, The Art Of Success will come to your rescue.

If you’re a Type A personality looking for the fastest route to success, The Art Of Success will challenge you to experiment with going quickly slowly, to avoid burning out. Or overrunning the turn-off that would lead you down the path less traveled—the route that may lead you to your most enduring success.

Or you might, like me, be passionate about Coco Chanel and all that she achieved, and want to discover her success secrets.

 

Your Concise Guide to Success

The Art of Success is a concise guide to succeeding in business and in life. My vision was simple: a few short, easy to digest tips for time-challenged people who were looking for inspiration and practical strategies to encourage positive change.

I knew that people didn’t need a large wad of words to feel inspired, gain clarity and be stimulated to take action.

In coaching and counseling sessions I’d encourage my clients to ask a question they would like answered. The questions could be specific, such as, ‘How can I make a living from my passion?’ Or vague, for example, ‘What do I most need to know?’ They were always amazed at how readily answers flowed.

In this era of information obesity, the need for simple, life-affirming messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a section or page at random, or work through the principles sequentially. I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your guide, as it was Coco’s. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’ and embrace how you feel or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

At the time of writing I’ve just turned to Principle Three: Invent Your Life. It’s a timely reminder that I can transcend the things I dislike and create a life that fills me with joy—no matter what seemingly insurmountable obstacles block my path. The following remark from Coco may also speak to you: “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.”

 

How This Book Will Help You

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.

Coco Chanel was super smart! As I wrote The Art of Success, I applied the strategies I’m sharing with you in 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’s been there. I’ve been there too—as have many successful people. Guess what, getting in your own way is normal!

I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find them in the pages that follow.

Dig into this book and let Coco Chanel be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as she calls forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

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 former holistic counselor and therapist, 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.

I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank-teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers. I even spent time in prison…on a work assignment.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy. Like Coco Chanel, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue my natural inclination. My hope is that after reading The Art of Success you will be!

Whether your calling is the world of fashion, commerce, or seeking answers in the stars, it’s never too late to be yourself.

Step into this ride joyfully and start creating your best life today.

 

How I Use This Book  and Coco Chanel’s Wisdom to Fuel My Own Success

I love to choose a page at random. Before I do, I ask my higher self, “What do I need to know today?” And then I open a page. If it’s on my Kindle, I see where it opens naturally, or I close my eyes and skim to a page.

Today, I was guided to the following chapter:

Make  A Passion Action Plan

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

~ Coco Chanel

Some people think that fate will take care of their future. The winners in life know that failing to make plans is committing to a plan of failure to make your dreams come true.

Instead, success in life is a mixture of good luck and skillful planning. Written goals, with action points and time frames are essential if you really want to achieve a more passionate life.

Of course, not everyone agrees. As you read earlier, some transformational change experts advocate letting things unfold.

It’s a balancing act. Only you will know what helps you and what holds you back. And very often the task at hand will determine just how detached you can be.

It’s hard to imagine Coco preparing for a collection without a finely executed plan of delivery. So if you are a ‘go with the flow’ type and aren’t getting the results you desire, quit beating on the ’no planning wall’ and find the door to your success.

Your Challenge

Fuel your burning desire—make a passion action plan. Create a definite outline for carrying out your desire, and begin at once whether you are ready or not, to put it into motion.

Write out a clear, concise statement of your desired state. Read your written statement allow, twice-daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after rising in the morning. As you read it, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of your desire.

Do something every day to help move you closer to your goal of leading a more passionate life.

Don’t forget to tick off and celebrate your achievements along the way to reinforce feelings of success.

You may say that it is impossible for you to ‘see yourself in possession of money’ before you actually have it. Here is where a burning desire will come to your aid. If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The objective is to want money and to become so determined to have it that you convince yourself you will have it.

~ Napoleon Hill, author

It was amazingly accurate. As a result, I’m creating some timelines for my most significant passion projects. In this way, their completion won’t be left to chance.

One of my mentoring clients, Kate a woman in her 60s, was inspired to do a similar thing. She had been struggling to find time to write and wanted to publish her first book to help women struggling with depression. I encouraged her to experiment with daily fifteen-minute writing sprints. I talk more about these in my book, The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More.

“The words just flowed,” she told me. “I don’t even remember writing them.” Not only had she overcome writer’s block but she was so so happy with what she had written.

The next step in her passion action plan was outlining her book. She followed my lead, by using post-its to draft her chapter ideas and thoughts and sticking these on the back of the door.

 

As Coco Chanel said, beauty begins the moment you decide to show up as yourself.

 

“This book is a work of art. Art with words. The headings alone got me all jazzed up. ‘Failure is not Fatal,’ Sharpen your most Potent tool,’ ‘Flee False Love,’ Barking up the wrong tree,’ ‘Perfume your life,’ ‘Stay sparkly,’ ‘Dress Joyfully,’ ‘Make Mistakes,’ ‘Your Body Barometer,’ and plenty more where this came from. Each heading got me curious and keen to turn the pages and none of the chapters disappointed, quite the contrary. The author is a word artist in the best possible way. This is a delightful guide with simple, life-affirming messages that will help anyone succeed in business and in life. How’s this for a simple yet extremely powerful affirmation (from Coco herself) “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like. I was down in the dumps about something in my life and reading just a few pages of this book lifted me completely out of it. LOVE it!”

~ Amazon Review

“I loved this book. I have always admired Coco Chanel and this book helped me relate to her in a way that will be very helpful to me as I work towards my own goals. I especially appreciated the fact that this book showed both her successes AND her flaws, which makes her more accessible and relatable. This book is inspiring and I will be using it as a reference going forward!”

~ Cindy Alvey Stagg

 

“In the Art of Success Cassandra Gaisford presents the idea that being successful does not just involve the financial issue. It also concerns health, happiness, intimate relationships, and living life significantly. A REAL LUXURY READING!”

~Manu Berger, CEO

Did you enjoy this edited excerpt?

To grab your copy of the Art of Success from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/CocoChanel

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3npKQK

Did You Have a Traumatic Childhood? New Release: The Boy Who Cried

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

 

Tears tell truths. Heal your heart.

There are so many reasons why you should look for the gift buried within your pain. If you need some help, look no further than this book.

Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography, The Boy Who Cried is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young boy who turns his traumatic life into golden treasure.

Be inspired by this journey to vulnerability, courage, transformation, radical acceptance, and self-love as he learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

Following on from the success of The Little Princess and I Have to Grow, The Boy Who Cried is a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about boosting resilience, overcoming obstacles and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

Slay feeling angry, depressed, and traumatized.  Discover what strategies are sabotaging your happiness and success. Heal your heart—find and follow your passion and purpose faster.

Bonus: Free Excerpts from the first book in the series, The Little Princess and my bestselling book How to Find Your Passion and Purpose. Overcome common obstacles to happiness and success easily (including the power of passion, caring deeply, fear of regret—and others)

Advance Praise

“Sadly beautiful and a real reflection of our current society, which if we are really honest has lost direction, particularly with regards family values. Training in family values is an absolute pre-requisite before change will occur. I took pleasure in finding out the Boy who Cried not only survived but was blessed following the day the tears stopped and he found contentment, grace, and peace. My prayer is we can only attempt to save many more such boys.”

~ Kenn Butler, CEO

 

 

 

FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE BENEFIT and ENJOYMENT NOW!

 

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> getbook.at/TheBoyWhoCried

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/bPR1Dj

Audio, print, and hardcopy coming soon…

What Makes You Happy? The Success Secret Midlife Career Changers Need to Know

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

 

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”  ~ Patanjali, Yogi and Mystic

 

Dear friends, I am currently re-editing one of the books in my popular MidLife Career Rescue series, What Makes You Happy.  It doesn’t matter how often I cast my eye over the text looking for pesky typos, sometimes, like mosquitos in summer, a few manage to slip through the net. But, happily, I am enjoying reacquainting myself with this book—and in the process, I’m reminding myself of what makes me happy too.

Here’s an updated look at one of my favorite chapters, including the true career change story of one of my favorite authors, Annie Featherston. Annie is a former New Zealand school teacher who left a job she no longer loved and upgraded her life as the bestselling historical author Sophia James.

A healthy obsession can be a liberating and clarifying catalyst to your true calling and career direction—especially for people in the mid-life zone. With maturity comes renewed confidence and determination to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt

JOB DISSATISFACTION

Fully alive

Being passionate is a vital part of being human. Passion is love—hard to define, but easy to see and feel when it is alive. Passion is about emotion, feeling, zest and enthusiasm. Intensity, fervor, ardor, and zeal. Passion is about fire, eagerness, and preoccupation.

Passion is about excitement and animation. Passion is about determination and self-belief. Passion is about being willing to change. Passion is about following your heart’s desire. Passion is about doing something you love.

It’s not an intellectual thought. It’s a feeling. Feelings matter, and feelings are where the real power is. But Western society tends to predominately value thoughts, reason, logic and clear thinking more highly than feelings, intuition, spirit, and soul.

Perhaps because of this, people have become desensitized to the clues and callings of their own passions.

Some of the strategies I’ll share with you in this book may be criticized as ‘fluff’ or ‘snake oil.’ People often fear that which they don’t understand. I was attacked in this vein when I once offered a doctor some lavender oil to help reduce her mental strain. But understand this, the heart has its own reasons, its own desires, its own magical way of making itself heard.

Passion, some say, can be difficult to find, but if you’re awake it will find you. Stay open-hearted and open-minded. Don’t be like so many adults who fail to discover it at all, and in the absence of any encouragement, give up.

“People pride themselves upon their willpower, their indomitable courage, upon the fact that nothing frightens them,” writes T. Lobsang Rampa, in his classic book, You Forever. “They assured bored listeners that with their willpower they can do anything at all.”

But the truth is there is no greater power than imagination, passion, and the incredible power of love.

If you are serious about being happy, if it’s your desire to be the best that you can be, then the integration of your mind, body, and spirit is essential. Make a commitment to working and living with passion—I’ll show you where to look!

Passion’s Pay Cheque

Pursuing your passion can be profitable on many levels:

When you do what you love, your true talent will reveal itself; passion can’t be faked

You will be more enthusiastic about your pursuits

You will have more energy to overcome obstacles

You will be more determined to make things happen

You will enjoy your work

Your work will become a vehicle for self-expression

Passion will give you a competitive edge

New Zealand motorcycling legend Burt Munro proved that passion is the key to success. “All my life I’ve wanted to do something big,” he said. In 1967 Burt achieved something huge.

At the age of 68, against all the odds, he set a world record of 183.586 mph with his highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle. To qualify he made a one-way run of 190.07 mph, the fastest ever officially recorded speed on an Indian.

Like so many inspiring people the road to success was not an easy one—it involved much personal hardship and numerous setbacks, but armed with his passion and a compelling desire to “go out with a bang,” Burt Munro mortgaged his house and set out on the greatest adventure of his life.

His truly awesome achievements were bought to life in an inspiring and uplifting film, The World’s Fastest Indian.

The World’s Fastest Indian not only gives movie-goers an inside look at Munro’s passion, but it also gives them an idea of New Zealand filmmaker Roger Donaldson’s overwhelming desire to tell the story.

“This project has been a passion of mine since I completed a documentary about Burt Munro back in 1972,” Donaldson said. “I have been intrigued by Burt’s story for many, many years; some would say my obsession with this film matches Burt’s obsession with his bike.”

Donaldson’s passion for his subject has won him international acclaim from Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins. “I thought it was a terrific movie. It is a unique script… it is just so well written, very well written, beautifully written, and so refreshing. I’ve worked with a lot of great directors, Steven Spielberg, and Oliver Stone, and Roger Donaldson is there with that lot, you know. He really is,” Hopkins said.

Obsessions Boost Health

A healthy obsession can lead you to many things, including your:

1) Life niche—creating a breath of fresh air and giving you a competitive edge

2) True bliss—leading you to your vocation where being paid is the icing on the cake

3) Your point of excellence—unleashing dormant talents and natural gifts

4) Your life purpose—spreading seeds of joy and inspiration and benefiting others.

Authentic Happiness: Love Is Where The Magic Is

Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion you’d do it for free, this is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.

From Teacher to Romance Writer

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares below, 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.

“I’d taught for fifteen years and loved it. And then I didn’t.

It wasn’t the students or the workload. It wasn’t the noise or the constant worry of, ‘was I doing enough’ that pushed me out either.

I was a good teacher but underneath was a passion that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I wanted to be writer, a historical romance writer, and I was beginning to get offered some wonderful opportunities that did not meld with the structured teaching year and the constant pressure of it.

I felt like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. I was teaching half time, taking tours to Europe with my husband to help him, running mentorship programs…. and writing.

Writing was my complete and utter love and yet it was always taking a secondary place. I wrote at night. I wrote in the weekends. I wrote when the kids were asleep. When I wrote I didn’t think of the time or the problems, all I saw was the joy and passion of it. I loved forming characters and thinking of stories. I lay in bed at night asking my protagonists questions and spent many hours trawling over history books to place them into a context.

I have a degree in history so it was as if all the things I had enjoyed were coming together at last. History and writing. I knew that at 54 I couldn’t be patient any longer.

I needed to be in a field that I felt fully aware in, that I loved beyond the weekly paycheck and that filled my spirit with lightness.

I’d just won a New Zealand based competition for a completed romance and it was validation, I suppose. If I didn’t make the jump and do it now perhaps I never would. And if I never gave myself a chance I would feel bereft.

I penned my resignation letter and left to Australia to be a mentor on a five-day intensive scheme the Romance Writers of Australia were running. It was scary and hard but when I finished it successfully I remember standing alone in front of the mirror, a cold sore from exhaustion and worry on my lip, but my clenched fist punching the air in triumph.

To feel like that is to know you live.

When I got picked up by Harlequin Historical and published it felt like all the dreams I had hoped for so long were finally happening. I had visualized this. I had walked the lonely windy beaches of Gisborne and shouted my hopes for it into the wind. I had sat in the mall with three crying children in the car and written scenarios on the back of the supermarket docket because the story just wouldn’t wait until I got home.

If I had not been paid one cent for my writing I would still have done it somehow. But the strange thing is that money does follow passion and suddenly I was making as much as I ever did in part-time teaching.

Writing is hard work. A book does not come fully formed from thin air or dreams for me. But I’ve persevered and sat and written. I’ve made deadlines. I’ve written blogs. I have delved into social media and stood there with a smile on my face when the reviews have not been what I wanted.

But I have always believed in myself and my stories. I’ve kept going. I have never given up.

And I have loved my writing life, my freedom, the creativity, the possibilities.

If I had my time over I would have left my teaching career earlier. I would have been braver and less worried by all the sensible advice others were giving me. I should have listened to my heart and taken the jump into a lifestyle that is my perfect fit and even if I had never succeeded I would have known that at least I tried.”

I love Annie’s story of reinvention. So-called sensible advice is no replacement for the wisdom of your heart, your soul, your intuitive knowing about what choices are right for you.

“When you show a bit of courage, The Universe rewards you. ~ Laurie Wills, Change-maker

Action Task! Find Your Passion

Real passion is more than a fad or a fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a tap. Answering the following questions will help you begin to clarify the things you are most passionate about:

1) When does time seem to fly? When was the last time you felt really excited, or deeply absorbed in, or obsessed by, something? What were you doing? Who were you with? What clues did you notice?

2) What do you care deeply or strongly about? Discovering all the things that you believe in is not always easy. Look for the clues to your deep beliefs by catching the times you use words such as ‘should’ or ‘must.’

3) What do you value? What do you need to experience, feel, or be doing to feel deeply fulfilled?

4) What pushes your buttons or makes you angry? How could you use your anger constructively to bring about change?

5) Which skills and talents come most easily or naturally to you? Which ones give you a buzz or a huge sense of personal satisfaction?

6) What inspires you? Passion goes in all directions. It could be as tangible as a job or a person, or as intangible as a dream or an idea. List all your obsessions and the things that interest you deeply. If you’re struggling to identify your interests and inspirations, you’ll find some handy prompts in the next chapter

7) Keep a passion journal. It’s staggeringly, and dishearteningly, true that many people don’t know what they are passionate about, or how they can turn it into a rewarding career. Some research suggests that only 10% of people are living and working with passion. Hence my passion for passion – to bring about positive change in the world. Creating a passion journal is one simple but powerful technique to help achieve this.

This is where manifesting your preferred future really happens. I’ve been keeping a passion journal for years and so many things I’ve visualized and affirmed on the pages, are now my living realities.

Client Success Story: From Manager to Visual Merchandiser

Jane wanted to change her profession from a background in retail sales and management to something more creative and hands-on. She was struggling to identify how her passion for fabric could be combined into a new career.

I encouraged her to gather clues to her preferred future, by collecting examples of others who enjoyed successful careers working with fabrics. She began a passion journal, which she covered with her favorite fabric, and regularly updated her journal with aspirational images, inspirational quotes, confirmation of her strengths and clues to her passion.

After focusing on all the facets of her passion, including her natural gifts and talents, the laws of manifestation, focus and intention kicked into gear, and she successfully transitioned into her dream job.

“I have just been offered the position of visual merchandiser for a furnishings chain. This job is going to enable me to use all those key skills that I have and a huge bonus is that I also get to work with fabrics, which is just perfect. I know I came across with confidence and the right attitude thanks to you reminding me that I need to ‘blow my own trumpet’ and allow my passion to shine.”

Jane’s story is a powerful reminder of how you can manifest your preferred future by making passion your priority, allowing no doubt and visualizing your dreams into reality.

What Were Your Childhood dreams?

“Persevere with your mid-life, bring into consciousness your childhood dreams for they will become your living realities.”

~Max Gimblett, Artist, and Zen Buddhist Monk

At the age of eight, Donna Hay skipped into a kitchen, picked up a mixing bowl and never looked back. She later moved into the world of magazine test kitchens and publishing, where she established her signature style of simple, smart and seasonal recipes—all beautifully photographed.

Her unique style turned her into one of the first celebrity chefs—an international food-publishing phenomenon and best-selling author. Like many passionate business people, Donna has many outlets all unified by her abiding passion for food. Along with publishing cookbooks and producing her own magazine, she’s created a line of homewares, a food range, and at the time of print, now has her own general store.

Many experts say that your passion reveals itself early on in your life. If you’re lucky, someone close to you will have noticed your natural inclination and encouraged you towards your true vocation.

Chances are, you weren’t that lucky. Many baby-boomers weren’t encouraged to follow their childhood bliss. Pay it no mind. It’s not too late to follow it now.

Action Questions: What did you love as a child?

What were your childhood dreams? What did you love to do as a child? What steps can you take to make these your living reality? Perhaps a hobby could be a stepping-stone toward a new career.

As you contemplate making changes in your life, how can you maintain a spirit of curiosity, and allow yourself to be childlike?

Never Grow Up

“…stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.”

~ Jean Piaget, Educational Psychologist

“When will you grow up?” asks Jenny Regels’ husband, affectionately. While visiting Russell in the astoundingly beautiful Bay Of Islands in New Zealand, I had the great fortune of wandering into Jenny’s crystal and spiritual haven—aptly named ‘Peace and Plenty.’

We immediately connected and I had a great time ‘playing’ with one of the many pendulums she has for sale. I gained confirmation from Spirit that the choices I was considering were right.

When Jenny, then a youthful 69-year-old, shared with me the great joy she feels every day being childlike I asked her if she’d share a few words of wisdom with those of us, who at times, take life too seriously.

“It’s really, really important not to grow up, and to keep a young mind and be interested in everything going on around you. And keep your inner child active the whole time. Really active. And keep a positive outlook on life. Don’t be the glass half empty person. Be the one-half full. Always.”

I left feeling uplifted, reaffirmed in the knowledge that I want what Jenny’s got—ageless grace, peace and plenty.

Surf The Net

Take a peek inside Jenny’s crystal haven and listen to this delightful, ageless lady here https://vimeo.com/147984220

Tune Into Your Body Barometer

As Neale Walsch, the author of Conversations With God, says, “Judge not about which you feel passionate. Simply notice it, then see if it serves you, given who and what you wish to be.”

Notice the times you feel a sense of excitement, a state of arousal, a feeling of limitless energy, a burning desire, a strong gut feeling, a feeling of contentment, strong emotions or determination. Notice these feelings and record them in your passion journal.

During my time in the United States, I was very lucky to have been able to stay in New York and to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was even luckier because while I was there I unexpectedly rediscovered a passion I had forgotten.

I share the following excerpt from my passion journal at that time (which incidentally was bright red!), in the hope that it illustrates some of the strategies I am encouraging you to try.

“To see these paintings makes my heart sing, my eyes sparkle, and a smile settle upon my lips. I feel a shortness of breath and my heart rate quickens. I want to take them all in and love the ones with texture so rich you can almost feel the paint. I have to stop myself from reaching out to touch them. I am flushed with excitement and a thirst that cannot be quenched.”

And so it was that my ‘body barometer’ reminded me of the deep joy and love I feel when I paint with oil. I had traded my passion for the convenience of acrylic, but I found it joyless and plastic.

I thought it was a great confirmation of the power of passion when an art gallery owner, who bought some of my paintings not long after I returned from New York, said to me, “You have a rare ability to capture an emotion.”

I later won the Supreme Art Award for an oil painting I did of my grandmother. It was the first portrait I had ever painted. I’m not a formally trained artist, more of a dabbler. So yes, magic can happen when you follow your passion.

“You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.”

~ Margaret Young, Singer, and Comedienne

 

This is an edited extract from 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​

To grab your eBook or Print copy from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

To grab your paperback copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores go directly to your favorite retailer.

 

How to Find and Follow Your Passion and Purpose

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

 

If you want to create more bounce in your life finding and following your purpose is another good place to invest time and energy.

However, this is an area where many people struggle. The US Center for Disease Control recently reported that 40% of Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose, and lack any idea of what makes their lives purposeful and meaningful.

It is well known that having purpose and meaning in your life increases not only life satisfaction but also promotes mental and physical health.

Many successful authors, for example, testify to the power of writing with purpose and sharing their stories and purpose-driven words.

So, where and how do you find your life purpose? “The wound is where the light comes in”, said the Persian poet and mystic Rumi. Many people have found their life purpose following their recovery from trauma or adversity of some kind.

“It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine”, says author Isabel Allende. Following the death of her daughter, who fell into a coma in 1991 and never recovered, she poured her grief onto the page and wrote a memoir as a tribute to Paula’s life. She still receives letters from people who tell her how much her book, Paula, helped them through their own grief.

Self-help icon Louise Hay’s personal philosophy was forged from her tormented upbringing. Her childhood was unstable and impoverished, and her teen years were marked by abuse. Louise started what would become her life’s work in New York City in 1970.

Hay attended meetings at the Church of Religious Science and began training in the ministerial program. She became a popular speaker at the church and soon found herself counseling clients. This work quickly blossomed into a full-time career. After several years, Louise compiled a reference guide detailing the mental causes of physical ailments and developed positive thought patterns for reversing illness and creating health. This compilation was the basis for  Heal Your Body is also known affectionately as “The Little Blue Book.”

I forged a successful career helping people find their passion and purpose following negative work experiences that robbed my self-esteem and threatened my health and vitality. My purpose? To encourage and inspire others and help people live and work with beauty and joy.

Your life purpose may not evolve from the transcendence of your own wounds, but it’s incredibly fulfilling when your life purpose empowers others. That’s bounce!

If you need more help to find and live your life purpose you can read my book, Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover a Job You Want and Live the Life You Love, available as a paperback and Ebook.

Or you may prefer to take my online course and watch inspirational and practical videos and other strategies to help you to fulfill your potential—https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity.

 

Learn how to create a passion journal! Here’s one of many examples you’ll discover in How To Follow Your Passion to Prosperity—click here to enroll now and receive free bonuses! https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity.

 

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. Available in print and paperback from all good online bookstores

New Release and Free Giveaway: ‘I Have to Grow’

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

28 years ago today I created Hannah Joy! Giving birth to such a beautiful angel was, and continues to be my greatest achievement.

To celebrate Hannah’s birthday today my new release, ‘I have to Grow’ is my gift to you.

Download for FREE only on Amazon. But be quick. Today only!.

