Tag Archives: life

Get carried away with life

So this past Friday I took my children to the British Museum, it’s one of my favourite places in London and thankfully they’ve caught the bug too. When we arrived I gave them a map each, so they could decide which exhibits they wanted to see and I simply followed. Like most parents I find my kids and their quirks quite fascinating, so I quite enjoy just watching them as they explore and seeing their reactions to the richness that the museum contains. Anyway as we approached the East Staircase (pictured below) I started expressing my excitement about how awesome it was, and my 7 year old comes out with; “mummy, I think you’re getting a bit carried away” lol.

Umm, yes I’m getting carried away…

There’s a lot in life to get carried away with! I found this definition of ‘carried away’: “made very emotional or enthusiastic, swept away”. I quite like the notion of getting ‘swept away’, because we often live such constrained lives; constrained by expectations, constrained by jobs, constrained by what we perceive as our own limitations. Now don’t get me wrong, I think we have to be careful about getting carried away on a wave of emotion, because it can often cloud our judgement. But what my daughter witnessed was me fully embracing and enjoying the moment, not in a rush to move on to the next thing, just completely embracing what was in front of me at that moment. What she witnessed was mindfulness. Mindfulness according to Ellen Langer, a famous researcher on the topic, is defined as:

“The ordinary everyday capacity each of us has to notice new things”

On the contrary she defines mindlessness as:

“Characterised by an entrapment in old categories; by automatic behaviour that precludes attending to new signals; and by action that operates from a single perspective”

Most of us live mindlessly most of the time, rarely present in the moment just in a hurry to move on to the next. I am a type A personality, so honestly living mindlessly comes very natural to me. I’m in the process of training myself to live mindfully and it really began this year when I decided to do away with the plan, it’s exhilarating.

Life is all about perspective

I guess it’s that glass half full analogy. We live in a society that is obsessed with everything they don’t have. I just invite you to take a minute to fully embrace what you do have, in this moment. One thing that we all have is life – that alone is cause for excitement! So yes, in answer to my daughter’s statement, I’m getting carried away, and I invite you to do the same :) PS: I’m currently reading this book on mindfulness that is pretty good, A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian Mindfullness.

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Don’t Wait to Get Stuck in a Rut to Find a New Route

change

One day about 3 months ago I was driving to work and about to get on the motorway when I realised that there was a tailback for miles and traffic was not moving. Now, normally I would simply sigh and get in line because as far as I knew there wasn’t an alternative route to my job. For some reason that morning I decided to get my phone out, find Google maps and ask it to navigate to my place of work, to my surprise it identified a route that completely avoided the traffic and I arrived at work in probably half the time I would have, had I sat in the traffic. Bear in mind that I have been commuting an average of 3 hours a day to and from work for almost 4 years, traffic jams are a regular occurrence and yet this is the first time it occurred to me to look for an alternative route hmm.

I was struck by this self-assessment, because I have always considered myself to be quite open to change. In fact in both my personal and work life I often lead change, but this experience showed me that I’m actually not as receptive to change as I thought I was. It took me being in a situation we’re I was ‘stuck’ to look for an alternative route. There was no reason why I couldn’t have looked for alternative routes prior to this and saved myself an abundance of time over the years, except my self-imposed boundaries that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. It reminded me that we are indeed creatures of habit, when we’ve been doing things for a while we often forget why we started doing them in the first place and stop asking ourselves why, even when it stops making sense.

It turns out I was given a life lesson that morning and I realised a few things:

1. There is always an alternative route, even if it’s really hidden

We’re often fooled into thinking there is no other way, so instead we settle and tolerate things that can be changed. In actual fact there is always another way, the question is whether or not we’re motivated enough to find it.

2. You have more options in life than you probably think

Truth be told we often impose boundaries and limitations on ourselves that need not exist, remedying this is normally just a matter of changing our thinking and expanding our vision. Proverbs 23:7 says; “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…”

3. Taking risks doesn’t always pay off but sometimes it does and when it does, it’s worth it

It’s such a travesty that so many of us live life fearfully, scared to take a chance and venture into new territory. I don’t advocate taking foolish and unnecessary risks, but I do believe a certain amount of risk taking does enrich our lives.

4. Change really is as good as a rest

Change can be rejuvenating, if you’ve ever moved house or changed jobs there is a feeling of new beginnings and a fresh start (despite the hard work and stress that comes with it).

