Category Archives: Motivation

A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning
(Pat Riley) – these are the things that motivate me.

From Corporate Worker to Portfolio Worker

Portfolio working

I wrote a post last month called ‘Is The UK Becoming A Free Agent Nation, as I mentioned in that post, I’m quite fascinated by the rapid rise in UK start-ups and the general trend towards freelancing.

A recent eConsultancy blog post also highlighted this trend with some telling statistics on the rise of the freelancer. This statistic in particular resonated with me:

87% of the UK’s top performing grads see freelancing as a highly attractive career option.

I’ve worked in the corporate world for a number of years, I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly and I believe in terms of learning about business, leadership and a whole host of other skills it’s amongst the best training you can have. However, the culture within corporate organisations can be quite oppressive; processes, red tape and the general culture of ‘this is the way we’ve always done things around here’ can quench individuality and a sense of freedom. With each passing year my own need for autonomy and freedom grows, and I really understand why top grads would be drawn to freelancing as opposed to a corporate 9-5.

Autonomy has been shown to be a greater motivator than money and I believe this fact is a significant driver for why an increasing number of senior managers decide to hang-up their corporate boots and opt for a more entrepreneurial way of life. During the course of a corporate career, it’s quite common to reach the point where you want to break free, and the breakout is increasingly taking the form of portfolio working.

Portfolio working is a way of organising your working life so that you work for several different employers and do several different jobs at one time instead of working all the time for one employer. For example, one corporate job may be replaced with 3 contract or freelance jobs e.g. graphic designer, graphic design teacher and part-time yoga instructor, with the 4th quadrant in the image below representing the free time available to be a stay at home mum due to the flexibility of the work structure.

Portfolio working

Quite often an individual’s former employer becomes the first client in their portfolio and many believe it’s the way of the future. We all know the notion of a job for life died a long time ago many see the idea of portfolio working as a natural progression in the way we work.

This way of working offers freedom, flexibility and variety, the challenging side of portfolio working is that instead of arriving for work each day and getting a pay cheque, you become responsible for finding the work not just doing the work.

Here’s renowned author Seth Godin’s take on portfolio working:

If you’re thinking of taking the leap here are a few articles that might inspire you:

Speak soon,
Katrina

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What Definition of Love Are You Working With?

definition of love

My favourite inspirational fiction writer is an author called Francine Rivers, she is responsible for writing one of the most beautiful works of fiction that I’ve ever read, a book called Redeeming Love (I encourage you to read it). The book highlights and illustrates a romantic love that is rear in our society; a love that many don’t even know exists. It paints a picture of love that caused me to ask the question, what definition of love are we working with?

Before I delve into the meat of the matter, a bit of background. The book is based loosely on the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer.  In the Bible we are told that God asks Hosea, a righteous man to marry a prostitute. Hosea does just that and marries a prostitute called Gomer. Hosea loves Gomer but in return, she returns to prostitution and conceives a number of children with men other than her husband.

In the words of Guvna B; ‘Gomer was flirting and merking the heart of this man’ and at first glance it looks a lot like liberties, not love. But in Hosea 3:1 we see this;

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

Wow, that’s how deep a man should love his wife. And that’s how deep God loves us. I have to confess, that level love is almost too deep for me to wrap my head around. That degree of love can only come from God and someone who knows God.

God is love (1 John 4:8) and He shows us how to love by first loving us (I John 4:19), He gives us the blueprint. The love we have for others should then come out of that. For me that’s why only a man that knew God would do (but that’s another story for another day).

I’ll leave you with this thought: the next time someone tells you they love you, it would be wise to ponder the question, what definition of love are they working with?

Truth be told a lot of what we call love is counterfeit; a poor imitation of the real thing. A lot of women are walking around with Pink Lips & Empty Hearts because they settled for a love that was counterfeit, don’t be one of them. Get to know the author of love and in due season he’ll introduce you to a romantic love like no other – I know.

Blessings,
Katrina

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Listen To Your Market But Don’t Lose Sight Of Your Vision

vision

I was led to write this post based on this quote I recently read in a book called Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days:

“ It’s good to be market-driven in the sense that you should know what’s going on, but you can’t let your customers drive your product development. You need to be able to develop on behalf of your customers, but they often don’t know what they want.”  - David Heinemeier, Partner at Basecamp (formerly 37 signals)

A lot of times when starting out in business we will do anything to get and keep a customer, because of cause no customers equals no business.