Click the universal link for Amazon here—getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

About this book

I originally wrote I Have to Grow twenty-four years ago when Hannah was four-years-old and was experiencing some very horrible bullying. When I look back, this really was my first book and heralded all those that followed with there focus on self-empowerment and overcoming shitty things that happen to good people.

Last week, following the galactic success of my own story of being bullied in The Little Princess, I prayed and prayed that I could find my original handwritten manuscript. I rated my chances as slim. After all, twenty-four years is a long time to keep pieces of paper. Thankfully, when it comes to keeping words that inspire me, I am a hoarder.

After tearing through my old filing cabinets in the garage I found it!

Thankfully, also, technology upgrades and advancements in publishing have made it so easy to share my creations with the world. I’ve made a few minor enhancements to the hand-written story and have also included some of my original hand-drawings for fun.

As you’ll see, my cover was cute but needed a professional’s touch.

Sing Your Song! Heed the Call for Courage

Feeling discouraged, bullied, sabotaged or held back?

Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography I Have to Grow is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young girl who leaves the security of playing small, to follow her heart and heal the world.

Little Hannah, is a beautiful and kind-hearted child, with a very special voice. When the cruel and jealous Angie tries to rob Little Hannah of her gifts she believes the answer is to stay small. But, things go from bad to worse.

Bullied and taunted Little Hannah doesn’t stand much of a chance. Until a magical creature appears and encourages her to stand tall and shine like a star.

As my good friend Vesna Hrsto, a Naturopath and Holistic Life Coach, said I Have to Grow is so fitting for any woman of any age. Always a good reminder to step up and become the woman we are meant to be, and always follow our Spirit for guidance as it will lead us to the best version of ourselves.

However, I Have to Grow has a universal, genderless, and ageless message too—which I’m thrilled about.

Such a powerful message.…

 This is a splendid little book for any person aspiring to reach another level, with such a powerful message. Of never, ever listening to anyone who steals your light. Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.

As one who has taken advantage of the wisdom, knowledge & ability of Cassandra, to communicate, over a number of years, I would encourage you to read this book thoroughly & think deeply on your own situation.

For her daughter Hannah, with the voice of an angel & heart of God, you have indeed been blessed.”

~ Kenn Butler, CEO

 

Based on a true story

My daughter Hannah was born with an exceptional and innate gift which was later honed into an accomplished skill as a soprano singer.

But when my daughter was four the little girl next door told her that she couldn’t sing and that she had no talent.

When the little girl next door didn’t stop Hannah from singing, she tried to take something else from her. She cut Hannah’s beautiful long hair.

But guess what? Her hair grew back! And so did her talent!

Hannah’s talent grew and grew and grew—and it is still growing. As a teenager, she successfully auditioned for a place with Dame Malvina Major’s singing academy.

“She kept her eyes shut,” Hannah said enthusiastically, after her audition, “all the way through my song.”

Apparently, this was a good sign.

You can learn more about Dame Malvina’s passion to share her dream and help other gifted singers take their voices out to the world, here—http://www.dmmfoundation.org.nz/

Hannah decided not to pursue a career professionally as an international singer. But, as a hobby, she went on to enjoy a lot of success with her voice, including winning the lead role in a musical movie produced in Peter Jackson’s studio in Wellington.

Peter Jackson is best known as the director, writer, and producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy. The fabulous New Zealand Symphony Orchestra played the background music.

Importantly, Hannah now uses her voice in the art of healing as a spiritual conduit and counselor—sending love songs to the world.

Many moons ago, Hannah and I enjoyed a magical time on the Pacific Island of Samoa. A newly married couple asked Hannah to sing and she gifted them a beautiful performance of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s, Ave Maria.

A European man was sailing his large yacht and heard her voice and came to shore. “I heard the voice of an angel,” he told us. I share more about this story in my travel memoir, Four Days Out of the World (to be released in 2019).

The European man’s feedback inspired my cover—Hannah as an angel.

When the resort owners in Samoa heard Hannah’s song, they asked her to sing for the whole resort. We found some old footage Hannah had saved on Youtube—https://youtu.be/tqri33bDzKU.

The video also has a wonderful performance of Hannah singing solo at Queen Margaret College.

 

src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tqri33bDzKU” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

 

I hope by sharing Hannah’s story, you realize how important it is to share your gifts. Whether you have a talent for singing, helping others or solving puzzles—whatever it is that sparks joy within you is your gift.

You may or may not want to share it with the world but what matters most is to do what makes you happy and never ever listen to anyone who tries to steal your music.

Read to the end of I Have to Grow for an excerpt from the first book in this series—my #1 bestselling book The Little Princess. As a special thank you for reading my book I have also included an excerpt from my popular book How to Find Your Passion and Purpose. I’ve included some of my favorite chapters. Please note these aren’t in the order that they appear in the book.

To learn more about the inspiration behind this book and the series please subscribe to my blog. You may also enjoy my regular inspirational newsletters—with sneak peeks, advance reads and free giveaways. Be the first to know when the audio version is released!

Liberate the music inside

Life is about learning to have the courage, confidence, and self-belief to follow your inner voice, live your truth and share your gifts. It is also about reclaiming your power, not hanging back, playing second best and being discouraged.

Find and cherish your unique abilities and raise your voice to the heavens. Liberate the music you have inside. Share your song.

Reconnect with your magnificent soul self and don’t allow self-doubt or the envy of others to hold you back—you will reach your potential.

There are so many reasons why you should follow your dreams. If you need some inspiration, look no further than this book.

 

JOIN ME IN CELEBRATING HANNAH’S BIRTHDAY & DOWNLOAD FOR FREE TODAY ONLY

getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

This is a book for ‘kids’ of all ages—and super short for the time challenged!

P.S. if you come across this post too late and miss the free giveaway, you’ll be able to pick up a copy for less than a double-shot latte!

If you love I Have to Grow would you leave the ultimate gift and write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It would be such a blast for Hannah to wake up and read how her story touched your heart.

 

Author’s Update! We Are Jumping For Joy

Thank you! As I write this post it’s Hannah’s birthday today and she’s woken up to the news that I Have to Grow, inspired by her experience of being bullied, is #1 on Amazon in all three categories. And important categories they are to Hannah too as they are all centered on spirituality.

Thank you to those of you who have downloaded and left reviews. Still free today – but only for the next three hours….my gift to the Universe for Hannah’s birthday.

 

 

 

If you are opened minded and curious about the power of sound to heal check out the following—https://youtu.be/5CAnnkx4eXQ. So much flow too, re this message about the ills of telling people they can’t sing, and the benefit of raising your voice.

You can connect with Hannah and find out how she has been inspired to use her voice for the well-being of others here—https://www.hannahjoyspirit.com

Grab your copy of the first book in the Transformational Super Kids series:

THE LITTLE PRINCESS

A Little Book with a Powerful Message…

Follow your heart!

Feeling stuck, depressed or demotivated? There are so many reasons why you should follow your dreams. If you need some motivation, look no further than this book.

Part moral allegory and part spiritual autobiography, The Little Princess is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young woman who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else, to follow her heart.

Be inspired by this journey to transformation and self-acceptance, and self-belief as she learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. Her personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

Reader Reviews

 

“A Beautiful and Life Changing Message…

This book shares a powerful message for all women of any age, I wish I had this when I was growing up. Today more than ever, we have to stay true to ourselves, follow our Spirit and do the work we’re here to do – amidst disapproval and criticism. The simple steps in this book will guide your way, and help you to navigate through the confusion, uncertainty, and inner blocks, so you live your one precious life in a big way.”

~ Vesna Hrsto, Naturopath and Coach

The Little Princess is ‘brilliant.’

Short concise & full of tremendous vision & wisdom, expressed lovingly.

Many of the comments read true for my own journey. I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks.

~ Kenn Butler

Available Now in eBook and Paperback!

To purchase on Amazon>> 

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase the eBook on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

New Release! The Little Princess

The anxiety cure: How I avoid depression, get energized, find joy, and stay inspired

Why Pursuing Your Passion Not Your Pension is The Ultimate Mid-Life Career Change Strategy

Hooked on A Feeling—Trust Your Gut to Choose and Grow Your Purposeful Business

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

My story: how my dark nights of the soul awakened my passion and purpose

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

New release! The Little Princess

Friday, May 17th, 2019

 

It’s Pink Shirt Day here in NZ. A day we all come together to stand unanimously against the tyranny of bullying.

Standing up for yourself and saying ‘no’ to bullies Are important in common themes and all myself empowerment books. It’s a key theme that weaves through my story “The Little Princess.”

It may surprise you to know that I’ve been bullied more times than I remember. I’ve had people threaten me in the schoolyard.  I’ve had bosses threaten to smash my head in, while I was at work. I’ve had older people throw verbal abuse at me when I just wanted to share my dreams and help people.

I’ve counseled children as young as four who were being bullied. I’ve helped myself and my clients win the war against bullies.

Discover more in The Little Princess and learn how you too can stand strong and overcome bullying to live a life of passion and purpose.

To purchase on Amazon>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>> https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Someone gave me the ultimate compliment the other day—they told me I was prolific. That might not mean anything to you, but as someone who was the ultimate procrastinator, it means a lot. I’ve mostly been prolific in writing my self-empowerment books (as Cassandra Gaisford). But now I’m also dedicating myself to achieving the same quality and productivity in my love stories and romance novels. And I’m having fun writing short stories.

I’m super excited about the new release of The Little Princess.

It’s a timeless charm which tells the story of a young woman who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else, to follow her heart. Be inspired by this journey to transformation and self-acceptance, and self-belief as she learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. Her personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

 

I’m so thrilled with this early review by a reader in the UK.

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration!

This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.

The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder.

Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”.. .so you get two little books in one really. Very uplifting and inspiring. “

 

thankQ for the PDF copy of your little princes book this morning. In a word, ‘brilliant’, short concise & full of tremendous vision & wisdom, expressed lovingly. I have enjoy the read this evening on my couch relaxin

Kenn’s feedback was especially lovely to receive:) Now in his 60’s we first met many years ago, after (in his words), he “had been unceremoniously dumped by my employer of some 32 years @ 49 years & 10 months & still reeling from the grief & resentments to a degree.”

“Many of the comments read true for my own journey. I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks,” he wrote to me.

One of the things I love most about being an author is hearing from my readers and knowing how my words touched their hearts.

Kenn also shared the following observations:

 # 10 “the little princess suddenly felt grateful for what the nurse was teaching her” &

“the little princess knew she would never be able to find & honour her soul purpose if she kept trying to please others”

# 11 & then: Thank you the little princess said to the older women silently. Thank you for the gift you have given me”

Then, Fear of Disappointment ~  “you cannot possibly net the prize if you are thinking about all the ways you can miss”

& I just loved the comments:

‘Some people die with their music still inside. They opt to cling to the hope of their aspirations rather than the reality of a possible disappointment & the risk of a shattered dream.

What is worse ~ the disappointment of a few setbacks, or the disappointment of a life spent unfulfilled & filled with regret?

& especially:    ALL LIFE ARISES out of choice. What choices are you making now?

 

I remember when we meet some years back now Cassandra, & now, 15 years later I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks.

I agree being passionate is an ongoing commitment which takes time & effort some days, however, I guarantee it is certainly worth the effort.

I still receive your regular emails, inspired by many. Thank you for being part of my journey.”

 

Kenn’s comments and other feedback from my readers makes my heart skip with joy.

Oh, Yeah, bring it on!” writes a reader in the UK in her Amazon review

 

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration! This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities, when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.. The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder. Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”… so you get two little books in one really.

Very uplifting and inspiring.

I would just like to add that Cassandra’s books on beating the booze are absolutely brilliant, exceptional… There’s just something about the way she writes that hits home for me. 18 months on and still leading a healthy and happy life. I will never go back to my mind/heart/body numbing way of life ever again. Thank you 🙂

~ Amazon Review U

 

Here’s a wee excerpt from The Little Princess with my author’s note

The Little Princess was inspired by a true story. You may have already guessed that—especially if you have purchased and read my Amazon #1 bestselling book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

I learned so much from my experience in the wake of the other woman’s attack.

I learned to stay true to myself, and realized that there were always going to be people who didn’t like what I did or who I was.

It would have been easy to be stopped in my tracks.

It would have been easy to stay small. It would have been easy to have done nothing at all.

But then what sort of life would I have had?

Writing How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love opened so many doors and windows and galaxies for me.

So many people have written to me and told me how that book changed their lives. It continues to change mine.

Importantly, my experience that night, made me realize that finding our passion and purpose is not simply about being inspired, but also knowing how to conquer obstacles—sometimes we don’t obliterate them, we just don’t let them get in our way.

I hope by sharing my story, you realize how wonderful it is to be a little princess. Isn’t that every girl’s dream!

 

Special bonus:

Read to the end for a short poem called The Loving Tree and wee excerpt from How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. I’ve included some of my favorite chapters. Please note these aren’t in the order that they appear in the book.

Follow your bliss dear readers—don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your passion and purpose with the world.

Grab Your Copy of The Little Princess. Available Now! 

To purchase on Amazon>> 

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Grab your copy of second book in the Transformational Super Kids series:

I HAVE TO GROW

Sing Your Song! Heed the Call for Courage

Feeling discouraged, bullied, sabotaged or held back? If you need some support, look no further than this book.

 Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography, I Have to Grow is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young girl who leaves the security of playing small, to follow her heart and heal the world.

Little Hannah, is a beautiful and kind-hearted child, with a very special voice. When the cruel and jealous Angie tries to rob Little Hannah of her gifts she believes the answer is to stay small. But, things go from bad to worse.

Bullied and taunted Little Hannah doesn’t stand much of a chance. Until a magical creature appears and encourages her to stand tall and shine like a star.

Reader Reviews

Courageous, compassionate and inspiring…

Courage is more than just standing up for yourself or doing hard things—it’s doing so with compassion. Little Hannah is courageous, compassionate, talented and inspiring!”

~ Sheree Clarke, Midlife Courage Coach

 

Available Now! 

To purchase the eBook exclusively Amazon>> 

getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

 

Other Resources Mentioned in this Post

 

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life),

Available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

 

 

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

Amazon Best-Seller. Focus your energy and time to achieve outstanding personal and professional results.

Available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getBook.at/Passion

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

New release I Have to Grow

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

Life transformed by faith in the stars

 Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: The All-encompassing Secrets to a Longer, Happier, Healthier life

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Like me, do you struggle with saying, ‘No’? Does people-pleasing, guilt or some other control strategy prevent you from doing and saying what’s truly best for you?

It’s amazing how such a tiny but liberating word can sometimes be so difficult to voice.

Everything in our world is made up of positive and negative charges, which together make a whole. You have been guided to choose this book by your soul because you are ready to question long held-beliefs and make choices in alignment with your sacred path.

By consciously affirming the Holy Trinity of yes’ you will move to the next level of conscious awareness.

No is a word of strength, and yes is the road to peace, purpose, and prosperity.

Yes, yes, yes. Set your intention on this day and forever more.

My new release, No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’  will empower you with the life-enhancing ability to step into your authentic power.

Yes!Yes!Yes!

No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’  is short on words but big on ideas and huge on transformational change.

This year I set an intention to say ‘no’ to procrastination and perfectionism and yes to releasing one new book every month. And so far, I’m on track. And guess what—achieving intentions feels great! Yes, yes, yes—it feels awesome!!!

At the time of writing this post we’re three months through 2019—what New Year intentions did you set? How are you tracking? Perhaps you’re like me, or Catherine who also needed to say ‘no’ to perfectionism and procrastination. Or Tim Ferris who needed to master the art of saying ‘no’ to FOMO and other things that distracted him from his goals.

“I’ve been burned enough times by FOMO-based and ego-based decision-making to know that I’ll always regret choosing to do something for the wrong reason,” Tim once said.

I share more of his tips in this book.

Or perhaps you can identify with Ces who lost his beloved wife Rolin to invasive cancer…and every day says ‘no’ to giving up the will to live without her…

…and who said “Yes, yes, yes I’d buy that book” because he still needs to get better at saying no. (Especially to the insensitive person who, as Ces’s wife lay dying, told Ces he needed to stop using his wife’s illness as an excuse.) Perhaps what Ces needed to say, “You know what? No, I can’t do your job. It’s a no because you care only about yourself—not me, or what I might be going through.”

Discover how this one little word will change your life.

Available in eBook and Print from Amazon here—getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

You can also use this link to download or scroll through sample chapters to see if this book is for you.

What others are saying

“No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You is a beautiful collection of important parts of ourselves, our lives, how we live in this world and how we live with ourselves and with each other. 

Each page is dedicated to one thing we often say no to that keeps us stuck or hurt or procrastinating and turns the No into a vibrant Yes. 

Cassandra has again proven herself as the Warrior Woman of Positive Living, Loving, and Being. She reminds us to live in our truth with love compassion and boundless energy for the joy of life.”

~ Catherine Sloan, counselor

 

 

 

Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun and be Authentically You

Available in eBook and Print from Amazon here—getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

Mind Your Drink—How to become sexier, slimmer, and healthier

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

 

Me enjoying sobriety at Tisa’s barefoot bar in American Samoa in Feb 2019. Heavenly—and the coconut infused mocktail was divine!

 

Many people mistakenly believe drinking alcohol will increase their happiness. But alcohol is a depressant and in large quantities is draining on your body and mind.

Alcohol has been found in many studies to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. The sleep rhythms of people who have drunk alcohol the day before are significantly different from control groups who didn’t drink alcohol but very similar to patients with depression.

Numerous studies suggest that low serotonin is the mechanism behind both depression and anxiety after alcohol consumption.

Experience may have already taught you that too much booze increases anxiety, muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness, and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit—alcohol is one of the most addictive legal drugs on the planet.

It’s also a well-documented neurotoxin—a toxic substance that inhibits, damages, and destroys the tissues of your nervous system.

To improve their mental health many people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve often takes extraordinary willpower.

Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra gave up drinking. “I liked it too much,” he once said. Steven King, after almost losing his family and destroying his writing career, managed to quit.

Other people like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it. At only 27, she died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.

The risk of suicide also increases for stressed people who turn to drink. As I’ve already discussed, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking is a major cause of anxiety and depression, impairs mental reasoning and critical thinking—increasing the likelihood of making tragic and often impulsive choices.

There is also clear evidence between alcohol consumption and violence and other types of aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels. Some experts suggest that aggressive behavior after a period of alcohol may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism—as little as two standard drinks can ignite anger.

To better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol, researchers in Australia used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure blood flow in the brain. They noted that after only two drinks, there were changes in the working of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the part normally involved in tempering a person’s aggressive levels.

Risking ruining your relationships, ruining your career, sacrificing your sanity, and in the extreme, taking your life, is a massive price to pay for a mistaken belief that to be happy, or to numb your anxiety or cope with stress you need to drink more booze.

Boost your resilience beautifully by exploring your relationship to drink and approaching it more mindfully. Consider, a period of sobriety. Instead of focusing on what you may be giving up, turn your mind to what you may gain—a better, more energized version of yourself.

The many benefits of reducing your alcohol intake, or not drinking at all, include:

• A stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams

• Improved confidence and self-esteem

• Increased productivity

• Increased memory, mental performance, and decision-making

• Better control of your emotions

• Sweeter relationships

• Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

• Authentic happiness

Your body never lies, but many people soldier on, ignoring the obvious warning signs that it’s time to scale back their drinking or lose the booze.

• Headaches

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Insomnia

• Aggression

• Blackouts

• Low energy and fatigue

• High blood pressure

…are just a few of many signs that it may be time to control alcohol before it controls you.

It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, but the reality is that your mind, body,  and soul are screaming out for liberation.

Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more energizing alternative.

Your body is a great source of wisdom and counsel—one that is increasingly respected by psychologists and medical professionals. Somatic Psychology, a branch of traditional psychotherapy, addresses what for so long was missing in the field of talk therapy.

Soma is a Greek word meaning “the living body” and is grounded in the belief that not only are thought, emotion and bodily experience inextricably linked (creating a bodymind), but also that change can be brought about in one domain of experience by mindfully accessing another.

You may consider asking your body next time you feel tempted to drink or feel the first flush of alcohol hit your system, “what does this beer (or whatever you are drinking) want me to know?” This may seem weird, but stick with me!

When I tried this recently, my body told me, “This alcohol makes me feel sick. I don’t want it. Don’t drink any more of it.”

My mind, however, was telling me a different and conflicting story as it rattled through a range of old stories and false beliefs.

In this case, as in others, I trusted my body barometer.

Very often people don’t listen to their body barometers until it’s too late and health havoc can set in. Leonardo da Vinci once said that people were more motivated to act by fear than they were by love. I’ll let you decide, but whether the joy of health nirvana or the fear of health havoc rules supreme, as long as you heed the call for change you’ll always win.

Health Nirvana

Controlling alcohol consumption or quitting for good has numerous positive benefits. Everything is interconnected but let’s try to categorize a few of the health benefits you can expect with sobriety:

Physical Health

• Improved liver function and health

• Better sleep

• Better eating habits

• Younger, healthier looking skin, hair, and nails

• Improved vision and clearer eyes

• Weight loss or healthy weight gain

• Increased energy and vitality

• Strengthened immune system, warding off illness and disease

• Lower blood pressure

• Optimal digestive function

 

Mental Health

• Increased mental clarity

• Newfound motivation and determination

• Natural resilience

• Boost self-esteem and confidence

• Greater resilience to stress

• Improved memory

• Clarity

• Heightened intuition

• Heightened brain function

• Improved productivity

• Heightened sensory skills—everything looks, feels, tastes, sounds clearer and brighter

• Heightened willpower

• More truthfulness and honesty

• Long and short-term memory improves

• Aversion to negative thinking

• Improvement of coexisting conditions (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc.)

• A desire to help others

 

Emotional Health

• Persistent and lasting feelings of joy

• Authentic happiness

• Improved relationships

• The increased joy of looking and feeling healthier and better about yourself

• Increased ability to create lasting, loving relationships

• Improved interactions with people

• Feeling younger

• Feeling empowered, in control and free

• More laughter and spontaneous joy

• An improved general sense of contentment and wellbeing

• Greater self-awareness

• Higher emotional intelligence and ability to self-regulate

• Improved sleep-related benefits

• Increased interest and engagement in new activities, hobbies or learning

• Feelings of freedom, hope, self-worth, and self-empowerment

 

If alcohol is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, I’m betting sobriety is a known cause of more than 60 different positive health conditions—maybe even triple that. But finding data to back me up is hard to find. It seems more money is poured into measuring harm than keeping statistics related to health.

Keep your own stats and set yourself up to succeed. To support and maintain your sobriety, really absorb all the benefits.  Enjoy the anticipated positive results of sobriety at the start of your day, in the evening, or whenever you have a spare moment.

When you are sober, be sure to be mindful and really enjoy the results of your efforts. For example, as I write this chapter,  notice I’m feeling energized, clear-headed, purposeful, and excited. I have the youthful expectant energy of a child. I feel a sense of self-worth with all that I have achieved today. I think I may take a wee break now, reward myself and go out and play!

I also draw my attention to how much I appreciate and value my improved relationship with my partner and my mother, and I love, love, love that I’m a positive influence on my 26-year-old daughter who has chosen to go alcohol-free and is not only loving it but is positively influencing all her friends. Her anxiety has disappeared and she is glowing.

I have way more self-belief and am both less critical of others and myself, and no longer hypersensitive to others barbs and attacks when I don’t drink.

Did drinking less alcohol do all that? Not entirely. As I said earlier, controlling alcohol requires a systemic approach and making lifestyle changes both in health behaviors and other factors which I discuss throughout my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind.

Putting the spotlight on the harm alcohol caused me, my family, my loved ones, within my community and the world at large also drives me. Negatives can be positives when seen in the right light and used constructively.

I no longer feel like the booze hag who once wrote this:

“Pretty much four months after I decided to say no to booze, but the little bugger has slipped into my psyche again. Last night and the night before I had two vodkas and orange—freshly squeezed. 4pm-ish. I watched myself, observed myself. The knowledge that I was tired, weary, that I needed to meditate.

But I wanted that quick fix.

That nice little forgetting of alcohol. But who’s paying now? 12:15 A.M. and I’m wide awake. I haven’t woken like this in months. I don’t feel flash either. Yesterday I was excited about my book Flight of Passion—now I feel like it’s crap. It’s the depressing booze, my head aches, my throat and chest burns.”

