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Archive for the 'The Art Of Success' Category

NEW! PLAY DATES: ONLINE CREATIVITY WORKSHOP

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

NEW! PLAY DATES: ONLINE CREATIVITY WORKSHOP

 

For those ready to explore the playful freedom of Abstract Art. Play Dates is my 6-week online course that I’ve created just for you!

I invite you to join me on this self-paced abstract adventure across 6 different units and over 20 different lessons. The 6 units will inspire you with the following teachings:

  • Stories to tell—speaking with paint
  • Finding your voice—discovering your authentic essence
  • Courageous with colour-being brave and bold with vividly contrasting colours
  • Inspired Intuition—allowing your heart to rule
  • Playful-not perfect—letting go of perfection
  • Expressing feelings and healing through art

The course includes videos, resources and audio files you can enjoy over and over again.

You don’t need to be an experienced artist to enjoy this course. I am self-taught all the way! Learning for yourself is one of the great joys and freedom of creativity. The University of Life has taken me a long way—winning prizes, selling work in galleries to important collectors;  solo and group exhibitions and finalling in the prestigious portraiture award with my first-ever portrait; and learning the spiritual art of Sumi painting in Maui with internationally celebrated, New York-based, artist Max Gimblett.

And, guess what? All the time I was playing. Experimenting. Trying things out. Just for fun! Joseph Campbell was right when he said, when you follow your bliss, door open for you wouldn’t open for anyone else.

About 3 years into my painting journey…

…I remember thinking ‘I’ve lost my mojo. My art isn’t speaking to me.”

The incessant comparing myself to others who had some kind of “voice. ” I just couldn’t express myself. In 2012 won the Supreme Prize in a prestigious art award. I had a successful exhibition, selling several thousands of dollars of art. People loved the Sumi ink series but I KNEW there was something more inside me, something I wanted to articulate with my painting…something more joyful.

I looked around the art world and found myself drawn to paintings that oozed fresh, fluid, fun energy, paintings that were both mysterious and compelling, paintings that told a story—without sharing their secrets. Paintings that intrigued, entranced and danced. Paintings that spoke to peoples hearts.

Fast forward another 8 years, I’ve held successful group and shows, explored a million possibilities, shipped my works to buyers across the globe, travelled the world teaching workshops, made a truckload of mistakes (or happy accidents), shared with my passion and purpose with students online and honed my skills and passion as an artist and as a teacher whose burning desire is to have her students succeed in whatever way is right for them.

I would so love to play with you.

I’m excited to show you so many things!

Whether you are a beginner, experienced or a pro who has lost their flow, I can show you how to loosen up, how to create art that speaks, art you love. I can help you take your art to the next level.

  

Would you love to play?

 

Investment: Reduced from $285 USD to $185 USD for a limited time. 

Get in touch with me to play Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

 

 

 

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How guavas and working from home is the ultimate refuel strategy

Sunday, September 27th, 2020

 

“That should put more lead in your pencil.”

~ Lorenzo

When you visualise something, you imagine it in your mind. When I visualise breakfast, I conjure the dynamics and disruptions making and eating it entails. I am tempted to find everything that takes me from my writing as a distraction. This morning I resented being pulled away by my partner who was happy, and in a good mood, and wanted to make breakfast for me. He wanted us to go together into the garden and pick fresh guavas from the tree.

“So what’s the problem?” I hear you ask. The problem—if I chose to see it that way, which I did at the time— was that I was in full creative flow. Stopping for breakfast was the last thing I felt like doing.  My writing was being fed. My writing was being nourished.  My writing was chomping down, after days of famine, on a plate full of word-porridge.

The worst thing anyone could possible do was to drag me kicking and screaming to my highchair. I didn’t need to be fed. I was happy. I was productive. I was writing.

I had to do a quick mindset shift. Or rather, I chose to, because I don’t want to be a lonely, solitary, unloved writer. “But we love you. We love your books,” I hear you say. “You are the queen of uplifting inspiration.”

To inspire others I need to inspire my self. And love sustains that. I know not everyone agrees. Many creatives are adamant that they need to live on their own to create great art. But I don’t. I want to share my life with an actual person. One that makes breakfast for me!

I know with Lorenzo by my side life it is a whole lot easier. It’s a lot, lot easier to do my work. Well sometimes.

The encounter and my attitude to Lorenzo’s cheerful request challenged me to reprioritise what is truly important.  As I wrote in The Art of Success, Coco Chanel once said, “A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

Chanel shared that one of her biggest regrets is that she didn’t spend more time devoting herself to love—instead she chased the wrong dream.  Wealthy, lonely, and childless, she died by herself in The Ritz.

So I affirmed to myself, “This is good. This is fine. This is time to be together and nourish my mind.”

Later as we ate together my king said, “That should put more lead in your pencil.” And it’s true. Having a loving partner and eating good food should not be seen through the lens of distraction. Instead, it should be celebrated as fuel for our creative soul. I write more about powering your creativity with nourishing choices in The Happy, Healthy Artist.

The truth is that there are greater, more dangerous demons, masquerading as distractions.

Deadly distractions are also created by manic multi-tasking, all-consuming emails, frequent family dramas and other demands on your energy and time. Even seemingly reasonable requests can deter you from your course. Like my king suggesting today that I should create a blog about working from home.

It’s not an unreasonable idea. Especially, as I write this chapter, the whole world is in lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. His suggestion may even be profitable. But I don’t want to write about working from home.  I want to write about creative unblocking. And then I want to create some art and put into practice what I’m sharing with you.

So here’s the thing that worked for me today. I have to say it’s a beautifully simple and effective strategy, but it’s also one I actually haven’t been doing.  I just simply said to myself, “I am in lockdown from 2 to 4 and I am not to be distracted.”

I took myself to a non-distractive place, which was sitting outside in the garden. And I wrote.  In this case, it was dictating into my manuscript something I had handwritten during a restless night of insomnia.  Dictating is the perfect strategy when you feel blocked because you have something you can actually do. You can just engage the other side of your brain and put some flesh on the bones of your ideas.

That’s not to say I wasn’t tested. The thing about working from home is there are always distractions.  Especially when your home is a 10-acre property and you live with a perfectionist.  The wonderful thing about living with Lorenzo with his distaste for chaos is that there is not a blade of grass out of place and everything is manicured—perfectly.

It’s a beautiful serene non-chaotic place to create.  The truth is that when I feel everything is getting messy and chaotic, it does my head in to be surrounded in mayhem. I find it hard to focus.

When my king approached my little locked-down bubble of writing mirth in the garden later that day and told me he was going to spray some weeds between business calls. I felt guilty. I should be doing some housekeeping and cleaning. I should be helping!

My intention to be in lock-down from two to four protected me.  I just took a little mind-spa break and I did a micro clean. In 10 minutes I dusted and wiped and swiped, which cleansed eyestrain and mental overload and mopped away any guilt. The old, non-quarantined me might have mopped the floors, cleaned windows or flogged the linen with my procrastination whip until I had cleaned the whole damned house.

But no, I had an important appointment.  I had a non-negotiable time blocked out in my calendar. And it felt great. Empowering. Freeing. Validating. But  I doubt it would’ve felt so great if I was hungry, famished, my blood sugar levels plummeting because I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

Okay, maybe this could be a blog about working from home.

This has been an edited excerpt of Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life. COMING SOON

 

free guided hypnosis meditation

Is writer’s block, procrastination or self-doubt holding you back? The cure may be as simple as shifting unhelpful beliefs. So often, we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are.

If your unhelpful thoughts are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

Harness the power of your superconscious with this guided hypnosis meditation. Create the optimum state of mind for your writing or creative projects.

You’ll be subscribed to my newsletter and receive helpful tips and inspiration to live your best life. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to receive your free guided hypnosis meditation—Creating An Optimum State of Mind>>https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v3ul0lajve

 

 

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

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Why Little By Little Is The Fastest Way to Finish a Book

 

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.


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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 >>

 

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10 things you can do to stay positive despite fearing failure

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Dear friends,

How does fear of failure show up for you? A recent comment by someone on one of my Facebook page brought this question home. In a random comment following a post I have shared from a clinical psychologist, they called me a failure—and the psychologist too! At first it stung. Of course, it stung. Let’s be real about toxic criticism. But then I thought, “how could this be useful to me?” And things got better.

As I share in chapter 30 of How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

“I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.”

George Burns, Comedian

In our Western culture, we often spend more time thinking of ways we could fail rather than ways we could succeed.

People also don’t give themselves permission to make mistakes or to learn.

When was the last time you tested your fears?

If you felt the fear and failed anyway what’s the worst that could happen?

Look for and collect examples of people who have turned “failure” into success.

 

So many of us are afraid, shamed and blamed for failure. We spend more time stoking our fear of failure than we do our dreams. Yet fear of failure has a role to play in our story. It’s the antagonist we must overcome to embark on the heroes journey and return with the golden elixir of success, however this is defined. As I share in the Art of Success series, we need to take a holistic look at what it means and what it takes to be successful.

 

The Eight Principles of Success

I’ve sectioned The Art of Success 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 Eight Principles of Success and what each will cover:

Principle One, “The Call For Success” will help you explore the truth about success and define success on your own terms. You’ll discover the rewards and ‘realities’ of success, and intensify success-building beliefs.

Principle Two, “Empower Your Success,” will help you learn why igniting the fire within, love, and heeding the call for passion is the cornerstone of future success. You’ll clarify who you really are and who you want to be, discover your elemental, signature strengths, and clarify your passion criteria.

Sight was the sense Leonardo valued above all else. Principle Three, “Empower Your Vision,” will help you clarify and visualise 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 life purpose, maintain focus and bring your vision into a successful reality.

Principle Four, “Empower Your Spirit,” urges you to pay attention to the things that feed your soul, awaken your curiosity, stir your imagination and create passion in your life.

Principle Five, “Empower Your Mind,” looks at ways to cultivate a success mindset. You’ll also identify strategies to overcome obstacles and to maximise your success, and ways to work less but achieve more to gain greater balance and fulfilment.

Your health is your wealth yet it’s often a neglected part of success. Principle Six, “Empower Your Body,” recognises 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 attaining and sustaining success. When you do less and look after yourself more, you can and will achieve success.

Principle Seven, “Empower Your Relationships” will help you boost your awareness of how surrounding yourself with your vibe tribe will fast-track your success, and when it’s best to go it alone.

The Art of Success ends with Principle Eight, “Empower Your Work” emphasises the role of authenticity and being who you are. You’ll also learn how to ‘fake it until you make it’ and be inspired by others success. Importantly you’ll learn how following your own truth will set you free.

 

What Is Success?

I wish to work miracles.

~Leonardo da Vinci

Modern definitions of success are often too narrowly defined. Success is more than climbing up the corporate ladder. It’s more than a big shiny car, or owning the latest and greatest. It’s more than the number of likes you have on Facebook.

Success includes maintaining good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships,  creative freedom,  well-being,  peace of mind, happiness and joy. Success also includes the ability to achieve your desires—whatever these may be.

Success is living life on your terms.

Leonardo was driven to self-actualise—to fulfil his talents and potential and achieve his life purpose.

Success meant following his curiosity and the freedom to think, be and do as he chose. His success came from creatively expressing his most important beliefs and values, and sharing his knowledge with the world.

Your Challenge

What does success mean to you?

How will you know when you have succeeded?

Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.

~ Arianna Huffington, businesswoman

 

As one of my clients, Tom* shared with me recently,  “I’ve just been writing sitting for a day sitting at my computer writing budgets and farm plans… I know I’m learning. I  don’t know if I want to be anchored to a seat…you’ve got me thinking…with your emails and the other people that you work with. I’ve always chased financial security…that’s been my main driver…maximum dollar and then trying to find something with that I like doing. Is that the wrong approach? I just want to let my heart lead. I see a job weeding for Doc on the Pitcairn Islands or being a guide on the Milford Track In the fresh air. Yeeze my heart would sing. And I’d be in the fresh air. How do you balance that conundrum?

 

Tip 1. Ask yourself empowering questions

It’s a great question! To which I replied, “What would the worst thing be if you followed your heart….for the next 6months? A year? What could be worse (my made up word) still?

What would be the best thing if you followed your heart….for the next 6months? A year? What could be better still?

So often we live an unbalanced life. We prioritise our rational mind and neglect our heart.
Here is what Tom shared in response to the empowering questions exercise:
Journaling on your questions..
What would the worst thing be if you followed your heart….for the next 6months? A year? What could be worser still?
I fail – the first word that came up – but what is fail? For to have tried is no failure. I would have had a new experience under my belt but it might open a new door. But I would have to dig deep and find even more strength within to start something new, to pack up yet again and move, when all I crave right now is certainty, structure, calm in my current storm, to regroup heal and refocus.
For 4 months it would get me back into adventure, but it would be putting off what I feel I most need right now, to stop and regroup.
Worst would be going away for 4 months,  then not having a next step, or a place to return to, leading to more drifting. Worse would be walking away from current opportunities I have manifested before following them through to see where they lead and finding out if this is what I enjoy…environmental work…workplace training…seeing if I can create a new life for myself. Worse would be not knowing if I had taken the right step!
But what is “right”, as long as it’s a step forward, and I can always walk that path at another time. Or could I? Right now I am free. Worse could be missing this opportunity (If I even got a guiding job!) in a time when I have no commitments. Later on I may be locked into something and unable to get away for 4 months. Worst of all is missing out on finding a home, knowing I have a base to return to, a place to lay my head, somewhere to go back to once the adventure is over.
What would be the best thing if you followed your heart….for the next 6months? A year? What could be better still?
I would get to run away from my worries and go off on an adventure, be distracted by the magical beauty of nature, get fit, meet likeminded people who love the wild places, have an amazing life experience and increase my lifespan! My brain would not have to deal with learning a new technical job or finding enough income to pay the rent for that week. If I followed it for 4 months (that’s how long the work is) it might even open doors to other adventures, it might reset my worries about security, and it might allow me to feel where I am pulled to, to get clarity around my essence of who I really am. By being away from all I know, my next step would bubble up. And when I looked back on my life, I would have known I had honoured my gypsy calling and claimed boldness.
What I feel after writing this:
Certainty seems more important to me right now. My biggest worry is that I would push that further away if I went away. And I’m not sure I have the energy for that right now.
I would give up the current opportunities that have opened up, without giving myself a full opportunity to experience where it might lead to (even though right now as I am learning it is stressful)
So, I am still inclined to stay here, to try this role a little longer, and see if I can create a new life here. I need to find that calm point, to create a rhythm in my week and my work, which will allow calm and bring peace, which enables clarity to emerge. In that, I will find a calling rises up inside me.
Anyways, it was a good exercise!
I’m more feeling forward with my gut. I had decided to stay here till Xmas, giving me that time to see where things lead to. If by then there is no future here, I can move elsewhere. I certainly am being presented with many options, a job offer and an interview call! And more training requests. So things are moving there and I’m feeling into my heart to make a call.
I was offered a job in health and safety.  It would be a good secure safe role with a great bunch of people, But 45 hr weeks and sedentary. I’m not sure I can dig deep to do that. That was a real test – security vs flexibility. I am yet to decide!!
The point of this exercise is to challenge your assumptions. In time clarity returns and decisions dawn more definitively. Not now, does not mean, never ever. Tom, for example, was in the early throes of potential divorce. He realised what he needed right now was less change, more calm…and a roof over his head.

Tip 2. Read an empowering book

Like Simon, who for years toiled away as a builder but grew to hate the work more and more every day. His physical health was compromised…and then his mental health. He became depressed. Anxious., Suicidal at times. But then he picked up my book, How to FInd Your Passion and Purpose.

He wrote to me from Sydney Australia, in April 2020. “Hi there Cassandra, Your book passion and purpose changed my life. I wanted to say a Big thank you to you!

 

Listen to How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

Oh, my gosh! I am so excited that my most popular book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose is now available as an audiobook. Listen to an excerpt here>>

 

Tip 3. Become greater at gratitude

 

Gratitude is a fantastic and easy tool to use to lift your vibration. It still amazes me why more people don’t use it. Reach out today and tell someone they changed your life.  

 

Tip 4. Hire a Career Coach

Simon, worked with me to rebuild his life. (Funny, he was once a builder!). He’s gone back to ‘school’ and is training to become a relationship and addiction counsellor. Working with me helped him avoid a very costly mistake. He nearly invested in a short-term course thinking this would provide him with the training he needed for his career rescue. I shared with him one of the strategies included in my book, Job Search Strategies That Work talk to experts working in the field. Ask your way to success. Draw up a list of questions and include, what training would you recommend?

I love that when you help one person, you help a family. When you don’t do what you love your relationships can suffer. When you love your job, when your career feeds your purpose and passion it enriches not just you but your loved ones and communities.

The New chapter.
Had a family outing to celebrate the start of the new career journey!
Living the dream with Passion!
Thank you!

Simon had the courage and also been inspired by How to FInd Your Passion and Purpose to quit a job he’s hated all his life and is embracing the love bug by retraining and doing something that fulfils his passion and purpose. Importantly, his career change is enabling him to turn his trauma into teachings to uplight the world. Go, Simon.

Like all my clients, I’m so inspired by him and thankful he reached out to me to help.

Tip 5. Volunteer

We have to be careful of chasing the wrong dream. This is where gaining some experience first by volunteering or shadowing someone who works in the profession or role we are interested in. I first met Amy when she emailed me from Hawaii and offered to edit my books for FREE. I later returned the favour and offered her some free coaching. Then later still we came to a financial arrangement to help each other.
Reinventing my career over twenty years ago and become a life and career coach has enabled me to meet and support inspiring clients like Amy. I helped her overcome her fear and turn her passion into a rewarding career as a business owner. She moved back to her hometown of Columbia, SC, had a beautiful baby and is now a professional. self-employed editor and proof-reader. If you need a great proofreader look no further>>www.StokesEdits.com
Amy emailed me during COVID-19 and also sent me a picture of her beautiful one-year-old daughter. Her vision had always been to balance family with career. I’m so happy because she was also able to future-proof her income by working from home and creating a service she could provide anywhere.