However, it’s so easy to get caught up in just getting a customer that we lose sight of the type of customers that we actually want. All customers are not created equal, some customers are better for your business than others.

Think 80/20 rule,  in most businesses 20% of the customers drive 80% of the revenue, so focus on finding and taking care of those high value customers that have needs that are perfectly suited to what you offer. The best place to start is with buyer personas, what do your ideal customers look like? This ebook 101Handy Questions to Ask When Developing a Buyer Persona will help you to build a picture of your ideal customers that you can use as a benchmark for everything you do.

But before you even get to your customers it’s important to define your vision what is the image of your business that has been placed on your heart?

I like this quote from a book I’m reading by Myles Munroe – The Principles and Power of Vision;

“To find your vision you have to look within yourself where God has placed it. The key is this: God’s will is as close to us as our most persistent thought and deepest desires”

Don’t let anyone distract you from the vision not even your customers. I say this because many business owners have ended up with businesses that they never intended to have, because they allowed customers or others to dictate or derail their vision. It’s great to get customer opinions and a lot of times their suggestions will make parts of your business better. But it’s important to know when to say no. If you realise that a customer wants something beyond what you offer, if it’s outside the scope of your vision for your business, don’t be afraid to direct them to a competitor that may be better suited to accommodate their needs. Often you’ll be doing yourself a favour and them too in the long run.

We have been conditioned to think that the customer is always right, in actual fact they are not. As stated in the quote at the beginning of this post, quite often they don’t know what they want. How many of us knew we needed a smartphone or tablet before Apple came up with the iPhone and iPad?

It can feel as though the customer holds all the cards especially when starting a new business and every new customer feels like you’ve won the lottery, but remember a business transaction is mutually beneficial,  yes the customer is paying you but you are also offering something of value.

My point is this, have a vision and stay true to it – build the business you want not the one you’ve been railroaded into creating. Don’t let gaining customers cause you to lose sight of your vision and the dream that has been placed in your heart.

So I’ll leave you with this, a beautiful example of a company that’s decided to stay true to it’s vision.

Speak soon,
Katrina

 

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The Case For Christ

The case for Christ

My story

I was an only child until I was 18 and as a result have always liked my own company and have always had lots of time to just think. I recall pondering deep questions like ‘why are we even here?’ from quite an early age, in fact my mum often says I seemed to live in my head as a child. I could never get my head around the fact that supposedly life was just about living, getting married, having kids and dying. I remember thinking as far back as I can remember that that just doesn’t make sense, surely that can’t be it?

In my early teens I just felt like I needed more – a better explanation, I felt a pull to be in church. My Gran had always brought us grankids to church, a lovely Church of England church, a church that I’m actually really fond of, the church that I got married in. But I knew this wasn’t the church for me – not every church is for everyone it’s not necessarily that one church is better than the other, it’s just that I believe God knows exactly what we need and plants us exactly where we’ll find it, for me that is now Word of Faith UK (yes I’m unashamedly plugging my church lol, come visit).

Anyway, to cut a long story short I found my way to New Testament Church of God in Willesden and gave my life to Christ at 16 and haven’t looked back since. For the first time in my life I felt that I found meaning in life, I found something that made sense to me, and at the centre of it all was ‘Jesus’ so I prayed a prayer that went a little something like this Prayer of Salvation.

So I came to Christ by faith, I didn’t rationalise it, I just felt the pull of God and it was something that I had to do.  I don’t come from a family of avid church goers where church is compulsory, my parents only ever imposed two rules on me ‘do good at school’ and ‘have manners and respect’. Neither have I ever been one to move with a crowd or be easily influenced by others, so this wasn’t about pressure of any kind, I recall I was actually at church by myself that night – this decision was all about me and God.

The Case for Christ

I believe by faith and I try hard to live my life by faith (although I admit I fail sometimes), but I’m also naturally academic so Christian Apologetics (a field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections) has always appealed to me. It always annoys me when people assume that Bible believing, Christ confessing evolution rejecting people like me are uneducated and lack intelligence. What I like about Christian apologists is that they are able to go head to head with the most avid atheists like Richard Hawkins and refute their arguments from a rational perspective.