 

Instead, in my journal ‘sober me’ wrote:

Hello Sunday Morning! I’m so grateful for John’s drunkenness last night. It’s strengthened my resolve. I want nothing to with the poison of drink—unless it’s with a refined meal or a celebration. I’ve woken up clear-headed, clear-hearted, my energy bright, looking forward to the day.

“When you are full of food and drink an ugly statue sits where your spirit should be.” ~ Rumi

Even if people think it’s no big deal to drink a glass of wine at dinner it’s important to know your body’s reaction to alcohol and not just go along with the crowd.

I’d forgotten my assignment on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. I must revisit it.

A blackbird rustles amongst Autumn leaves. John is at his desk. The door is shut. I walk past the front window. “Would you like an orange juice?”

No, he wouldn’t.

His eyes are dead, remorseful—as though regretting his foolishness. His skin is gray, pallid, like that of a dying man.

Rumi is right….an ugly statue sits where his spirit should be.

Even the Romans once ate and drank from a lead cup. Poison in poison.

 

You’ll find plenty of yummy, sexy, and sober recipes in Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life—Easy Alcohol-Free Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy Filled Life

 

Health Havoc

When you pollute your body with alcohol, a known carcinogen, and neurotoxin, it’s going to play havoc with your health. Big time. Perhaps not today, not tomorrow, but it will happen, and when it does, I doubt you’ll be happy about it.

You may even swear and curse your stupidity, as my step-father did when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, “You bloody stupid fool,” he said, sadly and stoically accepting his fate when told he had a month to live. Having enjoyed smoking for many years, I know he would have done anything to undo the wrongs of the past.

Alcohol, as I have said, is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, listed below are just a few:

 

Physical Health

• Carcinogenic—causes cancer in living tissue. Strong links between cancers of the liver, breast, bowel, upper throat, mouth, esophagus and larynx

• Negatively affects brain development in young people

• Depresses your entire nervous system

• Compromises your immune system, making you less resistant to illness and disease

• Interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, resulting in bones that are weaker, softer, and more brittle

• Kills cells and disrupts cellular metabolic processes

• Distorts your eyesight, making it difficult to adjust to the differing light and compromising clarity

• Diminishes your ability to distinguish between sounds and perceive their direction

• Slurs your speech

• Dulls your sense of taste and smell

• Damages the lining of your throat

• Weakens your muscles

• Inhibits the production of white and red blood cells

• Destroys your stomach lining

• Poisons you and can cause death

• Disrupts your sleep cycle, reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, creates insomnia

• Suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea

• Increases weight or causes unhealthy weight loss

• Strips your body of vital nutrients and causes malnutrition

• Increases the likelihood of indulging in risky, unsafe and unlawful behaviors

• Heightens suicidal thoughts

 

Mental Health

• Causes anxiety and depression and other mental disorders

• Lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain—a chemical that helps to regulate your mood

• Destroys your brain cells

• Increases suicidal tendencies

• Negatively impacts memory

• Causes permanent damage to your brain

• Alters your brain chemistry

• Escalates aggression

• Increases stress levels

• Triggers dormant mental illnesses (bi-polar etc.)

• Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and low mood

• Depletes willpower

 

Emotional Health

• Undermines your self-esteem and self-respect

• Depletes your courage, confidence

• Undermines your relationships with your partner, family, and friends

• Contributes to depression

• Reduces self-control

• Increases the difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships, including with bosses, co-workers and, clients

• Creates financial strain, leading to more stress, worry any and anxiety

 

And that just a few ways that alcohol can play havoc with your health. The increased risk of developing arthritis, cancer, heart disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, kidney disease, obesity, nervous disorders, and many psychological disturbances can all be attributed to alcohol abuse. And as you know, acute alcohol poisoning can cause death.

Find out more about short and long-term effects that drinking alcohol has on many different parts of your body here—https://www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-its-effects/body-effects.

Your mind and body may seem like separate entities but when you let your body override your craving mind you find a reservoir of unbridled power. Your body barometer never lies, and as we’ve seen, can save your life by expelling toxins from your system.

 

When you drink alcohol or feel hung over what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel sober?

If you fall off the wagon and start drinking again don’t be too hard on your beautiful self. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion and tune into your body barometer.

How do you feel? Have the headaches, nausea, depression, aggression or anxiety returned again?

Journal your experience as I did to reinforce your awareness and to strengthen your resolve to stop drinking again.

You’ll find helpful sobriety journalling tips in my book, The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without Alcoholgetbook.at/SobrietyJournal

 

The Path to Sobriety

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind, I break down the path to sobriety in ways you can easily understand and apply to your own life.

Knowledge is power. Ultimately long-term success in winning the war on alcohol can be explained through medical science and psychology—and understanding the psychological warfare tactics of the world’s best marketers. You do realize that the booze barons act narcissistically to encourage you to act against your best interests, right?

Understanding alcohol from all angles offers substantive reasons for why it keeps you hooked.

Importantly, what I’d love you to take away from reading this book, and those focused on controlling alcohol is that there is no one path to sobriety. You may or may not be able to go it alone, you may need help, you may need therapy, but regardless of the approach you take, controlling alcohol is a long-term lifestyle change.

Very often, as I’ve said, it may mean spotlighting and healing the wounds of your past.

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind comedian and former addict Russel Brand shares his story of childhood sexual abuse in his book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions. In his book, he reinterprets The Twelve Step recovery process and champions the call for abstinence.

Similarly, Duff McKagan, the former bass guitarist of Guns N’ Roses and one of the world’s greatest rock musicians, shares how he used alcohol to self-medicate his agonizing anxiety. The origin of his pain he says stemmed from being asked to lie to his mother about his father’s affairs, their subsequent divorce, and his father’s own heavy drinking.

McKagan devised his own program of anxiety treatment and alcohol recovery. Read the inspiring story of a man who partied so hard he nearly died, in his book It’s So Easy and Other Lies.

Anne Dowsett Johnson, a journalist and self-described recovering alcoholic, and the daughter of an alcoholic herself, urges us all to wake up to the willful blindness to the damages of drinking in our culture, and explores disturbing trends and false promises peddled by alcohol barons in her book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. For Dowsett, medical intervention through prescribed anti-depressants played an instrumental role in her recovery.

AA’s 12-step approach didn’t work for stressed entrepreneur Russ Parry. But years of therapy, couple counseling, renewing his faith and a program of recovery offered by his church did—alongside changing his relationship to work. He shares his journey to abstinence in his book, The Sober Entrepreneur.

These are just some of the many people and books I have come to admire as I embarked on my own journey to understand why I once drank so much and why I couldn’t stop.

For these people, sharing their stories was part of their healing process—that and the desire to pay-it-forward. In my book, Employ Yourself from my bestselling Mid-Life Career Rescue series, I share how health coach Sheree Clark numbed her anxiety, stress and job blues by over-drinking until she realized booze was never going to be a long-term sustainable solution.

She’s sold her business and created a new career as a healthy living coach. She still enjoys a drink—but that since her career change that she couldn’t be happier or healthier.

As the former addict and leading neuroscientist Marc Lewis writes in this book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease, alcoholism, and addiction “can spring up in anyone’s backyard. It attacks our politicians, our entertainers, our relatives, and often ourselves. It’s become ubiquitous, expectable, like air pollution and cancer.”

Shaming, blaming and naming is not the cure, compassion understanding, and living life on your terms is.

As Lewis also notes, “Many experts highlight the value of empowerment for overcoming addiction. In fact, most former addicts claim that empowerment, not powerlessness, was essential to them, especially in the latter stages of their recovery. Sensitivity to the meaning of empowerment in recovery may be greatest for those who’ve been disempowered in their social world, including women, minorities, the poor, and those with devastating family histories.”

Abusing alcohol is not a disease. It’s a coping strategy—one, before reading this book, you may not have been aware of.

As you read this book, you’ll reclaim your power and decide whether alcohol has anything positive to contribute to your life at all, or whether you’d be better off putting your money, your energy, your time, your happiness and your health into something, or someone, who’s a less abusive lover.  Yes, you will decide—it’s that simple, and at times, that difficult.

Not everyone battles with booze. Whether you cut back or eliminate alcohol entirely, the choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the success it destroys.

You may enjoy reading my blog post on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/spiritual-approaches-to-the-treatment-of-alcohol-addiction/

If you’d like to experiment with a period of sobriety or you need help to you moderate your drinking, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available as a paperback and eBook will help.  You can also find a range of books and resources offering help to quit, including alcohol-free alternatives on my website—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/books-and-resources/control-alcohol/

 

My daughter, Hannah, and her fab partner Josh, enjoying alcohol-free wine at Christmas.

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?


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Why Sobriety is Cool, Sophisticated, and Savvy

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Does talk therapy actually work?

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Discover the joy of sobriety. Listen to Cassandra’s interview with Melinda Hammond—https://writerontheroad.com/128-name-poison-writers-alcohol-creative-muse-cassandra-gaisford/

How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

Monday, February 11th, 2019

 

If you suffer from generalized anxiety and panic attacks

If you suffer from stress or burnout If you lack confidence or self-esteem or fear failure……

If you’re a perfectionist or find the challenges of life overwhelming… …

then my new book, Anxiety Rescue is exactly the right book for you—because it will cheerlead, motivate and encourage you to fight for your dreams and achieve your goals.

 

Anxiety Rescue is the ultimate prescription and medication free cure. Using the timeless wisdom of other successful men and women who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and despair—and succeeded anyway,  Anxiety Rescue  reveals in six easy steps:

✓ How to define success on your own terms…

✓ How to find your truth and live an authentic life…

✓ How to set and achieve audacious goals…

✓ How to take strategic risks (rather than reckless ones)

✓ How to overcome your fear of failure, criticism, and change…

✓ How to make money, follow your passion and still pay the bills…

✓ How to beat low self-esteem…

✓ How to identify real priorities that are central to your life’s true meaning…

✓ And how to empower your business and personal life… There is not only wisdom on every page, but actionable, immediate steps you can take to make a difference in reaching your own goals and dreams.

Available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books

It always really touches me when I realize that what I do has an impact on people. We’ve all been through tough situations. Not many of us escape childhood unscathed. Few of us survive working life or relationships without scars. I work from that experience. If what I say, write, or do inspires people or gives them strength, courage, or hope, I’m over the moon.

Like many of my books, I write to inspire myself. I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books.

Anxiety Rescue is one of these books. I’m tempted to say that it’s a concise guide to overcoming anxiety and making the most of your life. It is. And it isn’t.

As I wrote this book, so many factors which impact anxiety came to light. Many of them are ignored by general practitioners and doctors—the very people many of us go when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or just plain unwell. Some, are viewed skeptically by psychologists and psychiatrists.

Yet times are changing, the old ways aren’t working. Prescription medication and pharmaceutical drugs are being consumed in exploding quantities, and still, anxiety rates and other mental illnesses are still soaring.

Increasingly science is validating what ancient wisdom has been telling us for years. You only have to consider how main-stream meditation, yoga, acupressure, and other holistic therapies have become, to witness the emergence.

Anxiety Rescue is based on clinically-proven techniques and integrates modern science with other healing modalities. Yet it also harnesses the magic of creative approaches to healing. Which is why I’ve turned to two of my greatest inspirations—Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Anxiety Rescue summarizes their timeless wisdom and strategies to tame anxiety, quell despair, overcome obstacles and maximize health, wellbeing and success.

we can heal ourselves

From my own professional and personal experience, I know we can heal ourselves. A great deal many people don’t need pills to feel calm, happy, healthy, and inspired. Some do.

I am not against prescription drugs, but what concerns me, as it may you, is that many anxious, stressed, and depressed people are not offered a choice. Nor do they benefit from someone taking an inventory of their life and analyzing the traumatic events or stressors that may be impacting their anxiety levels.

Like Len, who, aged 42-year-old man who had suffered work-related burnout, and sought relief from his doctor. He was, quite rightly, alarmed that his doctor told him that the only cure was medication. He left his doctor’s office empty-handed.

Ten years later, a diagnosis of complex trauma, not only made sense but also provided a roadmap to lasting healing. I’ll be sharing more of his story in a book I plan to write called, Leaving Jehovah—Surviving the Cult of Toxic Control and Shame.

Or, Sarah, who’d been taking anti-depressants for years but had noticed her anxiety rates returning and no longer wanted to be on medication. Counseling and engaging in talk-therapy gave a voice to wounds she had repressed. When darkness was brought to light, and armed with new tools of self-care, including meditation and nutrition, her anxiety rates disappeared.

I’m not bagging medication. Not by any means. My purpose in writing Anxiety Rescue is to share alternative routes to healing—lasting ones that enable you to be empowered and chose the best course of action for you.

No two people are the same. We have not had the same childhoods, the same school experiences, or workplace trauma. I speak from my own experience—both what has worked for me, and what has worked for my clients.

With over twenty-five years of expertise working in therapeutic professions, most lately as a child therapist and relationship counselor, I know what works.

As you’ll read in the chapter, “My Story,” I’ve swum through a tsunami of trauma, hurts, and humiliations and drawn on a range of modalities to help me not just survive, but also thrive.

My hope is in reading this book, you will emerge stronger, happier, healthier, and more thankful too.

A large part of my healing has involved following my joy—something you’ll learn to discover for yourself in this book.

I use my passion journal to visualize, gain clarity, and create my preferred future—including my health goals. My clients find this works for them too—along with the other strategies I share in Anxiety Rescue.

In this era of anxiety and distraction, the need for simple, life-affirming, health-enhancing messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a page at random, or work through the four pillars of health sequentially.

I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your guide, as it has been mine. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’, and embrace how you feel, or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

Laura, who at one stage seemed rudderless career-wise, did just that. Workplace stress was a major source of her anxiety. Finding her passion and following her joy sparked a determination to start her own business.She felt the fear and went for it anyway, emboldened by a desire to live and work like those she looked up to. It was that simple.

As with all of my books, many of the examples I share were inspired by true events in my own life. At the time of writing, I recalled one of the first times I trusted the spiritual realm. I was a teenager when my paternal grandmother was channeled by a psychic and my disbelieving and skeptical self was asked, “Your grandmother says you don’t believe she is here. But she is holding out a flower, and she is asking, ‘Do you remember the jasmine flowers growing over the house?’

I didn’t.

But when I drove home I called into to Araby Lodge, where my grandmother used to live, and where until her death, she bred and trained her beloved horses. At the time my father lived in her house. I asked him, “What is that vine growing over the house?”

I didn’t want to tell him anything about what the psychic had said because I was still skeptical and I didn’t want to influence the answer. My father said, “Oh, that old jasmine vine? That’s been there forever.”

My heart nearly leaped out of my chest. It was at that point that I began to believe in spiritual and psychic phenomena, and in time, many years later, to awaken my own gifts. These gifts weren’t awakened without considerable anxiety—something I talk more about in the chapter, “Shadow Work.”

It’s a timely reminder of just how far following my passion and being free to be me has taken me—the shy girl who was once afraid of being seen and was terrified of her ability to channel.

As I share in many of my books I hope the following quote is as apt for you as it was for me:

“Your staying in the shadows doesn’t serve the world.”

Here’s to learning from our anxiety and transforming our lives with passion, joy, and purpose!

Broken into small, bite-sized segments—you’ll soon find yourself jotting notes down, finding someone else so you can share the insights and experience, and resources made available to keep you happy, healthy, motivated and focused. Dig into this book and let Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel and other successful men and woman be your mentors, inspiration, and guides as they call forth your passions, purpose, and potential. 

Say YES to happiness NOW! It’s never too late to end anxiety and follow your joy to live a life you love.

Anxiety Rescue is available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

enjoy the free excerpt from Anxiety Rescue below

 

Your Body Barometer

The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

The more you truly care about something, the deeper the consequences can be when you don’t act on your desires.

When you aren’t true to yourself and you don’t do the things you aspire to do your mental, emotional and spiritual health can suffer.

Common signs of neglecting the call for success and forsaking your ambitions can include: tiredness, depression, anxiety, irritability, and strained personal relationships. In short, you’re lovesick—starved of the things that spark joy.

The body never lies, but many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs. It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, But the reality is your mind, body, and soul is screaming out for more. Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more liberating alternative.

 

Your Challenge

When you feel unfulfilled, bored, unchallenged and demotivated what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel the fear but love life passionately anyway?

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe, artist

 

 

THE POWER OF PASSION

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me.”

Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

Your Challenge

What will passion do for you?

The really important stuff is not in my résumé. It’s what has gone on almost unnoticed in the secret chambers of the heart.

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

 

DRESS JOYFULLY

The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.

~ Coco Chanel

 

Coco was a trailblazer in women’s fashion. When she arrived in trousers in Venice people were shocked, but shock quickly turned to awe. Women wanted what she had—and Coco was only too happy to sell it to them.

Her joyous color was black. She loved its simplicity and understated elegance. Perhaps it reminded her of the habits the nuns, who so tenderly cared for her, wore.

Whatever the catalyst was, Coco had the vision to turn black, the color of mourning, into the symbol of independence, freedom, and strength. She also created the now iconic little black dress!

Your joyous color may be yellow, blue, or gold. Or it may be multi-patterned and have all the colors of the rainbow. Floating dresses in the finest silk may instill you with confidence, or perhaps you prefer something more tailored.

Whatever your color, whatever you wear be sure that it makes you feel joyful.

 

Your Challenge

Act as if. Take a job or lifestyle idea you are considering, or have always wondered what it would be like, and act as if you are living that role. Dress the part.

Have your colors professionally confirmed by a trained image consultant—when you dress in the colors that suit your skin tone you’ll look younger and feel fabulous.

 

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

~ Coco Chanel

 

 

 

 

“Love your work”

Prior to writing this post I had sent out news of my new book to my email subscribers. Immediately I received an email from one of my readers.

“When I read the first few sentences I could immediately relate – it’s exactly how I feel at this very moment (sadly).

I feel so tired and overwhelmed just trying to get through each day, let alone any curveballs that may come my way.
It’s so debilitating and I feel like this is ‘my lot’ and no happy ending.
I will be sure to download your ebook. I have your Passion Workbook sitting next to me in the car – yet to read… Too tired (always tired).
Keep being awesome! Love your work 🙂
Her email made me happy – and sad. Happy the words spoke to her. Happy that even though she felt so low, my email sparked some energy—the energy of love. I could sense some enthusiasm…even in the darkness. I also felt sad—sad that she feels this way. I know EXACTLY how this feels. Millions and millions of people feel this way. I know that there is a cure. I know you don’t need medication, drugs, or alcohol to rescue you. I know the difference that the power of love and healthy obsessions can make—I talk more about the power of positive obsessions in my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Your Beautiful Mind.
As I wrote back to her, she also inspired me too also get moving with creating an audiobook. That way when she and others who also suffer from anxiety, fatigue, and despair, when they are driving can be fed some inspirational juice…
I also invited her to consider scheduling a coaching session with me—sometimes it’s just too hard to go it alone. If this sounds like something you could benefit from click the following link to schedule an appointment
http://www.cassandragaisford.com/schedule-an-appointment/

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her next book, The Anxiety Cure: Love Your Body, will be released.

 

Here’s a quick round-up of our 5 latest blog posts you may also enjoy:

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tame the Email Monster: How to Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Email Overload

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Are you suffering from information obesity? Subconsciously, are all your unanswered emails sending your stress levels soaring? Or have text messages become the source of your anxiety?

Email overload is frustrating—and sometimes terrifying. An over-crowded inbox is distracting and will divert your attention from what is important if you don’t take charge and do something about it. Your inbox can also house infectious contact from toxic people.

Email, or as my partner calls it, the Email Monster, is the source of many people’s anxiety.

 

Remember that anxiety feeds off fear, uncertainty, overwhelm, and overload. It also loves to distract you from doing the things you enjoy—burying you in a pyre of often meaningless distractions.

In the last few years, I’ve also noticed a level of toxicity creeping into emails. Some people are discourteous, and in some instances downright rude and inconsiderate. People rant and vent and type things they might not otherwise have had the courage or lack of manners to say in person.

I’m sure, rather than cowering behind their phone or computer and firing off emails if people stood face-to-face with someone before sending their tirade they wouldn’t feel so empowered and emboldened.

The rise in bullying has also led to a whole new malaise—cyberbullying.

Research by Swansea University in 2018, cites that children and young people under 25 who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behavior.

The findings also suggest that the perpetrators themselves are at higher risk of experiencing these same suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s worth remembering that it’s the sick who vomit over others, so don’t ever take it personally. This is easier said than done.

I’ve experienced a few toxic battles provoked by others, and there’s nothing that spikes my anxiety than the thought of opening my email. It’s hard to escape and the scathing words do tend to linger.

Some people clients and customers also send incessant demands, often during the oddest of hours, that they might not request if sending an email were not so spontaneous and instantaneous. Some emails are also lengthy and often arduous to read.

I’ve also worked with clients, who rather than have honest and frank conversations with each other send emails and texts—corroding their communication with all the mixed messages words not spoken convey.

My partner Laurie feels anxious if he ends his day with one email remaining in his inbox. He receives over 1200 emails a week, and many of his tasks are deadline driven. He manages his anxiety by slaying the Email Monster. He doesn’t subscribe to erroneous marketing campaigns promising the golden elixir that will cure us all. Nor does he subscribe to marketing campaigns offering some redundant e-book he would never have time to read and does not care for.

Me? I’m an email hoarder or was. It’s stressful and anxiety-producing running my eye over old emails.

This year it’s time for the old ways to die.

Before writing this book I was storing over three thousand emails!

It was liberating to press delete. You may gasp in horror at this strategy. But I thought, ‘will it really matter, six months from now?’ If it does, I’m sure the sender will email me again.

My partner, who I consider to be the king of email efficiency, says you have four choices: answer, unsubscribe, file—out of your inbox and into a ‘to answer’ file—delete.

“If I don’t answer within the timeframe that I feel intuitively is acceptable,” he says about his parking strategy, “I go back and delete it. Clearly, it wasn’t as important as I first thought.”

Consider, simply picking up the phone, or, if you can meet in person, and deal with the issues in the old-fashioned way. It’s a myth to think that emails always lead to greater efficiencies.

Be on guard for the Email Monster’s equally insidious brother, “Text Dragon.” With the advent of voice activation software, I’ve noticed a lot of people sending lengthy texts.  In addition, many people are leaving voice messages on their phones saying, “I don’t pick up my messages, if you can’t reach me, text instead.”

Considerable bullying and abusive behavior, spiking not just anxiety, but also suicidal thoughts and behavior, is being triggered not just by email but text messages too.

Cyber-bullies and those they bully don’t just exist with the young, naïve, or immature. In 2019, New Zealand Police began investigating a ‘you deserve to die’ text sent by one Minister of Parliament to another Minister. Hardly, model leadership behavior.

The recipient received the text well before being sectioned to a mental institution months later, but said in an interview that he re-read the text that day and after texting the MP to say she was going to get her wish, he ended up contemplating suicide.

The text was sent at 1:19am on a Saturday morning—making it even more abusive.

“It was my children that actively stopped me from going through with hurting myself,” he told Newshub. “I was just lucky there were people looking for me and lucky that I thought about my little girl’s happy face – and not wanting to crush that.”

The text message is potentially a breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed under the then National Government in response to cyberbullying. The law regulated digital communications, including text messages, making it illegal to urge someone to self-harm.

Become skilled with how to block contact from malicious people, and become affirmed with new legislation which offers some protection. Be the change you want to see. Cut down on your digital communication and get real—if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t text or email.

If you are ever the target of bullying or abusive behavior seek help and know your rights. Don’t horde abusive messages. Slay the Text Dragon and Email Monster and put them firmly in their place.

Think how great it will be with hardly any messages in your inbox. This is how to manage email overload or cyberbullies and reclaim your life!

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue, due for release in February 2019

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her new book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, will be released.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

 

Prompted by many of my clients who struggle with ageism and also mindset issues re their employability and who are struggling to find a job, I’ve written a new book in my best-selling  Mid-Life Career Rescue series: “Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work”

In fact, just today I was coaching a client who confided, “I’ve been frightened and keep telling myself not to bother looking because employers want someone younger.”

