The Real Secret is a different kind of self help. We debunk the empty promises of so many books and DVDs and bring you a simple, sensible approach to real life fulfillment. We don't believe you can achieve happiness, or anything else, by simply wishing for, thinking about or visualising it. Our book - and this blog - takes only the best of what really works and turns it into a positive, practical 12-step programme that will enable you to take control of your life and raise your happiness levels.

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The Real Secret is simple, sensible, scientifically supported self help
by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw


A Simpler Life

A couple of years ago, Creative Content Digital asked me to write an audio book to launch their new self-development imprint, “Lifestyle Lowdown”. Our first thoughts were around work-life balance. Flexible working, stress management and work-life balance had been one of my areas of expertise for many years and I had run pilot projects in many organisations which proved conclusively that flexibility and balance in the workplace reduced sickness absence, stress and turnover while improving productivity, commitment and employee satisfaction.

At the time I was working with Annabel (Shaw) on The Real Secret programme and self help book and, as we discussed the audio book, the phrase that resonated with all of us, and seemed to sum up what so many people are looking for, was “A Simpler Life”.

Based on The Real Secret self help strategy - “simple, sensible and scientifically supported” - Annabel and I agreed to write our first audio book on how to achieve a simpler life. In it, we don’t tell listeners that they should be ditching their possessions, earning less money or growing their own vegetables, but rather suggesting ways to explore what you fundamentally believe, recognise what you cherish above all else and identify what it is that makes you who you are.

In the last twenty years we’ve all been so carried away with doing, having and achieving more, that we’ve left ourselves little time to stop and check on where we’re heading and why we’re going there. The fact is, you can make choices between what really matters to you and those things you’ve come to believe you ought to have, do or be.

In just over an hour, we take listeners through a series of integrated, enjoyable exercises – some of which need pen and paper or a PC; others of which just ask you to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes and recall memories, emotions and dreams. Working through them, you find yourself on a journey to re-discovering genuine values, needs, desires and hopes with a map offering positive and well-defined goals, clearly marked destinations, a planned itinerary and regular signposts to keep you on track in achieving greater joy and contentment.

I’ve been asked whether I take my own advice and the answer is yes – usually! So when in A Simpler Life we were writing about the value of revisiting childhood dreams, I thought I’d better go back and check my own. There they were, three of them: the earliest and most enduring was to be A Writer; a later one was to be A Psychologist and in my teens I was definitely going to be An Actress.

Every job I’ve had has involved writing: initially as a journalist, editor, reviewer and script writer. When I moved out of the media and into researching parenting, children and families, it was still about presenting the material in compelling and comprehensible ways. As a consultant in work-life balance, working with blue chip and public sector organisations, I’ve sometimes battled with the deficiencies of business jargon – but enjoyed learning to blur the boundaries between corporate-speak and campaigning rhetoric in the interests of both productivity and people. Now I also work with other writers as Commissioning Editor of Bookshaker Publishing.

Although I never became a psychologist, my wellbeing training and coaching, and self help writing involves me in researching how the mind and brain work – and in Annabel Shaw I have a real psychologist to work with. We have a brilliantly complementary working relationship, in which she is in charge of evidence and research while I get to rewrite and edit our manuscripts (though she writes most of this blog). And although I never got to be a professional actress after acting in many student plays, I do “perform” on radio and tv, and when I speak or give  talks, workshops and seminars.

I realised, through writing A Simpler Life, that in a deep sense I had achieved all three of my youthful dreams, and that focusing on what I really love doing best has helped to give my life the sort of clarity we encourage in the audio book. For me, living a simpler life has also involved a move out of the city into a village community, working away less and spending more time with my family. It won’t be the same for everyone – there’s no blueprint for the perfectly simple life, just ways of reconnecting with the real you and pursuing the things that bring you, and those close to you, true satisfaction and happiness.

A Simpler Life audio book, published by Creative Content Digital, is available on,, iTunes and

Special Offer - A Simpler Life is half price on Amazon and Audible at the moment - and FREE if you sign up to a 30-day trial with Audible.
Posted by Lucy

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