 

“It has been a long time since we’ve connected! And a long time since I helped with editing some of your books. I have since moved back to my hometown of Columbia, SC, from Hawaii. And we now have a little girl, Iona Delphine Stokes! She turned one on April 14.”

I was so thrilled to hear from Amy and so proud of her for what she has achieved. A beautiful wee girl and a beautiful business – one that fulfils her vision of being able to work from home and have a family.

A big shout out to all the fabulous women who raise businesses and babies! As I share in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series, it’s no easy feat but an extremely rewarding one!

As Amy shares below when you overcome your fear of not being good enough or whatever else is holding you back—IT FEELS GOOD!

 

 

 

I’m so grateful to Amy for allowing me to share a photo of her beautiful daughter Iona celebrating her 1st birthday. Does Iona look entranced by colour? A buddy artist? Soooooo adorable.

 

 

 

Tip 6. Do what you love with who you love

I saved this tip along with the link below in my inspiration file. You don’t have to be physical with someone to feel inspired by them. Just reading their stories, soaking up the wisdom on their blogs, following on social media and a whole bunch of other ways to connect, including meet-ups, can fire the fear of failure. Inspirational people are like vitamins for our soul. If you’re considering a change, take time to ponder the following, “How will it feel to be surrounded by, or in contact with similar people? Will they fuel your passions? John, an insurance broker asked himself this the other day. “God I hate those f*ckers. I couldn’t stand being in the same room with them.” Question answered.
What I enjoyed about Nessy’s story is who honest she is about the number of things she has tried and failed.
“Start something because you enjoy doing it, not because you think you’re going to make money out of it (unless you’re living la vida broka, in which case, obviously get a job on the side to pay some bills).”

Brett, who at the young age of 60 recently enrolled in my Certified Career and Life Coach training course  applied a similar strategy. Not because he was broke, but because he’s shifted his mindset toward his current job. My midlifer career changers inspire me tremendously. “I want to make the next decade the best one yet,” he shared with me prior to enrolling. You can read his full story, including how thinking outside of the square helped him overcome failure, here>>If Brett Could Change His Career At 60, So Can You

Tip 7. Find a way to feel

Sometimes, a simple but effective way to get unstuck is to explore a range of different thinking styles—ideally, ones that challenge crippled thinking, open up possibilities and move you into a state of inspired, solutions-focused action.

This is where working with a therapist can help. However, many people resist going to see a counsellor or therapist because they assume that all they will achieve from the session is ruminating on their problems and more navel-gazing.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. A skilled counsellor can not only provide much-needed support but also act as an objective, independent sounding board who can help you get to the root of your issues, add a liberal dose of much-needed empathy and understanding and support you to make the changes necessary to empower your life.

As one of my clients told me, “It wasn’t until someone listened to me, really listened, that I knew what I really thought.” Similarly, it wasn’t until a therapist diagnosed my life experiences as traumatic that I began my path of healing.

All too often, no one gives us the space to name, or express our emotions. Well-meaning family members, work colleagues, friends and even strangers may dispense advice—not all of it is helpful. Take the example of Simon whose wife of thirty-years had recently died. “You just need to suck it up and get on with it,” a friend told him. Working through his grief-related anxiety in therapy proved to be a much more helpful and healing approach.

“I thought I should be able to handle it. I told myself I wouldn’t get upset, ” he told me.

“Who told you that when you lose someone you love very, very much that you shouldn’t feel something?” I asked. He shrugged.

We both agreed it was natural to cry. I suggested that if he didn’t feel anything—if he didn’t feel loss, or grief, sadness or pain—he would be inhuman. Cognitively we can often fool our minds, but the heart is often our greatest, and most honest, teacher.

In our Western culture, so many people, particularly men, bottle up their feelings. So many negative emotions are stuffed down and repressed. Some experts say that these repressed feelings are contributing factors behind the escalating rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol addiction, drug abuse and suicide.

Tom, whose older sister took her own life when they were both in their thirties recalls his parents praising him for showing a lack of emotion, “Good boy for not crying,” they told him. Bottling trauma is neither helpful nor good.

Now in his fifties, Tom suffers from mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Rather than seek help releasing these feelings, including anger toward his parents, he abuses alcohol in an attempt to anaesthetize dark feelings. And he’s not alone. As I share in my books, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, and Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life) a great many people drink alcohol to mask or numb the symptoms of their wounds.

No one escapes walking in this world without some degree of hurt. But for many people, this hurt is profoundly deep. The first cuts, experts (and songwriters) say are the deepest—very often these wounds are inflicted during childhood.

Tragically, what should be a happy time of innocence is one of incalculable pain. Incest, rape, physical abuse, emotional neglect—and many more horrid things happen to people growing up.

Many wounded souls never receive therapy. Reasons vary. For some, it appears too costly, for others they think that talking to a therapist make them weak. Tony Soprano, one of the toughest characters to storm across our TV screens in the award-winning show, The Sopranos, sought therapy to deal with repressed emotions which contributed to his anxiety attacks.

In 2017 movie superstar Brad Pitt revealed he had a shocking drinking problem that wrecked his marriage and tore his young family apart. “I feel retarded when it comes to expressing my emotions,” he said as he opened up about his battle with alcohol. To help him kick the alcohol habit he opted to face his demons and learn how to express and handle emotions by seeking the services of a qualified and skilled counsellor.

Asking for help, whether this is addiction counselling, relationship therapy, coaching to deal with stress at work, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, or something else, isn’t easy for many successful people. However, it’s often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life.

As a qualified counsellor and holistic therapist, I know that very often integrative talk-therapy which draws on an eclectic range of techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and other modalities, including creative and art-based techniques can be extremely effective.

Therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives. These are also scientifically-validated tools that enhance spiritual health and aid recovery.

Creativity in its various guises is a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy is such a potent and popular tool. Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery and healing that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. People don’t need to have a background in the arts or any artistic talent to participate. They need only to be open to experiencing and engaging actively to benefit.

I have trained in a technique called Interactive Drawing Therapy and have found it to be an incredible tool in my own life and in my sessions with others. The simplest of drawings, a line, a colour, a scrawled phrase or word can powerfully access parts of the psyche we often repress, bringing unhelp subconscious belief to light. In an alchemical process, wounds are spun into gold.

When I first trained in Interactive Drawing Therapy the teacher asked for a volunteer. No hands were raised so he picked me. What harm could it do, I thought, being as skilled as I was at keeping a lid firmly on my feelings.

“Draw an animal,” he said.

Sure, I thought. Great. Harmless. I drew a giraffe.

“Put some colour on the page,” the teacher gently guided.

My giraffe became pink with green, purple and yellow spots. What fun I thought.

“Where is she?” the teacher asked. “Draw this on the page.”

I drew large grey and black rectangles, symbolizing office blocks, cars belching smoke, and a road, not unlike Lambton Quay, in Wellington, New Zealand where I went to work in a job I hated every weekday.

“Put some words on the page,” the teacher whispered.

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

And then it dawned on me, just as the words slipped onto the page. That giraffe was me. And the fact was I did stand out—naturally. I had always been different. And I had struggled unsuccessfully to belong.

“She can’t help but stand out,” my tutor affirmed. “It’s who she is.”

For me, this awareness was so new, so potent, so transformative, that I knew instantly there was work to do. I began to understand the deep social anxiety I had felt as a child and carried with me through adolescence—and with it the drinking and reckless behaviour I had adopted to belong, to bolster the confidence I never felt, to hide the discomfort of living in my own skin.

When I completed my counselling training many years ago I was also introduced to Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). REBT originated in the mid-1950s as Ellis became increasingly aware and frustrated by the ineffectiveness of traditional psychoanalysis to produce a change in his patients.

The REBT worldview is that people often make themselves emotional victims by their own distorted, unrealistic, and irrational thinking patterns. Ellis takes an essentially optimistic view of people but criticizes some humanistic approaches as being too soft at times and failing to address the fact that people can virtually “self-destruct” through irrational and muddled thinking.

According to Ellis and the REBT worldview, all people are born with self-defeating tendencies. When something goes against your goals, your values or desires, feelings of failure, rejection, etc., can set in; but you have a choice.

You have a choice of feeling terrified, panicky, depressed, self-pitying, self-doubting, etc.—and succumbing to these emotions.

But these feelings can prevent you from making positive changes—and may drive you to drink, for example.

Which emotion you choose, according to REBT practitioners, is thought to mainly depend on your belief system—not your goals and values, but what you tell yourself when your goals and values are thwarted or blocked.

We all have a rational set of beliefs called “preferences.” In this context, “rational” means self-helping beliefs, such as, “I don’t like what is going on.” “I wish it weren’t so.” “How annoying?” “Let’s see what I can do about it.”

Many people very frequently pick irrational beliefs, referred to as “demands,” such as, “Because I don’t like what is going on, it absolutely should not be allowed.” “It can’t happen.” “I can’t stand it.” “Everyone should love me–if they don’t, I am worthless.” “It’s horrible, I think I’ll give up” (or, when taken to the extreme, “I’ll kill myself”).

Ellis’ therapeutic approach is not to challenge the clients’ goals and values, but instead attack their absolute demands about achieving these values. The emphasis of the therapy is on changing the way the client thinks about the behaviour or the upsetting event, rather than on changing the behaviour itself.

This is a critical point—it is not the actual event but our view of the event that is critical.

The task of the REBT therapist is to help clients’ challenge and self-correct thought patterns and minimize irrational ideas, while simultaneously helping them to change their dysfunctional feelings and behaviours. Challenging the irrational statement is key to changing an entire philosophy of life.

 

The ABCDEF Method

Perhaps Ellis’s most important concrete methodological contribution is his A-B-C–D-E-F theory, which can be summarized as follows:

A – the “objective” facts, events, behaviours that an individual encounters. (I call this, ‘the activating event’).

B – the person’s beliefs about ‘A’

C – the emotional consequences, or how a person feels and acts about ‘A’

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

E – the effect that disputation has on the client

F – new feelings and behaviours

 

Example:

I helped a friend apply the ABCDE method following a Boxing Day alcohol-fuelled drama which impacted his son. The following is an edited extract (I have changed names to protect people’s privacy):

A – the activating event and “objective” facts, events, behaviours encountered.

Following Boxing Day, Tim, who is nineteen, rang and told his father, Simon about an alleged assault between him and his mother’s new boyfriend. Tim says both his mom and her boyfriend were drunk.

 

B – the beliefs about ‘A’

Simon is waiting to speak to the ‘old-one’ (his ex) to determine the facts but believes his son’s account of what happens. The ‘old one’ is not returning his call.

He believes the reason she is not returning his call is because she is at fault, and that an assault did occur.

 

C – the emotional consequences, or how Simon feels and acts about ‘A’

Simon’s emotions are heightened. He’s feeling frustrated, powerless, angry, resentful, anxious, and fearful for his son’s safety. Yet, aspects of his son’s version of what happened concerned him. He feels confused as to what really occurred.

Simon drinks 3 bottles of beer and goes to the bottle store to buy more.

Simon believes alcohol relaxes him, minimizes stress, and helps him stay calmer and in control while he waits.

Over the course of the evening (3 hours), he drinks five 500ml bottles of beer (11 standard drinks.) Feeling stressed, I join him—minimizing my drinking by consuming small quantities in six crystal glasses (in total 500 ml, or 2.2 standard drinks.)

After speaking to ‘the old one’ and his son on a three-way call, and resolving all misunderstandings, I asked how he feels now that he knows his son is not at risk. He shuts me down and says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

He doesn’t speak to me again that evening.

 

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

Rather than work myself into a state, I challenged my belief that by drinking with Simon we would both be relaxed. Alcohol is a depressant, it depletes your energy, and increases symptoms of stress already triggered by external events, I reminded myself.

It increases anxiety, melancholy, gloom, and aggression, which is why Tim’s mom and her partner argued, and why Tim ‘lunged’ at this stepfather when he told him to mind his business.

I counsel myself, “Alcohol is ethanol, a flammable, colourless chemical compound—it’s poison, also used to fuel cars, masquerading as a happy drink.”

 

E – effect that disputation has

The episode strengthened my resolve never to drink during times of stress, and my conviction that I don’t want to ingest poisons.

Simon’s knowledge that his ex is an alcoholic causes him to question his own dependency on alcohol during times of stress.

This change in thinking affects Simon by making him more committed to controlling his drinking and being a role model to his son.

 

F – new feelings and behaviours

Simon and I felt calmer and more optimistic about the benefits of not drinking.

Simon felt more empowered and in control now that he has discovered the truth about his ex’s drinking and how her relationship with a man who drinks excessively affects his son.

He decides to take control by helping Tim find a way to gain his independence and leave home, knowing that despite urging his ex to seek help for her drinking that, as with other times, this may have fallen on deaf ears.

Tim successfully finds work that he loves which means he is seldom at home and tells his father that alcohol has no place in his own life. Tim is happier sober!

As a holistic practitioner and life coach I also know there is a wide range of alternative healing approaches that yield remarkable, extremely quick results. It concerns me, and a lot of other health professionals, that too often people turn to antidepressant medication, Despite research that cites the lower effectiveness, for many people this still appears to be the solution of choice prescribed by many medical professions.

“Pills are cheap,” my doctor told me when I asked her why counselling wasn’t recommended to more people. It may be cheap, but worrying it is not always effective and the side-effects can also do more harm than healing. Rather than offer short-term help very often people come to rely on medical prescriptions for decades. In an extract from his book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected SolutionsJohann Hari, who took antidepressants for 13 years, says masking the pain does not offer long-term relief and calls for a new approach.

“I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him – crouched, embarrassed – that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why.

However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened. The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through.”

You can read a summary of his views, including his claims of an over-riding profit motive by pharmaceutical companies, in his interview with The Guardian. ‘Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?”

A good therapist will often share strategies that can help you rebalance the hormones in your brain, or refer you to other health professionals like nutritionists and dieticians. There are a great many ways to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs, including meditation, exercise, sunlight, vitamins and other low-cost approaches. Many will save you money, boost your health, help you reduce weight and improve your relationships—here I’m talking about eliminating or cutting back alcohol consumption.

Alcohol has been found to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. As this article in SpiritScience claims, there is also a clear link between alcohol consumption and violence or other types of aggressive behaviour. Aggression is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels and may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism.

In an article which appears in  Psychology Today, F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist, and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City, cites research confirming the ineffectiveness of antidepressant medication compared with other therapies, including talk therapy. In the November 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind: “Getting to Know Me: Psychodynamic therapy has been caricatured as navel-gazing, but studies show powerful benefits,” claims Jonathan Shedler. Shedler, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of psychology at the University of Colorado Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Service. As Barth notes, Shelder ‘combines anecdotes from clients and therapists with fascinating research to explain something that those of us who have practised “insight” therapy (sometimes also called “talk” therapy) have known for a long time: psychodynamic psychotherapy works. It helps clients find solutions not only to specific symptoms but also to difficulties at work, in their social lives, and with self-esteem.

For example, Shedler writes, “One major study found an ‘effect size’-a measure of treatment benefit – of 0.97” for psychodynamic psychotherapy. “For CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), 0.68 is a typical effect size. For antidepressant medication, the average effect size is 0.31.”

Barth describes seven features that researchers have found contribute to the power and effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy: “exploring emotions, examining avoidances, identifying recurring patterns, discussing past experience, focusing on relationships, and examining the patient/therapist relationship.”

As a result of counselling, many people choose to connect or reconnect with lapsed spiritual or religious rituals. I love integrating spiritual approaches into my ‘talk therapy.’ Many people have lost their union with God because of the hypocritical dogma which has polluted many faith systems. However, prayer, for example, comes in many shapes, colours, and textures.

Many anxious people, recovering alcoholics, prosperous creatives and successful business people, including Deepak Chopra, Julia Cameron, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, refer to prayer in several forms, including describing it as the voice of God, intuition, higher self, inner goddess, or their Sacred Divine.

In her book Illuminata: A Return to Prayer, Marianne Williamson, who also shares her early dysfunctional relationship with her mother, speaks of prayer as a way of “focusing our eyes,” dramatically transforming our orientation, releasing us “from the snares of lower energies,” and aligning “our internal energies with truth”.

Prayer, or invoking a higher power, is revered by many for its power to help them reclaim their strength, find their inner power and overcome tragedy. 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/

Whether you elect to seek the services of a therapist, put your faith in God, divine wisdom, spirituality or something else, the truth is very often that safety, guidance, and strength comes from a place within. The right therapist can act as a much needed and much-valued guide who supports you to find solutions to your problems and develop strategies you can apply yourself to regularly to stay well.

 

Tip 8. GOLOV

Have you heard of GOLOV-20? Spread The Love Bug! 

https://www.cassandragaisford.com/have-you-heard-of-golov-20-spread-the-love-bug/

Have you heard of GOLOV-20? I first heard of it around 3 am when I woke with little insomnia during the onset of COVID-19. The truth is I love the quiet of the night and I love to use this time to be inspired. I never worry about not being asleep, I just use this time to nourish me. I write more about this in my short story, Lulu is a Black Sheep.

Below details from Dr. Joe Dispenza, a super amazing and spiritually connected neuroscientist, on GOLOV-20 – the movement he has started as an antidote to all the fear-mongering spread by the INFOVIRUS of COVID-19

A big part of this message is sharing inspiration and reaching out to tell people that inspire you that they create love in your heart. Dr Joe Dispenza explains it better than I.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrWI55RA58k

The link below has Dr. Joe’s full guided meditation

https://youtu.be/bYOHHLLuaMg

 

Tip 9. Trust your heart

Courage is the Gateway to Freedom

Who inspires me? Dr. Joe, but also my partner and my daughter, and all my amazing clients who inspire me with the courage, determination and desire to make a difference. I share more about my daughter’s amazing healing journey using the vibration of joy and love in the book we wrote together, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

15 years ago, as a single mother, with a hefty mortgage and no one to support me, I made some of the most major shifts in my life… 

  • I rekindled a friendship that I thought I’d lost. 
  • I healed myself from a serious health condition. 
  • And I boosted my courage and left a job I hated to employ myself. 

