Dear readers, in this post I share how I found my passion and purpose and reasons you may want to consider to train to be a Worklife Solutions certified career and life coach
What if all this pain and feeling trapped could lead you to your purpose—helping others escape the career rut and create a life of meaning and fulfilment?
I truly believe that all we need to make us really happy is something to be passionate about—and helping others thrive is a passion for so many. It is for me.
If you’ve read my Mid-life Career Rescue series or any of my self-empowerment books you’ll know there was a time that I felt so unhappy at work it made me sick, but I felt I had to make that job work or I’d be fired.
I was a single mum, the only one able to support my young daughter and myself. I used to go home with a brave face, but inside I was tired and depressed. My self-esteem was so low I thought no one would hire me. I tried to go to work, grit my teeth and bear it as others did. I felt trapped, anxious and depressed.
I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. But that wasn’t what my boss wanted from me. “You could make a lot of money here,” he said. “You just need to be more selfish.” For a while, I tried to be someone else—motivated only by money, but every day my values were compromised, and the skills I loved weren’t being used.
I was working as a consultant in one of the world’s biggest, swankiest HR and recruitment companies. Everyone thought I had it made. Status, glamour, high earnings—on the surface it looked like I had hit the jackpot. But I hated the hours, and I hated the culture. As I shared in, Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late my boss once threatened to smash my head in. He had the gall to say this in an open-plan office in front of over a hundred people. No one batted an eyelid. Everyone was scared. But it was a turning point in my life and my career.
My job started making me ill. It got so bad I got shingles, a painful virus affecting the central nervous system. My health was compromised—physically, emotionally and mentally—and spiritually. But still I couldn’t leave. I felt trapped and unable to escape. My colleagues at work had similar experiences. Several people had heart attacks. The volume of alcohol people consumed after work to numb the pain was staggering. It was such a toxic workplace.
In desperation, I agreed to see a career counsellor. During my first session, I was asked to draw a picture. I drew a grey bird in a black cage. “The door is open, but she’s forgotten how to fly,” I told my counsellor. This drawing brought tears to her eyes. Although I didn’t understand why at the time, I can see now that she felt my pain at feeling so caught and trapped by my situation. (Later this image (a more empowered version) became the inspiration for my Midlife Career Rescue series).
But my career counsellors help, I found a way to fly. Through our sessions and the blend of creative and structured exercises we completed together I rebuilt my confidence and strengthened my awareness of my skills, and most importantly, I learned how to dream.
The work the career counsellor did with me was so important, so vital – saving me from despair. It led me to not just finding a job I loved, but later creating one that gave me a sense of purpose.
What she taught me literally gave me my life back. Happily, I can now serve others in this way too—career counsellor, life and career coach, qualified holistic energy therapist, Certified Hypnotist, author and a trainer of other coaches who also aspire to make a difference in other people’s lives.
When I was stuck in a career trap I was inspired by the career counsellor who was helping me, and I began to wonder, ‘How could I do that? How could I help empower men and women who felt as I did hopeless, stressed and broken?’
I looked at her skills and background and asked her what it would take to be like her, and what training she would or wouldn’t recommend.
I then set out to forge my path in a similar way—training to be a counsellor. I even learned the interactive drawing therapy techniques that she had used and what I’d found so liberating when she first got me to draw that bird trapped in the cage yearning to fly.
I decided I wanted to work for myself. But I was scared. I’d never run a business before. I didn’t know if I could make it work. So, I took a role that didn’t tick all my career nirvana boxes but I knew it would give me the experience I needed.
It was a greenfield’s role starting a career counselling business for a non-for-profit Employee Assistance Program provider—aptly named, Workplace Support. They already offered personal counselling services but they wanted to expand and reach the thousands of professional men and women who were stressed by their work, or who wanted to move forward in their careers.
As I was starting this service from scratch I wanted it to be the best possible solution for people who were job stressed and desperately unhappy at work. I looked at programmes that were considered ‘best practice” and interviewed a few ‘top-notch” coaches.
But I felt their approach was soulless. Missing something. Too formulaic. And it wasn’t just me who felt that way. Clients of these coaches told me that they felt like sausages in a factory, they felt they were just being put through a process that cared little for their individual needs and more about the people who stood to profit.