True-Not-True! Yes, ageism exists, but enlightened employers know the value a mature worker brings to the job. Do you? Do you know how to find the jobs that are never advertised? Do you know how to help hiring managers say “yes! You’re hired!”

Successfully finding a job takes skill and confidence, but once you know the rules, you’ll feel more confident, more successful and a whole lot happier.

To increase your chances of getting the job you really want, this book will help you:

•Beat “age bias”

•Increase your awareness of the importance of self-marketing

•Highlight the appropriate attitudes, styles, and behaviors that you need to market your skills successfully

•Prepare you to use a variety of job search strategies, including Using recruitment agencies effectively; Responding to direct advertising, including newspaper and Internet mediums; Outline the steps to successful networking; Provide strategies that will help maintain a positive outlook

•Accelerate your job hunting success

Some people find job hunting very challenging. Perhaps years of conditioning that you should be seen and not heard, acute shyness or lack of practice and experience in the art of self-promotion may be affecting you.

 

In Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work you will also discover how to:

•Harness the law of attraction by focusing on areas of passion and purpose

•Tap into the hidden job market

•Let people know what you have to offer confidently

•Overcome stress and doubt

•Boost confidence, courage, and self-esteem

•Help you find and get the job or career you want

Whether you love the idea of the 4-hour workweek, want to find a job that reflects who you are and what’s important to you, or thinking about starting a business, career change after 50 and finding a new job can be yours.

As Richard N Bolles, author of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute‘, once said to me, “sometimes all it takes is one book, one sentence to transform your life.”

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want. Scroll up and click “Buy Now” before it’s too late.

Available for immediate download for less than the price of a cup of coffee here>>getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

 

I’m thrilled with this early review from an industry expert

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work

I was curious about the content of this book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work, as I have worked as a careers professional for almost 20 years and with a few variations on job search strategies over the years, my practice and coaching in this area of career coaching has remained largely the same. I wondered if the ideas, the suggestions, exercises and the theories that support these that I learned all those years ago still held true. Did my ideas that I encourage my clients to undertake, still work, were they still in vogue even? Did my ideas need a complete overhaul? I looked to this book in the hope that it would help me face today’s practises and update my own knowledge. So, with my curiosity in full openness, I began to read.

First I was struck by the relevance of my knowledge to what Cassandra was suggesting in 2018. What I have been coaching my clients to do while exploring their own job search journey were still very useful.Second I was encouraged and even felt embraced by the strategies suggested in Cassandra’s book for my own professional re-development process that I am undertaking. Everything I am quietly doing to re-define my working and private life is here in black and white and gloriously celebrated as the way forward.

Never before have I felt so on-track with a major life change as I do right now. I tick off my own strategies as they appear on the pages of Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work. From Dream and Explore to Developing visual plans in a Passion Journal to the exercises relating to Generating Idea’s – I am totally on track.

However, there is room for more ideas and Cloning was one I hadn’t thought off.I hadn’t ever offered that idea to my clients. So over the past few days with a careers client booked in, I decided to test this out. My client’s response, to begin with, was very hesitant, but with gentle encouragement to tap into her more creative and playful self, we had a great time coming up with, at first outrageous, clones for her. Then as the energy settled, she developed ideas for her 5 clones which gave her major leads on strands she could develop and even whole new ways of working. My client now has very solid career options to explore in future career coaching sessions because of this Cloning exercise.

As for me, I am balancing my excessive excited energy in re-creating my work-life balance by regular daily meditation, sitting in stillness, and daily yoga. Cassandra has beautiful ideas, encouraging real-life stories, and powerful and yet very accessible exercises to offer anyone who is either embarking on a job search journey or for anyone already on the journey but looking for further strategies to add new energy to their journey. Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work is a book for job seekers and career professionals alike.

~ Catherine Sloan, Counselor

 

EXCERPT

Networking: Discovering the Hidden Job Market

About 80% of all the positions available at any time are NEVER going to be advertised by Recruitment Consultants or directly by companies looking to employ someone.

By far the most successful job search technique is the process of networking—using personal contacts to uncover the “hidden” job market.

Largely this technique is so successful because organizations also use their networks to find employees when vacancies occur. Advertising is often a last resort, partly because of the time taken to screen applicants, but also because of the additional financial costs.

 

What is Networking?

When you need a builder what do you do?  You ask a friend or an acquaintance if they know of anyone who’s good.   That’s networking!  We do it all the time; we just don’t “label” it. Trust or lack of it is a key reason we don’t rely on advertisements or the Yellow Pages.  There are a lot of phoneys and crooks out there.

Networking is the process of accessing personal contacts via word of mouth to achieve a particular purpose. For the job seeker, this purpose is to tap into the hidden job market. For the employer the purpose of networking is to find out if anybody knows of anyone that’s a) good and b) available.

In its simplest form networking is often called “keeping an ear to the ground”. Networking in the real world is nothing more than overcoming the fears of making contact with others.  It’s simply talk.

But it only happens through an orchestrated effort. You have to seek people out, get them to agree to meet with you, discuss your career aspirations and ask for more contacts. This is hard enough for some people to do face to face.

For so many that are new to Internet job seeking, it is nigh on impossible to do online.  Or so it would seem.

But a growing category of connecting tools are emerging online that will make job seeking-through-networking (or, Internetworking) not only easier—but essential in the years ahead.

REMEMBER, WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE  MARKETING TOOLS!

 

If Networking Is So Effective why Don’t the Majority of Job-Seekers do it?

FEAR!  One of the most common reasons people don’t network is because of fear of rejection or fear that others will think they are begging for a job.  Lack of confidence and assertiveness are often other factors. Laziness can also sneak in– job hunting is hard work!

It is for these and other reasons that most job hunters prefer to use the more passive job search strategies such as:

• Looking in the newspaper, or on the Internet

• Registering their CV’s online

• Approaching recruitment agencies

These strategies are passive because the job seeker is not taking control and out there actively hunting for a job.  Instead, they are passively waiting for a job to come to them.

The Rule of Thumb is: DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET!  Employing a variety of job search strategies is the key to success.  If you rely on only the passive strategies you are missing out on 80% of the roles which either exist or which could be created for you.

 

Networking for Non-Networkers: A Guide to Feeling The Fear and Doing It Anyway!

Completing the following exercises will help equip you with the know-how to network effectively.

Remember this is the “active job-search strategy”—it does take energy and perseverance but the rewards are huge… finding the work you love, loving the work you found!

 

Call to Action! Prepare to Network Effectively

Some people have a negative mindset when it comes to networking. They think if they contact people they know that these people might think they are begging or hassling them.

Use your own words to describe the term “networking.” Think about the benefits to the other person. Things like saving them the hassle of advertising for candidates if you happen to be a good fit for who they are looking for.

List some of the skills and personal attributes that are required to network effectively, eg research, persuasion, optimism, perseverance, confidence.

What skills and attributes do you already possess?

What skills and attributes will you need to develop?

Prioritize in order of importance. List some ways that you can develop and nurture the areas that are more challenging for you, eg  affirmations, mentors, supportive friends, visualization, and self-help books.

 

The Aim of the Networking Meeting

Just like a fishing net, the aim of networking is to “catch” as much as possible. However, rather than fish, what the active job hunter seeks to gather is as many actual, or possible, job leads as possible.

The aim of the networking meeting is also predominantly about exploring information and gathering market research.  This shift in focus from “give me a job” to “I’m interested in finding out about…” should help to minimize the fear of rejection and to take some of the pressure off all parties.

Remember: just as you don’t like to be rejected, employers don’t like rejecting you!  The key things you are interested in “finding out” are:

• Whether your abilities, skills, and background match the employment needs in that business, industry or organization.

• If so, whether any employment opportunities either currently exist, or are likely to in the future

• If not, whether the person you have initially contacted knows of people within their own network that may benefit from your skill-set and experience. Just like the Internet or World Wide Web – the objective of the active job hunter is covering as much distance as possible in the most effective way. Leveraging off the networks of other people is one of the most effective and efficient ways to do this.

You may strike the jackpot and get a job, but if you don’t, remember:

• Timing is everything

• Your aim is to generate at least two additional leads from each visit, email, or phone call you make.

Identifying Your Network

This diagram below can be very useful in identifying the groups of people that you know.  It is by no means exhaustive!

(And you thought you didn’t have anyone to network with!)

 

Call to Action: Getting Ready to Chat!

From the networking diagram, including any other potential contacts you have added, identify and prioritize five people you could approach and arrange an appointment to see:

 

HOT TIP!

You may wish to set networking goals for yourself to help keep you motivated—for example, 10 networking phone calls per week, resulting in 5 networking visits per week. Don’t forget to include a reward for yourself when you successfully reach your goal.

 

Preparing for Success

Before you make your network approach you should:

Research the company and its senior people.  Some of the things you need to be aware of and may need to be able to talk about include:

• Industry issues

• Organization structure

• Company products and services

• Industry and company profitability

• Competitors

Remember:  people like talking about their jobs and if your interest is based on soundly researched information you are providing yourself with an instant hook to gain their interest.

 

Cold Calls Versus Warm Calls

When deciding on your list of contacts to call remember to distinguish between “cold” contacts and those which are “warm” or “hot”.

Cold contacts are those you have never met, nor know of no one who can introduce you. After moving cities recently I approached the local health board to inquire about their services and to see if they may need mine as a holistic psychologist. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. Despite my spontaneous meeting and arriving unannounced the timing was perfect. They told me they were very short-staffed and my skills and experience appeared to be just what they needed. It’s the old adage—if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Warm contacts are those who someone you know personally knows the person you wish to contact. In this case, your friend, for example, may be able to refer you or at least allow you to mention their name. This gets the relationship off to a warmer start than if you tried to establish contact with no prior “history’ or connection

Hot Contacts are those who you know personally. For example, I know the owner of our local bookstore. Recently he advertised for casual staff. Had I been interested in the role (I love books!) I would stand a ‘hotter’ chance of nabbing that job than someone ‘cold’ who walked off the street.

Remember – even the best salespeople hate cold calling, mainly because the likelihood of “rejection” is increased ten-fold.  Where ever possible leverage off existing relationships!

 

Making a Telephone Approach

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!  Every aspect of the job hunt process is about preparation – from writing your resume or CV, to preparing answers to questions that may be asked in an interview. Networking is no different especially when it comes time to pick up the phone and make that call.

You should have an outline script and responses to the most common objections prepared in advance.  Remember that most people respond to appeals for help, so your call should use the phrase “help me” as often as possible.

You may wish to use the script which follows as a guide.  It includes ways to respond to common objections.

It is important to remember that it is not so much what you say but how you say it that carries the most weight.  Smile as you speak and, if possible, to stand—these both help you to sound more confident.

 

Example Script:

CONTACT: “Mary McCrae speaking”

YOU: “Hello Mary, my name is John Farr.  I believe that you are the best person to help me.  Jake Evans from XYZ suggested that I give you a call.  I am looking at the career prospects in the Communications/PR industry and Jake suggested that you are the best person to help me.”

I wondered if I could talk to you about your industry before I make a move and would appreciate 15 minutes of your time.”

What follows are sample responses to possible objections:

CONTACT: “I’m not sure I’m the right person.”

YOU: “Jake spoke very highly of you and thought you would be the best person for me to talk to.  I’d be really grateful for your advice – if you could spare 15 minutes.”

CONTACT:“We’re not looking for anybody right now.”

YOU: “I understand.  Of course, I would like to get work inside the Industry, but not right now.  At present, I’m looking at opportunities in various areas and I need someone who could help me to find out more about your industry.  Could we get together this week or next week?”

CONTACT: “I’m very busy right now.”

YOU: “I appreciate that you’re busy but I’d be really grateful for 15 minutes of your time. Perhaps I could buy you a coffee as a sign of my appreciation for giving up some of your time to help me.”

CONTACT:“OK, next week then.”

YOU: “Thank you.  I really do appreciate it.  Which day would suit you best and would you prefer morning or afternoon?”

(Always go for non-core hours with late afternoon the best.  Always offer to leave at the end of 15 minutes – most likely your offer will be refused in which case the obligation to close the meeting passes from you to the contact.)

The above example may seem repetitive and it is.  It is important that you are persistent and don’t lose sight of your goal – to meet with the person face-to-face.

You are unlikely to encounter all the objections listed, although you may get others.

 

Call to Action! Overcoming Possible Objections

Either list three of your most “feared” responses or those objections that you think or feel you are most likely to encounter.

The techniques for overcoming objections used in the example above were: Acknowledge the objection

• Restate your objective

• Use the “15 minute of your time” technique

• Offer alternative time/dates and always leave it up to the contact to decide which option suits them best

Refer back to the objections you highlighted and prepare some responses using the technique above.  Record your answers. (If you couldn’t think of any “objections” ask your friends etc for their input).

 

Questions to Ask When Networking and/or Breaking into a New Industry

Listed below are some typical and effective questions people use when networking or “interviewing for information”. You may wish to adapt the ones below or to completely make up your own ones.  It is helpful to practise asking these questions out loud until you feel comfortable asking them.

How did you get into XXX, eg Public Relations/ HR, etc?

(People love to talk about themselves, and it’s flattering to think someone is interested in what we do and how we got to where we are.  This a great way to help build rapport and begin a relationship)

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the industry?

What do you see as the top 5 skills necessary to be effective now and in the future?

(This is a good question to check whether the skills you have now are valuable/marketable and to affirm areas you may need to develop in order to be successful)

What makes a successful (Public Relations/ HR, etc.) person?

What skills, attributes etc. do you look for in people you hire?

Why don’t some people make it in this industry?

(This is a good way of finding out potential pitfalls and how you may highlight your strengths in areas where others may be weak)

What are the values of this organization?

What makes this a great place to work? What attracted you here?

What keeps you here?

(All the above questions are designed to find out the pros and cons of working within the specific organization you have targeted.  Answers will confirm  areas of “fit”).

What issues is your organization likely to face over the next couple of years?

(A good question to identify future skills needs and also to convey interest and enthusiasm in the organization’s future.  Helps to convey less of “What can you do for me?” and more of “What can I do for you?”)

 

Closing Questions

Remember, the initial purposes of your meeting were to:

• Find out information

• See if there are any employment opportunities currently or in the near future

• Generate at least two additional leads

If you have established good rapport and built a good relationship with the person you have just been “interviewing” they will be only too happy to refer you to other contacts they may have.  Remember this is how networking works and why it is so effective. You‘d do the same, wouldn’t you?

Most people hesitate when it comes to asking the sorts of questions below.  Fear of “rejection” is a common reason why.  Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Besides most employers would be surprised, if not astounded, that you didn’t ask—nine times out of 10 they will be expecting it.

If you are still reluctant, you may like to think of a reward that you can give yourself when you “feel the fear” and do it anyway.  Purchasing a new music album or item of clothing is a good reward.  Each time you hear or wear it will remind yourself of the new, “courageous” you.

 

Some Closing Questions

Do you have any openings now? If the answer is NO: Is this likely to change in the future?

Do you know of anyone else in the industry/this organization that it may be useful for me to talk to? OR

Do you know of anyone else in the industry/ organization who may be looking for someone with my experience?

 

Ending on a Positive Note

You‘ve heard that first impressions count—well so do last impressions!  Be sure to leave on a positive, enthusiastic and grateful note.

You may like to conclude by using the example below or adapting your own:

“I really appreciate all the time you have given up to meet with me. I really like what I have heard.  This sounds like a fantastic place to work/ like a fantastic role/career path.  You must feel very lucky.  Thanks again—I’ve gained a lot.”

Key points to remember are:

• Thank the person you have met

Their time is valuable to them and there were probably half a dozen things they should have, or could have, been doing.  People like to be appreciated.

• Convey that you have really benefited from your meeting with them

People like to feel that what they do makes a difference.  Tell them what you have learned or gained as a result of their input. Your feedback to them is invaluable.

• Show your enthusiasm

The worse you can do is to leave the meeting looking unmotivated.  Even if the meeting hasn’t yielded the results you hoped for, remember the person you have just met may be your best advocate – advertising you by word of mouth to his/her own personal networks.

Follow Up

Out of sight does not necessarily have to be out of mind.  Even well-intentioned people forget – your job is to remind people that you exist.

Follow up one week after your initial meeting or phone conversation.  Include a copy of your Resume or CV, if you had not already left this behind, and a thank you note.

The thank you note should include the following details:

• Confirm the date and time of the meeting

• Highlight key knowledge and insights you gained

• Bullet point how your skills and experiences fit the organizations current and future needs

• A “thank you” statement for the initial meeting and your interest in any opportunities that arise

When to Leave Your CV or Resume

Always have your CV with you in case an employer should ask to have a copy.  It is also a useful “talking” document—while you are in your meeting you can point to your skills and experiences and talk about them in more specific detail than you may otherwise be able to.

The benefit of NOT leaving a CV at the first meeting is that you can further tailor it as a result of the new knowledge you gained. It also takes away the pressure you might feel about seeming like you are “begging for a job”.  We know you are not a beggar. You are an enquirer and an investigator—enquiring as to whether there are any employment opportunities and investigating what other opportunities might exist.

 

REMEMBER: 

Everything that occurs in life is always a matter of timing.  Be patient and have faith that when the timing and the situation is right the opportunity will appear.

Perseverance and maintaining a positive expectation is what separates successful people from unsuccessful people.

 

 

 

This is a review and edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies that Work: How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate and Start Living a Life You Love, Before It’s Too Late by Cassandra Gaisford. Available in paperback or for immediate download for less than the price of a cup of coffee here>>getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

True Stories: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

 

“Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could make changes to the life of others.”

 

Giving up alcohol is a heroic journey—it’s not easy and it’s not a quick-fix, but inevitably there is a happy ending and you are rewarded with a life more beautiful. The journey to sobriety very often takes extreme courage, tenacity, and resilience in the face of obstacles, setbacks and, occasionally, defeat.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear.  There are millions suffering alone, afraid to ask the question, ‘am I drinking too much?’ Reading and hearing about others who felt similarly and share their stories of triumphing over addiction is inspirational and transformational. I know this personally and professionally.

I honor and give thanks to Justin Raj for being willing to share his hero’s journey (I use this term in a gender-neutral way). The word “hero” comes from a Greek root that means to protect and serve. The hero is connected with self-sacrifice. He or she is the person who transcends the ego and incorporates all the separate parts of themselves to become a true Self.

I asked Justin that as he responded to the questions he may like to recall the details of his journey from alcohol to sobriety as though his journey was a movie, recalling all the aspects that had the greatest impact and both his decision and his success in controlling alcohol. I have structured the questions I asked Justin by drawing on Christopher Vogler’s Story Structure.

“The reader is usually invited to identify with the hero”, says Vogler. “You admire the hero’s qualities and want to be like him or her, but the hero also has flaws. Weaknesses, quirks, and vices make a hero more appealing” – again, I honor Justin for not sanctioning his responses. He has been brutally honest, shared from this heart, and spoken the truth in the heartfelt desire that those who read his story may be emboldened and inspired to join him in joyful sobriety.

 

Q. You recently gave up alcohol. What was your life like when you were drinking? What, if any problems, or issues did you face?

 

I started drinking at the age of 18, I still remember clearly the day I experimented with alcohol.

It was during a Christmas party at my home. I took some brandy from the bottle from which my dad was drinking. I felt dizzy after two drinks and I puked. Next day I woke up with a headache and I was not well for two days.

During my days of higher studies, I started drinking with friends and it became a norm to celebrate with drinks.

It was when I started my own business in 2011 that I realized that my drinking was affecting my business and life. In 2014 my business failed terribly.

I joined an Alcohol Anonymous group in my hometown. I thought AA could help me quit drinking. But, AA here is filled with spirituality, prayers, boring lectures and public confessions. I quit the group after two months and continued with drinking.

When I was drinking, I was failing at any endeavor I undertook. The only thing I thought about was getting drunk and having fun. I even thought of making money just to have drinks. I was penalized for drunken driving several times, ended up in a number of illicit sexual relationships and also involved in a fist fight with strangers and friends in a bar.

 

Q: What was the catalyst for change?

The catalyst happened on the night of 24th February 2018. I had a road accident in which I hit an elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. My left forearm was broken and dislocated. I had to undergo a surgery. My family and friends came to know that I was drunk when I had the accident.

Even after the accident and surgery, I continued drinking regularly. I visited a nearby bar with my broken hand resting in an arm-sling. After observing this addictive behavior of mine, my family took my drinking seriously.

One of my cousins who is a psychiatrist-counselor recommended me to attend a counseling session with a friend of hers. It was after the counseling session that I decided to quit.

 

Q: Was there ever a point when you knew you needed to stop drinking but refused ‘the call’ or had second thoughts about giving up? What obstacles did you face in order to stay firm in your decision?

 

Yes, whenever I decide to quit alcohol, I had second thoughts: ‘why should I?’ Alcohol is the only answer I have to escape from my boredom, to have fun and pass my free time. I didn’t know anything other than drinking alcohol to engage myself with. To me, peer pressure was less. I don’t have any friends who compelled me to drink. I can’t blame anyone other than myself.

 

Q: What sources of aid did you receive to continue on the path to sobriety? i.e. Did anyone appear to help you? A mentor, friend, adviser, support group etc.

 

Counseling sessions were great. It was those three days of counseling, that changed my attitude towards drinking. Then the books the counselor recommended. One of the books was yours, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Your Beautiful Mind happened to be the first book in my life I read on alcoholism. It was a well written, informative and inspiring book.

I spent three weeks after the counseling sessions to read books on alcoholism. Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power. My family and friends also gave great support. Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could help make changes in the lives of others.

 

Q: At what point did you truly commit to giving up drinking and follow with action? Describe the point when you crossed the threshold.

 

It was the road accident, counseling sessions, reading books on alcoholism and knowing more about the menace of alcohol, that motivated me to strongly decided to quit alcohol for life.

 

Q: Once you gave up drinking did you face, or were you confronted with, any difficult challenges (ranging from minor struggles to setbacks) that threatened your resolve and may have defeated a lesser person. What tests did you face, what allies did you meet?

The only enemy I have to face was myself. As I said earlier, none of my friends compelled me to drink ever in my life. It was my decision to start drinking and it is the addictive nature of alcohol which kept me hooked. Today, I’m getting great support from my family and friends. The happiness my mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends experience after I embraced sobriety is priceless.

It has been two months. I have been sober and I will remain so for the rest of my life.

 

Q: Did you emerge wiser from these trials? In what way did these tests help you prepare for the ultimate test—unwavering sobriety. Looking back now, what advice or warning would you give to others about what could go wrong, and possibly derail their decision to give up drinking?

Our life is a great teacher. Out of my drunkenness and reckless riding, I hit an innocent, elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. He was 73 years old. Still today, I can’t recollect how I hit him or what happened that night. If that elderly person was dead, I would have ended up in jail. To me, thinking about that incident is still scary.

Alcohol is a legally available addictive substance. People cant stop drinking because they are hooked by its addictive nature and nothing else. People think drinking is fun. Even I thought so till a few months ago. But the truth is, I still can’t remember the fun I had while I was drinking.

It is saddening that our society and media is all praise for drinking and smoking just trapping youngsters into the mindset that drinking and smoking are essential for a fun-filled life.

Life is more beautiful if you take away alcohol from it. We can have everlasting, memorable fun and experiences without the influence of alcohol. My advice is don’t try alcohol if you haven’t already and quit it if you are using it.

 

Q: What were your deepest fears during this time? Some people describe this as a battle with “the dark villain” – an inner battle whereby they faced and overcame their own demon and inner fears. Was this your experience? In what way?

The dark villain is me. I was engaged in an inner battle with my own demon. If we need to change our life, we have to take that decision by ourselves, don’t we?

Even before going to counseling I had determined with a half-heart that I had to quit drinking. My family has a background of alcohol and drug abuse. My father died from alcohol-related disease, my maternal grandfather died due to heavy drinking. My paternal grandfather was also a heavy drinker. A few of my uncles, cousins, and family friends are also suffering from alcoholism.

I started experiencing alcoholic depression for the past few years which I didn’t recognize. It was only after counseling that I realized that I was suffering from depression—not from a hangover. I have a great many reasons to quit alcohol not a single reason to continue with it.