The way I was able to create this change was by healing one major issue: SELF-DOUBT. Instead, I trusted my heart.

I followed the method in my training programme http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training/

If you’re ready to learn the six most powerful tools to clear EVERYTHING in the way of manifesting your dream life… 

…AND I MEAN IT… 

Then join this very special training and let me mentor you every step of the way.

Reinventing my career has enabled me to meet and support inspiring clients like Amy, Brett, Simon and many more besides.

Tip 10. Elevate your energy—nourish your joy

As I share in The Anxiety Cure: Love Your Body: live a life free from fear, everything is energy, and energy is everything. Without it you have nothing. But you don’t want sad, bad, defeatist energy—that won’t help at all. As I shared earlier, tell someone they changed your life. Gratitude is a fantastic and easy tool to use to lift your vibration. It still amazes me why more people don’t use it. Reach out today and tell someone they changed your life.  Like, Simon, who wrote to me from Sydney Australia, in April 2020.

Passion, joy, and love are the highest vibrations you can feel. They’re the rocket-fuel feelings that will catapult you to success.

“The two most inspiring life forces are anger and joy,” singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette once said. “I could write 6 zillion songs about these two feelings alone.”

As you’ll discover in my earlier book, Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover a Job You Want and Live the Life You Love, and in other books in this series, anger can be a constructive force for positive change.

But the more moments you spend being happy and joyful, and allowing yourself and your work to be infused with this positive energy, the closer you are to being the God-force of all life. You create a natural antidote to anxiety, and you evoke the power of the laws of attraction and abundance, and you attract prosperity.

“If you will live your life in such a manner—that everything you pursue is to make yourself happy—you will live your life to its grandest destiny,” writes Ramtha in The White Book.

“Joy begets joy, for when you accept the joy that is pressed to you, that joy heightens the joy of your tomorrows and opens you up for even greater receivership.”

Co-creating with joy, passion, Spirit, and love, and creating and maintaining a positive mindset are essential ingredients in raising your productive energy.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what makes you happy or feel joyful or you haven’t figured out where your passions lie. You’ll find plenty of help in my other books.

What matters now is that you begin with the end in mind and make a commitment to only invest in things that make you feel good and create positive vibrations.

This may require doing some inner work, increasing your self-awareness and committing to further personal development. It may mean regularly checking in and monitoring your calibration. Or it may involve some tough action.

Many successful people choose to walk away from soul-sucking jobs and relationships to elevate their energy. Paulo Coelho, Isabel Allende, J.K Rowling, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, and Jessie Burton, for example, may not have read Ramtha’s sage words which I have quoted below, but they found success by pursuing the love, joy, and purpose they discovered when following their passion.

Importantly, in the process of following their bliss, they all rekindled a deep love for themselves.

“There is no greater purpose in life than to live for the love and fulfilment of self, and that can only be achieved by participating in this life and doing those things which bring you happiness regardless of what they are, for who shall say it is wrong or that it is not good for you?” writes Ramtha in The White Book.

What daily practices, routines, or habits fill you with joy? Notice the times you feel marvellous.

What soul-sucking jobs, relationships, or situations depress your energy? How can you manifest feel-good vibrations? Develop a plan to restore positivity to your daily diet.

 

 

Don’t forget your love of laughter. Be a little silly—or a lot. Laughter lifts your vibration higher. Laughter is the language of love. It works even when you’re stuck in the mud!

 

My partner and I recently survived a horror renovation that nearly ended up in massive failure. But we dug deep (literally), leveraged off others’ abilities and got through it. And now it feels great. The fact is that you have to face your fear of everything turning out horribly. Within reason, nothing is fatal. The road to success is often strewn with ruins.

But those that dare not, dream not, risk not, will never taste the true victory—the knowledge you threw caution to the wind and tried!

As author and filmmaker Michael Moore said, “I want us all to face our fears and stop behaving like our goal in life is merely to survive. Surviving is for game show contestants stranded in the jungle or on a desert island. You are not stranded. Use your power. You deserve better.”

I took these words to heart many years ago. Anxiety and depression run in my family—as does a tendency to place a stop-cap on dreams. As you’ve read, my grandmother grew up in foster care. Her father murdered a man. I’m sure that her upbringing had an impact on my mom, and in turn, my mom’s ability to give me the love I craved as a child.

My dad was dumped in a boarding school when he was only four. He never knew his father, and only found out when he was in his 70s that he had a sister. Growing up, he never experienced a hug or knew true affection.

Like Amy Winehouse and so many others with wounded childhoods, I never felt loved. I’ve worked hard to overcome the wounds of my childhood.

You should, too. Your past doesn’t need to stop you.

“A lot of people feel like they’re victims in life, and they’ll often point to past events, perhaps growing up with an abusive parent or in a dysfunctional family,” writes Rhonda Byrne in The Secret.

“Most psychologists believe that about 85 per cent of families are dysfunctional, so all of a sudden you’re not so unique. My parents were alcoholics. My dad abused me. My mother divorced him when I was six . . . I mean, that’s almost everybody’s story in some form or not,” she says.

Author Jack Canfield also speaks to this point: “The real question is, what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears.”

In hindsight, you will see your life experiences as a gift. As Isabel Allende once said, “Without my unhappy childhood and dysfunctional family, what would I have to write about?”

I channel my life experiences into my books. I pay it forward and share how I learned to empower my mind, body, and soul. I studied Buddhist philosophy. I learned Transcendental and mindfulness meditation.

I devoured nearly every self-help book on the planet—and beyond. I went to healers and sought counselling.

I trained to be a hypnotherapist, counsellor, and psychologist and gained other therapeutic skills. I continue to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned to my clients and readers like you to help empower them to live your best lives.

Every day I fight for my dreams.

 

We all enter this life, and leave it, with different challenges. Different parents, siblings, life experiences. The pain of your past doesn’t need to define you. If you are prepared to be honest and vulnerable and to do the work, you know what you need to do to empower your life and your work.

As Buddha once said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

If fear, wounds of the past, victim thinking, destructive health behaviours, or anything else detrimental to living your best life has a grip on you, prioritize breaking free.

Seeking help doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You may heal your life with writing, work with a coach or therapist, or self-help your way to success.

When you seize the reins of control and take responsibility, you will empower your life—and your prosperity.

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

 

 

P.S.

GRAB YOUR FREE BOOK – my gift to you

 

 

Grab your free copy and experience an immediate uplift. Suitable to children of all ages (yes, mid-lifers…us too!)

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

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/mlwRB9

To grab your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/billy-is-a-balloon-1

Click here for the free audiobook – written and narrated by me>>https://dl.bookfunnel.com/znooq2ocme

 

 P.S. if you enjoy this story or any of my books can you please leave a review where you purchased:)

 

 

Cassandra is a holistic therapist integrative counsellor, life coach, and author. To book an appointment or learn more about her wellness-therapies, including how QTC can help you achieve rapid, lasting, transformational change click here >>

Learn more about Cassandra from reading Testimonials to her work.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

If you like my work you can support me on Ko-fi>>ko-fi.com/youinspireme 

You might like:

Do you feel guilty for wanting more from your career and life?

How might we sabotage ourselves?:

Quantum Transformational Coaching—all your questions answered

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

Life transformed by faith in the stars

http://www.cassandragaisford.com/why-pursuing-your-passion-not-your-pension-is-the-ultimate-mid-life-career-change-strategy/

 

 

 

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

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

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

To grab your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/how-to-find-your-passion-and-purpose

 

 

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

Beat ageism and discrimination—easily and skillfully tap into the hidden job market and get the job you want.

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

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

To grab your copy from  Kobo, click here>> https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/mid-life-career-rescue-job-search-strategies-that-work

 

 

 

Feeling depressed? Connect with your with spirit. Align with purpose to create a life of joy, passion, prosperity, and fulfilment. Finding your passion and purpose is the ultimate, medication-free stress and anxiety cure.

In this video, a blast from the past, I share some simple and practical strategies to help you tap into the power of passion. I later adapted these cards into my bestselling book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

* name changed to protect privacy

 

 

 

How to stay true to your vision

Monday, February 24th, 2020

“I wanted to give a woman comfortable clothes that would flow with her body. A woman is closest to being naked when she is well-dressed.”

~ Coco Chanel

 

Right now I am creating a new vision. I am moving my side hustle (art and painting) front and center, and my writing into the gap. It feels right. It feels inspiring. I am in flow. It’s not easy to take a creative u-turn, but I am modeling what I teach my clients. Stay in your own lane. Do what sparks joy. Work with a productive purpose.

 

Currently, I am working out how to start an art gallery from home. Every day I take little steps. Courageous steps. Inspired steps. Blind steps. I am not sure where or how. . .and yet bolding I go. I say, what do I need? Leonardo da Vinci would ask, Dimmi. Dimmi. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me what I need to know.

Signage, my intuition answers. Show people the way.

So I emailed a sign company the managers of The Plough and Feather here in Kerikeri told me about. They used to own Wharepuke, they are arguably the best chefs and business owners in the hospitality industry in the Far North. Colin was Ed Sheeran‘s personal chef when he came to New Zealand.

I drove along the roads wondering, how can I lead people to me. How can I show people the way? How can I lead the way? I imagine a sign here, there. . .and there.

It’s a start. I don’t wait for my vision to be perfect,

 

Distraction is the death of creativity. I stay focused. Just for today, I will focus on my signs.

Just for today, I will be good enough.

just for today, I will do what sparks joy.

Just for today. . . and every other day, I will commune with my muses. I adore Coco Chanel. She speaks to me through time and space.

Especially in these works, which I created in Maui when I attended a Sumi Art painting workshop with Max Gimblett.

 

 


Your Challenge

What are you clinging to that’s preventing you from seeing your potential clearly? How can you fortify your faith in your own vision, beliefs, and goals and stick to them Be your own cheerleader and do not wait for approval nor support from others, listen to your gut and go for it.

Following your dreams is not always practical, but not impossible. Most are attainable to some degree—it’s always fantastic to feel that your vision is being pursued in some way and not buried and forgotten.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
~ Helen Keller, author

 

 

Gaisford, Cassandra. The Art of Success: Coco Chanel: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life

To grab your copy of the Art of Success from Amazon, click here>>
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The Art of Success: Be Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Dear Readers,

Fight the good fight

Mollie MathewsRemember—we always have to fight for our dreams….but it’s a fight worth winning.

  • Elton John was told to be a bank worker by his father.
  • Lady Gaga was bullied and treated like trash.
  • Oprah Winfrey was told she’d never make it unless she changed her name.

Be inspired by your muses, dive deep into a good book, listen to a podcast or create a passion and purpose journal to keep your dreams alive.

How can you fight for your dreams?

 

How I fight for my dreams…

As a writer, word by word I fight for my dreams.

Sometimes I don’t like writing. Sometimes writing doesn’t like me. But there is something upon which writing and I can agree—we love finishing.

Finishing a sentence

Finishing a scene

Finishing a page

Finishing a book

. . .And sending it out into to the world

Whatever you begin—finish.

One step at a time. One word at a time. One job interview at a time. . .or nothing happens.

Something else, that sustains me is the joy of finishing and knowing my works of heart have brought joy, wisdom, healing, inspiration or comfort to others. Check out the video below to see one happy recipient of a book I gifted to one of my readers. Joy begets joy.

Leonardo is one of my favorite muses. I hope you enjoy this wee excerpt from The Art of Success: Leonardo da Vinci

 

Find Your Element

Leonardo’s father recognized his exceptional gift for drawing and helped him hone his talent by apprenticing him to Andrea del Verrocchio, a master painter, sculptor, and engineer.

However, Leonardo also self-taught his way to excellence, learning new skills and tackling subjects he passionately wanted to understand but had little knowledge of.

Have you found your point of brilliance? Maybe you’re exceptional in drawing, dancing, cooking, or some other field. If that talent is combined with your deepest interests, values, ambitions, and joy that’s where you ought to focus.

Whether you know your elemental strengths already or you’re at a loss, it’s equally important to try new things.

If you don’t branch out from what you have already mastered you cannot grow. You may discover a point of brilliance you never knew you possessed. In humans, as there is in hills, sometimes there’s a vein of gold that you never knew you owned.

Your Challenge

One way to discover your strongest skills and natural talents is to ask people close to you, “What’s my superpower?”

Notice all the things you love to do while expressing your unique talents and list past activities and accomplishments that accurately reflect these abilities

What are some possible ways that expressing your qualities, talents, and skills may fulfill current or future needs? How can you serve?

Pick the places that you want to be great, that you want to focus your energies on and do that—understanding that you’re probably not going to be great at everything.

~ Ursula Burns, CEO

 

 

The Power of Passion

~ 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

 

 

Teach What You Want To Learn

Leonardo found purpose and fulfillment in teaching. As have other extremely successful men and women in possession of curious minds, and ennobled with a love of learning. Polymath Tim Ferris, for example, sees himself not as a wealthy entrepreneur but as a teacher.

“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful,”  Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers: The Story of Success.

Leonardo’s feathers of higher learning were the quills with which he wrote his notes. He believed, and knew from experience, the tremendous power of books and words to create miraculous flights of the mind.

He wrote about what he wanted to learn, and found extraordinary success, sharing that knowledge with others.

In coaching and counseling sessions with clients when they say they don’t know how to get unstuck, or how to find answers, I gently encourage them to consider writing a blog post I, or they, could share with other people who may also be stuck. It’s incredible how the thought of helping others motivates them. And in turn, they help themselves.

Your Challenge

Teach what you want to learn—blog, video, paint, write a song or piece of music, write a book or create some art, create a course, host a seminar or speak at a conference or forum, Youtube or anything else that inspires and challenges you

Enjoy the ‘helper’s high’—the flow of positive endorphins when you step out of your comfort zone and inspire others

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, 

and one teacher can change the world.

~ Malala Yousafzai, Noble Peace laureate

 

 

Embark on a Life-Changing, Scientifically Proven Fast-Track to Happiness—in Only Minutes a Day!

Tame anxiety, manage stress, overcome depression, change careers—and more. Success is living life on your terms and no one knows this better than the ultimate freedom-fighter Leonardo da Vinci.

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

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://www.draft2digital.com/book/323151

 

How to rejuvenate your life and change careers in four easy steps

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Yay – it’s spring here in New Zealand and fall for my friends on the other side of the world.

Spring and autumn are wonderful seasons for rejuvenation. They signal a time to begin life anew and release that which no longer brings you joy. They herald a time to reflect on what you wish to remain the same and the things in your life you wish to prune.

Rather than leap too far into your future, pause a while and consider, when you get to the end of the year and look back, what will tell you this has been a successful month?

Me? I’m co-creating more joy. And after a rocky 9 months full of much disruption it’s great to be collaborating with my daughter on our first book together,

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. And it’s thrilling to be about to tell you that it’s available for pre-order NOW!

Success to us includes surrounding ourselves with people who spark joy and accept and love us as we are, believe in the beauty of our dreams, and who help them come true. And vice versa. Success to us is also helping our clients and friends achieve their dreams too. Which is why we wrote How to Find Your Joy and Purpose.

So it was heartening and soul-enriching today to receive this email from a client, who when she first came to see me was very depressed, and feeling hopeless about her work situation. She now has a shiny new job and has created what I call “a career combo” – making time for her creative passions, while still enjoying her bread and butter corporate job: “I am really excited about the role and kinda need to pinch myself that I have got it!! And I have just landed a paying client for my photography which is exciting!! I hope all is going well for you up north and you are living the dream! Once again thanks for setting me on this path!!”

I also leaped with joy when another client who has been training with me to become a certified life coach sent me the link to her website. I loved helping her make a few changes to make it really sing and to reflect her key brand and passion-driven message—we are all treasures and we all have gifts, sometimes we need help to bring our areas of brilliance to the surface.

I love, love, love that Lynnie is in her sixties. In  Lynnie’s case, she is transitioning by combining her skills as a midwife, offering supervision to other health professionals and offering coaching on the side.

It’s what I call a career combo—or others refer to as a side-hustle. Lynnie is living by example that you are never too mature to change careers and live again. I write more about this and offer more tips for mid-lifers wanting to move from a job that no longer fulfills them, or that they’ve even come to hate, in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Check out Lynnie’s gorgeous new website here>>www.thetreasurechest.co.nz.

You can also follow her story of career reinvention here>>http://www.cassandragaisford.com/rebirthing-a-new-career-lynnies-reinvention-story/

Rejuvenate your life

Perhaps you’re like my client and like me, you’re ready to make some changes in your life. As the buds begin to flourish on the trees I’m aware of all the potentialities that exist, and of all the things that can flower in my life. I’m also aware that I need to cultivate the things that matter most to me and extract myself from things, people and situations, which in the grand scheme of things, matter least.

As you prepare to let go of old ways of being and make way for your new life, here are just a few of many ways that you can rejuvenate your life:

Harness the power of your mind. There’s three things you need to know about the mind, says UK Hypnotherapist and author Marisa Peer, it only does what it thinks you want it to do; it responds to the pictures in your head and the words you say to yourself; and it likes what is familiar.

So if you really want to make a change, rather than procrastinate or make excuses or engage in activities that take you further away from your goal, it’s really important you do the things you say you want to do. No excuses! I put this into practice by making sure I do the things most important to me FIRST, before other demands or distractions crowd in.

It’s also important that you surround yourself with images and words that reinforce your goals and desires, and which enable you to see vividly how you will feel when you have made a change for the better.