I knew that the cookie-cutter approach just didn’t work for me. And I knew it wouldn’t work for the people I wanted to help. I knew my clients deserved better.
One glaring example of how woefully inadequate many of the other coaching systems were, was that one extremely large, extremely cash-rich, and extremely internally dysfunctional international consultancy, which specialized in providing outplacement support for people who had lost their jobs, didn’t even help their out-of-work-career-stressed clients to look at their deepest interests or stop to consider what they were passionate about.
Instead, helping people identify their greatest sources of enjoyment was considered, irresponsible, setting people up for failure, a distracting focus. I talk more about the importance of this in my Radio New Zealand interview. Follow the link on my media page to listen to this timeless interview.
I knew, and fervently believed, both from my professional and my personal experience, that to succeed at anything and to be truly happy you have to do something you care about deeply. So many of the people who had lost their jobs naturally felt down and told me they felt depressed.
The global organisation I worked for panicked when they held the “d” work. Instead of helping them identify what would bring joy and happiness to their lives, they sent clients off for personal counselling to cope with their depression. But in reality, very often, they just needed someone empathetic, and skilled who could help them find hope, and provide them with practical skills to find work they would love and which would provide passion and purpose to their work and their lives.
After three (not always fulfilling years) in my stepping stone job, I made the decision to quit and employ myself full-time. But I didn’t go 100 per cent self-employed at first. I started my business on the side, working nights and weekends from my kitchen, and cafes, and some of the many rent-by-the-hour office spaces around town. That was over 20 years ago! Things are easier now—the Internet has created so many opportunities to work when and how you want and to attract and connect with a global audience.
You and I are probably alike. I’m a mid-lifer who wants more from my life than to go work, grit my teeth and bear it. I want to work with joy, passion, purpose, and fulfilment—and I still want to pay the bills! I’m grateful to say that I’ve achieved all of those desires, and more. I’ve reinvented my working life multiple times in the search for career nirvana and I’m happy to say I’ve found it.
Equally as satisfying is the fact I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned and have helped thousands of people from a myriad of diverse backgrounds and circumstances find or create work they love and enjoy their lives. I share loads of inspiring stories of midlifers who have had the courage to leave soul-sucking salaried roles and embraced the joy and freedom of self-employment on my blog>>
I’m the founder of an internationally successful career and life coaching business (www.worklifesolutions.nz) and the author of a vast library of personal empowerment books and programs. I enjoy what I call a career combo—coaching, counselling, training, writing, public speaking…(also the title of my latest book)
…and a few other creative things I do on the side. Like writing historical art-related novels, painting, and photography. And I’ve had the joy and privilege of helping thousands of people successfully reinvent their careers and lives.
I know what it’s like to doubt you’ll ever be able to make a change for the better. I know what it’s like to feel down, stressed and anxious. I know that in today’s world when finding work is harder than ever, finding a job you love, a job that aligns with your values and affords you a lifestyle other envy, can feel like an impossible dream. But I agree with Audrey Hepburn who once said is “impossible” is just another way to say, “I’m possible.”
Perhaps you’re like Clive who felt trapped stuck in a job that paid the bills but was low on fun, joy, challenge, and fulfilment. He was so stressed at work he burnt out and collapsed. He contacted me to help him realize his dream of becoming a certified career and life coach.
“A big draw card was the individualised approach – which just one week into training has already proved its worth! I simply wouldn’t be making the same progress if I was say, hooking into a weekly webinar with a dozen or more others and one trainer.” ~ Clive, EAP and Corporate Coach
He contacted me during his recovery wanting my help to become a skilled helper—a life coach able to help people experiencing what he had survived. Two years on he is thriving – well and happy in his new vocation! Clive’s passion? Helping people create lives of significance.
Or is your job, like Jane’s—so insecure you don’t think it will last? Her passion, empowering men, and woman to make life-affirming choices.
Do you yearn, like Sarah, for something more from your work and your life but can’t see any alternative options? Do you want something age-proof that you love so much the thought of retiring never crosses your mind?
Deep down do you feel trapped, hopeless, sick? That was me. And it has been many of my clients and the students I’ve trained and qualified as coaches. Once. But not anymore.