Ravi Zacharias

One of my favourite Christian apologists is Ravi Zacharias, for forty years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world and in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University.  He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow.  At the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held in Mozambique. RZIM

Lee Strobel

The title for this post actually comes from a book I read quite a few years ago called The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel. The book is about how Strobel a seasoned journalist and former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, chases down the biggest story in history, asking the question is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith. Definitely worth a read.

CS Lewis

Probably one of the most famous Christian apologists to date is CS Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, if you didn’t already know, these stories are Christian allegories. I bought myself the The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics: Boxed Set for Christmas and I’m actually looking forward to getting stuck into The Screwtape Letters this weekend. One of his many quotes:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. – C. S. Lewis

Yep that last quote pretty much sums it up. So why have I written this post, well three reasons:

  • This is my blog and it occurred to me that I’d failed to tell you my story
  • To demonstrate that Christianity makes sense on every level
  • To tell you about Jesus, because when you have something good you share it

So I’ll leave you with this:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…(John 3:16-17)

Choose life, choose Jesus.

Love and blessings,
Katrina

 

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Started with a Bike Ended Up with Much More

The goodness of cycling

If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll probably know that I’m doing a charity bike ride in May and initially I had the following benefits in mind:

  1. Raise money to support a worthy cause
  2. Get fit

 It turns out I’m getting so much more out of the process:

  1. I’ve discovered a new hobby: I hadn’t actually realised how much I enjoyed cycling until I begun  training, now it is and will continue to be a regular part of my weekly schedule
  2. I’ve rediscovered the outdoors: I hadn’t realised until recently but I actually don’t spend very much time enjoying the outdoors, as I drive everywhere. cycling has given me a new found appreciation for the town I live in and the surrounding countryside which I had never ventured into.
  3. I’ve become more involved with my community: I’ve discovered initiatives like Sustrans and government funded cycle training schemes that I never knew existed.
  4. Made new friends and supporters: I’ve met some great people from participating in cycle rides and training that I never would have met otherwise.

I’ve still got 4 months to go until the women V Cancer Ride the Night event but so far the experience has been more rewarding than I ever thought.

Speaking of Women V Cancer, here is a bit more info on Jos Cervical Cancer Trust one of the charities being supported by the event:

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust 

  • Established in 1999 and is the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. Their mission is to see cervical cancer prevented, reduce the impact for everyone affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer through providing the highest quality information and support services and campaigning for excellence in cervical cancer treatment and prevention.
  • Provide information and support through a  helplineAsk The Expert service and online forum as well as through a network of support groups across the country.
  • Fundraising is vital to keep developing these services this is how fundraising could help:
    •  £100 will allow the Trust to answer five calls to our Helpline and offer confidential support and information.
    • £400 will enable them to train a volunteer to run a local group, providing personal support to women living with cervical cancer.
    • £1,000 will allow them to print and distribute 10,000 materials for health professionals to give to their patients.
    • £4,000 could help fund Let’s Meet their our annual information day enabling them to bring together women affected by cervical cancer, help them build vital networks and share experiences.

Those are Just a few reasons why I’d like to support them in their fundraising efforts. If you’d like to sponsor me in support of Jos Cervical Cancer Trust as well as Breast Cancer Care and Ovarian Cancer Action, please feel free to do so via my JustGiving page.

I’d also love to here about any new hobbies you’ve adopted this year

Speak Soon,
Katrina

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Slowing Down to Take a Minute with Jesus

To say I’ve been going hard since the beginning of the year, would be an understatement I have been utterly consumed with where I want to be this time next year and tonight I felt God say “stop!”

Tonight I realised that I’ve been like Martha and Jesus is calling me to sit at his feet like Mary… in case you’re unfamiliar with the story:

3As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

So even though I have so much to say to you about so many things, tonight my priority is to sit at the feet of Jesus, for He is indeed the love of my life and the source of my strength.

But before I go I want to leave you with one of my all time favourite Gospel songs – indeed I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.

Speak tomorrow x

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A Bike Ride Fit to Move Me Beyond Me

I hopped on a bike today for the first time in years and it felt good to break my usual routine and do something different this morning, I had forgotten how much I actually enjoyed cycling.