This is where empowering, feeling-based affirmations come in too. If, as one of the clients does, you desire to be a photographer, instead of affirming, “I am a successful photographer,“ try affirming, “It feels amazing, joyful, and so much fun to be a successful photographer.”

Instead of saying, “I want to be a writer,” you could say, as Marisa Peer affirmed to herself when writing her book, “I love writing. This I what I’ve chosen to do.”

Prior to this she had been feeling isolated writing and feeling a little resentful that she was not out having a good time with friends – which of course told her mind that she wasn’t really wanting to write. So instead, she retrained her mind, saying repeatedly, “I love this. It’s like having a lover I can’t wait to come home to it and I’m staying up all night with it. When I wrote I would tell myself this book is great, this book is fantastic, this book is amazing. I constantly imagined people loving it. I’m really glad I told myself that when I was writing it, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the courage to keep doing it.”

Repeated practise produces outstanding results. Make your new desired state your habit. Practise. Practise. Practise. One of the things I do to create new habits and cultivate familiarity is to write at a regular time, in a regular place. I’ve also had great fun and success create a Star Chart, rewarding myself with stickers on my calendar when I achieve my daily goals.

“As you get into your groove, you find your faith.” ~Marissa Peer.

 

Cull bad habits. Aligned with adopting new behaviors is the need to eliminate any inappropriate effort, or habits, that create results you no longer want in your life. Watching TV, for example, creates the unwanted results of having less time to spend on more fulfilling creative endeavors or to improve the quality of your relationships. People’s growing addiction to Smartphones and social media updates is even worse. For me, having more spring in my step has meant embracing the joy of sobriety. I share my journey, tips, and strategies in Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life

Sometimes personality traits you once valued also have to be culled. I can’t give you the recipe for success, but I can failure, try to please everyone, all of the time – some sage person once said. And never a truer word has been said. For me right now I’m working at letting go of trying too hard to please and accommodating others’ agendas and apologizing when others don’t like who I am and what I do and trying to make others feel better at the expense of my own happiness—and productivity. I’m also working on my ‘flaw’ of devaluing my own gifts and areas of genuis! There I said it. Genuis!

Instead, I’m placing a value on authenticity, joy, and happiness – as well as cultivating more mindful, compassionate assertiveness.

 

In my Free To Be Me life coaching programme (http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/services-for-individuals/life-coaching) we call these your Living Values. Living values replace outmoded values and behaviors that once may have served you, with those which allow you to be free to be you. Life’s too short and you’re too important not to live your best life.

Be a seer. Take a page from the Maestro’s book, and do as Leonardo da Vinci would. Commit to making new discoveries based on painstakingly detailed, amazingly acute observation. Study people you admire and emulate or copy-cat their success. If you aspire to be a published author you may wish to analyze what makes a great story with emotional impact. If you want to be a chef, travel the world via the Internet and find people who are experts in their field. Sign up for a class, interview them, or just start making some of their dishes to get a feel for what they do and how they do it.

Leonardo’s success strategies have been such an inspiration to me I wrote a whole book to share his wisdom with you: The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci). To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

If you want more confidence and self-esteem, think of someone you respect who possesses these qualities and when you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be more confident, ask yourself, ‘what would (this person) do now?” Then do that thing, even if you have to fake feeling confident in that moment.

If you want to change careers, or gain experience in a different field, when an opportunity comes up don’t turn it down because you feel your not ready, not good enough or any other self-limiting belief.

Trust whatever happens you’ll handle it. Know that the best learning happens when you have a hands-on experience.

Like my client Lissie who dreamt of being a fashion writer.  I put her in touch with a Dutch fashion designer who wanted help with re-branding her business.

“I’m not trained. I’m not qualified, she said at first.

“Where’s your evidence that you’re not ready? You love fashion, you love writing, you’ll be a natural. Give it a go – you may surprise yourself,” I encouraged her. “Ok, she said, taking a gulp, “I’ll do it.”

“Just met with Lissie,” wrote back the fashion designer, “What a beautiful soul. She’s going to get started this week.”

 

 

Cultivate everyday poise and balance. Practise balance and grace in everything you do. Find your center, your core truth, and strengthen it. Rediscover your natural alignment. Listen to your body barometer. Feelings of tension are clear messages from your soul that you’re off center. Feelings of calm confirm you are in a state of natural flow. Like I am now as I sit outside immersed in the Bay of Islands, overlooking the serenity of the sea, surrounded by silence, but for the birds who sing contently in the trees.

Sounds blissful – and it is. But bliss is something I work at every day. Yesterday a storm raged – not literally, but recent traumatic events really rocked my equilibrium. As his holiness The Dalai Lama once said, “Negative thoughts are like weeds, they grow unattended. Positive thoughts are like flowers, you have to nurture them every day.”

So now I’m taking my peace back. Yesterday is history, and now is the gift of the present-centred awareness. It’s spring, and I have a wonderful rejuvenating vision for the future – one I intend on protecting from frosts that could destroy them, and nurturing so they may awaken and achieve their most beautiful potential.

I share the exact strategies I use to bounce back from stress, trauma, and anxiety in Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

I hope a few ideas have resonated with you as you cultivate your own rejuvenation. Remember, obstacles don’t have to stop you, you just need to find a way to overcome them.

 

Wishing you every success

 

Best wishes

p.s.

 

Listen to How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

Oh, my gosh! I am so excited that my most popular book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose is now available as an audiobook. Listen to an excerpt here>>

Quotes to inspire

 

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

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’Amour.

“Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.” ~ Dr Stephen R Covey

“Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions between five-sensory and six-sensory people is that five-sensories worry about how they’re going to make it in the world, whereas six-sensories always know that the Universe will there to help them in every way.” ~ Sonia Choquette, Author

“The most important thing in a creator is inspiration. Inspiration transfigures human thoughts and passions. If the composer is but a virtuoso of writing, he will not attain true beauty, nor will his ideas be sublime. Pity the poor artist not driven by passion.”~ from the movie Mozart’s Sister.

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES AND TOOLS MENTIONED IN THIS BLOG

 

EMPLOY YOURSELF! TRAIN TO BE A COACH

Is your job stressing you out? Cassandra is passionate about helping people change careers and create businesses they love and still pay the bills! If you share her passion and are seeking work that is fulfilling, financially rewarding and flexible becoming a career and life coach may be just what you have been looking for!

Work with passion and purpose! Become an accredited:

• Career coach

• Life coach

• Happy at Work coach

• Creativity coach.

• Personal fulfilment coach

 

ONLINE CERTIFICATION COURSE NOW AVAILABLE

Discover how to make money as a life coach, earn extra income on the side, and easily create your own online business using the Worklife Solutions fail-proof system and attract your first paying client in weeks. All from the comfort of your own home or exotic destination.

Navigate to https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/worklife-solutions-coach-training-foundation-course

For more course options navigate to: http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training

 

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION AND PURPOSE TO PROSPERITY

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence, and self-belief? What if you could hit your business, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with purpose, passion, and profit.

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

https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

 

SELF-EMPOWERMENT BOOKS

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

Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci)

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

y

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

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

Monday, April 8th, 2019

 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~ Coco Chanel

 

 

Like me, Coco Chanel loved to be surrounded by flowers and to spend time walking amongst, or gazing upon, nature to replenish.

“I often found her alone sitting at her dressing table, gazing down into the garden, looking at the chestnut trees,“ recounts Claude Delay, now an imminent psychoanalyst who once knew Coco in her youth.

We all know the physical benefits of nature—being amongst plants and flowers boosts mental well-being. A series of published studies have shown clear links between gardening and positivity.

One study found levels of the stress hormone cortisol in those who gardened were considerably lower those who people who relaxed by reading.

Even the simple act of looking out a window to green space has been linked to reduced stress levels and faster recovery from illness.

“The garden brings stillness,” says Lisa, a marketing executive who says she couldn’t have survived her working life without a garden.

“Touching the soil is one of the most reenergizing things I can do. Everything slows down. My mind works differently. I don’t set out to solve problems but the answers seem to come.  These days if ever I am stressed it will be because I haven’t been in the garden.”

Similarly, Cathy who suffers from anxiety and depression finds solace in a small vegetable garden she started behind her flat.

“When I become immobilized by my anxiety, the garden gives me something achievable to get started on. Gardening is methodical I can go out there and think, ‘What does my garden need?’ It could be as simple as pulling caterpillars off some broccoli. Tuning in to this helps me get more in touch with things outside of myself.”

As I share in my latest book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, I have suffered from social anxiety a great deal of my life. Since my move to a lifestyle property immersing myself in nature has been one of my favorite rescue remedies. Just look at these wee beauties my partner and I grew and harvested this autumn.

 

 

Eating organics, time in nature, meditating daily and doing my best to stress less, are some of the many strategies I share in

 

As Coco said, Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. This year I’m turning 54. Last year, when the photo was taken of me flying a with a friend I was 53. I think, all things considered, I do merit the face I have in my 50s. I don’t smoke, rarely drink, don’t take drugs and invest in wellbeing lifestyle strategies daily. I’ve worked hard and continue to work hard to be of service to myself and others—and to be of service to my vege garden.

 

Your Challenge

Experience the healing power of nature. Whether you’re blessed with green fingers or not, it doesn’t matter what you doing—just that you get outside in some green space every day.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Schedule regular fresh air time.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually,

we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

~ Rumi, Persian poet

 

My story—living well with anxiety

I’ve experienced some horror work experiences during my life and career—everything from toxic shaming, acute bullying, and being physically threatened. As recently as last year, I experienced the ruthless, underhand, malicious tactics of a narcissistic woman who tried to destroy my career.

Unsurprisingly, all of these experience increased my anxiety levels. Had I not trained to be a therapist and invested so much time and energy in self-care and resilience strategies I’m not sure I could have coped. Many of these strategies, and those that have helped my clients, I share in Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

For most of my childhood, and well into my adulthood, I suffered from what I now know was social anxiety. For many, many years it remained undiagnosed and untreated.  Were it not for the wise counsel of a psychic when I was in my teens who encouraged me to turn my wounds into healing by training to become a counselor, I may still be suffering silently. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as the ‘helpers high.’ Helping others feels good.

The source of my anxiety can be attributed in part to narcissistic abuse and toxic shaming. Some healers have attributed it to a past-life trauma that I carried forward into this life. They told me that I walk the path of jealousy and that relationships are my greatest challenges, but also my most powerful avenue of healing.

You may not believe in past lives or reincarnation and you do not need to in order to benefit from the help contained within this book and others in the Anxiety Rescue series.

But, in the spirit of authenticity, it feels important to share how I have experienced much healing by journeying into the mystery of mysteries—both the body’s and the soul’s journey. It is for this reason, amongst others that I have devoted a whole section to spiritual health.

I learned later in life, and continue to learn, that healing my family trauma and helping others is my soul purpose in this lifetime.

My purpose can be summed up in one word—love.

To help others love and be loved in return, including self-love and valuing ourselves more than the poisons we may have ingested from people, experiences, circumstances, as we go through this lifetime, is a great joy.

However, it took me many years to find the gift of my anxiety. My hope is that by writing Anxiety Rescue, I may speed up this journey for you.

My anxiety was so bad for most of my teens I tried to drink my way to confidence and numb my anxious feelings with alcohol. In fact, for many years I was so acutely self-conscious I wore green foundation under my makeup to try to hide my blushing face.

People used to call me ‘beetroot’ and laugh at me. I was also mercilessly body shamed during my childhood and teenage years. Honestly, for so much of my life all I wanted to do was hide. Often I didn’t care if I lived or died.

Anxiety will do that to you—until you befriend it and learn what it wants you to know.

When I was planning my wedding in my late twenties,  I wanted a table down the back where no one could see me. Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride wanted to hide?

That’s why, untreated, anxiety is so cruel. It can make us want to stay in the shadows. It can prevent us from standing in the light. Anxiety left unchallenged can deny us from acknowledging our gifts. It can also leave us splintered, in denial or fear or shame, of those aspects of our personality we need to wield from time to time—but have been taught to devalue and deny.

Saying no to denying who we really are and who we truly want to be and showing up, warts and all reduces anxiety. Self-acceptance and integration of the polarities within us—the light and the dark, the fear and the courage, the sadness, and the anger, the anger and the joy, and the other dualities that, unless befriended wage war within, is the road to inner peace.

We’ll dive deeper into the value of integrating shadow work in Anxiety Rescue.

For many years I didn’t live authentically. I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to be someone else. I tried to be who others wanted me to be. Sometimes this was an act of self-preservation driven by fear. Often it was a mistaken belief about my value and the value of my gifts.

As I’ve shared in many of my other self-empowerment books, 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.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy.

As you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, reclaiming joy and living on purpose is a powerful antidote for anxiety. It offers holistic, integrated healing on so many levels—mind, body, and soul.

Recently, in my early fifties, I was been diagnosed with generalized trauma. All I can say is “Wow! What a relief!”

No wonder life has felt such a struggle,

Generalized trauma is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, except that rather than being caused by one traumatic event, it covers a multitude of traumatic events.

Essentially, as Dr. Diane Langberg, Clinical Psychologist and Co-Leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute,  says if you suffer generalized trauma you’ve effectively been marinated in trauma from an early age.

Talk about toxicity in the body.

I count myself lucky. Which may surprise you. But as you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, when we befriend our anxiety we can find great fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

As the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi once said, “Our wounds are where the light comes in.”

Light, love, kindness, hope—these positive energies provide the healing balm we all need.

My trauma,  my anxiety, and my depression have led me to my Dharma or my purpose in life. My hope is that all that I share in Anxiety Rescue will help you too.

Much love to you

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this wee edited excerpt from Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy.

Midlife can be magic—it’s largely determined by you. We can make midlife a mess or we can invest in creating something truly remarkable. If anxiety, depression, despair or any other cloud of negativity is robbing you of the life you truly want, take heart. There is a cure.

Join me in learning the success strategies of successful men and women throughout time—including two of my favorite muses, Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel.

 

 

Praise for Anxiety Rescue

“Cassandra’s book is for anyone interested in ending anxiety issues, but also, for those who seek deeper meaning in their lives. Anxiety Rescue covers a range of healing methods and a variety of topics, from self-acceptance to prosperity. It’s a book about total well-being. Cassandra restates the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, Coco Chanel and other important historical and modern-day figures who have much to teach about authenticity and success. An uplifting, informative and inspirational work! I highly recommend Anxiety Rescue.”

~ Valeria Teles

Author of Fit For Joy

 

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application—this book is for committed self-helpers.”

~ Catherine Sloan

Counselor

 

“Lighthearted and uplifting! Anxiety Rescue is a book with a catalog of ideas, intertwined with the historical endeavors of Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Learning about these two people while navigating how to rid my life of anxiety was fun and playful. I’m grateful to the author for taking this approach as I feel like I have a path that can easily be followed now. I highly recommend this book!”

~ Chelsea Behrens

Creator of Leading with Authenticity

#1 in Four Categories

 

 

 

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 post?

You might like:

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

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

How to Develop More Grit and Perseverance – Consult the Oracle

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

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

 

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 >>

Celebrating the life and legacy of an extraordinary man—Graeham William Gaisford

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

 

My dad would have been 85 today, being born as he was on the 3rd of April 1934.   Sadly he died too young, aged a little over 70, on the 26th of June 2004.

It is to my father that I owe my love of research and a deep commitment to, and interest in, alternative forms of healing—now commonly known as (and increasingly accepted by those against ‘non-conventional’ medicine and forms of treatment) as holistic health.

Graeham William Gaisford, was born in Palmerston North 1934; and married my mother nee Joy Lynette Fairweather in 1964, a year before I was born. They divorced when I was a teenager. My father never remarried, although he was never short of lady friends— – being as dashing and charismatic and educated as he was.

His mother Norma Gwynneth – was a horse breeder and trainer. His father, Edward Claude Gaisford, was a distinguished landowner (b. 1891) who lost his wealth, as did so many, during the depression years. His father had a very aristocratic lineage which linked back to the Duke of Bedford in the UK and beyond (also including John R. Purvis, C.B.E who is based in Scotland and has been compiling our family tree. My father was very proud of his lineage. I suspect this is why the pursuit of knowledge and a commitment to education was so important to him.

 

Below are scans of photos my mum just sent me. Oh, makes my heart glad and sad at the same time. If he hadn’t smoked two-three packets of Pall Mall filter daily perhaps he would still be with us.

 

 

Funnily, in 1992 John Purvis wrote to my father to congratulate him on the birth of his first grandchild, my daughter, Hannah Joy Gaisford. As he wanted to update the family tree he enquired, “Did Cassie get married or is she one of those very modern woman?!”

 

I can confirm, yes, I am one of those very modern women.

 

I still have the letter John Purvis wrote to my father, sent via airmail from Scotland 27 years ago, and I can still smell the smoke from my father’s fire which burned through summer and winter (as he always enjoyed the heat).

He pursued many careers in his life—all of them entrepreneurial. One of his businesses was installing central heating. Did I mention he loved the heat?! So it is to my father that I also gain my own entrepreneurial streak (and love of the warmth). When he passed (of heart failure) his death certificate recorded him as a natural therapist.

As I shared in several of my books, his childhood was not the easiest. My dad suffered the trauma of emotional neglect. He was dumped in a boarding school when he was only four—supposedly for his highest good. He never truly knew his father, and very rarely spent time with him, in part because his father also died young. Astoundingly, he only found out a year or so before his death (in his 70s) that he had a half-sister (on his father’s side)—Pamela Enid Charlotte Gaisford.

Happily, for me, my father was an optimist. He never turned to booze or drugs. I am blessed to have also inherited his optimism and resilience. In our family, when you get knocked down you jump back up again—and you help others do the same.

My father dedicated his later years to helping others and was an early pioneer in the field of apitherapy. As Wikipedia so excellently sums up, “Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including honeypollenpropolisroyal jelly, and bee venom. Proponents of apitherapy make claims for its health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apitherapy.)”