Are you thinking about what drives you, why you are doing what you are doing, is it making you happy, are you using your full set of skills, what can you do differently and how can you change?”
Hundreds of people, many of them mid-lifers, like you, have been rescued from unfulfilling work, changed careers and found their dream jobs by implementing the tips and strategies found in my certified coaching programs. Following the bespoke system that I designed to fast-track results worked for me—and it will work for you.
‘I dream I’m on vacation, it’s the perfect career for me.’ These lyrics from a song by the Eagles was a theme around which manifesting my perfect career centred. Clarifying my skills, values, and interests provided further focus. As did confirming my life purpose and the longer-term goals I have for myself, my partner and my family.
We now live in a lifestyle property in The Bay of Islands, in New Zealand—a popular holiday destination, working from home with clients all over the world. Sometimes when I’m coaching a client over the phone I walk around the garden. It’s so much fun—work always feels like a vacation. Recently our house was profiled in New Zealand House and Garden. in 2021 I combined my love of mentoring with opening an art gallery and offering in person art classes to people who want more joy and playfulness in their lives.
My Training Is Powerful
My training is powerful. I know it is. The life I have created using this awareness is amazing. The strategies are ones I have successfully used—professionally with clients and personally during numerous self-determined or sometimes forced reinventions.
I stand by every one of the strategies you will learn here, not just because they are grounded in strong theoretical principles, but also because I have used them to create successful turnaround, after successful turnaround in nearly every area of my client’s lives and my life too.
Rapid Transformational Coaching is the culmination of all that I have experienced and all that I have learned, applied and successfully taught others for over two decades. I don’t practice what I preach; I preach what I have practised because it gets results—FAST!
Like Nicola, who has always wanted her own business and would love to meet her soul mate. She had read my book Mid-Life Career Rescue while on holiday in Thailand and said it changed her life. She moved to Italy, left, what was once a dream career (Interior design), and started teaching. She’s ready for a career change again – and another move. Blending her passion for photography and décor.
In 20 minutes, I helped intensify her desire and showed her how to begin manifesting her heart’s desire in a passion journal. “I completely forgot about that,” she said. “And because I am so creative, it will work perfectly.”
One thing I know for certain is that your life is too important to stay in a job you hate. You have treasures buried within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so do others. And bringing those treasures to light takes faith and focus and courage and effort. It takes a willingness to answer the call for change, and people to help and support you along the way. People like me.
Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for creating my Rapid Transformational Coaching certification courses?” In part, it was my experience with clients, but also the emails I received from people who I knew would never be able to see me professionally, and their depth of hopelessness and despair—despair that reached beyond the individual, but affected those who loved them.
Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”
It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.
It was the experience of this man and many others like him, and the practical knowledge that on my own I could never reach all the people that needed help. It was this, and my passion to help people who wanted to be fantastic, skilled helpers and who believed in the beauty of helping people live and work with passion and purpose, that lead me to share my proven, results-focused training program and systems.
As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. As a coach, I’ve helped people overcome this and get hired. As a trainer, I’ve helped people like you start age-proof passion and purpose-inspired businesses
I’ve also seen people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28-year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change,” said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits—and I’m proud to say that the coaches I’ve trained have too. Like Lynnie, who in her sixties has rebirthed a new career by training with me to become a certified career and life coach.
“Even though I have been a midwife for 26 years, it is what I have known. I have worked in NZ and overseas and in many challenging situations. Stepping into a new situation and the unknown and training as a coach is both exciting and challenging as I am moving outside of my comfort zones…While looking at other education providers for coaching, I had also downloaded Cassandra’s free booklet on finding your passions (available to people who subscribe to the newsletter here www.cassandragaisford.com). I worked through the workbook and the light dawned when I realised that none of my passions were in midwifery now. That was ‘a light bulb moment’ or what I would call ‘a God moment’ as I had had the sense for a few years that I was been led out of midwifery. I was filled with such a sense of peace about it that I knew it was right to contact Cassandra again.”
” You can read more of Lynnie’s story, including how she felt the fear and did it anyway, here
As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives—and I wanted to share this passion with like-minded people from all around the world that felt the same. I’ve trained people from Brazil, America, Australia, and New Zealand…to name just a few exotic locales:)
I also believe that people need fewer checkboxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the-box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many—and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >> (include link)
I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast—but to reassure you that if you’re considering training with me that you’re in expert hands.