 

Q: Describe/recount the time you truly knew you had succeeded in defeating the enemy of alcohol when you transformed into a new state of being – where fears were vanquished and the new you was born.

When you find no reason to drink alcohol, you will quit. What I thought was fun wasn’t fun anymore. When I get bored I have better things to do today other than drinking.

Why should I drink and invite trouble as well as create a deep hole in my purse, if I can do productive, enjoyable things like reading, writing, working out and talking with friends which add value to my life and myself?

We are basically our thoughts. When we change our thoughts, ultimately we change ourselves.

 

Q: What rewards did you reap—external (knowledge, a promotion, career success, improved relationships, better health etc.) and/or as an inner reward (personal growth, fulfillment, freedom, self-respect etc.)

As I said earlier, I don’t have any reason to drink. Moreover, I have more reasons not to drink. Even after two months of alcohol-free life, I can really feel the changes in myself and things I do.

First and foremost, my financial situation has improved. I spent too much money on this destructive habit of mine. I started doing things I love with more vigor and passion. I’m getting an everlasting, joyful and positive high from it. Alcohol disconnected me from my life, my business and myself. Today, I feel that connection is back. It is priceless.

 

Q: Having gained the rewards, and with nothing left to prove, how was your early experience of sobriety?

For the past four years, I was struggling with my drinking. I tried to quit in all ways I can but in vain. I couldn’t stop drinking even for a week. I never read any books like yours in those days.

Today, I feel if I had read the books I read today or attended a good counseling session, I should have got the power to quit alcohol for life earlier. And also I should have avoided all the troubles I had to overcome in those alcohol-filled days.

 

Q: Was there ever a point where you felt lulled into a false sense of security, but in reality, there was one last challenge you had to face? Perhaps the desire for alcohol was not completely vanquished or perhaps something plunged you into a temptation to drink—just when you thought it was safe to breathe easy again?

It was my lack of knowledge and the addictive nature of alcohol. You know, I quit sugar two years ago when I learned the bad effects of it on my physical and mental health. I was too much addicted to sugar from my childhood and when I learned that it was doing me harm I quit.

Why couldn’t I do it with alcohol, even though, I knew it is bad for health, mind, and my purse?

The only reason is alcohol is addictive. It is normal that we defend our addictions by stating ‘today is Saturday’ ‘my friends are here so we are going to party hard’, ‘I can stop it anytime and many more excuses. These defensive mentalities last only until the day we realize the habit we are nurturing is gradually destructing our mind, body, finances, and relationship with our loved ones. I have met with that stage of self-realization and freed myself from a self-imposed prison of my addictive behavior.

Do you think, I want to go back to the prison again? I don’t think so.

 

Describe the moment when you felt truly reborn into a new, joyous form, with your beautiful mind – able to control the desire, temptation or compulsion to drink alcohol. In what way have you been rewarded for your courageous and determined journey?

I can give full credit to the psychiatrist who counseled me. He has a decade-long experience in dealing with alcohol and drug addicts. His level of knowledge fascinated me. He made me realize that drinking alcohol, which I thought was joyful fun, is, in fact, an illusion.

The counseling sessions usually last for three days. By the second day, I learned that what I was doing is wrong and decided to quit alcohol for life. The last day of the session was just a friendly talk and he recommended a few books to read including your book.

Today, I’m not thinking the way I used to be. I have changed and I can feel that transformation. I have got myself back. My business has grown, my passions have started blooming and my financial condition has improved. Today, I started welcoming mornings without hangovers and regrets. It feels great!

The book I prefer from all those I have read since committing to sobriety is your book: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

 

I’m so thrilled to have been able to help! As I write this post, Justin is working on his business plan and also preparing for an entrance exam for his doctoral degree in journalism—something he doubts he’d be achieving if he was still drinking.

Below is a copy of the review Justin Raj left on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!
21 May 2018

Cassandra Gaisford’s book- Your beautiful mind – is the first book I read after completing my three-day counseling session at a major alcoholic rehabilitation center in the Indian state of Kerala. Her straightforward way of writing hooked me and motivated me to hold on to my decision to quit alcohol, strongly. She handled the menace of alcoholism from the level of basics to the level of an expert in a language even a layman can understand.

‘Your beautiful mind’ inspired me to think beyond my alcoholic lifestyle, which wasn’t possible before and helped to transform my mind completely. She motivated me to take up my passions- reading, writing, stock market analysis- as fruitful addictions rather than following self-destructive addictions like alcohol, nicotine, and drugs. Today, I can enjoy my life more and feels like I have been freed from a prison – a self-created prison of addictive behaviour. Keep inspiring and keep up your great work, Cassandra!”

 

It was lovely feedback to receive! All power to Justin… I’m so proud of him!

 

Are you struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction? Are you worried you’re drinking too much? Or are you curious about the life-changing magic of sobriety?

I hope Justin’s story of self-empowered, purpose and passion-filled sobriety provides hope, courage, and determination for you to achieve the same.

“Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power.”

 

Life really is more beautiful sober. You can learn more about Justin Raj and follow his blog here—www.justyjots.com

 

 

This is an edited testimonial for Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

You’ll also find plenty of ongoing support and cheerleading in the Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment/. Pop along and join us now.

 

The Five P’s of Life – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, Passion, and Purpose

Monday, May 14th, 2018

The best thing I can tell you? It’s one word. Persistence.

~ James Patterson, author

 

Knowing when to quit is one thing; knowing when to persevere another. Whether it’s the weight of obstacles you face, the setbacks and the disappointments, the successes others seem to achieve more speedily, or the critical feedback from others who are impatient to see more evidence that you’ll make it—never give up. Never, never, never give up.

Many prosperous authors’ most enduring successes took years and years to achieve. Nora Roberts is probably the most successful romance novelist on the planet. Thirty-four of her titles are sold every minute and she earns an estimated $US60 million a year! But her success didn’t happen in 6 months, a year, or even three.

She started writing back in the 1980’s for Mills and Boon and then morphed into mainstream romance fiction—and other genres. So, I really shouldn’t be discouraged when the three romance novels I published this year haven’t filled my coffers with gold. Looking back, I also shouldn’t have been discouraged by the feedback that I received early in my career that “my characters were dysfunctional.” Instead of targeting Mills and Boon, the reviewer suggested that my romances seemed better suited to mainstream women’s fiction—a path Roberts also pursued.

Along with Roberts’ commitment to writing characters she can personally identify with, it is her work ethic and her prolific output that really defines her. “Whatever I’m doing, I get very guilty if I don’t put a good day’s work in. I’m not one for making excuses. I had this Catholic upbringing. I was taught to finish what you start.”

A prodigious work ethic, cultivated talent, commitment to finishing what she starts, over four different pen names, writing in a variety of genres, perseverance, and persistence are amongst the many things which have made her one of the world’s most prosperous authors.

Award-winning, perennial bestselling author Jodi Picoult is the author of over twenty books, the last five of which debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books have been translated into thirty-four languages, and four have been made into television movies, while another, My Sister’s Keeper, was made into a film starring Cameron Diaz.

“I had over 100 rejection letters from agents. Finally, one woman who had never represented anyone in her life said she thought she could take me on. I jumped at the chance. She sold my first novel in three months,” says Picoult.

Both authors, and others like them, wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for their grit, persistence, and patient perseverance.

Similarly, many other successful people across a diverse range of occupations and industries have discovered the value of patient perseverance.

In fact, the five P’s of Life – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, Passion, and Purpose, are the foundation of many peoples success.

A failure at 65, Colonel Sanders was world-famous and wealthy at 80. His father was a miner and his mother worked in a shirt factory. Harland Sanders had to give up school in the sixth grade because he was so poor.

He eventually opened a small home-town restaurant in the Kentucky hills. All looked well until the highway was rerouted and he lost everything. He was 65 at the time and faced with a future barely surviving on social security, his motivation to try again kicked in.

“My government is going to give me a hundred and five dollars so I can eke out an existence. Surely there is something I can do for myself and other people.”

Tapping into powerfully creative questions like this unlocked the key to what would be his major success—his mother’s secret chicken recipe.

Turned down by numerous restaurants at the time he turned potential failure into another inspired idea—franchises. It was an instantaneous hit, and the rest is history!

Fifty-five-year-old Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis.

That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which went on to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.

At the heart of Rhonda’s inspirational series of products and resources is the law of attraction.

“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”

Take a leaf from Rhonda’s secret to success and change any stinkin’ thinkin’ that may be lingering. Answering the following questions may help:

1. What results are you currently experiencing that you would like to change?

2. What thoughts would you need to change?

3. What thoughts would remain the same?

4. What things supported you in maintaining a positive state of mind in the past? How could they be helpful now?

5. Can you think of some other strategies to help you keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want?

 

Mining for Gold

When you think of patience, perseverance, tenacity, passion, purpose, and success, who comes to mind?

Who or what can help you to manifest more persistence? How can you keep your mind on your vision, your body moving towards your dreams, your heart warmed by the joy you will feel when you finally achieve success?

Identify three ways to strengthen your persistence by strengthening your willpower and self-discipline.

 

This is an edited extract of Change Your Mindset: Millionaire Mindset Makeover by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how your thoughts affect your success habits read the book here

Amazon: viewbook.at/ChangeYourMindset

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: books2read.com/u/bP56wz

The Truth About Alcohol, Addiction, and Recovery

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

 

Booze barons do such a great job of disguising alcohol that many people don’t know what it really is.

Alcohol is ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, and is a flammable, colorless chemical compound. Yes, folks, everything can really go up in flames when you drink.

I fondly remember Christmases spent at my grandmother’s and the excitement we all felt when a match was held against the rum-soaked Christmas pudding and it burst into plumes of fire.

For some reason, until researching this chapter I never made the connection that booze was a flammable substance I poured down my throat.

Ethanol fuel is also used in some countries instead of gasoline in cars and other engines. In Brazil, for example, ethanol fuel made from sugar cane provides 18 percent of the country’s fuel for cars.

In short, the alcohol or ethanol found in your favorite beer, wine, and spirits is a poison, masquerading as a happy drink. It’s so toxic that, when consumed too quickly or in huge quantities, your body’s default position is to expel it—usually in a totally unglamorous technicolor spray of vomit.  That’s if you’re lucky.

Alcohol poisoning can, and does, cause death—both directly and indirectly through liver disease, breast cancer, and a staggering amount of other alcohol-related diseases. We’ll explore the havoc caused by booze, as well as how sobriety leads to nirvana in the chapter, Health Havoc or Health Nirvana?

Yet, despite all the risks and dire health warnings, alcohol seems such a benign substance. Perhaps it’s the allure of its origins—a uniquely natural process.

Alcohol is formed when oxygen deprived yeast ferments natural sugars found in fruits, grains, and other substances. For example, wine is made from the sugar in grapes, beer from the sugar in malted barley, cider from the sugar in apples, and most vodka from the sugar in fermented grains such as sorghum, corn, rice, rye or wheat (though you can also use potatoes, fruits or even just sugar.)

Many people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate their way through life’s ups and downs. Peer into the history of alcohol and you’ll find that its medical origins enjoy a good pedigree. Gin mixed with tonic containing quinine, for example, was historically used to treat malaria.

“So it’s totally good for you,” writes one enthusiastic supporter in an alcohol forum.

Yeah, if you’ve got malaria perhaps, but not if you’re just sick and dog-tired of living.

Alcohol is classed as a ‘sedative hypnotic’ drug. That definition on its own may sound just like what you’re craving until you discover the true impact. Sedative-hypnotic drugs depress the central nervous system (CNS) at high doses.

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound so flash, especially if you’re prone to knocking back a few too many drinks. Your central nervous system controls a majority holding of the key functions of your body and mind. The CNS consists of two parts: your brain and your spinal cord.

As you know, the brain is the chief conductor of your thoughts, interpreting your external environment, and coordinating body movement and function, both consciously and unconsciously. Complex functions, including how you think and feel, and maintaining homeostasis, a relatively stable balance between all the interdependent elements in your body, are directly attributable to different parts of your brain.

Your spinal cord with its network of sensitive nerves acts as a conduit for signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

You definitely don’t want to mess with the way this important duo functions. But every time you ingest alcohol you do, weakening their ability to perform like virtuosos, interfering with maintaining a healthy balance and the finely tuned harmony which is so vital to your health, performance, and effectiveness, and causing all systems in your body to play horribly off key.

Would you love to possess an outstanding ability in your field? Excel in your chosen profession? Tap into higher knowledge? Hone a much-loved or admired skill? Be universally admired? Many people think alcohol aids the fulfillment of these desires—until they realize their beliefs were deceptively wrong.

Sobriety on the other hand… now there’s a different story.

At lower doses, alcohol can act as a stimulant inducing feelings of euphoria, optimism, and gregariousness. Everything looks beautiful, your belief in yourself, your talents, and your ability elevates like a seductive piece of music. Your inhibitions float away, suddenly you imagine yourself to be far better than you really feel. Shyness disappears, in its place talkativeness.

For a little while.

But pour more and more drinks down your throat,  knock back liters of your favorite elixir and you’ll quickly find yourself confronted by the truth. Alcohol is trouble.

Quite simply, alcohol knocks the life out of you. The more you drink, the higher the likelihood you’ll become drowsy. Recall the drunk in the corner, slouched against the wall, or the once vivacious life of the party, barely able to hold her head in her hands, as she sits slumped at the bar. I’ve been there—it’s a predictable rite of passage. In a culture that values drinking, this is normal.

Normal but definitely not glamorous, hip or cool.

But things get worse. Sometimes much, worse. Your breathing naturally slows into a state called respiratory depression. It can become exceedingly shallow or worse, stop entirely—what’s truly frightening is you have absolutely no control. No one chooses to fall into an alcohol-fuelled coma, but this is exactly what happens to far too many people.

Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death. And, tragically, far too many beautiful people needlessly die this way.

Can I scare you sober? It’s not my agenda, but I do know this—that’s exactly what happened to Amy Winehouse. And it’s exactly what’s happened to a great many other talented, beautiful, smart people. People who only wanted to feel high, but never intended to die.

As well as its acute and potentially lethal sedative effects at high doses, alcohol undermines every organ in the body and these effects depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over time.

We’ll examine the dangers of drinking both large and small alcoholic beverages over a short period of time in the chapter, Binge Drinking Blindness.

We’ll also dive deeper into what constitutes safe drinking, including analyzing what constitutes a standard drink and why health authorities want you to control your drinking—assuming you don’t want to kick the alcohol habit for good.

But first, let’s stop to consider, how natural is alcohol really?

What’s Hidden in Your Drink?

Ethanol made be created via a naturally occurring process, but that’s not the end of the production cycle. The other thing to be mindful of is all the other hidden dangers lurking in your drinks.

Peer a little closer and you’ll find all sorts of nasty additives—not to mention toxic sprays, pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers and other things that infiltrate many crops. But you won’t find many of these disclosed on the labels.

Sorry to spoil the party.

Health gurus cite dangerous levels of sulfites or sulphites (as it’s spelled in New Zealand) and warn of harmful side-effects, particularly for those with a low tolerance.

The term sulfites is an inclusive term for sulfur dioxide (SO2), a preservative that’s widely used in winemaking (and most food industries) for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. SO2 plays an important role in preventing oxidization and maintaining a wine’s freshness. When used in high levels, because it’s considered harmful, it must legally be disclosed on product labels.

To be fair, many foods also contain sulfites. Some people claim the preservative is nothing to be alarmed by—unless of course, you include yourself in the numbers of people who are allergic. Sulfites cause bloating and itching in sulfite-sensitive people. Does your beloved have a beer gut or sulphite bloating?

Histamine High?

Some studies suggest sulfites and other additives, including compounds such as histamines and tannins, are connected to the pounding headaches many of us suffer after drinking. That, and our ballooning weight.

Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne, and beer are histamine-rich.

As the author and psychologist Doreen Virtue explains in her excellent book, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, many people binge drink when stressed, but most don’t realize that some of the excess weight may be attributed to stress-hormones and neurotransmitter responses. These biochemicals, Virtue says, are triggered by the fact when you’re stressed you often binge on food and drinks to which you may unknowingly be allergic to, or which are intrinsically unhealthy.

As I’ve mentioned, any product that undergoes fermentation contains high levels of histamine. What I didn’t know was that these histamines trigger allergic reactions in our body, especially if we’re under a lot of stress.

Histamines get you both ways, not only occurring in the food and alcohol you drink but also because when you’re allergic to something your body releases its own histamine, says Virtue. “Stress produces histamine. We’re all naturally allergic to stress,” she says.

When you consume a diet that’s high in histamine or histamine-inducing foods, your body becomes overwhelmed. Add a stressful lifestyle to the mix and it’s no wonder you feel less than perky.

Histamines are also manufactured and released by our bodies not only when we’re stressed but also when we’re dehydrated. Again, alcohol, because it magnifies dehydration, makes things worse.

Virtue explains, “The trouble is that histamine produces uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, itchy skin, profuse sweating, hot flashes, runny or stuffy nose, and feeling cold all the time, as well as low blood pressure, arrhythmia, anxiety, and depression.”

Nice.

No wonder, we start to look and feel better when we lose the booze.

Other addictive beverages, like coffee and sugar-laden drinks, also trigger histamine reactions. The net result is a ‘histamine high.’ This boosted energy and elation you experience is always short-lived and is always followed by an energy crash, plus other painful symptoms discussed above.

Before publishing her findings Virtue decided to test her theory and embark on a 30-day histamine-free diet.

“Within two days of going ‘low-histamine,’ I felt a youthful energy and exuberance that I had never experienced before. I felt well. I felt happy. And I knew it was due to the low-histamine diet… you cannot return to the old ways of bingeing upon histamine once you realize the process behind these binges.”

Sugar Rush

Submerged in many alcoholic drinks are dangerous and highly addictive levels of sugar. Research collated in a New York Times article stated, “Cravings induced by sugar are comparable to those induced by addictive drugs like cocaine and nicotine.”   

Latest research revealed in The New Zealand Listener in 2018 reveals the physiological and neurological reasons your brain makes you crave sugar.  I share some of these findings in the chapter Sweet Misery. It’s only since researching and writing this book that I realized I was more addicted to sugar than alcohol.

Whew! That’s a relief. But it’s also not—because both are tough habits to crack. Tough, but not impossible. Knowledge is power, right?

In summary, not only is alcohol a highly addictive poison, but your cravings, your weight gain, low energy levels and less-than-optimal mental and emotional health may be fuelled as much by additives and sugar, as it is ethanol or alcohol itself.

You can heal your life and it begins with examining the facts. Consider becoming an amateur sleuth and adopting the role of an investigative journalist. Discover how alcohol is made, including all the artificial things that are added to many products to make it tastier and more alluring—and potentially more dangerous to your health.

Perhaps this may be all the motivation you need to develop a healthy intolerance for alcohol.

 

You’ll find more ways to cultivate joy and moderate your drinking in, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

You’ll find plenty of ongoing support and cheerleading in the Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment/. Pop along and join us now.

 

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—his secret love and one woman’s passion and purpose behind telling his story

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

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. This provided added motivation to crack on with my own writing projects.

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 (released to great acclaim in 2018).

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.

Sokolov used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“My book is the true story of 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 Dante-esque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married, and lived very happily for over 50 years, ” Heather told me.

After first meeting Heather I invited her to share her story and she generously emailed me the following:

“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 honored 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, and was often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Award 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 came 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 once said, ‘knocked the bugger off.’

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story. They 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 two or three 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 told myself it was 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 honored 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 favorite screenwriters, William Goldman, who references the children’s book The Little Engine That Could.

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

 

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!

Harper Collins came on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and, at the time of writing, major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

What’s also interesting about Heather’s story is that she adopted a growth mindset. 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 Kickstarter and the Internet—and then an opportunity came knocking. But, importantly, success came because she put her work out there.

It’s a reminder to us all that 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 her. 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.

Winners never quit and quitters never win, Heather’s brother John Williamson, a screenwriter, told me recently.

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 creativity!

Mining for Gold

Brainstorm or list as many ways as possible that you could finance your career. Seek suggestions from others to widen the possibilities. Ask your way to success.

Which of Heather’s success strategies could you experiment with? Going AWOL? Learning a new skill? Crowdfunding? Affirmations on the wall—or something else?

Read the BBC review of Heather’s book and meet the man who inspired this unexpected love story—http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42568390

Check out Heather’s Kickstarter Campaign here—www.kickstarter.com/projects/thetattooist/the-tattooist

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

 

 

 

Do you have a secret you’d love to share? A story of passion, hope, and survival? Or have you always dreamed of writing a book someday?

 

  • For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.
  • For anyone who wants to make a living from books.
  •  This is the book to make your dreams a reality.
  •  Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

 

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Staying happy and motivated is like caring for delicate roses, you need to nurture your fragrant dreams every day and be vigilant in keeping predators away. As a coaching client, who suffers from reoccurring bouts of depression, said recently, “Changing my view from one where I am trying to motivate myself, to one where I am inspired by the things that motivate me will help me achieve my goals.”

Successful people don’t force themselves into submission, instead, they harness their love and enthusiasm for their projects to lift them higher. Successful people also know how to bounce back from inevitable setbacks. Guided by the  wisdom of Leonardo da Vinci, here are 6 things successful people do to become and stay motivated:

 

1.) HARNESS THE POWER OF PASSION

 

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.  It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

Sadly, when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, the things that you love are the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that feeds your soul you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me”. Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

2.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN SIGHT

 

There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Beginning with the end in sight is a powerful way of strengthening motivation, persistence, and perseverance. The future does belong to those believe in the beauty of their dreams and schemes

Every extraordinary achievement starts as someone’s daydream. Dream big, become audaciously obsessed, and fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles!

Let desire propel you forward by acting as if, seeing as if, feeling as if, tasting as if, touching as if your success has already been achieved.

Jessie Burton’s empowering words, “Always picture succeeding, never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things seem to be going in the moment,” may inspire you as much as they do me.

Her advice reminds me to watch my tendency to visualize and picture failure. Sometimes when I embark on an inspired quest I tell myself messages of failure, and as a result, I feel failure. This is hardly a formula for success!

Jesse Burton, the bestselling author of the highly acclaimed books The Muse and The Miniaturist, is very inspiring to me because she is so honest about her own battles with mental health—including anxiety.

Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, and Julia Cameron, playwright and author of phenomenal bestseller The Artist’s Way, all understand the transformational power of keeping words, thoughts, and feelings in journals. As did Leonardo da Vinci.

He was a prolific recorder of all things that interested and excited him. He maintained over 13,000 pages of scientific notes and drawings on natural philosophy, life, travel, and mysteries.

“Preserve these sketches as your assistants and masters,” he once wrote in his journal.

His notebooks not only log his interests and the things he witnessed with his own eyes, but it was also a medium by which he channeled his intuition. They also helped him shape his vision for future creations he wished to transform from his mind into tangible reality.

Whether you keep a passion journal, dream board or store your vision in your mind, visualizing your preferred future is an essential tool for your success.

 

3.) BE AMBITIOUS

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, loss. Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.

Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines. 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.

“Dream big,” encourages James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world. “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a #1 thriller.” 

Given that science has barely even begun to explore the real potential of the human mind, it’s a funny thing how easily we persuade ourselves of its limitations and settle for less.

You’ve probably caught yourself thinking about a big dream, some inspired course of action, and at some point talked yourself down by saying, “I could never do that!”

Or perhaps you’ve come up with a bright idea about something and then shelved it because somebody said dismissively, “You can’t do that!” or “That’s crap.”

Or perhaps, as I have so often said to myself before reconnecting with my millionaire mindset, “I can’t do this. I can’t write this book. It’s too big. Who do I think I am trying to write such a complex book?”

But how do you really know what you are capable of unless you try?

Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist, once said: “Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations. Improve your dancing, practice a lot, and set a very high goal, one that will be difficult to achieve. Because that is an artist’s million: to go beyond one’s limits. An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”

Thinking big demands a long step outside the comfort zone of what you know.

It can feel scary to contemplate stepping out of the space where you feel you know what you’re doing and you feel fully in control.

It can feel frightening to explore what it would be like if you were to leave the comfort-rut and attempt to climb toward a new summit. You don’t know for sure where it will lead. But everyone who’s ever made a success of anything started with a big dream.

And you can, too.