The last line (“health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine”) is especially pertinent to my father. He was a tireless campaigner who fought to have alternative approaches to healing accepted by the medical establishment. Many of the treatments that were then regarded as unconventional, ‘woo-woo’ cures —including acupuncture, are now widely accepted, and in many cases have been validated using evidence-based techniques. In large part, it is not that the cures did not work, it is the humankind lacked the technology to evidence or measure the results.

 

I am proud to continue his tireless campaign today in my holistic, health and wellness-based approach to my work as a holistic therapist, energy healer, Reiki Master, and self-empowerment author who is not afraid to challenge the status quo.

 

My father once said to me, “I raised you to speak the truth.”

 

He was responding to my suggestion that he try to master the art of diplomacy to better have his messages heard by those he sought to influence. I know realize the importance of not diluting your message to appease others. At his funeral my daughter sang the one song I felt summed up my father’s philopshy—Frank Sinatra’s, My Way. I still tear up when I hear this song.

Just look at these wonderful lyrics:

“My Way” Frank Sinatra

 

And now, the end is near,

And so I face the final curtain.

My friends, I’ll say it clear;

I’ll state my case of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full –

I’ve travelled each and every highway.

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way.

 

Regrets? I’ve had a few,

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.

 

I planned each charted course –

Each careful step along the byway,

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way.

 

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,

When I bit off more than I could chew,

But through it all, when there was doubt,

I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all and I stood tall

And did it my way.

 

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried,

I’ve had my fill – my share of losing.

But now, as tears subside,

I find it all so amusing.

 

To think I did all that,

And may I say, not in a shy way –

Oh no. Oh no, not me.

I did it my way.

 

For what is a man? What has he got?

If not himself – Then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows

And did it my way.

 

Yes, it was my way.

 

In his later years, my father also pioneered the introduction into the West of an alternative way to treat severe burns. This treatment known as MEBO (Moist Emulsion Burns Ointment) was created and used successfully in China. Sadly, and frustratingly for him, his attempts to have MEBO accepted and used widely by the medical professional was thwarted by people he said openly, “had small minds and were ignorant to the innovations of China.”

 

How times have changed. Now it seems everyone is scrambling to befriend China.

Times had also changed leading up to my father’s death when a man I had been dating and whom I considered a friend that I introduced to my father betrayed him. My father later wrote to me, blaming me for the introduction and Glenn’s subsequent treacherous behavior. I had hoped that Glenn’s less ‘abrasive’ ability to influence and negotiate desired outcomes would complement my father’s selfless desire to serve others and offer healing to those severely affected by burns. However, Glenn went behind mine and my father’s back and negotiated the rights to market and distribute MEBO in Australasia. (My friends, and also his neighbours told me that Glenn had told them not to tell me that he was planning a secret mission to China – which would seem to confirm the attempt to deceive was deliberate.

My father had been relying on the old-school gentlemen’s agreement he had made with the Chinese of a verbal agreement and a handshake—and of course the tireless and unpaid work of some eight years on Mebo’s behalf.

As you will see from the copy of the letter below, Glenn stripped my father of his right to license Mebo and then attempted to humiliate him by offering him a role as a salesman—under Glenn’s rule. That was not the spirit of partnership I had envisioned and my father always blamed me for introducing him to a person he believed to be an unscrupulous rogue. It is something I do regret.

As I share in my book The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life,  Leonardo da Vinci once warned to be wary of others motives for they will betray you and conveniently forget your value

 

 

Glenn Charlett promised the Chinese that he would do what my father was unable to do—namely to have MEBO accepted by the Ministry of Health. To my knowledge (as they write here (https://www.mebo.co.nz/pages/about-us) at the time of writing this memorial post, this has still NOT been achieved. It is marketed and sold as a cosmetic treatment and appears to be failing to reach many of the people my father sought to heal and relieve of severe burns trauma. Glen also promised to deliver a share of profits to my father. This has not been delivered.

 

While preparing this post I came across some records from that time when, after my father had made me aware of Glenn’s actions, I had tried to intervene and ask Glenn to do the right thing. I had quite forgotten the threats he made to me and his hostility. My notes are somewhat scrambled as I was completely flawed by Glenn’s tirade of abuse and threats.

 

Perhaps as my father suggests, it is time for something to be done.

At least, to share the truth.

Given the lack of integrity and disrespect shown to my father, upon the news of my father’s death it was heartening to receive a telegram from the Chinese saying that my father was a true Communist—motivated only by helping his fellow man. I suspect they were unaware of what had truly occurred. I have been led to believe Glenn Charlett assured them that my father was being looked after. They did, however, write to him asking him to desist from being the voice of MEBO and helping people.

 

Whatever your definition or experience of communism may be, or your views on what transpired and what I have shared, several people who wrote to my family after the funeral shared the following sentiments expressed by a journalist:

 

“Though I was sometimes somewhat skeptical of Graeham’s various causes and claims, as journalists tend to be—I could not help but be deeply impressed by his passion and commitment to his cause—to improve the health of his fellow human beings.

“He was charming, witty—stubborn and bull-headed at times—but dogged and utterly genuine. I interviewed many people in my dozens of years of journalism but he stood out as someone who was so colourful, larger than life and truly memorable. An extraordinary man.

“I offer my condolences to his family at his passing ad salute someone who sought to change the world for the better.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Forde.”

 

As Rachel also wrote in her letter,

“I came to know Graeham a number of years ago when I was working as the health reporter for the Manawatu Evening Standard in Palmerston North.

I wrote many stories on Grahem’s campaign to have his Chinese-developed burns treatment recognized in New Zealand—though probably not as many as he would have liked.”

 

Yes, I too, have inherited my father’s dogged persistence.

Today, I celebrate my father’s life and the legacy he instilled in me, the lives he impacted (including those he healed of arthritis and cured with his burns treatment, and the gifts of his values and heritage that have passed to my own daughter, Hannah Joy who continues his work as a healer. www.hannahjoyspirit.com
Spirit Conduit and Intuitive Healing Coach. My father would love that Hannah has followed this intuitive path, taken as he was with all things mystical and loving as did many women he affectionally referred to as “white witches.”

Dad’s Obituary Saturday, July 3, 2004

 

 

Interestingly, below my father’s obituary is a call to action from the New Zealand Alcohol Helpline. This month I released my newest book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father loved to fly, my hope is now that he has the full breadth of the heavens, and the liberation of being freed from small minds, that his soul may truly soar.

 

The image below is one I took recently of a bee enjoying the nectar from a flax bush here in The Bay of Islands. My good friend, and fellow artist, Max Gimblett, once encouraged me to compile a selection of my photos into a book and combine with sage words from a poet or philosopher I admire.

Finally, some eight or so years later I have done just that. Flower Power is available in a beautiful hardcover edition here—http://www.blurb.com/b/9038272-flower-power.

I first published after my mother has received her copy as a mother’s day gift. It is right that she should be the first as she has blessed me with her artistic talent, an entrepreneurial streak, and her independent and resilient spirit.

My mother was the first to encourage me to make money from my art and one of my early memories was of creating French-style colour washed surrounds for large floor-length mirrors which I sold through interior design stores and also Kirkcaldie and Stains (then a premier department store in Wellington, New Zealand—now replaced by the Australian retailing giant David Jones). I may have been dissuaded from studying art at high school, but I shall always appreciate being encouraged to master the art of business.

Above is a sample of Flower Power when it was in the creation stage. The finished version, complete with poetry from the ancient Islamic poet Rumi, is available in a beautiful hardcover edition here—http://www.blurb.com/b/9038272-flower-power.

My daughter also sent me these sage words of wisdom from Brene Brown—as they speak to truth, they are especially poignant.

Thanks Dad—for creating such an inspiring legacy and for the gift you gave us all—an enquiring mind, an education to feed it and the freedom to speak our truth. Not all Dad’s give this to their daughters.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

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

How to Develop More Grit and Perseverance – Consult the Oracle

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

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

 

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 >>

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?


You might like:

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

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/

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

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

One of my clients described 2018 as annus horribilis, roughly translated this means it was an absolutely horrendous year. Perhaps you can relate to that. 

And I’d have to agree. What a beastly year! I had copyright craziness, scary moments with certain industry giants, and drama galore—including narcissistic bosses and bullying builders during our home renovation process. But, as I once read, “you need chaos to give birth to a dancing star.”

Through all the mayhem I’ve emerged stronger. Where others may have given up in despair or drowned their angst in a bottle or a sea of pills, I’ve gone through it all unmedicated and sober. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and even collapsed. But I bounced back and I’ve thrived and grown. And I have been blessed to have been both supported and able to support others.

I’ve benefitted from integrating and applying many of the strategies I share in my self-empowerment books—most importantly:

 Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

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

Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

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

and my Art of Success Series, inspired by Coco Chanel and my mentor Leonardo da Vinci.

A lot can happen in 60 seconds. The minute that altered my life forever.

“Nobody speaks to God these days.“Maybe its time to let the old ways die,” sings Bradley’s Cooper character in the lyrics of A Star is Born. 

I couldn’t agree more—emotional, mentally, spiritually, it’s time for a rebirth in 2019. In 2018 nearly dying physically was my wake up call. In his book, How to Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries, Deepak Chopra sums at beautifully how fate can come calling when god the protector intervenes.

“A miracle Ìs a display of power from beyond the fìve senses…Any miracle involves direct contact with spirit.” Level one of the seven levels of miracles that Chopra summarises is the Flight-or-Flight Response. “Miracles involve surviving great danger, impossible rescues, a sense of divine protection.”

This was my experience in late 2018.

I don’t know why but as I was driving back from Auckland after a particularly traumatic experience I fell asleep at the wheel. Miraculously, I woke up as my car careered across the road. I was 60 seconds away from driving down a steep ravine.

I didn’t panic as instinct would normally dictate I didn’t grab the wheel and swerve. I didn’t do anything. I recall an intense feeling of peace and a deep knowing that I should surrender.

I felt a presence, as though someone took the wheel and gently guided me back onto the main road to safety. I just allowed God to take the wheel and lead me back to the safety of the right side of the road.

I look back now and see the deeper meaning of staying in my own lane, of following my authentic path and my soul’s purpose.

I’ve had that experience once before when I nearly drowned after being encouraged by a friend to go free-floating down a river. Not long after I got into trouble. Serious trouble. Somehow I became entangled in a whirlpool.

I was being sucked under the water, trapped in the maelstrom of opposing currents. I was struggling to get free when I heard a voice say “relax it’s not your time.“

And even though every part of me instinctively wanted to fight because I was drowning, even though every cell in my body biologically kicked into the stress-response, I forced myself to relax.

I allowed my body to go limp, I talked to the memory cells in my body and recalled past knowledge of letting go, I surrendered. And when I let go and let God, when I put my faith in the Divine Intelligence, when I trusted that the Universe had my back, I floated to the top of the water.

Further downstream my friend, sensing something was wrong, lay await in a tree. As I sped past in the racing current, he reached in and pulled me out of the water. I put my faith in God and I put my faith in my friend.

It’s a moment I had forgotten until some 15 years later when I nearly drove to my death. So, 2018 was a game changer for me. This experience, and all the hurtful behaviors I have personally experienced, and those I witnessed as my counseling clients shared their wounds and their pain, transformed my life.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve become less enamored with the fear and the aggression directed at so many. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found it incredibly exhausting fighting a daily battle to ward off lower energies that incessantly attack all that is good.

In 2018 I made a decision to let go of the wheel. I made a commitment to stop trying to control everything and allow. This is not allowing in a victimized, passive sense. This is allowing in a spiritual sense. In some ways you may consider, as I have, loving what shows up. Because what shows up guides us back to our soul purpose—to heal our wounds and help others in return.

As I share in my soon to be released book Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, trying to control everything is a learned behavior I have somewhat unsuccessfully employed to keep myself sane. But I have discovered that the greater power is to let go and let God.

Two months ago, in November of 2018, I reinforced this commitment to allowing the old ways to die in a session with renowned Psych-k therapist, Jane Bromley. I stated my intention, “I’m just going to allow, I’m just going to stop needing to be in control, and I’d like your help getting rid of old programs that are preventing that.”

That exact day, less than three hours after our session a contract that I thought would be mine for several years was terminated. My manager’s behavior was vindictive, malicious, and clearly designed to destroy me. I won’t go into this in too much detail here. In fact, it may well become a book on its own because I know how many of my followers and readers of my Mid-Life Career Rescue series of books suffer at the hands of narcissistic bullying bosses.

Enough is enough. 

I see it now, with the benefit of time and therapy, as divine providence. After all, hadn’t I asked for the old ways to die? I wasn’t meant to be there. I had allowed myself to be dishonored the moment she reneged on our agreed terms of employment. The people pleaser and the victim was still in residence.

I was forced to accept that which felt unacceptable.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks beautifully about of the power of acceptance in The Book of Joy, co-written with The Dalai Lama. Below is an excerpt from this book:

Prayer practice involves reading quotations from the scriptures as well as quotes from the saints and spiritual masters throughout history. One of his favorites is the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich, whose Revelations of Divine Love, penned shortly after she recovered from a life-threatening illness in 1373, is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language. In it, she writes, . . .

“Deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well.”

As if he said, Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time, you will truly see it in the fullness of joy. Acceptance—whether we believe in God or not—allows us to move into the fullness of joy. It allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is not as we would wish. It allows us not to struggle against the day-to-day current. The Dalai Lama had told us that stress and anxiety come from our expectations of how life should be. When we are able to accept that life is how it is, not as we think it should be, we are able to ease the ride, to go from that bumpy axle (dukkha), with all its suffering, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, to the smooth axle (sukha), with its greater ease, comfort, and happiness.

The experience, or rather my treatment by others was hurtful and traumatic. Healing my wounds lead me back to therapy.

I discovered the teachings of Dr. Jordan Peterson and through him rediscovered the teachings of Carl Jung. I earned about the shadow side and the importance of healing trauma, especially releasing it from the body.

I also learned about the power of community and reaching out to others and talking, just talking, and of honesty. Sharing my vulnerabilities, my wounds, and my sorrows. (You may also like my post, Does talk therapy actually work?)

I also placed value on the importance of taking responsibility. I had asked God to lead me. I had affirmed, “thy will be done.”

And I was clearly shown the door. Coincidentally I came across the below which I had written in the tiny book of wisdom I keep by my bed

I was reminded that I hadn’t trusted my intuition. From the beginning, God had told me something was wrong. I write more about  spotting narcissists and overcoming narcissistic abuse in my book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

People told me to stand up. Important people came to my aid and told me they wanted to support me. Where once I had just thought I don’t need the drama or allowed myself to be victimized I decided, in spite of the intense feelings of stress that I was still working through, that I had to take a stand.

In this respect, I took strength from the teachings of Jordan Peterson who urges us all to “Grow some teeth and bite. Bite hard.” Peterson is not urging us to attack with violence, he is urging us to integrate the shadow side so many of us kinder souls may have been taught to disown. Check out his lecture here—https://youtu.be/iDQ8DiP_Y_A.

When you allow bullying you become a victim and you set yourself up to be bullied again. In a perverse twist, you effectively bully yourself into believing you are worthless and powerless, and you’re colluding in this mistruth and this abuse with the perpetrator.

I also took wisdom from the Dalai Lama, “You must not hate those who do harmful things,” he has explained. “The compassionate thing is to do what you can to stop them—for they are harming themselves as well as those who suffer from their actions.”

I put the matter to the attention of my professional ethics committee, to my local member of Parliament, and the perpetrator’s professional supervisor. It’s what my intuition guided me to do.

Again, as the Dalai Lama sagely teaches in The Book of Joy, “We stand firm against the wrong not only to protect those who are being harmed but also to protect the person who is harming others, because eventually they, too, will suffer. So it’s out of a sense of concern for their own long-term well-being that we stop their wrongdoing. This is exactly what we are doing. We do not let anger and negative feelings develop toward the Chinese hard-liners, but in the meantime, we strongly oppose their actions.”

And so rather than allow a wrong to continue I have begun the journey of seeking justice… for myself and for those who may follow.

My energy and intention is not born from vindictiveness or a desire to punish my narcissistic manager. My desire is to stand up for myself, to honor the truth and bring light to darkness.

Bullying affects self-esteem, your identity, your perception of, “am I safe in the world?” It affects how you view yourself, your skills and abilities, it cripples your growth and diminishes your ability to shine brightly in a world that needs your light.

 

Bullying and narcissistic abuse and other hateful, hurtful behaviors needn’t be a life sentence, But it does require you to show up, stand up, speak out. Something we all witnessed in 2018 as the pandemic of sexual assaults was finally called “time” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Enough is enough. More than enough!

A similar thing happened when I received an email out of the blue accusing me of trying to leverage off another woman’s brand when I released my title Sexy Sobriety containing sobriety recipes.  The email was aggressive, intimidating… designed to strike fear.

I sought advice from my writing community. Many authors told me there were no grounds and told me this was just bullying.

“Aggressive grandstanding,“ one best-selling author wrote. “They should have trademarked the name if they wanted to lay claim to it..(I imagine they are in the process of doing that). Otherwise, you could probably fight and win this—if it was important to you.”

But the aggressive emails threatening financial penalties, keep coming. I asked them if the term, “Sexy Sobriety” was trademarked. They told me it wasn’t. Several weeks later they filed for copyright.

I decided this wasn’t important enough for me to fight. Unlike, the issues arising from the narcissistic boss.

 

Income wise, for sure, the road was rocky. With the benefit of being able to look back in review, this was understandable for several key reasons.

Firstly, our home renovation was a nightmare. The tradespeople were great, the finish fantastic, the end result, a dream come true. But the cost, both personally and professionally, fuelled by the budget blowout was beyond belief. Our troubles lay largely at the feet of the main contractor—of course, he didn’t see it that way. Another bully. Another narcissist—as others who had the misfortune of working with him also revealed. But he seemed so nice. So agreeable. Narcissists always do—until you’re screwed.