Last week I told you about the Women V Cancer Ride the Night event and that’s the main reason for me hopping on a bike again. So my journey towards this bike ride began for two reasons both linked to getting outside of my comfort zone. Firstly, as motivation to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and secondly to focus on something beyond myself and my needs.

When the news on TV is as grim as it is day in a day out, we can grow numb and unfeeling towards the hurts and pain of others, and I’ve found myself wanting to feel again. My most important mandate as a Christian is to ‘love’ and it’s very difficult to love when you don’t feel.

So in my pursuit to feel more I decided to start with other women, and it seemed fitting that the bike ride is in support of 3 women’s charities. In this post I wanted to share a little about one of them; Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. The video above gives you an overview of the great work they do. If you would like to support them by way of sponsoring me please do so by visiting JustGiving.com/Katrina-Douglas

Love and blessings,
Katrina x

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You Are Who You Are For A Reason

you are beautiful

One of my favourite poems is found in one of my favourite books The Purpose Driven Life : What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren and I thought I’d share it with you.

You are who you are for a reason.
You are part of an intense plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You’re just what He wanted to make.

The parents you have are the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s Plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, the trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God.

By Russell Kelfer

Every now and again we need a reminder of who we are

Blessings,
Katrina

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Women V Cancer Ride the Night

 

I am so excited about 2014, I’m determined that it’s going to be my best year yet!

And for me that means stepping out of my comfort zone, taking on new challenges and investing my time in meaningful projects that matter.

A couple of days ago I told you about some of the plans I have to take this blog to the next level which I’m really excited about, you can find out more in the post entitled ‘New Year New Goals’.

Today I want to talk to you about another challenge I’m taking on and that’s the Women V Cancer Ride the Night event where I’ll be joining 2000 women to ride 62 miles from Windsor Race cause to central London and back on May 31st 2014.

The bike ride is in support of 3 great charities Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action all of which provide invaluable support to countless women each year during the most difficult periods of their lives.

In the coming weeks I’ll posting numerous uodates about the work these charities do, in the ‘motivation’ section of this blog.

I’m super excited to be part of this event and have begun training in earnest, joining a Gym for the first time in my life! and I even went out this weekend and bought myself a brand new bike to prepare for the challenge!

By the end of this challenge I hope to have achieved the following goals:

  1. Raised at least £500 for the 3 women’s charities I’ve mentioned
  2. Adopted a much healthier lifestyle including regular exercise
  3. Successfully completed a challenge that stretches me beyond my current comfort zone

In truth we only grow through challenging ourselves, and my goal this year is to grow in more ways than one.

But I need your help to complete this goal, I’m asking that you would consider sponsoring me to complete this challenge by making a donation via my Just Giving page, any amount no matter how small will be greatly appreciated. I have to raise at least £199 by 25th April 2014 and I hope to raise at least £500 by May 31st.

Thank you so much for your support and I look forward to keeping you posted on my progress in the coming weeks and months

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Live Life Learning

In this post I really want to encourage you to pursue lifelong learning and use every experience in your life whether good or bad as an opportunity to learn and grow.

One of my favourite quotes is, “The more you know is the more you realise you don’t know”.

This quote has always humbled me and built in me a continuous thirst for knowledge, knowledge that has equipped and prepared me throughout my life.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:15;

“An intelligent man acquires knowledge and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge”

So I encourage you to seek knowledge and pursue lifelong learning it will pay great dividends in your life.

This week I have been absolutely spoilt with learning opportunities;

Earlier this week I spent two and a half days completing the last module of leadership training that I’ve been doing for the past year. It’s actually been one of the best courses I’ve been on (perhaps I’ll tell you about it one of these days), to be honest I was more sad than I thought to say goodbye at the end of the course and it actually felt like a mild form of ‘mourning’.

However, that’s not why I’m wearing black I’m actually about to go into another significant learning experience. I’m in a hotel in Frankfurt about to go down to the annual management meeting held by my employer each year where 4-500 senior managers within the company from across the world, meet to network and hear from the Board of Directors.

I have to tell you these events use to intimidate me and build in me such insecurity, the thought of being amongst people who I perceived as better, smarter and more successful than me used to generate such fear. THANK GOD THOSE DAYS ARE OVER now these are simply opportunities for me to learn and let the light God has given me shine.

So I encourage you to live life learning – let no situation in your life intimidate or defeat you just use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Blessings,

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