Tim Ferris dreams big by adopting and cherishing his beginner’s mind. Rather than succumb to the fear of failure, he changes his mindset, and affirms his love of variety and challenge and being a perpetual debutante.

“Think small, to go big” encourages Gary Keller in his book The One Thing. “Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do.

“It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make a focus.”

When you think too big, achieving success can feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and complicated. Calendars can become overloaded and success starts to feel out of reach. So, people opt out and either quit or settle for less.

“Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much, and in the end, accomplish too little,” says Keller.

“Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.”

 

4.) PLAN FOR SUCCESS

 

God sells us all things at the price of labor

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Planning and effort prevent poor performance. This is such a powerful message when it comes to our goals, especially if you’re someone who equates planning with feeling controlled. You may be looking to the future thinking, “Someday! Someday I will achieve that.”

How can you be assured that things will happen if you don’t plan your action steps effectively, efficiently and productively?

So many people end their lives disappointed that things didn’t come to fruition. “Why didn’t it happen for me? Why, when it happens for other people.” Successful people don’t sit at home waiting for things to happen. They go out and conquer things.

If you’re sitting back waiting for ‘someday’ you have a problem—you think you have time!

Successful people set goals and start breaking them down into bite-size chunks. If you want to generate $100,000 out of your business in a year what do you need to do to get there? If you want to start a new relationship, or improve the one you’ve got, develop your success strategy. Your efforts will be repaid in exchange for your labor and your courage to try.

Planning for success also means planning for possible failure. As Oprah once said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

Planning to for success also means showing up! Successful people don’t spend their time thinking and strategizing about success.

To be inspired is to be in spirit, and inspiration has to find you working or it won’t come out to play. Eighty percent of success is empowering your mind, body, and spirit by showing up.

Showing up requires the ability to balance creativity with flexibility and discipline.

To be disciplined is to be committed, devoted, able to control your SELF in accordance with, and sometimes against, your desires.

You may be a genius, gifted or have an IQ of 160, but if you lack self-discipline and follow-through your success will be limited.

Leonardo affirmed the importance of this by writing reminders to himself of the superiority of doing to knowing.“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough: we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

 

5.) CHASE THE LIGHT

 

Darkness steeps everything with its hue, and the more an object is divided from darkness the more it shows its true and natural color

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

What’s your default position when things go awry, obstacles challenge your resolve, technology goes belly-up or unforeseen demands on your time derail your plans?

Does your mood darken? Setbacks are normal foes you’ll meet on the path to success, but how you greet them will determine the outcome.

Keep your thoughts light. You may need to bring out the big guns to wage war against doubt, despair and other dark, heavy thoughts. While they’re often part of the journey to success, you will need to slay them to stay motivated and optimistic.

Leonardo would turn again and again toward the things that created light. He didn’t ignore the shadows, but he didn’t allow his palette to be overloaded by darkness.

Acceptance, optimism, willpower, grit, stubborn determination and a resolve to persevere are critical skills to cultivate, as is flexibility and the willingness to adapt. Sometimes it’s all too hard and you need to hibernate. You can take a lesson from nature in this regard.

Successful people resist complaining and victim talk—they know it increases toxicity in your mind and body, hampering your progress. Instead, they throw their energy into positivity and strive to engineer and implement solutions, no matter how small.

They also ask for help if too much darkness creeps in, and, rather than suppress, numb or try to ignore problems they peer into the darkness and look for the gift.

The astoundingly innovative and talented British architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, faced unimaginable obstacles on her road to success, including battling the predominately male industry who viewed her curvaceous designs with destain. “Having to fight hard has made me a better architect,” she once said.

6.) SAVVY SOBRIETY

 

Here again, many vain pleasures are enjoyed, both by the mind in imagining impossible things, and by the body in taking those pleasures that are often the cause of the failing of life. Extremes are to be avoided

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Alcohol and success don’t make good marriage partners, but they’re often fatally attracted.

While there’s no evidence that Leonardo was a teetotaller, he was a clever man. Experience would have told him what we all know—too much booze muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit.

Many successful people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve, however, often takes extraordinary willpower.

Spiritual guru to the stars, Deepak Chopra, gave up drinking, saying “I liked it too much.”

Julia Cameron, the author of The Artists Way, fought her way back from alcoholism. Others like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it.

Drink to success? Destroying your career, ruining your relationships, sacrificing your sanity, and taking your life is a massive price to pay to celebrate success.

Benefits of not drinking are many, including:

  • Authentic happiness
  • Increased memory and mental performance
  • Better control of your emotions
  • Increased productivity
  • Sweeter relationships
  • Improved confidence, self-esteem
  • Stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams
  • Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

The choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the toll it exacts. Consider trialing sobriety—take the 30-day challenge. Experiment with living an alcohol-free life.

Do you need help to moderate or quit drinking? Consider purchasing any of my books in the Mindful Drinking series, including Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

Mind Your Drink—Pep Up Your Peptides and Feel Stronger, Happier, and Lighter Fast!

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

 

“As our feelings change, this mixture of peptides travels throughout your body and your brain. And they’re literally changing the chemistry of every cell in your body,” says neuroscientist Dr. Candace Pert.

Many people seek happiness in a bottle, mistakenly turning to booze to fuel a happy-high. But there are happier and healthier options to feel more joy—minus hangover hell and drinkers remorse. You can trick your brain and stimulate the reward networks by losing the booze and pepping up your peptides—your body’s natural feel-good opiates.

What you feel has a powerful effect on your mind and your behavior, attracting, or repealing from you what you desire—including health and vitality. Call it the law of attraction, the law of manifestation, or whatever you like, but know that the mind-body connection is backed by strong empirical science.

Dr. Candace Pert, formerly the chief of brain biochemistry at the National Institutes of Health in the US, revolutionized her field by discovering that emotions create biochemical compounds called peptides that serve as messengers in the brain; her team’s work won the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, which is often a precursor to the Nobel Prize.

Pert’s breakthrough discovery changed the way scientists understood the mind-body connection.

Her discovery of the opiate receptor, the mechanism by which a class of chemicals (peptides) alters the mind and body, and subsequent research, led her to an understanding of the way emotions function as a regulatory system in the body.

Because of her revolutionary work on emotions and the mind-body connection, Dr. Pert appeared in the film, What the Bleep Do We Know, and her work helped shift the paradigm from “emotions as neuroscience” to “emotions as biology, ” and “emotions as physics.

So, what does all this mean for you and your quest for sobriety?

Many people use alcohol to numb their emotions and mask their pain. But as Dr. Pert’s research highlights repression creates imbalance and leads to ill-health.

“My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed—which is to say that the biochemicals that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely, all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and behavior,” says Pert.

As you’ve already discovered alcohol is a depressant and aggravates anxiety and other mental imbalances. Too often, when people start to experience low mood or suffer mental illness they head to the doctor or schedule an appointment with a therapist.

However many psychologists and western doctors treat the mind as “disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body,” says Pert. “Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard for the mind or the emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.”

I endorse this professionally and personally and have seen many people return to good health when they stop ingesting toxins, particularly alcohol. My daughter was too-quickly diagnosed as having bipolar and prescribed medication. She was never asked about external events that may have been triggering acute stress, nor asked about her health behaviors (or rather, non-health behaviors) that may have exacerbated her condition. Nor was she counseled in any way so that she could process and transcend feelings that kept her blocked.

After a period of counseling, particularly trauma therapy following a violent assault and attempted strangulation by her then partner, Hannah is now alcohol-free and healthy.

Extensive counseling, having a constructive outlet for her feelings, changing her environment and removing herself from negative influences, and working on her self-esteem has transformed her life. Dr. Pert would no doubt say that she has ‘pepped up her peptides.”

“I’ve always kind of known that the energy you emanate from within attracts the situations and people that you need,” Pert explains.

“We’re not just little hunks of meat. We’re vibrating like a tuning fork

—we send out a vibration to other people. We broadcast and receive. Thus the emotions orchestrate the interactions among all our organs and systems to control that.”

Emotions are meant to be felt temporarily, flowing through and out of you so they don’t become stuck in your cells and tissues. This is why having an outlet to express your emotions healthily is so vital—especially when painful emotions keep replaying through your conscious and subconscious mind.

Memories are emotions tangled with thoughts, and these can become implanted not just in your brain but in your body too. There are different theories about how exactly this works, but Dr. Pert explains that memories can be found stored biochemically in the synapses where neurons (brain cells) connect to each other.

“The sensitivity of the receptors are part of memory and pattern storage,” she once said. “The peptide network extends beyond the hippocampus, to organs, tissue, skin, muscle and endocrine glands. They all have peptides receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just the brain. The autonomic nervous system is pivotal to this entire understanding.”

We are all a bundle of nerves

The autonomic nervous system is where you experience the flood of physical reactions to your emotions—it’s the system that switches hormones on and off, changes your breathing and heart-rate patterns, and more in response to fear and stress.

As Colette Baron-Reid, a survivor of rape and a recovering alcohol and drug addict, shared in her book, Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility, “Even if you haven’t studied the science of how energy affects and forms patterns in the physical world, you have experienced it, as I have. Once, I ran into an old friend with whom I had severed ties years before. My relationship with this person had been constantly in chaos, unhealthy, and not serving either of us, so we had grown apart.

“I had tremendous anxiety whenever I was around this friend, triggered by the friend’s history of anger and my history around abuse. Over and over, I found myself back experiencing the energy of my 19-year-old self and the rape, when I couldn’t defend myself and capitulated out of fear.

“After the friendship ended, I rarely thought about this person, and I assumed I had simply moved on, but when I saw this person approaching on the sidewalk, I felt a sense of panic and quickly crossed the street. I asked myself, “When am I?” (not where but when) and realized I wasn’t present in the now; I was experiencing the energy of the past.

“Deep breathing and tuning into the Observer reconnected me to my soul and small self. I imagined myself in the hand of God, surrounded by love and light, and I sent my former friend the intention of compassion. The nightmare ended as the energy in my body shifted. I was no longer disempowered by the stored energy that had infused the memory.”

Pep up your peptides—find a healthy outlet for your emotions. Make finding a way to release all those stuck energies your mission.

Journaling and writing morning pages are some of my favorite ways to express any stinky feelings that bog me down in a rut. Meditation is another—it’s an amazingly alchemical tool that helps me stress less, and eliminate so much unnecessary negativity from my life. They are all some of the daily rituals I share in the next chapter, Magic Mornings.

 

Blank bookcover with clipping path

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

Why not making mistakes is the biggest mistake you’ll ever make

Sunday, March 11th, 2018
“And then, out of many years of silence and failure and feeling that my whole life was a disaster, the writer came, like a blessing, like a door that opened into another space.”

~ Isabel Allende


 
Conquering failure often requires learning the hard way to reach dizzying heights and allowing room for disappointment. 
One successful author, whose name escapes me, once advised aspiring authors to affirm the following, “I am willing to write badly; I am willing to do the work whether it is any good or not; I am also willing to allow brilliance.”

 
Many people stagnate under the weight of perfectionism or fear of failing because they worry about making mistakes. 
It may be challenging, but investing in strategies to create more tolerance and acceptance towards making mistakes will prove liberating.
 
One strategy is to learn from others’ misfortune.
With hindsight, sometimes the greatest fortune comes from making the biggest blunders.
 
Here are just a few mistakes that turned out well:

 
Isabel Allende started her career in journalism and soon found herself offside with people who didn’t appreciate her outspoken views. For years she felt under-appreciated—until she decided to tackle her first novel, The House of Spirits.
The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country’s Panorama Literario award. The House of the Spirits has been translated into over 37 languages. It was also adapted into a film of the same name starring Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, and Antonio Banderas.
 

Musician Ornette Coleman’s mistake led her to be acclaimed as the inventor of “free jazz.” She was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award) in 1994 and the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2007.
“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something,” she once said.
 

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lack of ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he and his brother co-founded Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture production companies in the world. Disney’s revenue last year was $US45 billion.
Dr. Suess’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. He went on to write numerous other books which still sell well today.

 
Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Fifty-five and twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis. 
That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which galloped away to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.
 
 

At the heart of Byrnes’ inspirational series of products is the Law of Attraction.
“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”
Refuse to be a victim.
 
Next time you feel you’ve made a mistake, ask yourself, “How could this work out for my highest good?” 
Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes making mistakes heralds a time of new birth and energy.
 
Draw on the lessons you have learned to help you move forward
Notice how you have grown and changed as a result of everything that has happened.
 
Gather information as you go and be ready for a new adventure. Look for positive signs for successful outcomes in the future.
 





Mining for Gold


 
What is the biggest mistake you ever made and what did you learn?
 

Buoy your resolve by collecting stories about other people who felt like failures, or were treated harshly by peers, critics, family, and other disbelievers.
 

Collect a file of inspiring stories about mistakes that turned out well.
 

Follow your inspiration.


 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Is it time you discovered the truth about alcohol?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

 

“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.”

~ Albert Einstein, genuis

 

December 2016—the year I took control of my drinking. Like you, I’d grown concerned about how much, and how regularly I was consuming alcohol.

I knew the side-effects, and I didn’t like them—insomnia, depression, aggression, muddled thinking, bloating, weight gain and more. But still, I couldn’t quit.

One month of sobriety was the longest time I’d ever managed to not let a single drop of alcohol pass my lips.

I tried reading books, used self-hypnosis, made a star-chart and ticked off my alcohol-free days. There were two ticks one week, none the next, then some longer stretches. But despite my positive intentions and extraordinary will booze always ended victoriously.

Nothing worked.

Until Christmas 2016 when I finally got angry—and scared—enough to make a change. To protect others’ privacy I won’t go into detail, suffice to say my turning point involved a rifle, shots fired and fearing for my life.

But my motivation and my personal story of alcohol being in control began earlier than that. My grandmother was an alcoholic. And her father before that—and both their stories, like many people affected by alcohol was one of tragedy.

In the 1930’s one drunken brawl outside the local pub in New Zealand left one man dead and my great-grandfather charged with murder.

My grandmother was four, and her brother aged six, when they were taken into foster care. They never saw their mother, father or each other again.

I’ve always wondered, had it not been for the trauma Molly experienced as a child, and throughout her life, would she have sought happiness in a bottle?

The tragedy didn’t end there. Years later her brother, then in his 30’s and married with three children, took his life.

Recently, at the time of writing, my mother shared how her childhood was scarred. “Mum was always drinking. We would come home and she would be in bed. I don’t recall her ever not being drunk.”

Their story, my story, your story is a far too common one.

”My step-father was an alcoholic and I lived through rough times with alcohol,” shared a reader recently.

“I hope your book does help many people. I personally believe a book like this would not have helped my dad. Only complete removal of alcohol would have helped my dad. Just my opinion that you cannot control alcohol. You must remove it,” he added. “I do hope your book does help many lives that are affected by alcohol though.”

Hope, as you read through this book, is an important element of any recovery—as is a desire for change.

As an advance reader, for whom alcoholism runs through her family, wrote to me, “Drunks believe they have ‘freedom’ because their stupor releases them from what they cannot face in life.”

For many, many people complete removal of alcohol is the only cure. Our booze-loving culture does not make it easy. Many people don’t know why they drink, nor how to find alternative help. Something, I have written this book to change.

Mindful drinking

This book is not an anti-alcohol book, although I don’t sugar-coat the truth about alcohol and the powerful economic and social forces that profit from misery.

It offers a fresh approach, encouraging you to approach your relationship to alcohol more mindfully.

While I feel it’s important to highlight the dangers of drinking too much, my aim is to highlight the life-changing benefits of drinking far less.

Importantly, I’ll share some simple but effective ways to build greater resilience to triggers, alternatives to alcohol and how to mix, mingle and practice sober socialising—and still feel cool.

 

A fresh approach

In 2014, I was struggling through my psychology degree after a 10-year break from study.

For years prior to this I had been obsessively collecting newspaper articles which highlight the social harm alcohol imposed. And I began to get frustrated not just at my own inability to control my drinking, but why—when everyone knows how harmful alcohol is—the problem was only becoming worse.

Bored and frustrated with my studies and the tendency of Western psychological approaches to pathologize alcohol dependence, I decided to research spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. I went from D’s to A’s in my grades and found both passion, purpose, and calling.

(I invite you to visit my earlier posts where I share some of my research:

—The truth about Alcohol Addiction and Recovery—Wrestling With the God Thing

http://www.cassandragaisford.com/the-truth-about-alcohol-addiction-and-recovery-wrestling-with-the-god-thing/

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

But importantly, I found something that resonated with me in my own quest to stop drinking.

Drinking too much didn’t make me psychologically abnormal—as those who pathologize alcoholics, and alcohol-dependent people would have us believe.

 

It’s time you knew the truth…

Drinking too much is a culturally sanctioned, actively encouraged “cure” for the dis-ease of modern life. Except it isn’t a cure at all. It’s not a sustainable quick fix. It doesn’t heal the damage, stress and unresolved wounds of your past.

Many people are using alcohol, consciously or unconsciously, to self-medicate all or some of the following:

• Stress

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Low self-esteem

• Sexual Abuse

• Trauma

• Shame

• Guilt

• Boredom

 

There is a cure

Many people who have battled their alcohol addiction overcame obstacles just like you and I. But the single biggest factor was their ability to take control of their own life.

Sometimes they deferred to experts. Sometimes they turned to God. Sometimes they joined a support group, or they embraced spontaneous sobriety and went it alone.

But the one thing they all had in common was the knowledge that their drinking was taking more than it was giving.

In every instance, when people nailed their drink demons, they universally agreed that their life was more beautiful sober.

“I gave up alcohol in 1980. I enjoyed it far too much, to the point where I frequently got intoxicated. Everything in my life changed for the better stopped. It was the right decision,” said medical doctor and self-empowerment author Deepak Chopra

Why I wrote this book

The pursuit of sobriety born from my own experience, both professionally as a holistic psychologist, and personally as a woman with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, fueled my desire and determination to liberate others from the clutches of booze.

During a recent interview, I was asked: ‘What do you hope readers get out of Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More? My response was “wisdom.”

If I can help people gain new knowledge, enhance their awareness and stretch their minds—not necessarily agreeing with what I’m saying but at least starting a conversation, or helping them along in their lives in some way—then Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More has added something to their lives.

My hope is that you will discover freedom, find happiness and change your life. And that one day, should our paths cross, you will tell me that your life is beautiful.

 

Who Is This Book For?

If you want to control your drinking and live a life on your own terms, this book is for you.

If you’re a heavy drinker or love someone who is, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More will provide support and encouragement to continue the journey to health and happiness.

If you suffer from stress, fear, doubt, or overly trying to fit in with others, Drink! Control Alcohol and Love Life More will come to your rescue.

Or, you might just want to inspire others and lead the way by controlling alcohol, either by cutting back or giving up completely.

This was my motivation for writing this book, and for sharing the strategies that have worked for me and which have also worked for my clients.

Often we have to be the change we want to see. Part of this involves passing on the knowledge that we’ve learned.

As New Zealand psychologist and television personality Nigel Latta says, “It’s also interesting, don’t you think, that given the alcohol industry thinks education is so important, their contribution to ‘education’ of the public is so… well… limp. They don’t even bother to put any real resources into ‘education’ even though they say it will make a difference.”

As you’ll discover throughout the book, many techniques which have helped people successfully control alcohol and overcome addictions have their origins in body-based healing. Others originate in the mind, others still by resolving harmful emotions and other still from spiritual approaches, including meditation and prayer.

I had originally thought to separate the chapters into mind, body, and spirit, but as everything truly is connected I felt it was important to present the information as such. Therefore what you will find is a smorgasbord of offerings for you to digest at your leisure.

All I ask is that you maintain an open-mind, follow your curiosity and trust, that with knowledge and the right support, you truly can heal yourself.

Where to draw the line? When you’re worried that you’re drinking is getting out of control or are suffering from the effects of alcohol it’s likely you’ll want a quick cure. Something instant to take the pain away.

I can honestly say, that I wrote this book to find my own quick-fix. But once I began to research, uncover the lies and awaken to the truth,  this fascinating area became a full-blown obsession.  As you’ll discover in this book cultivating new healthy purpose-driven cures can totally and quickly cure harmful addictions.

You may not find all the answers here, I had to stop somewhere, but there are a great deal many helpful resources at your disposal—many of which lie within this book and some of which I have included in the back section.

We have always been told that drinking lots of alcohol or make us happy, cooler, more relaxed—that sobriety is for losers. These are big fat lies.

We’ve also been told that it’s our fault that we drink too much—we lack will-power, we’re weak, we just can’t handle it, we’re self-centered, too lazy—plus a truckload of other insulting and disempowering stuff.

These are also big fat lies.

It’s also a big fat lie to say that only drug companies and their rainbow-colored pharmaceuticals are our relapse-safe cure for addictions.

So stop listening to people with hidden agendas, quit putting yourself down, and read this—really read and absorb this—because it will empower you to achieve the results you want….fast!

 

My hope

Profit-driven alcohol companies may not be driven to make a difference, but I am.

My hope is that you step into this journey joyfully, that despite any trepidation, fear or worry, you may feel, that you’ll discover learning to control alcohol is a pleasure that you never forget to enjoy.

 

About This Book

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More offers short, sound-bites of stand-alone readings designed to help you cultivate awareness and reexamine your relationship to alcohol amid the challenges of daily living.

More than a collection of thoughts for the day, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More offers a progressive program of holistic—mental, emotional, physical and spiritual—study, guiding you through essential concepts, themes, and practices on the path to sobriety, well-being, joy, and happiness.

The teachings are gently humorous, sometimes challenging, occasionally provocative, but always compassionate and kind, and, I  hope, seemingly infinitely wise.

All that I share are strategies that have worked for me personally through many of my own life challenges, and for my clients in my professional work as a holistic psychologist and self-empowerment coach.

A central tenet of this book is to provide you information and education that counteracts the dominant messages provided by booze barons whose purpose in life is to help you drink more. Of course, they want you to drink—their mission is to spin a profit. But now it’s time to open your eyes and educate your mind, and make informed choices about what you are ingesting (ethanol and sugar), how much, and why.

Armed with the Truth about alcohol you will gain:

• A new way to see and understand your relationship to alcohol

• The removal of the fear and stigma of trying to admit you need help

• Insight into the reasons why drinking too much is not your fault and that you have just become another cultural conditioning statistic

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More will strengthen your subconscious desire NOT to drink and help you make healthy, lasting, self-empowered change.

Experts suggest that it takes months, even years, of hardship to stop drinking. This book offers a different view.

But at the end of the day, no one can make you control your drinking. You have to want to change. It is my hope, Your Beautiful Mind will strengthen the intention to quit or cut back drinking. The choice is yours, my friend.

Within this choice, is the choice to seek help, or not, for problems that keep you stuck, peer pressure that keeps you drinking, or traumas and open wounds that need healing—not numbing with alcohol.

I hope you will choose to free yourself from pain freedom, happiness, health, and joy.

Your Beautiful Mind features the most essential and stirring passages from my previous books, exploring topics such as meditation, mindfulness, positive health behaviors, and touching on ways to working with fear, depression, anxiety, and other painful emotions.

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More expands upon my previous books and blends the latest scientific research, spotlights the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence, and also encourages a more holistic and mindful approach to the seriousness of life and the ever-present stressors we all face.

As one advance reviewer,  wrote to me, “The people who I work with are wanting to eliminate alcohol from their lives and rebuild their lives, families, and relationships. They do not want permission, approval or instruction on how to drink mindfully or in any other way.” The purpose of this book is not to condone, legitimize or sanction problem drinking. Being mindful doesn’t mean being obstinately blind to the very real perils of alcohol abuse and addiction. Being mindful is a call to awakening and purposeful action to build the life you want—free of addiction.

Through the course of this book, you will learn practical, creative and simple methods for overcoming subconscious scripts that keep you craving alcohol, heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns and addictive behaviors that block happiness and joy and hold you back.

Brimming with a smorgasbord of easy to apply strategies that will boost your mental, emotional and physical well-being, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More is a timeless call to action for anyone who wants to cut back or quit drinking alcohol, get their life back and create a healthier, happier, joyful time on this planet.

 

Your Concise Guide to Success

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More  is a concise guide to controlling alcohol. My vision, like many of my other self-empowerment books, was simple: a few short, easy to digest tips for time-challenged, distraction-loaded, people who were looking for inspiration and practical strategies to encourage positive change.