As I share in Anxiety Rescue: “Narcissistics are fear-based people. They tell a lot of lies and they put a lot of these lies onto you”, says psychotherapist Dr. Les Carter. “As you engage with a narcissist, you quickly realize that person has an agenda for you.”

Things unexpectantly took a turn for worse toward the very end of the rebuild. Thankfully we were back in the house and were in this respect back under control. We only just narrowly avoided a nasty and potentially costly litigious battle (I’ve learned, as you may have, that the only people who really win are the lawyers). We arrived at an uneasy compromise. Better uneasy peace than the stress of warfare waging on.

If only some of our world leaders would act similarly.

Needless to say, all this chaos made it nearly impossible to write and I was nowhere nearly as industrious and prolific as I was in the previous years.

Secondly, USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch summed up some of the changes which affected many authors like me.

“Amazon shook up the industry first by a shift to favoring paid advertising over organic search results, then with policy changes that led to decreased revenue

Other interesting turns included dubious trademark claims, leading to the addition of terms like Cockygate being added to every indie author’s lexicon. Some authors attempted to trademark generic cover layouts and common words to (allegedly) protect their intellectual property. In general, it was a year filled with questionable practices on the IP front.”  

Many lessons were learned, and I have attempted to adapt with the times.

However, December was my best ever month, ending the year on a high as my best year yet author-wise.

It wasn’t always like this, and like any new endeavour, there was a lot to learn. Baby steps, passion and perserverennce and a big wallop of tenacity and self-belief  (often feigned) were key.

2016, my first year as an indie author. I remember being thrilled with my first royalty payment—$136. I was so cuffed, I pasted the notifcation in my Passion Journal. I’m still proud of that result. 

2018, also heralded a greater focus on my counseling work, and it was an absolute honor and joy to have worked with so many varied and beautiful people—some as young as eight. I developed a new passion for working with trauma and child therapy, as long as the other areas of passion I have—all unified by my purpose to help create more love in this crazy world.

As you’ll discover from reading Anxiety Rescue, I believe the best solutions integrate mind, body, and soul. Whichever way you define spirituality you’ll benefit from tailored approaches that feed and nourish and empower your spirit.

As Kiri*, one of my New Zealand-based clients shared with me recently,

“In Maoridom for me, I will relate to you as a  Kaitiaki, meaning ‘guardian’. How I became to have you in my path was purely by spiritual contact—a nudge an inner tiny voice directing me to you. Cass, you don’t realize the great healing you have in the pit of your soul and you were born to spread compassion. You have those who watch over you, and mine in return, and yet they all speak the same language to us who are willing to hear and feel.  In such a long time have I never met a beautiful soul who finally understood me who went within and helped me grow from our sessions.”

 

This feedback made my heart glad—especially when I was going through such a toxic work situation.

Therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives.

Kiri, who came to see me following a period of grief and trauma, had become so unwell she could no longer work, and struggled to find meaning in her life. In just one session, where we ‘played’ with crayons in a session of Interactive Drawing Therapy, she experienced a complete transformation. In her picture, she drew vibrant threads of colorful energy and empowering words that encouraged her to seek joy.

As the sessions continued I introduced her to the healing power of meditation. And of course, we talked. Or she talked, and I listened. Very often, all we need is someone to listen to our story and help us reintegrate who we truly are.

Or, you may find, as many of my clients have, that working with a life coach, rather than a counselor is the most effective strategy.

A problem shared can lead to a problem solved. Talking with someone objective is often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life.

To learn more about my approach or to schedule a session I invite you to visit—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellness-therapies/

 

If there is only one insight you take away from my year in review, I hope it is a newfound belief in the importance of being yourself. This often requires embracing the shadowy aspects of our personality and shedding alll the layers of debri that prevent you from being authentically you. It also involves clearing away the crap that may have been thrown at you, and baring some teeth at those who try to attack you. But even more importantly it means remembering who you truly are.

The doorway to this is co-creating with spirit in the energies of passion, purpose, and love.

I can personally testify for the life-transforming effects of this philosophy.

With hard work and inspired products and services created with passion and purpose, miraculous things are possible.

Good luck in 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.

You might like:

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6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

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

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

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

Why passion is a powerful healing tool

 

* named changed to protect privacy.

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

Celebrate Leonardo’s Birthday by Reading His Best Inspirational Quotes and Daily Motivation For the Best You Ever

Monday, April 16th, 2018

 

Today would have been the 566th birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, the original Renaissance man best known for his eclectic range of interests and talents and for his willingness to follow his curiosity. Celebrate in style and let Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as he calls forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

 Success is living life on your terms and no one knows this better than the ultimate freedom-fighter Leonardo da Vinci.

 Bestselling author, award-winning artist and creativity expert Cassandra Gaisford shares the success secrets of Leonardo da Vinci and other extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like Leonardo da Vinci, Coco Chanel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vera Wang, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and many more.

 These successful people and others like them thrive by capitalizing on and leveraging off the power of their creative strength, resourcefulness, and optimistic ‘can do’ mindset.

 In The Art of Success Cassandra Gaisford answers the question: How can you thrive as an artist, entrepreneur or business person, create success on your own terms, and live a happier life?

Gaisford shows us that being successful is not just about money. It’s also about health, happiness, close relationships, living a meaningful life, and enjoying life’s journey.

If you suffer from self-doubt or fear of failure…

If you constantly need approval from others…

If you lack confidence or self-esteem… 

If you’re a perfectionist…

Or find the challenges of life overwhelming…

 

…then The Art of Success is exactly the right book for you—because it will cheerlead, motivate and encourage you to fight for your dreams and achieve your goals.

 

In The Art of Success Gaisford reveals:

 

        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 steal from your heroes (rather than waiting for inspiration)

        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 procrastination and 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…

 

Through inspiring anecdotes of successful business people and creative solopreneurs like Leonardo da Vinci, Gaisford shows that living and working with purpose and passion is not only doable but it’s also a fulfilling way to thrive.

 Expanding upon the ground-breaking work in her previous bestsellers Mid-Life Career Rescue, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, and Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy Gaisford explores the tension every person faces in an effort to blend an authentic, inspired life with a practical path to success. Being creative isn’t a disadvantage; rather, it is a powerful tool to be harnessed to elevate your success.

 If you’re short on time but high on motivation The Art of Success will cheerlead, support, encourage and inspire you to move toward success.

 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.

This book is like meeting with your best friend—the one who can give you a pep talk or a sharp rap on the head, depending on what you need. 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 even more resources made available to keep you motivated and focused.

Dig into this book and let Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as he calls forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

Personally, I loved researching and writing this book. Below are some images of the early drafts.

Leonardo was just like you and I. He suffered at times from self-doubt, he had family hassles, some of his efforts resulted in failure, people jealous of his talent tried to undermine him, money worries meant that at times he had to suck it up and do work he didn’t enjoy, and he had to work for bullies and tyrants.

But he didn’t let obstacles stop him from doing the work he loved. The pursuit of knowledge born of his own enquiry and experience ultimately led to his success. He also learned from experts he admired, both past and present.

I created the Art of Success series to reveal how the success secrets and strategies of extraordinary artists like Leonardo da Vinci 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.

 

To celebrate Leonardo’s birthday please enjoy this free excerpt:

 

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, or loss. Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.

As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.

Your Challenge

Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines.

When you think of someone ambitious that you admire who comes to mind?

What qualities do they possess? How could you copy-cat or borrow these qualities and apply them to help you succeed?

Keep your ambition a secret—avoid the critics and those who may knock your confidence. When you start to flap your ambition wings other people may feel threatened or jealous

It’s cool to be ambitious. People want to hang out with ambitious, successful people. Pursue your big audacious goals! Do the things you think you can’t. Achieve the impossible

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

~ Madame Veuve Cliquot, businesswoman

  

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) by Cassandra Gaisford.To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to:

Amazon: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

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

 

 

 

P.S.

 

And I’m excited to let you know that today, in honor of Leonardo’s birthday I released a new book, The Art of Success Leonardo da Vinci Best Inspirational Quotes: Daily Motivation For the Best You Ever.

Here’s a short blurb:

One of few quotes book that includes a Bonus Video!

Bestselling author and successful entrepreneur, Cassandra Gaisford partners with Leonardo da Vinci, to share their personal collection of inspirational quotes from ancient philosophers to today’s thinkers. Read one quote a day as a vitamin of inspiration, or read them in one sitting to break through negative thinking, bounce back from setbacks and feel happier instantly.

BONUS #1: Online Video: “6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy”

BONUS #2: Activities To Discover Your Life’s True Passion and Purpose

 

How to develop more grit and perseverance – consult the oracle

Monday, November 13th, 2017

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all

~ Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel 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 is an inspiration to young and old. Have you ever wondered what sustained her throughout her life and career?

Tarot and other subjects such as astrology, alternative healing, psychic phenomena, spirituality, and a fascination with the Goddess legends, captured Coco Chanel’s interest.

She, like many people, found great wisdom, peace, comfort and healing from an eclectic array of spiritual rituals.

As the astrologer, Jessica Adams, shares on her website, “Coco Chanel used the Lenormand oracle card deck to help her in business—as well as in her personal life. As my friend, Justine Picardie explains in her acclaimed biography of Chanel, ‘the cards still rest where she left them, lying in a moment frozen in time, in her apartment in Paris.’”

Coco was taught the precepts of Theosophy by the first and foremost love of her life, the English playboy, Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel (CBE).

Theosophy is defined by some sources as, “A collection of mystical and occultist philosophies concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of, the presumed mysteries of life and nature, particularly of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe.”

My first experience with psychic phenomena and the tarot was when I was a teenager in New Zealand in the late 70s. A friend had given her baby up for adoption and asked me to come with her to visit a psychic for a reading.

I remember feeling both apprehensive and excited. I was amazed that the reading revealed such true things about my life, and I knew then that there was something special about tarot cards.

Like Coco, it’s a fascination that stayed with me throughout my life and which continues to provide inspiration courage and fortitude—both personally and professionally. No one knows exactly how tarot cards originated. The earliest Tarot deck dates back to the 1400s Renaissance Italy.

‘I’ve come to believe that a lot of wisdom was incorporated in the tarot. I feel, as others do, that the ancient keepers of the old ways or earth-based spirituality, wanted to pass on information,” writes Karen Vogel in the introduction to her Motherpeace Tarot Guidebook.

‘As warfare increasingly became a way of life in the Dark Ages of Europe, old ways were lost as whole cities and civilizations were wiped out.

‘It was more and more difficult to pass on oral and written traditions since whole cultures were destroyed and ancient libraries burned. One of the traditional stories about the origins of the tarot is that the wisdom keepers in these cultures were the storytellers, artists, and healers.

They chose between writing a spiritual or philosophical text or putting the knowledge into a game. They decided that a game in the form of cards would last longer, be more accessible to everyone, and easier to hide.’

By the time of the Renaissance Christianity had dominated Europe as both a political and religious powerhouse. Millions of women, who were often the healers and spiritual leaders, were murdered during the Inquisition. Those who threatened Church authority or knew about ritual and healing, either died or went into hiding, taking certain information with them. It was in this atmosphere that tarot began and subsequently spread all over Europe.

Of all the psychological theories in the West, that of revered Swiss psychologist Carl Jung stands out as most applicable to Tarot.

Jung wrote about Tarot on several occasions, seeing it as depicting archetypes of transformation like those he found in myths, dreams, and alchemy.

He described its divinatory abilities as similar to the IChing and astrology, and late in life established a group who attempted to integrate insights about a person based on multiple divination systems including Tarot.

Jessica Adams also notes, “This connection with astrology is not something that the house of Chanel shies away from today. In fact, I vividly remember Karl Lagerfeld’s illustration of the zodiac sign Sagittarius, decorating my horoscope column in Vogue Australia.”

Astrology also played a major role in Lagerfeld’s campaign for the perfume Chance, where a lion plays a key role. The ‘Chanel-Leo’ is very important when understanding the house of Chanel, the woman who created it—and the fragrance.

Jessica Adams also suggests that one of the cards in Coco’s Lenormand deck inspired one of the secret ingredients contained in Chanel N°5, “…this card shows a beautiful green tree, seven love hearts, and the message… ‘A tree far away means good health—when near—illness there will be, many trees close together means things will turn out all right, you’ll see.’

As we now know, a naturally occurring tree moss is one of the secret ingredients in Chanel N°5 fragrance. A coincidence? Or did Chanel bring together astrology and the Lenormand, when choosing her blend?”

Your Challenge

Experiment with tarot—either have a reading with an experienced tarot card reader or study the cards and their meanings for yourself

Feed your curiosity—take note of the places and circumstances where tarot, astrological symbols and other mystical and occultist philosophies are used—in business and life

How could you blend astrology and tarot into your career and life?

He who has a mind to understand, let him understand

~ Mary Magdalene, in The Gospel of Mary

 

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

How You Can Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and Unlock Your Creative Potential

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

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.

Leonardo da Vinci was super smart! As I wrote The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, I applied the strategies I’m sharing with you to help me finish this book and make progress with my historical novel, Mona Lisa’s Secret

If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company, Leonardo’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 of this book.

Dig into The Art of Success and let Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as he calls forth your passions, purpose and potential.

Through the teachings of Leonardo, extensive research into the mysteries of motivation, success and fulfilment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a holistic psychologist, The Art of Success will help you accelerate success. Together, Leonardo 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. Leonardo was luckier—he was encouraged to pursue his natural inclination. My hope is that after reading The Art of Success you will too.

Whether your calling is the world of 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.

Here are just a few of Leonardo’s success strategies:

 

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 immobilised 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 labour 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

 

YOUR SOUL’S DESIRE

Men who desire nothing but material riches are absolutely devoid of that wisdom which is the food and the only true riches of the mind.  So much worthier is the soul than the body, so much nobler are the possessions of the soul than those of the body

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo described himself as an inventor—it was fundamental to his success. He was a visionary, always searching to understand what was and what could be.  In his quest to create and invent he sought knowledge and wisdom above all else. He sought to fill  his soul and he sought to be of service to the world, advancing science and other realms in the process.

Acquiring material riches wasn’t high on his list of priorities. In life as in chess, forethought wins. Decide what you really want, what you are prepared to give up for it and what your priorities will be.

Your Challenge

If you’re struggling to clarify what it is you really want notice the times your soul comes alive. Notice what excites and interests you, and keep these clues to passion in an inspirational journal.

Passion, love, bliss or joy—whatever name it goes by—is hard to define but easy to see and feel. Your body will change quickly when the richness of your soul finds you.

Here are just a few of her clues:

  • A burning desire, hunger, sense of excitement or feeling of inspiration
  • A state of arousal—a racing heart, light-headedness, sweaty palms, butterflies, breathlessness
  • A feeling of limitless energy
  • A clarity of vision
  • A sense of purpose and caring deeply
  • A feeling of contentment

I don’t believe you can ever really cook unless you love eating

~ Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef

 

LEAD DON’T FOLLOW

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo combined what he loved with his vision and talent for fulfilling future needs. The threat of war made him design things that would protect cities. The desire for faster travel propelled his quest to find a way for man to fly. Illness and death drove him to understand the human body.

He once said, “The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.”

His creations were original, and many artists of the time copied him—including Raphael. Many of Leonardo’s designs were spectacularly ahead of his time. So many of his ideas were impossible to build during the 15th and 16th centuries with the tools available and Leonardo’s financial constraints. However 500-plus years later he’s still regarded as a leader.

Your Challenge

Don’t chase the market. Create a need, or fulfil anticipated ones. Don’t be deterred if at first you don’t succeed. Do what you dream about and wait for the world to catch up. No one really knows what, or who, be the next hot thing.

Persevere with your vision. Let the beauty and imagineering you love be the work that you do. Cocoon yourself in the protective magic and power of creative, lateral, blue-skies thinking. Read and learn about other leaders and pioneers. And become the lead character in your own book of life.

You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci) by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

How to use aromatherapy to boost your mental alertness

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

If you believe in aromatherapy…it works! If you don’t believe in aromatherapy…it works!

~ Cristina Proano-Carrion, aromatherapist

Along with your skills and capabilities, it is your state of mind that determines how productive, successful and happy you will be.

There are many ways to empower your mind—working with essential oils is one of the most effortless. The sense of smell is the most basic and primitive of all our senses and is of vital importance to authors.

The process of smelling is called olfaction and is incredibly complicated, taking place in several areas of the brain including the limbic system which itself has approximately 34 structures and 53 pathways. The limbic system is linked to sensations of pleasure and pain, and emotions— both positive and negative, including fear and confidence, sadness and joy and other feelings that can either erode or boost productivity and prosperity.

The simple truth is, even if you are unaware of the power of smell, aroma affects your mood.

Scientists now believe that all of our emotions are the result of neurochemicals such as noradrenaline and serotonin being released into the bloodstream, and mood swings are thought to be a result of these influences, particularly when they are in the extreme. Given these facts, it’s not hard to see how essential oils can help balance and influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

“Feeling educated about essential oils is such an empowering experience because there are so many different oils you can work with,” writes Clinical Aromatherapist Andrea Butje in her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils. “They all offer the nourishment of the plant they are distilled from in a single drop, and education helps you understand which oils to reach for at which times. Nature works holistically…and so do we.”

As I share in my book, The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, Coco Chanel knew the alchemical potency of flowers and plants. She surrounded herself with nature’s elixir and amassed a fortune from the essential oils which helped make her perfume Chanel N°5 famous.

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future,” Coco Chanel once said.

The transcendent alchemy of the potions that went into the Chanel N°5 formula was not left to chance. Grieving after her lover Boy Chapel’s death, jasmine, ylang ylang, vetiver and other restorative scents imbued Coco’s Chanel N°5 with hope, healing, and the sensual confidence that love lost would be found again.