When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an ageing workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was…
wait for it…
to help people have an imagination!
As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes the people who have trained with me have gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works.
In my Rapid Transformational Coaching Training Programs, I’ll show you why and how.
A large part of my philosophy and the reason behind my success with clients is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy of life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.
As Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.
Setting you up for success
“Aren’t you setting people up for failure?” a disillusioned career coach (who trained with someone else) once challenged me when I told her my focus was not on helping people find any job but finding one that gave them joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she needed a career change.
Thirty cumulative professional experience as a career coach and counsellor, helping people work with passion and still pay the bills, answers that question. I’m setting people up for success. I’m not saying it will happen instantly, but if you follow the advice in this course, it will happen. I promise.
“I’ve spent 40 years looking out of the window wishing I was somewhere else,” one of my clients told me. That’s not only depressing but also such a huge waste of talent and precious time. Life’s too short to spend days, weeks and years in a job that robs you of energy, zest, and enthusiasm.
Are you ready to make an inspired change?
We spend over 3,000 hours a year at work, and when we’re not at work we’re thinking about it. Work-related issues are major sources of stress and career unhappiness. Left unresolved they can spill over into other areas of your life, infecting your relationships with colleagues, family and loved ones.
Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late. Train to be a Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach.
You can wake up to wonderful feedback in your inbox as I do:
“A coaching session with Cassandra is like a light switch to a light bulb. My ideas were there but without that light switch I wasn’t able to see them and manifest my dream of running a holistic business from home. Straight away, Cassandra was able to get to the heart of my core values and how to put them into a dream business. I now have the sense of purpose and drive to achieve my business goals. Cassandra’s warm personality and positive approach make her a joy to work with. I recommend her to anyone who wants to unlock their personal and professional potential.” ~ Shelley S.
Your legacy can be like the one I created for Mandy (and many other men and women I’ve had the privilege to help like her), who in her 50’s, after reading the book I wrote as a result of my experience as a life and career coach, wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:
“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down—it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months. It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”
And what a new life it was. Mandy packed up her old life as a disillusioned consultant and unhappy wife in New Zealand and moved to outback Australia after successfully applying for a new role. She landed a three-year contract as an Infrastructure and Assets Manager, overseeing the construction of the Art Centre and new houses, as well as the commercialization of the airport and the development of major roads.
“I wanted a new adventure and I’ve found one!” she wrote to me. “I’m excited and terrified.” Others saw Mandy as an inspiration, paving the way for other mid-lifers to make courageous life and career changes. She later made another inspiring change—putting into practice all that she had learned during our coaching sessions.
My clients, and readers like Mandy, tell me they value the fact that my advice is gained from both my personal and professional experiences and is both practical and inspirational.
Keith was 55 when his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service. “The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth,” he wrote to me.
“I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me from having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the ‘mind chatter’. Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence. Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have found it very useful in terms of the information provided and tools available for self-awareness and future planning. This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers. I feel energized every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.”
Passion, happiness, joy, fulfilment, love—call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book encourages you to reach for your dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations you have for yourself. You have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people like you who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose. Would you like to train to be a Worklife Solutions certified career and life coach?
I promise that if you follow the steps in my Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach training, or you contact me for a personalized career coaching session, you’ll discover what you really want to do, clarify what you can do, and create powerful but simple strategies to make your dream a reality.
And I promise you’ll either create or find, a job you love, one that adds more joy to your life and gives you a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfilment.
And what I can promise you is this—whatever your circumstances, it’s never too late to re-create yourself and your life. So, what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and you simply do not have time anymore to waste. It’s time to start living a life you love before it’s too late.
The practical and inspirational tips and strategies in my Rapid Transformational Coaching Program been proven to create positive results for students—personally and professionally, and provide knowledge that you can use again and again.
Be empowered. Answer the call for change, take control of your career and your life right now. As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited.” Make your life count, and enjoy the new future you’re creating. Train to be a Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach.
If training to be a coach doesn’t feel right for you, but you’d like someone to work with you to light up your life and support you to find your best-fit career, achieve your dreams, or know someone who does, I’d love to hear how I can be of service.
Posted in: Blog
I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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