In this era of information overload and distraction, I knew that people didn’t need a large wad of words to feel inspired, gain clarity and be stimulated to take action.

In coaching and counseling sessions I’d encourage my clients to ask a question they would like answered. The questions could be specific, such as, ‘How can I stop drinking?’ Or vague, for example, ‘What do I most need to know?’ They were always amazed at how readily answers flowed.

In this era of information obesity, the need for simple, life-affirming messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you’re a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a section or page at random, or work through the tips sequentially. I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your teacher. Give your brain a well-needed break. Balance ‘why’ with how you feel and embrace how you feel or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

At the time of writing, I’ve just turned to the chapter, Your Body Barometer. It’s a timely reminder that when you drink too much your mental, emotional and spiritual health can suffer.

The following remark from Coco Chanel may also speak to you: “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.”

 

Three Holistic Principles of Success

Your Beautiful Mind takes a holistic look at what it means, and what it takes, to control alcohol. Everything is related—mind, body, and spirit…to succeed in your quest to control alcohol you’ll need to empower them all.

To avoid overwhelm and facilitate a smorgasbord of healing options I’ve sectioned Your Beautiful Mind into a cluster of principles. Principles aren’t constricting rules unable to be shaped, but general and fundamental truths which may be used to help guide your choices.

Let’s look briefly at The Three Principles of Sobriety and what each will cover:

 

Principle One, “The Call For Sobriety” will help you explore the truth about controlling alcohol and define sobriety on your own terms. You’ll discover the rewards and ‘realities’ of becoming booze free, and intensify success-building beliefs.

You’ll learn some truths powerful business would rather see hidden, and clarify the huge costs alcohol imposes on all of us in Principle Two, “Rethinking Drinking.” You’ll also discover why love, anger, igniting the fire within, and heeding the call for self-empowerment is the cornerstone of future success.

Actions shout louder than words. Principle Three: “Strategies for Sobriety,” will help you take back control. You’ll learn how to tame your subconscious mind, deal with stress, trauma, societal pressure and other life-stuff that may drive you to drink.

Love will be your new drug of choice. Love for yourself, your significant others and your life. Passion, purpose, joy—call it what you will, love is the cure for all our ills.

It sounds simple. And it is.

In this section of the book, you’ll clarify and visualize what you really want to achieve. You’ll then be better able to decide where best to invest your time and energy. You’ll also begin exploring ways to develop your life and career in light of your passions and purposeful sobriety, maintain focus and bring your vision to successful reality. Strategies to help you empower your spirit urge you to pay attention to the things that feed your soul, awaken your curiosity, stir your imagination and create passion in your life. You’ll also discover how to strengthen your connection to your superconscious mind.

You may be surprised to discover that you have three mind tools—you’ll discoverer ways to empower them all to overcome obstacles, achieve greater balance and fulfillment and maximize your success.

Your health is your wealth yet it’s often a neglected part of success. Techniques to help you heal and empower your body recognizes the importance of a strong, flexible and healthy body to your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual success. You’ll be reminded of simple strategies which reinforce the importance of quality of breath, movement, nutrition, and sleep. Avoiding burnout is also a huge factor in maintaining sobriety. When you do less and look after yourself more, you can and will achieve freedom from alcohol.

Throughout Your Beautiful Mind, you’ll also boost your awareness of how surrounding yourself with your vibe tribe will fast-track your success, and when it’s best to ditch your booze buddies or go it alone.

Even if you think you’ve got the alcohol thing licked or you don’t believe you’re addicted, so many people struggle to control their drinking or quit. You’ll discover some of the most successful ways people have overcome their dependence on alcohol or addiction to booze and achieved freedom for good.

You’ll be inspired by others success. Importantly you’ll learn how following your own truth will set you free.

 

How This Book Will Help You

 

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

~ Alfred Mercier, physician

 

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.

As I wrote Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More I applied the strategies I’m sharing with you in my own life—personally and professionally.

If you’ve been drinking too much, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company, many successful, talented, beautiful people have been there. I’ve been there too—as have many, many people. Guess what, drinking too much and getting in your own way is, sadly, normal.

I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find them in the pages that follow.

Dig into this book and let me, and other alcohol control experts, be your mentor, inspiration and guide as we call forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

Through the teachings of others, extensive research into alcohol recovery, the mysteries of motivation, success, and fulfillment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a holistic psychologist, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More will help you accelerate success.

Together, we will guide you to where you need to go next and give you practical steps to control alcohol and find freedom and happiness.

Growing up I wasn’t encouraged to drink less. My hope is that after reading Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More that you will be!

Step into this ride joyfully and start creating your best life today.

• If you want to have more energy and fire in your belly

• If you want to have happy, healthy, loving relationships

• If you want to stress less and love life more

• If you want to improve your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health…

Then Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More is exactly the right the book for you—whoever you are, whatever challenges you are facing and however you define health, happiness, and sobriety.

The ideas described in this book apply to anyone who’s trying to control alcohol and inject some purposeful sobriety into their life and work.

 

Your Caffeine Hit

Think of Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More like a shot of espresso. Sometimes one quick hit is all it takes to get in the mood. But sometimes you need a few shots to sustain your energy. Or maybe you need a bigger motivational hit and then you’re on your way.

You’re in control of what works best for you. Go at your own pace, but resist over-caffeinating. A little bit of guidance here and there can do as much to fast-track your success as consuming all the principles in one hit.

Skim to sections that are most relevant to you, and return to familiar ground to reinforce home-truths. But most of all, exercise compassion and enjoy your experience.

 

Mindful Sobriety: Your Challenge

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More focuses on strategies to increase your awareness of how and why sobriety is the new cool. When you’re stressed or feeling the urge to drink this knowledge can be one of the first things to go.

You’ll discover ways to increase happiness, reduce stress, minimize anxiety and reclaim joy in the chapters that follow.

You’ll identify common obstacles to success, slay a path through them, and empower your tenacity to persevere with your quest for sober change.

 

Importantly, you’ll be challenged.

I love your works to date—provocative and supportive at the same time,” a gentleman who’d read my Mid-Life Career Rescue books wrote to me recently.

To provoke is to incite or stimulate. It’s the reason I’ve included open-ended questions and calls to action in the Sexy Sobriety section at the end of each chapter. The best questions are open, generative ones that don’t allow for ‘yes/no’ answers; rather they encourage you to tap into your higher wisdom, intuition, or go in search of answers.

 

Dive Deeper With The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without Alcohol

Creating a Sobriety Journal was a major aid in my own recovery—you’ll find some excerpts sprinkled throughout Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, and I’ve written a handy resource to help you create your own.

This guided book leaves you free to create your own bespoke journal tailored to support your needs. Includes, Journal Writing Prompts, Empowering and Inspirational Quotes and Recovery Exercises that can be of use in your daily journal writing, working with your sponsor or use in a recovery group.
Available in print and eBook here—getbook.at/SobrietyJournal

 

Your Beautiful Mind Workbook

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol & Love Life More print book will also be available as a workbook, with space to write your responses to the challenges and calls to action within the book.

Stress Less, Love You More & Create a Beautiful, Successful LifeToday!

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released. Sign up for her newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f.

Would you like to drink less? Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life.Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Sexy Sobriety: Alcohol and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life. Available in ebook and paperback here—getBook.at/SexySobriety

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

Friday, January 19th, 2018

 

 

Below is an edited version of the 300-level essay I submitted as part of my psychology degree back in 2014.The paper was Abnormal and Therapeutic Psychology Assignment. At the time, I was struggling with the focus placed on pathologizing peoples behavior—ascribing a sickness mindset, rather than looking at holistic and systemic issues that impacted people’s ability to heal, or not—so I took a ‘risk’ and wrote about something I was genuinely interested about and believed in—the power of spirituality to heal. I still love the opening quote—a powerful reminder that we are not powerless…we can (and do) heal ourselves…very often without drugs, expensive rehab and medical intervention.

 

Date: 25 September 2014

 

 

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

“Science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves” (Liotta, 2013). Sparking my interest in examining spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction, Liotta’s article examines the success of the 12-step programme prescribed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for the treatment of alcohol addiction. AA’s programme has a strong spiritual framework, and Liotta explores the premise that the programme’s success may eventually be empirically validated through medical and psychological science.

The relevance to the domain of abnormal and therapeutic psychology of spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol abuse is multi-faceted. For many people, their spirituality is a central part of who they are, and what they believe, and spiritual sources of healing are a major source of strength for many. For others, it may be an, as yet, untapped resource (Dowsett-Johnston, 2013; Miller et al., 2008).

Arguably, no therapeutic approach can be regarded as complete unless the spiritual dimension is attended to yet both history and current practice has shown that ignoring the role of spirituality, forbidding its practice (Bennett, 2009), or pathologising its existence, in favour of more cognitive, rational, or medical interventions is neglectful and can be harmful (Bennett, 2009; Langman, 2013; Miller, 1998). For example, A. Abraham, Prison Manager of Arohata Prison, was informed by forensic staff that they wanted to medicate a woman they thought was psychotic when she said she ‘saw spirit’ and talked to dead ancestors (personal communication, 17 July, 2014).

Importantly in New Zealand particularly, enabling spiritual approaches to the treatment of disease is also arguably evidence of honouring the commitments made in the Treaty of Waitangi, yet this is not always actively embraced and at times has been outlawed. (Bennet, 2009) cites the Tohunga Suppression Act, 1907 which threatened criminal conviction if a person allowed a Maori person to treat them using spirituality, “by professing or pretending to profess supernatural powers in the treatment or cure of any disease” (Bennet, 2009, p. 171)

 

Spirituality defined

Spirituality is difficult to define given the uniqueness of the experience for people, and differing orientations to spirituality – including a diverse range of religious beliefs (Miller, 1998). However, the view that spirituality is “that which gives people meaning and purpose in life” (Puchalski, Dorff & Hendi, 2004 as cited in Galanter, 2007, p. 266) appears to have a universally applicable meaning. Galanter (2007) also notes that spirituality is not something accessible only to people of religious orientation, or self-proclaimed spiritual orientation but accessible to all, including non-believers (often referred to as Agnostics) (Miller, 1998). This echoes the view of Carl Jung who believed spirituality was an intrinsic part of being human and that lack of connection to one’s spiritual self leads to dis-ease, including the disease of alcohol addiction (Galanter, 2007).

 

Alcohol addiction defined

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism (also referred to as alcohol dependence) is defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) as “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations” (Alcohol addiction, 2014). It is characterised by, “a prolonged period of frequent, heavy alcohol use; the inability to control drinking once it has begun; physical dependence manifested by withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using alcohol; tolerance, or the need to use more and more alcohol to achieve the same effects; and a variety of social and/or legal problems arising from alcohol use” (The Free Dictionary, 2014).

Addiction (termed substance dependence by the American Psychiatric Association) was once defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring any time in the same 12-month period:

1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: (a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect or (b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.

2. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: (a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance or (b) The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.

4. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.

5. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance (such as visiting multiple doctors or driving long distances), use the substance (for example, chain-smoking), or recover from its effects.

6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

7. The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (for example, current cocaine use despite recognition of cocaine-induced depression or continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).

DSM-IV criteria  (The Diagnositic and Statistical Manual) for substance dependence include several specifiers, one of which outlines whether substance dependence is with physiologic dependence (evidence of tolerance or withdrawal) or without physiologic dependence (no evidence of tolerance or withdrawal). In addition, remission categories are classified into four subtypes: (1) full, (2) early partial, (3) sustained, and (4) sustained partial; on the basis of whether any of the criteria for abuse or dependence have been met and over what time frame. The remission category can also be used for patients receiving agonist therapy (such as methadone maintenance) or for those living in a controlled, drug-free environment. Source: American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.)

This definition which provides a psychological stance rather than a medical one, was altered in 5th edition of the DSM. As compared to DSM-IV, the DSM-5’s chapter on addictions was changed from “Substance-Related Disorders” to “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders” to reflect developing understandings regarding addictions. The DSM-5 specifically lists nine types of substance addictions within this category (alcohol; caffeine; cannabis; hallucinogens; inhalants; opioids; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics; stimulants; and tobacco). These disorders are presented in separate sections, but they are not fully distinct because all drugs taken in excess activate the brain’s reward circuitry, and their co-occurrence is common.

Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD in the DSM-V.  AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD.  Approximately 6.2 percent or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2015. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2015, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.

To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Under DSM–5, the current version of the DSM, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives a diagnosis of AUD. The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.

To assess whether you or loved one may have AUD, here are some questions to ask.  In the past year, have you:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

“If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change,” say professionals.

Challenges in testing and measurement of spiritual constructs

This brief research paper examines recent research that reveals the significant role of spirituality on mental and emotional health, and therapeutic approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. However, as Galanter (2007) notes, it is difficult to measure empirically many of the elements that make spirituality an effective part of treatment. He advocates for “a new model of recovery from addiction that is compatible with the spiritual orientation espoused by many members of AA” (Galanter, 2007, p.265). The new model he defines is, “ based on accounts of substance dependent individuals’ own subjective experience. These experiences are not directly observable by the clinician but are available only as reported through the prism of the person’s own introspection and reflection.” (Galanter, 2007, p.265). Miller (1998) support’s this view and argues that spiritual constructs and measures can be used in addiction research as: “predictor, dependent, covariate, and independent variables” (Miller, 1998, p.982). Clear hypotheses can be derived and tested in these areas, assuming the reliable measurement of spiritual variables” (Miller, 1998, p.982). However as Miller, Forcehimes, O’Leary, and LaNoue’s (2008) clinical research shows, differences in interpretations, meanings, and values ascribed to definitions may impact reliability and validity.

Galanter, Dermatis, Bunt, Williams, Trujillo, and& Steinke, P. (2006) developed a 6-item scale, the Spirituality Self-Rating Scale (SSR), which attempted to operationalize spiritual constructs and measure patients’ subjective spiritual beliefs. However conceptualising spirituality is challenging, and people may ascribe different meanings to words, and thus misunderstandings and misinterpretations may skew results. For example, one question asks, “Do you believe God or a universal spirit is: c.) an impersonal creator” (Galanter et al., 2006, p.259). The word impersonalmay suggest a non-caring person. The inability of researchers to always clearly and consistently define constructs may impact reliability and may not be applicable across cultures. And this is a limitation of such measures.

Nevertheless, while defining spirituality and its mechanisms, and evidencing spirituality empirically may be problematic, a body of research suggests common themes, or key mechanisms core to spiritual approaches to successful treatment. These spiritualty dimensions include: the role of attitudes and beliefs; meaning and purpose; community; self-awareness, forgiveness; attachment to God/a higher Power, control, and daily spiritual practice as a source of strength (Lyons, Deane, & Kelly, 2010; Galanter et al., 2006; Miller, 1998).

 

The role of attitudes and beliefs

The growing interest in integrating clients’ spiritual and religious beliefs into addiction treatment is explored by Galanter et al. (2007), who assessed the role of people’s attitudes and orientation toward spirituality and how this affected their views of addiction treatment. The SSR was administered to three distinct groups: a diverse range of patients currently in treatment programmes; doctors and other medical caregivers; and trainee chaplains. It was also administered to people who were not in treatment programmes. Administering the test to a control group was a strength of their research, highlighting that spirituality was rated more highly by those in treatment, than those not suffering from addictions. Despite issues of reliability I have already discussed the strength of their research was also the finding that “medical students and faculty members underestimated the value patients placed on spiritual orientation.” (Galanter et al,, 2007, p. 260). This finding is also shared by other research which highlights the untapped reservoir of help many helping professionals fail to tap into it (Miller et al, 2008).

Powerlessness and control

Empirical research on spirituality and alcoholism reveals that prior to participating in AA’s 12 step programme all participants reported admitted feeling a sense of powerlessness over their alcohol dependency (Brown & Peterson, 2008). During the completion of their 12-Steps they gained a stronger sense of control over their lives and their drinking (Brown & Peterson, 2008; Bliss, 2007; Liotta, 2013). The studies of Robinson et al (2011) controlled for AA involvement, and reported decreases in alcohol abusers previous coping strategies, such as judging, and condemning, and these changes were associated with a greater sense of control and improved drinking outcomes. However these findings were not supported by Miller et al. (2008) which found no changes (Miller et al, 2008). A possible explanation could be the strong religious association with Miller et al.’s study and the negative religious associations participants may have had, especially given the directive nature of the research. Robinson (2011) found that participants who felt judged, abandoned, or punished by God “were less likely to feel in control of their lives than those who had a ‘benevolent perception of and relationship to a deity” (Robinson et al, 2011, p. 660). Moreover differences in the two findings may also be explained by Miller et al.’s use of video recordings and monitoring of sessions where Robinson et al. did not use these techniques.

The relationship between forgiveness, spirituality and the treatment of alcohol addiction

Langman and Cheung Chung (2013) widened the focus of their research, exploring the impact of co-existing conditions (e.g. trauma) among people with addiction, but their findings still confirm the “degree of symptoms varying depending on specific coping resources such as spirituality” (Langman & Cheung Chung, 2013, p.15).

However, given all but five of the 81 participants, either in treatment or service users, were Caucasian, the potential for bias limits the generalizability of their findings. In addition, 84% of participants were unemployed, and that the majority were single also introduces the potential for biased results. A possible lack of intimacy, and stress associated with unemployment potentiality limits the applicability of results only to people with similar life histories.

Langman and& Cheung Chung’s study suggests that spirituality and forgiveness are beneficial, while “guilt is detrimental to relapse management” (Langman & Cheung Chung, (2013, p.12). These views are also shared by Lyons et al., (2010) who suggest anger and resentment (non spiritual constructs) towards self or others, can predict negative health outcomes.

However, in contrast, in a more diverse and larger sample of 364 people, Robinson, Krentzman, Webb, and& Brower (2011) found no significant relationship for forgiveness of others, but did find increases in forgiveness of self was a predictive factor in reduced drinking outcomes. Their study, contrasting with Langman and & Cheung Chung’s (2013) also provided longitudinal evidence (9 months) that significant changes were sustained.

Meaning in life and life purpose

Robinson et al.’s (2007) research found that a positive change in drinking outcome was linked with alcoholics’ spirituality and/or religiousness (S/R) and that having a sense of meaning and purpose of life, in particular was predictive of abstinence. Conducting a longitudinal survey over six months, on a survey group of 123 outpatients with alcohol use disorders (66% male; mean age = 39; 83% white) they used a range of questionnaires to assess 10 measures of S/R, covering behaviours, beliefs, and experiences, including the Daily Spiritual Experiences and Purpose in Life scales. (Robinson et al, 2007. P.). Other statistically significant findings included the predictive role of meaning and purpose in reducing drinking outcomes was also found by Brown and& Peterson, (1991); and Langham, (2012). The high mean age of Robinson et al.’s research and high percentage of white participants, are limitations of their research, and may negate the applicability of this research to younger addicts in particular, for whom a sense of meaning and purpose may not be significant.

 

Daily spiritual practice

A habitual practice of daily spirituality was found by Robinson et al, (2007) to be associated with the absence of heavy drinking at six months, regardless of gender or involvement in other group support activities such as involvement at AA. The results of their study support the view of many clinicians and individuals recovering from alcohol abuse and addiction that changes in alcoholics’ spirituality, and the adoption of practices such as prayer, meditation, and reading spiritual books, and being involved in a spiritual community are important to sobriety (Brown & Peterson, 1991).

In a contrasting study, Forcehimes, O’Leary and& LaNoue (2008) tried a more directive approach, where rather than assess patients subjective experience of spirituality, people who were fresh from a detoxification programme received a 12-session manual-guided spiritual guidance (SG) intervention during and after inpatient treatment. The SG intervention was “hypothesized to influence substance abuse outcomes by increasing spiritual functioning on three measures: Daily Spiritual Experiences, Meaning in Life, and Private Religious Practices” (Miller at al., 2008, p.439). Contradictory to expected outcomes SG had no effect on spiritual practices or substance use outcomes at any follow-up point. A potential strength of their study was a wider range of cultures, Hispanic (50%), White non-Hispanic (35%), and Native American (12%), however this is somewhat negated by the high drop out rate (43%) and the failure to find an effect.

While the participants in Robinson et al.’s (2007) research are predominately Caucasians, a predictive link between daily spiritual practices and reduced alcohol consumption was found. Relatedly perhaps, a potential limitation of Miller et al.’s (2008) approach, unlike the other research cited previously, may have been the prescriptive, interventionist approach and the focus on techniques drawn from the Judeo-Christian tradition (Miller et al., 2008). While the authors claim this is the most common religious background in the US population this may have only been substantiated in census reports and not representative of the participantsbeliefs. In addition religiousness and spirituality are different constructs and experienced uniquely (Miller, 1998).

While the authors say they anticipated potential resistance to their approach, other than say they incorporated a clinical style of motivational interviewing, they do not specifically address how they overcame this resistance. Significantly 43% of participants dropped out after attending between 1-3 sessions and this is not accounted for. Potential strengths of this research and its failure to find an effect are summed up by the authors, “If spiritual formation is a developmental phenomenon that unfolds naturally over time, like cognitive or moral development, it may not be amenable to acute interventions designed to speed up the process” (Miller et al, 2008, p.440).

(Motivational interviewing is a specific technique to overcome resistance).

 

Conclusion

In the beginning psychology was interested in studying the psyche – the “human soul, spirit or mind” (Dictionary.com, 2014); however cognitive and rationally oriented mind therapies appear to have dominated therapeutic practice in modern times. Recent research re-establishes the importance of spirituality as an important therapeutic intervention, and integrates it into the mainstream of empirical psychological practice. The research confirms supports the theory that understanding this core dimension of human functioning, evaluating, understanding, and responding to the spiritual aspects of clients’ lives is an essential skill for health professionals who wish to understand this core dimension of human functioning, and tap into this reservoir of inner strength. “Comprehensive addictions research should include not only biomedical, psychological and socio-cultural factors but spiritual aspects of the individual as well” (Miller, 1998, p. 985).

While the research reveals the ongoing challenges in defining and measuring the elements of spirituality that make it an effective intervention, including differences in meaning and spiritual values, the desire to find ways of integrating clients spiritual beliefs and practice into the treatment of alcohol addiction continues to grow.

Future research could explore how spirituality could be incorporated into treatment/ therapy programmes, but practitioners should be wary of trying to impose spirituality on others, or to rush the pursuit of spiritual transcendence. As Miller et al. note, “Many people recovering from substance use disorders, including members of AA, report transformational experiences that seem to occur spontaneously rather than as the product of an intervention and that often have substantial spiritual or even mystical features” (Miller et al., 2008, p 440).

A tendency of the research presented to dominate their studies with middle-aged Caucasians is a limitation of their research, however this is helpful in illuminating a path other researchers may wish to explore. This is especially relevant for practitioners in New Zealand, treating Māori and other cultures for whom faith and spirituality are either embraced, or have been neglected – potentially opening the door to new forms of healing and treatment.

Regardless of issues presented in trying to empirically validate spirituality the research still confirms supports the view that spirituality is an important aid in helping people either currently or in the past abusing alcohol (Langman & Cheung Chung, 2013).

References

Alcohol addiction (2014). In Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/alcohol+addiction.

Bennett, S. (2009) Te Huanga o te Ao Māori, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Māori clients with depression – Development and evaluation of a culturally adapted treatment programme. (Doctorate Dissertation thesis, Massey University) Retrieved from http://mro.massey.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10179/1159/02whole.pdf?sequence=1#page=2&zoom=auto,-187,813

Bliss, D.L. (2007). Empirical research on spirituality and alcoholism: A review of the literature. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 7 (4). Doi:10.1300/j160v07n04_02 Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Brown, H.P., & Peterson J. H. (1991) Assessing Spirituality in Addiction Treatment and Follow-Up, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 8:2,21-50, DOI: 10.1300/J020V08N02_03. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Dowsett-Johnston, A. (2013). Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. London: HarperCollins Publishers.