Aromatherapy, using the scents of plants and flowers, is one of many ancient remedies validated by modern science today. It’s the Swiss army knife of all things healing—physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

“Feeling educated about essential oils is such an empowering experience because there are so many different oils you can work with,” writes Clinical Aromatherapist Andrea Butje in her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils.

“They all offer the nourishment of the plant they are distilled from in a single drop, and education helps you understand which oils to reach for at which times. Nature works holistically…and so do we.”

There are so many different essential oils that can help you. Here are a few essential oils and natural therapeutic remedies to help increase your alertness, refresh and uplift your mind, body, and spirit:

1.) Laurel Essential Oil: Motivates people who lack energy or confidence. It also strengthens the memory and helps maintain concentration, especially during prolonged tasks.

2.) Rosemary Essential Oil: Instills confidence during periods of self-doubt and keeps motivation levels high when the going gets tough. It is also said to help maintain an open mind and to make you more welcoming of new ideas.

3.) Cardamom Essential Oil Stimulates a dull mind, dispels tensions and worries, and nurtures and supports the brain and nervous system. Many people find it of great support during challenging times.

4.) Peppermint Essential Oil: With its refreshing scent peppermint works like a power boost for your fatigued mind, making you feel sharper and more alert.

The following blends are great ‘pick-me-ups’ for your weary mind:

Alertness:

• Ginger, 6 drops

• Grapefruit 5 drops

• Juniper Berry 4 drops

• 15 ml of a carrier oil

Energizing:

• Lavender 8 drops

• Lemon 2 drops

• Orange 6 drops

• Rosemary 4 drops

 

Your Challenge

Investigate the power of smell. Read more about aromatherapy for achievers and learn about essential oils for success.

What scents imbue you with confidence? Courage? Productivity? Sharpen your most potent tools—your heart and your mind. Become a perfumer—experiment with essential oils until you find a winning blend.

Create your own success blend, or have an expert create one for you. Beginning with how you want to feel is a good place to start.

 

 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More) 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/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

Do less and earn more 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.

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

Become Audaciously Obsessed: How Passionate Obsessions Empower Your Productivity and Prosperity

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

 

 

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

 

Nothing boosts productivity more than a healthy obsession. 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, and write about, the things they are truly passionate about.

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 all together, 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.

“The Last Supper soon became my obsession,” writes Spanish author Javier Sierra in his book The Secret Supper, a dazzling historical thriller.

His novels all have a ‘secret’ common purpose: to solve historical musketries based on real documentation and extensive field research. Javier’s passion and his obsession have made him a bestseller author throughout the world.

Similarly, Joe Medeiros, a writer, and producer, known for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, developed an obsession for Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic portrait of the Mona Lisa after reading about its theft from the Louvre.

Medeiros’ obsession had a singular focus—discovering the truth. He first learned that the Mona Lisa was stolen when he was 25 and spent the next 30 years trying to discover the thief’s motivation—a simple Italian immigrant named Vincenzo Peruggia who worked as a house painter in Paris.

When asked why he was so fascinated by the story, and why he devoted over 35-years to his quest Medeiros said, “The fact that that I couldn’t solve the mystery. I wasn’t able to write it as a [fictional] screenplay] but once we started to make the documentary, everything started to fall into place. And I always wanted to know, was he crazy? Did he do it for patriotism, did he do it for money, did someone commission him? I had all these questions and that’s what kept me at it until I found the answers.”

Because of my own obsession with The Mona Lisa, and also with discovering the truth, I came across Medeiros’ wonderful documentary and have since reached out to him to help me with my research for my novel of historical art-related fiction set in Renaissance and modern-day Florence. (formerly known with the working title of Mona Lisa’s Secret).

Learn more about Joe Medeiros’s 35-year obsession here—http://www.monalisamissing.com/single-post/2015/07/19/The-Story-of-the-Film-A-35YearLong-Obsession.

Even better, visit his website and follow the links to view his fascinating documentary >>http://www.monalisamissing.com/ 

Passionate Obsessions Empower Your Productivity and Prosperity

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

• A state of divine flow—enabling you to write with mind-blowing productivity

• Your point of excellence—unleashing dormant talents and natural gifts

• Rocket-fuel tenacity to persevere and succeed

• Mentors, helpful allies and similarly obsessed people who will cheerlead and elevate your success

• A legion of devoted fans who are drawn to your impassioned writing

• Your passion and life purpose—spreading seeds of joy and inspiration and benefiting others

• Your life niche—creating a breath of fresh air and giving you a competitive edge

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

New Zealand motorcycling legend Burt Munro proved that passionate obsession 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 brought 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.

 

What Do You Collect?

Passionate obsessions, as you have begun to discover, go in all directions, and many times they are revealed in your collections. These could be as tangible as exotic butterflies, books, spoons, antiques, paintings, or as intangible as a dream or an idea.

I collect positivity and articles and stories related to people’s extraordinary passions. My collections have inspired many of my self-empowerment books.

As I mentioned, I also have a passionate obsession with all things related to Leonardo da Vinci, but particularly his portrait of The Mona Lisa, and I have a burning desire to reveal the truth being the mysterious life of the woman in the painting, Lisa del Giocondo. I am sure I own every single book every written about both Lisa and Leonardo. My partner once laughed, “There are three of us in this relationship—you, me and The Mona Lisa.”

It’s true, I am obsessed and enthralled with my research for my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret and with telling her story. Follow  my obsession and sign up to my newsletter and be the first to know when this story will be published—http://eepurl.com/bEArfT. Sign up now and receive a welcome gift—your free ‘Find your Passion’ E-book.

 

Mining for Gold

Become audaciously obsessed. Real obsession 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 have a burning obsession for:

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

What do you collect? List all your obsessions and the things that interest you deeply. How can your passions fuel obsessive productivity?

 

Dive Deeper. . .

If you’re struggling to identify your obsessions, you’ll find some handy prompts and true stories in my book Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. You’ll also find inspiration, including true transformational change stories by people like you in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series.

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More) 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/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

Do less and earn more 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.

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

How To Turn Rejection into Relentless Creativity

Friday, July 14th, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Do you ever feel not good enough? I do. And so do many other successful, talented and capable people. t out the following newsletter. I hope you find it as inspiring and encouraging to read as I did. Here is it below

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Takeaways include…

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

•    Being creative will increase your self-esteem.

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

 

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

 

Making Money With Your Writing

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Did you enjoy this post?

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

How to finance your writing career

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

FINANCE YOUR WRITING CAREER WITH THESE SIMPLE AND SAVVY STRATEGIES

You may not have the cash at the moment, and the economy may not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean your mind can’t be working on your ideas and creating the way to a better future. Look for opportunities in every climate. That’s leverage

~ Cassandra Gaisford

Many people dream of writing a book or making a living from their writing but say that lack of spare cash is holding them back. They prevent themselves from choosing what they want to do because they fear there won’t be the necessary money or support to allow it.

But money doesn’t have to be an obstacle to seeking more fulfilling work. Financing a career change, despite all the obstacles in your way, involves a conscious commitment to move forward, and a willingness to think laterally and pragmatically about a range of financial options.

There are many different ways to finance a career change including: consolidating debt, future-gazing and demand creation, career combo-ing, seeking investors, using equity, reducing outgoings, generating extra cash flow, and applying for funding.

The discipline needed to reprioritize your finances will be easier, and the sacrifices more bearable, if you allow your desire to drive you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the possible financing options:

 

Rewrite your goals. List all the benefits making a change will bring. These may include better health, more money in the longer term or improved relationships with loved ones.

 

Assess your current situation. Get an accurate picture of all your outgoings and expenses. Consolidate debt. Seek financial advice if necessary.

 

Get a reality check on your future plans. Is there a current or future demand for your writing? Could you create one? What is the true cost of making a change? Isolate costs against benefits: cash in against cash out. How much money do you really need to spend and create?

 

Earn more. Think laterally to create cash flow. A job doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. Can you finance your career by doing a career-combo, working in a variety of different ways or for several employers? As you’ve read, many people work at several jobs to earn extra cash.

 

Generate extra cash flow by increasing the money you earn. Some possible strategies include: negotiating a pay rise in your current position; taking on a new higher-paying role; or turning a hobby into cash flow.

New Zealand based, USA Today bestselling historical romance author Bronwen Evans, for example, took on a high-paying, high-pressure, one-year communications contract to allow her to take a year off so she could pursue her dream of becoming a full-time novelist.

 

Seek investors. Use other people’s money to create the momentum you need. Remember there’s good borrowing—borrowing to increase wealth, and bad borrowing—borrowing so you can consume more. Most people spend all their spare income on non-asset-producing consumption.

Banks, family members and friends are all possible sources of investment income. Sam Morgan, who established the on-line trading company TradeMe, convinced his dad to back him, and earned millions of dollars in return. You may not pay back millions, but if your idea is sound, your investors can sleep at night knowing they will be repaid.

 

Utilize equity. Burt Munro, whose story was made famous in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, mortgaged his home. Could you use the equity in your own home to finance your career? If you don’t want to re-mortgage you could try asking for a mortgage holiday. Many banks allow 2–3 months of no mortgage payments.

As fashion designer Calvin Klein once said,  “I took the risk of putting my money on the line for the company.” Are you prepared to do the same thing?

 

Share the load. Who else has a stake in your success? Perhaps they may be able to inject more cash into your joint cash flow or pitch in and share the family load. New Zealand romance author Leanna Morgan asked her husband to take on the day-to-day family commitments so she could focus on her writing. Today she’s a USA Today bestselling author who sells up to 300 books a day and has legions of fans in America. She’s also the CEO of her own publishing company. In just two years, Morgan has gone from an unknown writer to one who earns over $200,000 a year, allowing the mother-of-two to give up her job as a Libraries and Arts Manager to concentrate on her writing. She recently shared with me that her goal is to make a million dollars, and more, from her writing.

“If anyone had told me two years ago that I’d be able to resign from a job I loved to become a full-time writer and publisher, I would have smiled and thought they were slightly crazy. But believe it or not, that’s what happened,” she told journalist Anna Kenna.

“Her success has not been without sacrifice, including little sleep and less time with husband Tim and her two children, aged 12 and 17,” Kenna writes in her article.

“I’d be up at 5.30am, getting in a few hours of writing before work, and writing in the evening when everybody else was asleep.”

So she could devote herself to writing, Leanna’s husband Tim shared more of their responsibilities.

“Tim took over running the house and organising our children,” Morgan says. “He did it to support me, but also because he could see the potential benefits of my success for the whole family.”

Sharing the load, hard word and commitment have yielded success beyond her and her family’s dreams.

“It’s taken away the financial stress, allowed us to take a nice holiday and to look forward to a future we never considered possible,” she says.

Find out more about Leanna Morgan here www.leeannamorgan.com and read the rest of this article, including why it’s a brilliant time to be an independent author, here >>

 

Reduce outgoings. Review your current commitments and expenditure. Proactively look around to make sure you are getting the best deal possible on your insurance, mobile phone plans, mortgages and other regular financial commitments. Take note of your savings and squirrel the extra money away for a rainy day.

John shopped around for a better deal on his household insurance and saved himself over $600 annually in premiums. He also negotiated an installment plan with creditors so that he could increase his credit debt repayments, saving over $5,400 in interest charges annually.

 

Get funded. Many people and organizations offer sponsorship and various forms of funding to help people pursue their dreams. Without the help of a grant from Creative New Zealand, author Lloyd Jones may never have written Mr Pip—the same book for which he won the prestigious and lucrative Man Booker Prize. The book was later made into a film.

Check out crowdfunding as an option, as Heather Morris initially shared in the chapter Knock The Bugger Off. Her attempts to finance her film script lead to a multi-national publishing deal.

 

Multiply your income streams. When authorpreneur Kevin Kruse made the move to self-employment he decided to record his financial success, complete with the highs and lows by publicly sharing his income reports on his blog. There’s lot of inspiration for anyone about to embrace change here:

http://authorjourneyto100k.com/income-report-december-2015-and-full-year/

Like many business people, Kevin knew early on, that having a variety of income streams would help him manage cash-flow.

“I went into this whole thing knowing that to make the money I wanted to make I would need to diversify my income. I knew I’d need to spend time speaking, creating online courses, and marketing.”

It is a common and successful strategy used by many business people, especially those working creatively. Ruth Pretty, for example, is a chef, newspaper columnist, cookbook writer, wedding venue provider, caterer and cooking school tutor. The common theme? Her pursuits all center around her passion for food.

Amongst other things, photographer Carla Coulson is a portrait photographer, magazine photojournalist, tutor, and travel photographer. At the time of writing, she has retrained as a life coach and now offers creativity coaching and wellness workshops.

Italian designer Giorgio Armani has a flourishing clothing empire, a swag of luxury hotels, a music production company, and an interior design business. And these are just a few of his multi-billion-dollar revenue lines.

I am a self-empowerment author, coach, holistic psychologist, romance writer, brand manager, and novelist of art-related historical fiction. I also write marketing materials (blogs, newsletters, website content etc.) for small businesses, and train people to become certified life and career coaches.

As my writing income grows I’m making a conscious decision to spend less time in some of these areas and more in others.

You may wish to focus on one income stream, but if this doesn’t work for you, consider diversifying. This will help you ride any fluctuating financial currents.

 

Remind yourself that money is not a measure of your true worth. Clarify what’s important to you. As Richard Branson said, “I don’t work for money, that’s too shallow a goal.” Lucky for him his passion for having fun has netted him millions—as it has for James Patterson and other prosperous authors.

Whatever path you choose, be sure to work with love. Sonia Choquette, author of Your Heart’s Desire echoes this view: “When you work with love you draw others to you. Embrace this truth. The reason for this is that love is the highest vibration on earth. When you work with love people feel it, are helped by it, and return to it. That’s why love is the best marketing tool around. Because it is so attractive, it pulls right to you what you need.”

 

The Money or Your Life

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, once said, “Choose a job that allows the opportunity for some creativity and for spending time with your family. Even if it means less pay—it is better to choose work that is less demanding, that gives you greater freedom, more time to be with your family and friends, engage in cultural activities or just play. I think that is best.”

This really spoke to me and was one of the primary reasons I chose to scale back my successful international consultancy. Time is more valuable to me than money. I can always find ways to get more money, but it is impossible to find more than 24 hours in any one day.

Be careful what you chase. Is it more money, or a better quality of life? With planning, it just may be possible to do both says Timothy Ferriss in his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Work Week.

His central premise is to automate everything so you can live and work independently, free from a fixed location. If this is something that appeals to you I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book.

We’ll also dive deeper into simple but savvy productivity strategies in Book Two, of The Prosperity for Authors series, Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More.

In this book, you’ll learn how to work less and produce more, including powerhouse productivity tools you can harness to help you finish what you start, create new books and take them to market so you can sell them faster.

 

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.

Check out this interesting article http://tommorkes.com/the-complete-guide-to-crowdfunding-your-book/.

Read a copy of my book Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself and find out how one man financed his career and reclaimed his life.

 

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!

Click here for instant access to your FREE Productivity Hacks Checklist

NEW RELEASE. The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

For anyone who wants to release the fear of failure, get motivated and achieve success. . .

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

In my new book The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I reveal dozens of insights based on survey research, my professional achievements and the success secrets of extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, James Patterson, Paulo Coelho, Nora Roberts, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and many more.

It’s one thing to write a book, it’s another thing entirely to make a living at it.

Developing a prosperous mindset is the foundation skill from which all else follows.

So many famous stories are about having belief in yourself and achieving your potential.

But in many of us, there is a hesitant skeptical part of ourselves that knows, “I probably should believe in myself more, but what if I am deluding myself? What if I’m not good enough?”

I know this feeling very well. For many years I struggled with a negative mindset. I started books and other writing projects and never finished them. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. Who did I think I was writing a book? What if I failed? What if my books never sold? And loads of other messages that kept me stuck in a soul-sucking day job I hated. But, using the techniques I share in The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I’m not only making a living from my writing but I’m inspiring other people to follow their dreams too.

Perhaps you’ve bought into the myth that you can’t make money from your writing. For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture, leaching into the minds of creative people and stifling their dreams.

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

The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset is a blueprint for mastering five principles of success.

By fuelling your desire, mastering your subconscious mind, maintaining optimum health, empowering your relationships, making a commitment to turn pro and slaying obstacles, you’ll elevate your attitude to success itself and create the ultimate mindset.

 

Though it was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their mindset

A must read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, or earn extra income on the side!

ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

BONUS GIVEAWAYS

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FREE copies of my Amazon best-sellers:

  • Find Your Passion and Purpose
  • Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series
  • The Art of Success: Coco Chanel


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Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

“Your Challenge – Dream big. Everything starts as someone’s daydream. Fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles. Become audaciously obsessed. Dream big but plan small. Baby steps will lead to bigger success. Anchor your dreams within your heart and feel as though they are already achieved.” – Cassandra Gaisford

I discovered author Cassandra Gaisford when I read her Career Rescue books. She writes inspiring non-fiction about how to live a creative life, pursue your passion, and make meaningful change in your life. A number one bestselling Amazon author, she also writes romance and historical fiction and is a coach and speaker.

Cassandra is inspiring because she leads by example—she follows her passion for writing and art, and she helps others find their creativity through her entrepreneurial writing business which includes coaching and speaking.

She is a fellow 9-to-5 job escapee. Read on to learn about Cassandra. You’ll find that she’s an inspiring example of a person who found space in her life to create.

Finding the place

Q: Where do you work on your business?

Cassandra: I run my business from home in a beautiful office overlooking the picturesque Bay of Islands, in Northland, New Zealand. I feel very fortunate to live and work in such an inspiring place. I also know fortune favors the bold! I’ve worked hard and made courageous and audacious decisions to get here.

I love variety. Sometimes I wander down to The Shed – an old building on the edge of our ten-acre property. Recently I’ve renamed it “the engagement room” – it’s where I work on the things I love.

Q: Did you have to clean up/clear clutter first?