5. Exploring can be fun and fun is important

As children we explore instinctively, it’s an innate part of playing and having fun, but as adults we forget this simple joy. Let’s regress a little!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this year I’m living more freely than I ever had, I’m not sure where this year will take me but I know it’s going to be good :)

So I encourage you to live freely, every now again take a new route, you may be positively surprised by where it takes you.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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What is a balanced life really?

life balance

We hear  a lot about work life balance and there is much talk in the media about the importance of it and how to achieve it. Having been a mother and wife for my entire working life, balancing career and family has always been an important topic for me. I’ve always felt strongly about not confining myself to one particular role i.e. I am not just a mother, I am not just a wife, I am not just a business women I am all of these things and more, and it’s always been important to me to grow in all these areas simultaneously. It occured to me recently that my notion of a balanced life has changed. I used to think of balance in terms of putting equal effort in to all the respective areas of my life. After all, a common definition of balance is:

“An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”

But in actual fact I’ve found that maintaining balance in my own life very rarely means that. Life is not neat and tidy, at every stage in life there will be one or two areas that require more of your time, effort and focus than others. Therefore in life, balance never means equal.  I’m reminded of Ecclessiastes 3:1

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Sometimes the  season and where the focus is needed is obvious, and it will be dictated by circumstances e.g. if your family is having a hard time financially it will be obvious that you need to focus on increasing your income and earning potential. Or if your child is having a hard time at school then the focus will be more on family.

However, often the change in season is not that obvious, in fact we would do well not to wait until circumstances dictate a change in focus. Quite often there are signs way before we reach this point which indicate that we need to adjust our priorities. Therefore maintaining balance for me,  means that I am aware enough and mindful enough to gauge where I need to apply the most focus in my life at any given time.

Right now in my own life I sense a change in season. From the outside looking in,  it all looks good and to be honest it is. I’m at a very good place in life and yet change is on the horizon because in my heart I know it’s time. No one can detect the times and seasons in your life better than you, you can read all you want to on maintaining a healthy work life balance, but none of it will tell you what is right for you.

So I leave you with a question, what season are you in and as we enter a New Year where do  you need to apply the most focus?

Blessings,
Katrina

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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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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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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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Entrepreneurs work for others too

So I’ve always had great ambitions of setting up my own marketing consultancy, it was never an if, but, or maybe but quite simply a when.  I’ve had a business plan of my dream business sitting on my bookshelf since before I left university

However, of late my thinking has changed and I’m no longer so sure that self-employment will be the end goal for me, I don’t feel that I’m any less ambitious, driven or entrepreneurial than I used to be, but something’s changed….can’t put my finger on what or when it changed, but it’s definitely changed…

perhaps it’s that I quite like the definite divide between work-life and home-life that seems easier to maintain when you work for someone else’s business rather than your own

perhaps it’s that my notion of success has changed; I used to think that the only way I would truly feel successful would be to work for myself – I no longer feel that way in fact the things that I associate with my success have less and less to do with ‘employment’ with each passing year

perhaps it’s that I’d rather spend my spare time in more philanthropic endeavours than building my own business

perhaps it’s that I’ve realised that there’s more than one route to financial freedom

perhaps it’s that I’ve realised that you can be an entrepreneur, a change maker within a company

and perhaps it’s that I actually quite like working for someone else dare I say it

Entrepreneurs and thought leaders are as much needed in established businesses as they are in start-ups and one-man bands. The nature of business has changed and now I realise that the burning desire I have to effect change, be a thought-leader and expert in my chosen field can be realised within an established organisation. The future of work belongs to entrepreneurs and thought leaders whether you work for yourself or others.

It seems that everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and run their own business these days, which is cool, I haven’t ruled it out myself, but my point is that business success doesn’t necessarily culminate in self-employment and that’s cool too.

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Work to live

So it’s that time of the year when I start thinking about holiday destinations and one on my must visit list this year is the beautiful lake Garda in Italy (please excuse the over produced somewhat cheesy marketing video above but it does have some beautiful shots ;). I’ve wanted to visit Italy for a while and it was a toss up between Tuscany and Lake Garda for my first trip, ultimately the thermal baths, spas and lake views won out this time but Tuscany is a must for me also.

Yes the lovely video of Lake Garda is nice to look at but the reason for me writing this post is not just to share the video with you, but to ask a more fundamental question; why do you work anyway? Of course for most of us the most obvious reason is money, but surely it’s got to be about more than that.

I love my work but to be honest I love life more and for me work is not a goal in itself, it’s about the life choices that it affords me. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the routine of what we do and never take the time to look beyond that, of course work has some intrinsic value (satisfaction, monetary reward, recognition, achievement etc.) and it’s an important part of life but surely life’s got to be about more than work.

I really just wanted to take a minute to challenge you to think about the things you really want to achieve and experience in life and let that be your motivation. I believe work should be the means to help get you there not the end in itself.

In a nutshell work to live, don’t live to work.

My next stop is Lake Garda, I want to see as much of this beautiful world as I possibly can. For me travelling is such an important part of life and I view it as an essential part of my children’s education because it broadens our perspective.

So where’s your next stop? what destination are you working towards?

It would be great to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below.

For more on lake Garda here’s a cool Pinterest page Lake Garda.

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