Galanter, M. (2007). Spirituality and recover in 12-step programs: An empirical model. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33, 265–272. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Galanter, M., Dermatis, H., Bunt, G., Williams, C., Trujillo, M., & Steinke, P. (2006). Assessment of spirituality and its relevance to addiction treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33 (2007) 257– 264. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Langman, L., & Cheung Chung, M. (2013). The Relationship Between Forgiveness, Spirituality, Traumatic Guilt and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Among People with Addiction. Psychiatry Quarterly, 84:11–26. DOI 10.1007/s11126-012-9223-5. Retrieved from Scopus.

Liotta, J. (August 9, 2013). Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130809-addiction-twelve-steps-alcoholics-anonymous-science-neurotheology-psychotherapy-dopamine, 15 September 2014.

Lyons, G.C.B., Deane, F.P., & Kelly, P.J. (2010). Forgiveness and purpose in life as spiritual mechanisms of recovery from substance use disorders, Addiction Research and Theory, 18 (5): 528–543. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Miller, W.R., Forcehimes, A., O’Leary, M. J., LaNoue, M. D. (2008). Spiritual direction in addiction treatment: Two clinical trials. Journal Oof Substance Abuse Treatment, 35(4), 434-442. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Miller, W.R., (1998). Researching the spiritual dimensions of alcohol and other drug problems. Addiction, 93(7), 979-990.

Robinson, E.A.R., Cranford, J.A. , Webb, J.R., Brower, K.J (2007). Six-month changes in spirituality, religiousness, and heavy drinking in a treatment-seeking sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68, pp. 282–290.

Robinson, E. A. R., Krentzman, A R., Webb, J. R., & Brower, K. J. (2011, July). Six-Month Changes in Spirituality and Religiousness in Alcoholics Predict Drinking Outcomes at Nine Months.* Journal of Studies on Alcohol Drugs, 72(4): 660–668. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125889/

Psyche (2014), In Dictionary.com. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psyche?s=t

 

Feedback!

Well done with your assignment Cassandra. You have a nice writing style and chose an interesting topic. You reviewed the literature well and critically analysed identifying both conflicting and supporting information. Try and avoid using so many quotes at this level the majority of your writing should be paraphrased. A few referencing errors to improve on. Best of luck with your future studies

Grade: 84.5/100

 

 

 

Who’s fooling who? The truth about alcohol and litigious lobbyists

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

 

 

“A lot of people are deeply dissatisfied by the diminishing control they have over their lives, because of the way our system of government is set up, to cater to the powerful, cater to the wealthy, cater to the corporations, and not to the individual citizen.”

~ Josh Fox, director

Do you know how much litigious alcohol lobbyists spend each year trying to convince governments and local bodies to relax attempts at alcohol restraint? Where one party is motivated by creating safer communities, the other appears to be motivated purely by sales-driven, self-serving profit.

Let me be clear, I’m not against alcohol companies, and I don’t believe a nice drink now and then is an abhorrent evil. What does get my backup is underhand tactics, misinformation, and self-interest at the expense of others.

According to figures published by the Center for Responsive Politics in 2017, the total lobbying expenditures for Beer, Wine & Liquor was a staggering USD $22,607,510—and this is just the money that was reported.

Incentives and kickbacks to aid and abet favorable practices abound in many industries whose primary goal is to maximise profits and returns to shareholders. The owner of our local liquor store, for example, was rewarded for selling the highest volume of 1125ml bodies of rum with an all expenses paid trip to Jamica. That’s quite a juicy incentive to up the volume on sales.

Booze barons and the companies they create operate similarly to banks—fair weather friends while you’re spending but less than benevolent when you’re drowning in debt or reeling under the costs of alcohol-fuelled harm.

Here are just a few things that alcohol lobbyists strongly oppose:

• Advertising and promotion constraints

• Alcohol control—including raising the legal age for drinking

• Increases in product-specific taxes (designed to offset harm or reduce consumption)

Let me give you several home-grown examples of how lobbyists can exert their influence.

In 1999 the legal purchasing age in New Zealand was lowered from 20 to 18 and despite several calls for legislation against the change, and repeated attempts to raise the drinking age again, it’s proven easier to reduce the drinking age than it has to raise it.

Lawmakers continually and overwhelmingly support the status quo and the age remains 18. MPs, swayed by lobbyists in argued, “If we say to people that you can vote, you can marry, you can fight for your country and you can die, then logically you shouldn’t say to them you shouldn’t drink in a public bar.”

Compelling logic if one accepts that teenagers, should go to war and ignores the issue that alcohol is a highly addictive drug.

Phil Goff, the Labour justice spokesman at the time of the changes, vehemently argued for a tightening of the 20-year age limit, citing overseas evidence linking increased road deaths to lower ages, and also citing public opinion polls that were against a lower age.

But the research was rejected as not relevant to New Zealand.

Maori Pacific MP Tukoroirangi Morgan said he had seen on marae and hui the results of young people drinking and driving.

“It would be a tragedy if this House was to say yes we will lower the age to 18. You may as well go and shoot 75 young Maori,” he said.

Almost a decade on and the concerns of Morgan’s and other opponents of lowering the drinking age concerns are well-justified. Along with alcohol-related deaths from drunk driving, domestic violence assaults resulting in death, 2012 statistics reveal 119 Māori deaths from suicide—accounting for 21.6 percent of all suicide deaths in that year. Alcohol is said to have been a contributing factor in many of these tragically avoidable deaths.

Add, to these sobering statistics the appalling and imbalanced incarceration rates and you’ll quickly appreciate the escalating harm caused by alcohol. In New Zealand Māori make up only 14.6 percent of New Zealand’s population, but a staggering 51 percent of its prison population.

Prominent businessman Gareth Morgan wants to see the age limit raised. “It was lowered in 1999 to appease the alcohol lobby, and we were promised at the time that if evidence showed harm went up after the change they would reverse it,” Morgan said, in an article in Fairfax Media.

“All of the evidence, all of the reports, have pointed unambiguously to harm going up.”

Research showed the lowering of the age had resulted in the “de facto” drinking age falling to between 14 and 17, Morgan said.

“The data is showing us that in secondary schools six out of ten students are drinking. Nearly half of them consume more than five drinks in each session. And one in five are saying the aim to get drunk. That’s where the problem is.”

Similarly, in 2012, former New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins met liquor industry lobbyists repeatedly in the weeks before the Government’s controversial U-turn on measures to restrict sales of alcopops, official papers revealed by Fairfax New Zealand.

The documents, released under the Official Information Act and published in 2012, reveal the extent of the pressure exerted by the industry, including a joint letter to former National Prime Minister John Key warning him his Government was about to “make a very serious and highly public mistake”.

The industry hinted that legal action was possible if the crackdown went ahead.

In late August the Government backed away from its plan to ban the sale of RTDs (ready-to-drinks) with more than 6 percent alcohol from off-licenses.

Instead, the Government gave the industry the right to draw up its own RTD code of conduct.

In the following chapter, you’ll discover how alcohol companies profited from the sale of RTD’s to society’s most vulnerable—including children as young as 12.

Collins said in announcing the back down: “Frankly, I think we can stop treating everyone as though they’re fools and can’t make decisions for themselves. It was a bit too much taking away people’s responsibility. About 80 percent of New Zealanders drink extremely responsibly.”

Really? The alcohol industry regulating itself to reduce harm? Until there is are disincentives from them to keep increasing the volumes of alcohol consumed, such as a public turning of opinion, it is highly unlikely they will operate against their own interests. This sounds like the same ineffective logic applied to the sugar barons.

Unsurprisingly the sugar barons are also powerful lobbyists—ones not beyond using a raft of diversion tactics. For example, during the ’50s, when colas and junk food begin to gain traction, the US sugar lobby managed to divert the onus for children’s obesity on dairy products, while their flunkeys invented a narrative about cholesterol and harmful fats.

Saying people, who can’t control alcohol are ‘fools’ and should be able to make informed choices is akin to saying people should be left alone to decide whether to wear a seatbelt in a car or a safety helmet while riding a bike on the road. Statistics reveal that lives are saved, and harm reduced, when laws are introduced to help people to help themselves.

One may well ask, where are the booze-barons when people are shelling out a fortune for rehab? Where are they when people are so sick they cannot work? Who picks up the tab when a beloved mother, father, son, daughter, friend dies of alcohol poisoning, alcohol-related cancer, or at the hands of a drunk driver?

 

Equity, Fairness, and Justice—let’s level the field

Do these booze barons pay an equitable share of tax? Are the costs of social harm factored into ongoing costs to individuals, families, and communities?

Who, for example, is going to pay for the childcare costs, mortgage payments and healing of the psychological trauma inflicted on Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed’s wife and child?  This innocent man, a beloved father, and husband was working to provide for his family when he was killed in a horror smash by a ‘joy-riding’ teen just before Christmas in 2017?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/100147307/one-person-killed-two-flee-scene-of-auckland-car-crash

Who will pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars of judicial and penitentiary costs when the 20-year-old drunk, driving an expensive late-model BMW is sentenced? The Government? Why?  He is charged with careless driving. Why not murder? We all know the dangers and risks of driving drunk.

I’m being provocative, I know. But I’m not alone. In the following chapter, you’ll discover research conducted by The University of Western Australia in 2016 summarising the revenues generated by exercise taxes, and questioning the fair allocation of the burden of harm.

 

Nobody’s  fool

Mindful drinking is not only being aware of why you drink, how much you drink, and how to regulate or control your drinking—but also becoming aware of the powerful economic forces lobbied at encouraging you to drink more, and disempowering individuals from making rational, positive choices.

Mindful drinking is also a commitment to refusing to remain blissfully ignorant and becoming aware of the horrific and escalating costs of alcohol harm, and deciding whether you want to be part of the problem—or the cure.

Is all this new knowledge enough to cause you to rethink your relationship to alcohol? I hope so. With knowledge comes wisdom.

 

Your feelings matter

Heightened knowledge may not be the total catalyst to sobriety, but it has played a large part in mine, and also my devotion to this book and spreading the truth about alcohol.

Feelings, as you’ll discover in the book, matter. They are the gateway, the portal, to transformational change. When you feel compassion, empathy, sadness, rage, love for those who suffer needlessly, and this includes yourself, you will find freedom from alcohol. In the chapter, Get Angry, I look at how healing and cathartic channeling your anger into a higher purpose can be. You’ll also learn how the New Zealand Police were taken to court by local government (The Wellington City Council)—and the ridiculous reason why.

Throughout Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, we’ll also explore ways to heal the past and exorcise unhelpful emotions that keep you stuck in a cycle of destructive feelings.

As Candace Pert writes in, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d,  “Buried, painful emotions from the past make up what some psychologists and healers call a person’s ‘core emotional trauma.’

“The point of therapy—including bodywork, some kinds of chiropractic, and energy medicine—is to gently bring that wound to gradual awareness so it can be re-experienced and understood.

“Only then is choice possible, a faculty of your frontal cortex, allowing you to reintegrate any disowned parts of yourself; let go of old traumatic patterns, and become healed, or whole.”

In the next chapter, we also explore why we are incarcerating so many people with drinking problems and the need to spend more money on offering treatment and support.

We’ll then take a peek into the darker, and fascinating side of advertising.

Specifically, we’ll look at the psychological warfare and advertising ploys booze barons use to manipulate you to act against your best interests. Just when you thought you were in control!

My aim is not to scare you sober, but perhaps you’ll feel a sense of relief, as one person said, “It’s great to finally understand I am not to blame.”

One day, this same person may encounter, Judith Collins and say, “Hey, Judy, I say wanted to say—I am nobodies fool.”

 

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released here—http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f

Why Pursuing Your Passion Not Your Pension is The Ultimate Mid-Life Career Change Strategy

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

 

 

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”

Napoleon Hill, Author, Think and Grow Rich

 

First things first! Start from the heart.

The first and most important commandment of choosing and growing your business is to follow your passion.

Creating a successful business that you’ll love is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Passion is a source of energy from the soul, and when you combine it with a product or service that benefits others, that’s where you’ll find your magic.

Kevin Roberts, former CEO worldwide of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, passionately believes that love is the way forward for business. Meeting peoples’ needs, hopes, dreams, and desires, or offering something which helps them solve problems for which they’d love a cure, is good for people and its good for business.

“For great brands to survive, they must create Loyalty Beyond Reason,” he writes in his book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. Roberts argues, with a ton of facts, and emotionally evocative images to support his premise, that traditional branding practices have become stultified. What’s needed are customer Love affairs. “The secret,” he maintains, “is the use of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.”

Other experts such as Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling book Start With Why, and Robert Kiyosaki entrepreneur and author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, may urge you to begin with rational, head-based logic.

I’m advocating a similar, albeit less analytical approach to begin with. But the premise is similar, to create something meaningful for yourself, and for the customers and clients you wish to attract, you must believe in what you are doing. Your business idea must matter. You must know why it’s important—to yourself and to others.

“‘Why’ is not money or profit—these are always the results. Why does your organization exist? Why does it do the things it does? Why do customers really buy from one company or another?” challenges Sinek in his book.

I would add, what is its purpose? Roberts, would add, how can you make them fall in love with you and inspire loyalty beyond reason?

 

How to Find Your Why

When you discover and tap into your passion, you’ll find your why. You’ll also find a huge source of untapped potential that seems to be fearless and knows no bounds. Pursuing your passion in business is profitable on many levels.

Firstly, when you do what you love, this is most likely where your true talent lies, so you’ll stand out in your field. Passion cannot be faked.

Secondly, you will be more enthusiastic about your pursuits. You will have more energy and tenacity to overcome obstacles, and more drive and determination to make things happen.

When you do what you care most about and believe in with such a passion, your work will be not something that you endure, but something that you enjoy. More importantly, work will become a vehicle for self-expression.

Thirdly, passion attracts. As multi-millionaire businesswoman Anita Roddick once said, ‘We communicate with passion and passion sells.

Ms Roddick founded her company, The Body Shop, on one simple premise—beauty products tested on animals was cruel, barbaric, unnecessary and immoral. Millions of men and women around the world agreed.

People like to do business with people who are passionate about their products and services. When global financial services company KPMG re-branded with passion as a core theme, profitability soared. Check out my presentation on Slideshare to find out how:

http://www.slideshare.net/CassandraGaisford/passionslides-with-kpmg-slides

Hearts on Fire

The key to sound business planning begins from the inside out. First you need to determine who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to contribute to the world. In working this out, there is no better place to start than with finding out what sets you heart on fire and why.

Michael Jr. Comedy, a stand-up comedian and author, explains how discovering your why helps you develop options that enable you to live and work with purpose.

“When you know your why, you have options on what your what can be. For instance, my why is to inspire people to walk in purpose. My what is stand-up comedy. My what is writing books…. Another what that has moved me toward my why is a web series that we have out now called Break Time.”

Check out this clip from one of Michael’s most successful episodes http://bit.ly/1PnOTrH. You’ll see how working with passion and purpose awakens dormant talents and enables souls to fly higher.

“When you know your why your what has more impact because you are walking toward your purpose,” says Michael.

We’ll dive deeper into discovering your life purpose in the following chapter.

 

Surf the Web

http://www.eofire.com: Fuel your inspiration by checking out this top-ranked business Podcast where some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs are interviewed 7-days a week. Founder and host John Lee Dumas shares his journey from frustrated employee to inspired entrepreneur via video here http://www.eofire.com/about/

 

Discovering Your Passion 

Everyone is capable of passion; some people just need help taking it out of the drawer. Look for the clues. Often this involves noticing the times you feel most energized and alive, or when you experience a surge of adrenaline through your body.

Sometimes it’s the moments when time seems to fly. Perhaps it is something you love to do and would willingly do for free.

Passion is not always about love. The things that push your buttons can lead you to the things that you’re most passionate about.

Working long hours, too much stress, financial strain or a whole raft of other constant pressures can soon send you drowning in a sea of negativity—killing your passion and robbing you of the energy and positivity you need to make a life-enhancing change.

If stress is taking a toll on your life you may want to check out the first book in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series, The Call For Change. The strategies and tips in the book will help you restore the balance and get your mojo back. You’ll also learn how to boost your ability to generate ideas. Available on Amazon in paperback and eBook by clicking the following link >> getBook.at/CareerChange

If you need more help to you manage stress my book, Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness, available as a paperback and Ebook will help. Navigate to here—getBook.at/StressLess.

 

Action Task! Find Your Passion

Real passion is more than a fad or a fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a light switch. Answering the following questions will help you begin to clarify the things you are most passionate about:

  1. When does time seem to fly? When was the last time you felt really excited, or deeply absorbed in, or obsessed by something? What were you doing? Who were you with? What clues did you notice?
  2. What do you care deeply or strongly about? Discovering all the things that you believe in is not always easy. Look for the clues to your deep beliefs by catching the times you use words such as ‘should’ or ‘must.’
  3. What do you value? What do you need to experience, feel, or be doing to feel deeply fulfilled?
  4. What pushes your buttons or makes you angry? How could you use your anger constructively to bring about change?
  5. Which skills and talents come most easily or naturally to you? Which skills do you love using? What skills do you look forward to using? What gives you such a buzz or a huge sense of personal satisfaction that you’d keep doing it even if you weren’t paid?
  6. What inspires you? To be inspired is to be in spirit. What bewitches and enthralls you so much that you lose all track of time? What makes your soul sing? What floats your boat? What things, situations, people, events etc. fill you with feelings of inspiration? List all your obsessions and the things that interest you deeply. If you’re struggling to identify your interests and inspirations, you’ll find some handy prompts in the next chapter.
  7. Keep a passion journal. My passion is passion—to help others live and work with passion and to bring about positive change in the world. If you’re not sure what you are passionate about, creating a passion journal is one simple but powerful technique to help achieve clarity. Your passion journal is where manifesting your preferred future really happens. I’ve been keeping a passion journal for years and so many things I’ve visualized and affirmed on the pages, are now my living realities—personally and professionally.

Love Is Where The Magic Is

Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion you’d do it for free this is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shared in my second book, 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.”

Download my free tip sheet to help you create your own passion journal here: www.worklifesolutions.nz/books/career-rescue

Passion in Business

A good way to find your own passion and identify ways to turn it into a fulfilling self-employment opportunity is to look for examples of others who have started businesses they are passionate about.

Here are just a few of many examples:

A passion for bugs! Brian Clifford is passionate about helping people and bugs. He has combined his passion into a successful business as a pest controller.

“All the rats, all the maggots, all the cockroaches all over the place, these are the things that I love doing,’ he says. His business motto is, ‘If it bugs you, I’ll kill it!”

Check out his business here >> www.borercontrolwellington.co.nz

 

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

Check out his business here >> www.skullsdownunder.co.nz

 

A passion for Maori food. Charles Royal’s passion for finding a way to incorporate traditional Maori foods into modern dishes led him to start his own business – Kinaki Wild Herbs.

“I had learned a lot about the bush during my time in the army and have taken that knowledge through the years, developing food tours and cooking classes using what we gather from the wild. I love organics and making something out of nothing, but you have to know what you are looking for,” says Royal. Air New Zealand now serves pikopiko and horopito in its First and Business Classes.

Check out his business here >> www.maorifood.com

 

“Passion is Everything-If You Don’t Have It You Will Not Succeed”

A love of good food and a lifelong dream to open their passion-driven business in London fueled Wellington restauranteurs Vivienne Haymans and Ashley Sumners’ move to the UK.

“We both felt we had gone as far as we could with our business in New Zealand and wanted to move further afield,” says Vivienne.

“I came here for a three-month holiday, secretly wanting to stay longer and build a business overseas. On arriving I discovered that London seriously needed a restaurant like our Sugar Club in Wellington. There was nowhere in London doing anything like it. I called Ash and a year later he also moved to London after selling our Wellington restaurant.”

They relocated the restaurant to Notting Hill in 1995, then to Soho in 1998, winning the Time Out “Best Modern British Restaurant” award in 1996 and “Best Central London Restaurant” award in 1999, along with several Evening Standard Eros awards.

Since then they have expanded and diversified their restaurant business, opening a chain of modern traiteurs (Italian-style delicatessens) that offer delicious, easy-to-prepare hand-made meals and great New Zealand coffee.

The first of these is called The Grocer on Elgin, situated in the heart of Notting Hill. Vivienne designed all three restaurants and ‘The Grocer on’ stores.

Like many people following their passion Vivienne and Ash faced significant barriers before finally making it big.

“It took Ash and I seven years to fulfill our dream of opening The Sugar Club in London. When we first arrived there were huge premiums being asked for restaurant sites.

Then, with the early 90s recession they were giving restaurants away but, like now, the banks were not lending. We had no property assets at the time, limited funds, a reference from our NZ lawyer, accountant and bank manager and a handful of NZ press clippings. The banks wanted property assets and UK business records. No less.”

Just when it looked like the obstacles were insurmountable, their passion for great food and design, the quality of the produce, and the integrity of its production, produced lucky fruit.

“We were offered a site by a landlord that we had had dealings with in the past. He liked what we did and gave us the lease. We developed the old Singapore Pandang into the Notting Hill Sugar Club. I borrowed an extra £5000 from my mum and paid her back in a month. It was an instant success and well worth the long wait.”

Vivienne says that following their passion is an important ingredient in their success.

“Passion is everything—if you don’t have it you will not succeed. It is hard work; your passion will pull you through the seriously bad times, which will always occur.”

Hot Tip! Gathering your own examples of passionate people and businesses is a great way to build confidence and generate your own business ideas.

Here are some things that other people who are self-employed are passionate about:

  • Creating BusinessesEntrepreneurs Melissa Clarke Reynolds and Eric Watson
  • AirportsGraham is an airport designer
  • BoatsBill Day runs a specialist maritime service business
  • BeautyJoy Gaisford, Designer
  • FoodRuth Pretty, Caterer and food writer
  • AstronomyRichard Hall, Stonehenge Aotearoa
  • DesignLuke Pierson, runs a web design business
  • RocksCarl created Carlucciland—a rock-themed amusement park
  • PassionCassandra Gaisford helping people work and live their passion! www.cassandragaisford.com

Here are some things that some businesses are passionate about:

  • Animal Welfare and Human RightsThe Body Shop
  • TechnologyMicrosoft, Apple
  • Helping peopleWorklife Solutions, Venus Network
  • EqualityThe EEO Trust, and the Johnstone Group
  • The EnvironmentThe Conservation Department
  • HoneyThe Honey Hive
  • ChocolateChocaholic
  • Pampering OthersBox of Chocolates and East Day Spa

 

Tune In To Your Body Barometer

What pushes your buttons or makes you angry? Having my manager threaten to ‘smash my head in,’ and working with others who were bullies and tyrants, the relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of caring for people, and numerous work restructurings, motivated me to gain my independence.

That and getting shingles—something I wrote about in my first books, The Call for Change, and also What Makes You Happy.

Shingles was definitely my body barometer sending me a red alert! As was seeing my colleagues suffer heart attacks.

As Neale Walsch, the author of Conversations with God, says, “Judge not about which you feel passionate. Simply notice it, then see if it serves you, given who and what you wish to be.”

So, as I’ve mentioned earlier, rather than become bitter, I thought how could I use my anger constructively to bring about change?

I decided I wanted to help people find jobs that made them happy, and I wanted to help victims of workplace bullying. That was my why and my what.

Stepping Stones to Success

I started a career counseling business for an established workplace counseling organization before going out on my own.

Working as an employee first gave me the confidence to fly free. I became more motivated when the CEO changed and the new boss tried to manage me. Increasingly, the job began to frustrate me.

It lacked challenge, my salary was capped, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to balance childcare. The final clincher, however, was when I did the math.

I worked out my hourly rate as a full-time salaried employee, versus what they charged me out per hour, and how much business I was bringing in for them, and came to the conclusion they were buying my skills, but they weren’t paying me enough. I could work less and earn and achieve more if I employed myself. I started to feel excited!

 

Action Task! Tune into Your Body Barometer

Notice the times you feel strong emotions. These could be annoyance, irritation and anger. Or they could be a sense of excitement, a state of arousal, a feeling of limitless energy, a burning desire, a strong gut feeling, a feeling of contentment or determination. Notice these feelings and record them in your passion journal.

Go deeper. Ask, “How could I make a living from my passion?” or “How do others make a living from things that excite or motivate me?”

Explore possibilities. Even a simple Google search, or generating ideas with others could get you started down the right path.

** FREE BONUS **

If you haven’t downloaded the free copy of the Passion Workbook, download it here >>

 

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

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