Cassandra: I’m a collector. Recently I heard my partner tell someone that I collect anything related to positivity. In many of my books, I share that my deepest obsession is my passion for passion. My desk is often strewn with articles about passionate people, interesting things I have found and inspirational ideas that I’d like to work on later. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed at times, so I tend to favor clearing away distractions before working.

To stay inspired, and ignite motivation I love to place an inspiring book on my desk or an inspiring quote on my wall.

Currently, I have an open page from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life which is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. I choose a new page daily to guide me and help set the tone for the day.

While responding to your questions, I’ve closed the book and reopened it intuitively at the section, “Empower Your Spirit.” I opened the page on the chapter Worship The God Within. This chapter reminds me how important spirituality and faith is to my creative practice—as it was to Leonardo, and is to so many other creative people, too.

One of my daily practices is to ensure I clear my desk at the end of the day, and write a few notes regarding the focus for the next day, celebrate my successes by writing them in my journal and acknowledging the things I’m grateful for.

This creates joy, and space in my mind, and enables me to approach the new day feeling inspired and focused—assuming I’ve also cleared my mind by meditating, completing my morning pages and walking in the morning too.

Q: How do you get inspired? Do you go anywhere to “fill your creative well?”

Cassandra: Inspiration is everywhere.  Movies, music, magazines, bookshops, on-line, in the garden. I can’t think of anywhere or anything that can’t be a source of inspiration. Even discordant things and situations can ignite a spark.  One of my wise writing friends once encouraged me to channel upsetting personal situations into my books—some of the scenes in my upcoming historical novel are my favorite because the emotion I poured into them is so intense. Nothing is wasted.

Recently I began thinking deeply about the notion of duty as a writer, as a woman, as a person in this world at this time. And I decided how thankful I am to people who have shared their creative journey—the heartaches and the joys. I am tremendously inspired by people who have to battle to be true to themselves. And I decided I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by helping myself and others who dream of creative success.

And I wanted to do this by writing more self-empowerment books. Books in which I’ll share my journey to prosperity and the significant challenges I’ve had to overcome to be true to my art.

I’ve done this in part in my The Art of Success series of books. The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing takes a more intimate look into my creative process and contains the success secrets that have helped me leave a job I hated to become a full-time author and creative entrepreneur, follow my passion and make a great living with my writing.

I also reveal dozens of insights based on survey research, my professional achievements and the success secrets of extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like James Patterson, Paulo Coelho, Nora Roberts, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and other prosperous creatives.

It’s only recently I valued my writing as my gift, and it’s something I’ve struggled for over fifty years to prioritize.

Helping others also fills my creative well—I’ve heard this referred to as ‘the helpers high.’ It’s a lovely addiction to have.

I’m a woman of pristine intuition, and I work to keep it that way. Regular spiritual practice, looking after my well-being, spending time in nature, meditating, and a fascination and deep respect for the nuances of other people lives’—including their hobbies interests and obsessions and yearly overseas trips are some of the many ways I get and stay inspired.

Doing ‘a combo’ is fabulous, as I did recently when my partner and I went to Fiji for two weeks, combining many wellness strategies. We completely disconnected from social media, gave up alcohol, and absorbed ourselves in local life and nurtured our relationship.

Living a passionate life committed to creativity naturally feeds my inspiration.

My creative well was replenished when I moved away from my home of close to fifty years, Wellington to The Bay of Islands. The climate, people, and pace of life here are a wonder tonic. I truly believe everyone has their soul space—the place that most feels like their spiritual home. Never give up searching for it.

I also love beautiful magazines—Urbis, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Mindfood and anything committed to beauty and stories of people living inspiring lives feeds my creativity.

Other inspirational people are like vitamins for my soul. Sometimes I’ll attend workshops like the one I did in Puglia, Italy with photographer Carla Coulson. It was fabulous. You can see some of my photos here >> I’ll also chat on social media or engage their services. I guess you could say that these people are my mentors in some way.

In 2016 I invested a significant amount of time and money forging my new career direction as a creative entrepreneur. This included downscaling my coaching business and corporate work, signing up for courses and attending conferences to learn from experts in their field.

A real highlight in 2016 was meeting Michael Hauge, a top Hollywood story expert, author, and lecturer who consults with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys and public speakers throughout the world. My goal was to have him sign one of my books, but I ended up building a very special friendship.

I’m also going to consult Michael again—especially for my big (secret) project which has already been suggested by a top literary agent could become a movie. I know paying for these services will fast-track my success and feed my goal to be the best writer I can. I consulted with him when writing one of my romance novels The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride, and the feedback was invaluable.

Plus, I’ve signed up for a class with my guru Tim Ferris to boost my success and productivity further, How Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers Master Productivity.

One of the investments I’ve also made is taking a fiction writing class with James Patterson. As of January 2016, James has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. I’d love to achieve that kind of success!

Creating the time

Q: How did you find the time for working on your business?

Cassandra: When I started my coaching business, I was a single mother with a mortgage, but I didn’t let that stop me from chasing my dream. Being a single mom also fueled the desire, and the need, because I could never get enough leave to keep up with all my daughter’s school holidays!

I worked nights and weekends at first. Then when the money started to flow, I negotiated a four-day workweek. Not long after, as I began to feel more confident in my abilities to be self-employed AND pay my bills, I quit. It was a terrific day!

I, and other creatives, share more about our journey to self-employment and include a chapter about how to finance your career on a shoe-string in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate, and Start Living a Life You Love, Before It’s Too Late.

Q: A theme of my book is giving up something else to live a creative life and go after what you want. Did you give up anything else to spend more time on the life you want to live?

Cassandra: I’m not a heavy drinker, but I was drinking more than I wanted. I decided to take a break from alcohol in the lead up to Christmas 2016. I felt so great that in 2017 I decided to experiment with my commitment to be alcohol-free for the whole year. My partner decided to also. Many people want to quit but struggle, as we did. I will share what I learned and what really works, in my new book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear. It’s also an incredible time-waster and damaging to your long-term creativity.

Other things that I quit to allow more creativity in my life includes:

-Selling my television

-Downsizing my coaching business

-Less socializing. ‘No’ is a beautiful word, plus it helps that I’m no longer drinking and so much socializing is built around alcohol.

-Procrastinating and making excuses

-Checking emails and social media incessantly; I only check in at 12 pm and 4 pm with emails, and then for only 15-30 minutes, scanning for priorities.

-Hiding my spirituality and fearing that people might think I was spooky when I talked about my love and use of tarot, oracles, Reiki, energy work, and mediums. A turning point was when a client accused me of witchcraft when I suggested she try lavender essential oil to alleviate some of her stress.

These techniques and others were good enough for Coco Chanel and good enough for me! And I’ve been rewarded—so many people have sought me out because of the spiritual and creative side I bring, combined with strong business skills.

I also gave up doing projects that are easy and neglecting passion projects which sometimes are beyond my current level of expertise, but which would challenge me and enable me to grow, and which would provide greater fulfillment.

I quit short working days and two or three-day weekends. I want to work longer— but I still am mindful of balance, which is why I am careful to take time out during the day to reconnect with those around me, even if I chose to make up the hours on the other end. I gave up saying, “I have to.” I replaced this with “I choose to” – for this is a greater truth.

I gave up the comfort rut of certainty. I bought myself three months to finish my historical art-related novel. This is the novel I pitched to a top literary agent and also to Penguin Publishing over seven years ago. It’s the book I told myself I could never write. Both expressed an eagerness to see the finished book.

There is no certainty of a contract. There is no certainty that my book will sell, or in any way repay my investment. There is only the certainty that I shall not die with regret, wondering what if.

I have given up waiting for the timing to be right, I have given up waiting for excess money. I’ve given up living without discomfort and taking on work that pays well but that I don’t enjoy in the hope that I will make money I can store away for that ‘rainy day’ when the conditions are ‘perfect to write my book.

The greatest comfort of all is being true to yourself, to the passionate stirrings of your soul. For that reason, I decided to invest in myself this year. I have given myself the luxury of time. I decided to bankroll three months out of the world. You could say I bankrolled the space to complete what many people have told me will be my greatest work. We’ll see.

Q: How much time do you spend on your business? What habits did you need to put in place?

Cassandra: I love what I do, so like the author James Patterson, working seven days doesn’t feel like a slog to me. It’s a joy, a privilege; it’s playing. I also like his comment, “Do NOT sit there like ‘Oh I don’t feel like it today. I don’t feel like it tomorrow’. Feel like it! Do it! Force yourself.”

But keeping balance and knowing as I do that without a commitment to health and well-being it’s easy to burn out and be inefficient; I’ll be keeping an eye on outcomes versus hours spent. And I’ll be investing in smart daily habits like meditation, yoga, eating well, etc.

New habits also included greater discipline to maintain focus and eliminate all distractions when I write. I’ve developed a new habit which I love—writing in thirty-minute cycles. Using the timer helps keep me honest.

Right now, one of my favorite tools for this is focusatwill.com. The developers say this will work magic because it’s “scientifically optimized music to help you focus.” I’m a big fan. I love the music and love what it’s doing for my productivity. It is incredible how much you can achieve in thirty-minute bursts when you are focused.

I gave up watching TV over five years ago. This has been life changing. It’s such a time-zapper, and most times depressing.

Health is a priority. I’m half way to my next life—I want to make sure I arrive in good shape. Alcohol is gone, coffee too, sugar—on the way out. Coming in: green and clean and raw. Meditation needs to be more regular for sure. I’ve been a meditator for over twenty years, but sometimes I forget to prioritize it.

I’m going to get up earlier at 5 am and “just do it!” This is going to be challenging, but I’m determined to make this a joyful ritual.

My writing rituals will include five, 9-hour days per week dedicated to fiction, one to non-fiction and working with coaching clients and marketing/business activities. Day seven will be a passion day—whatever I decide that will be.

Included in these commitments is prioritizing balance—relationships, health and spiritual. Meditation, romance, chilling will all factor in—including a reward trip to Japan with my partner in September to defrag and re-top up our inspiration well.

Finding the energy/mindset

Q: Did you make any changes to your lifestyle to support your new business venture?

Cassandra: Mindset and managing energy is EVERYTHING.

Meditate, eat well, exercise regularly and make room for rest to keep energy levels high. Don’t take any devices into your bedroom at night—including your phone. Only read paperback books at night (for relaxation) – not work-related research. Switch off to switch on. No working after 10 pm – it’s hard to sleep if you’re all fired up and inspired.

Move—I force myself to get out and walk every day. It helps when I remind myself how many paraplegics would love to be able to stand on their legs and go for a stroll.

Last year I purchased a standing desk, which also lowers to be a normal workstation. I love the option to stand or sit.

I purchased Dragon software to use dictation to write, and GhostReader to check errors and improve flow by using this technology to read my work back out loud. I also use Scrivener to help me structure my thoughts and writing, and have greater control over my production and outputs. It’s wonderful to be in control of my publishing success.

But this has meant dedicating time to learning new technology—but once again, you need to invest in efficient systems and processes to reap the rewards.

Other great strategies to boost a positive, focused mindset: I keep a praise file—record and look at the feedback people give you regularly. I started fifteen years ago—originally to help me overcome acute self-doubt, but now, while I need it less, it is affirming and heart-stirring to read the unsolicited feedback others have said. And sometimes when people, family included, say something hostile about my work, (like my brother who said, “Great, just what we all need – more advice from you”), knowing I have touched someone’s life, and made the world a better place, reminds me of what gives my life meaning and purpose. It makes the tougher times worthwhile.

I’m a big fan of creating a Passion Journal every year—this keeps my mind on what I do want to create and empowers my ability to manifest by leveraging off the laws of Intention, Attraction, and Desire. I have a free gift for your readers, a Passion Journal Workbook for those who subscribe to my newsletter at www.cassandraGaisford.com.

Q: Any tips for managing your time?

Cassandra: Thirty-minute bursts of activity are amazing for getting into a productive mindset.

Be strong with others who want to zap your time. Push back and check if their demands on your time are urgent. “No,” is a beautiful word.

Be a creative procrastinator – put off until tomorrow things that don’t enable you to achieve progress toward your goals today.

Combine tasks. I listen to audio books while walking, podcasts while preparing meals or doing chores or when I am at the supermarket. This helps prevent resentment when I attend to some of the more mundane things that ‘take me away’ from writing or perfecting my craft.

Delegate and outsource. In our Kiwi culture, we have a ‘do it yourself mentality.’ In the past, I tried to do it all and found it way more efficient to hand things to the pros. It didn’t always cost me more money, and when it did, I often recouped it in increased sales—like great cover design or the improved professionalism of having a passionate proofreader look over my books. I’ve been fortunate to meet many skilled people who have read my career rescue books, including a lady who was inspired to quit her job and has started an editing business. I now outsource some of my work to her.

Q: What are some of the things you tell your clients if they want to make a change and lead a more creative life?

Cassandra: Prioritize your creativity. It’s that simple—and, at times that is challenging. Isolate the barriers, blocks, whatever is standing in the way. Take an inventory and then commit to problem-solving. Intensify your desire, remind yourself of your ‘why.’ What benefits will flow? How will you feel if you never try?

Be inspired by other people who have made the leap to creativity, read their stories— people like Coco Chanel, Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and so many others. I can’t think of one successful person who hasn’t had to fight for their dream. Conflict and overcoming obstacles in the norm – but it’s also what makes for compelling viewing and dedicated fans.

Do it scared—most of the successful creative people I know started and continued to create despite their doubts, fears, and anxieties. Follow your passion to prosperity!

Q: What is the single biggest change you had to make to support your business?

Cassandra: Invest in me. As one of my creative clients sagely said, “You have to bankroll your dreams. In the beginning, the money isn’t there.” I go into how to finance your career (on a shoestring) in a big way in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate and Start Living a Life You Love Before It’s Too Late.

I’ve also committed to a daily practice of feeding optimism, and aligning my thoughts with the outcome I desire, not fear. This has been a key part of my success and continues to be—it’s not something that comes naturally. This may surprise people, but I also believe it is true of many creatives.

And as I said before as I stopped waiting for inspiration, and I showed up every day to do THE Work, my muse began to take me seriously, and now she shows up too.

Find Cassandra Gaisford online, learn about her books, and read her blog: www.cassandragaisford.com and on her Amazon page: amazon.com/author/cassandragaisford

This is an edited excerpt from Courtney Kennedy’s book Creating Space to Thrive: Get Unstuck, Reboot Your Creativity and Change Your Life. Available from Amazon here >>

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Harness the biology of belief: how to unleash the power of consciousness, matter & miracles

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

I told my audience that if they changed their beliefs they could change their lives

~ Dr. Bruce Lipton, cell biologist

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

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

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

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

“Where’s your evidence for that?” (That being whatever you fear or hold to be true?)

“What’s the worst that could happen if you pursued your passion? How bad would that really be? How can you increase the likelihood of success?”

“What tells you that you could follow your dreams?” (a nice shift from focusing on the problem to looking for solutions instead).

“What have you tried recently that worked? What you are you doing now that works?”

“Who do you know that is happy at work? What could you learn from them?”

“How does your (supportive other) know you can do this? What difference will it make to them when you are happier and more successful?”

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

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

Your Challenge

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

Chances are you don’t need to see a therapist to move beyond self-limiting beliefs, but if you do, go and get help. There’s magic in that

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

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mindset the new psychology of success-faith and the millionaire mind

Monday, May 29th, 2017

As Adam Markel writes in his book, Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life, “Just because you can’t see the steps doesn’t mean they aren’t there. There’s a word for this type of behavior. It’s called faith.”

Keep your faith strong by reminding yourself of your purpose, stay positive and keep away from cynics.

Julia Cameron, an active artist and author of The Artist’s Way and another thirty or so fiction and non-fiction books, advocates relinquishing too much effort and turning energy instead from one of stressful striving, to cultivating faith and trust.

Prayer, gratitude, acceptance and unwavering belief that everything happens for a reason, are just some of the many strategies she encourages people to embrace.

If doubt is dampening your enthusiasm and confidence and faith is something you’d like to cultivate, you’ll find strategies to empower yourself throughout my Career Rescue series.

Mid-Life Career Rescue-Three Book Bundle-Box Set (Books 1-3): The Call For Change, What Makes You Happy, Employ Yourself—available from Amazon here—getBook.at/CareerRescueBox

You may like to check out Julia’s book Faith and Will or find your own sources.

Your Challenge

Tap into the awesome power of meditation, yoga and a spiritual faith-based perspective to help you maintain a positive expectancy, manage stress and increase your intuitive, creative powers.

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

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was getting no-where. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blank bookcover with clipping path

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.

Did you enjoy this post?

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

How ambition and Leonardo da Vinci can fuel your success

Friday, April 21st, 2017

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci
 
Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, or loss.
 
Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.
 
As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.
 
Your Challenge
 
Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines.
 
When you think of someone ambitious that you admire who comes to mind?
What qualities do they possess? How could you copy-cat or borrow these qualities and apply them to help you succeed?
 
Keep your ambition a secret—avoid the critics and those who may knock your confidence. When you start to flap your ambition wings other people may feel threatened or jealous
 
It’s cool to be ambitious. People want to hang out with ambitious, successful people. Pursue your big audacious goals! Do the things you think you can’t. Achieve the impossible
 
“The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.” ~ Madame Veuve Cliquot, businesswoman.
 
Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Leonardo da Vinci shares how creativity can improve your happiness, health and success in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life by Cassandra Gaisford.
 
To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

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

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Are you at a fork in the road?

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

Here’s the incredible thing…

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll find out how to:

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

…And much, much more….

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

Click here to access What the Fork? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for What the Fork? 

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

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

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Coco Navigate to here: getBook.at/CocoChanel

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

FIND YOUR NICHE – PURSUE YOUR PASSION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess who’s celebrating?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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

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

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

But that’s another story. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to boost your self-belief by playing detective

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Challenge

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

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

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

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

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

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