Tag Archives: purpose driven life

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

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Uncovering You

Uncovering you

Covering ourselves is often wise and decent, but have we got things a little twisted? It seems modern culture encourages us to bare more of our skin but hide more of our hearts. Perhaps it’s time to flip the script.

Romans 8:35 says;

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
I was reading this verse the other day and the word nakedness struck me. I’ve read this verse many times but had never really noticed it. So I began to ponder what nakedness really means.

Yes, the most common definition is to be without clothing or covering, but it’s more than that, as another definition puts it, it seems to imply being ‘exposed to harm and vulnerability’. With this in mind it stands to reason that we are prone to covering ourselves, no one wants to expose themselves to harm deliberately.

But is nakednes always negative and does it always leave us exposed to harm? – No, it depends who we are exposing our vulnerabilities to.

We fear that our nakedness; the baring of who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly will make us unloveable. To society at large perhaps. But that’s only because for the most part, most of us are working with an inferior definition of love, suffice to say God is love and there can be nothing more liberating than to bare all before Him. Not even the uncovering of our sin and shame can seperate us from the love of God.

Many of us seem ashamed to bare our true selves, we feel the need to embellish ourselves, as if it’s not enough just to be who we were created to be.

It started in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:10 states;

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.
We walk around camouflaged – from the way we dress, to morphing into different people depending on who we’re around, the situation or circumstance. There’s a better way.

I’m a Christians for many reasons but one of the main reasons is that in Christ I don’t have to hide anymore, hiding is hard work! Now I walk free.

God covers us with His love, grace, peace and truth. He covers our imperfection with His perfection and transforms us from the inside out.

We aught not be ashamed to bring the things that aren’t right into the light, because the truth is, we can only be delivered from the dark things in our lives when they are exposed. We first  have to expose ourselves to the light, before we can be transformed by the light.

2 Corinthians 3:18 states;

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

So I encourage you to allow the real you to stand up and walk into the light, His name is Jesus!

 In Jesus we’ve been invited to go back to Genesis 2:25;

 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
(As I was contemplating this topic I remembered a book I read years ago by TD Jakes called It’s Time to Reveal What God Longs to Heal: Naked and Not Ashamed definitely worth a read.)

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Innovation, Inspiration and Infants

We are all born creative. We just got it educated out of us. -  @ThamKhaiMeng

Born creative

I spent Tuesday at Internet World promoting the new .London domain on the Dot London stand which I was pleased to be doing as it’s probably one of the most promising of the new top level domains being released this year.  However, If you’ve ever manned a trade show stand for any length of time, no matter how interesting the product or solution you’re promoting may be, the experience is generally  less than joyful lol.

The highlight of my day was in fact the arrival of three young boys aged between about 11 and 13, at first I thought nothing of their presence until I heard them speaking quite articulately to one of my colleagues about domains, their website, a game they had created and how the three of them had formed a partnership to realise their idea.

I actually felt so emotional and filled with pride at their enthusiasm, determination and creativity that anyone would have thought they were related to me and not three strangers that I had just met (I think that type of emotional overflow is one of the weird side effects of motherhood). According to the father that was with them, under 18′s aren’t typically allowed to these trade shows and they had to apply especially for the rules to be waivered,  I was so inspired by them it got me thinking about how kids inspire me in general.

I just love that children are not deterred by barriers; their natural inclination is to get under them, around them or over them and there is much we can learn from this attitude.

We often hear that if you want to be great it pays to follow and take notes from those that have tread the path before us, I believe that there is great value in that  and it’s one of the reasons business mentors are so important. However, I also think there is much to be learnt from our children and young people,  so I thought I’d share 3 things I’ve learnt from mine:

1.   They are totally unrealistic

We as adults are often hindered by what we feel is ‘realistic’, that is what is ‘sensible’, ‘practical’, ‘achievable’ and ‘expected’, which is fine but limiting if you want to achieve anything significant in life.

Children just flow with their imagination, and embrace the possibilities, the issue of whether or not something is ‘realistic’ never pops into their heads. As we get older we loose this ability to think freely and often impose invisible boundaries on ourselves. I am by no means encouraging recklessness, there are indeed times when realism serves us well. But, we’ll also do well to  free ourselves from what is ‘realistic’ sometimes and pursue those things  we once dreamed about. If others have done so and succeeded why not you?

Richard Branson certainly wasn’t thinking about what was realistic when he founded Virgin Galactic and decided to make space tourism a reality.

2.   They have mastered the art of  ‘bouncebackability’

Children just aren’t discouraged by failure, they just get up and go again. Often we’re paralysed by failure or the fear of it, but there comes a point when you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the words of Tim Storey a set back is a set-up for a come back”.

3.  They have an incredible capacity and willingness to learn

Children have such a thirst for knowledge and never stop asking questions, I’m often fascinated by my children’s capacity to learn and retain information, their brains are indeed like sponges.  As we get older our thirst for knowledge tends to cease and we get bogged down in what we already know, which can limit not only our thinking but also our prospects. There is an extricable link between economic prosperity and the ability to acquire knowledge.

One of my favourite Bible verses is 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says:

But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

I believe there are things that God has for us that we haven’t even imagined.

I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘Faith For Like: Overcoming Everyday Challenges’ and in it Bishop Keith A. Butler says:

“God gave you imagination not so that you could make movies with nine-feet tall blue people in a tree. God gave you imagination so that you could see the promise in advance.”

Richard Branson could see the reality of space tourism in his minds eye probably way before he founded Virgin Galactic. Today, not only has the commercial spacecraft been built, but as seen in the video above it has just completed it’s third test flight into space.

So finally, my question is – what can you see on the inside of you and what are you going to do about it?

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

6 ways to be great in and outside your organisation

fly high

You can be equipped for a job but ill-equipped for success beyond that job. The reason is that most companies will train you to be great within the confines of that organisation and the way they work, not beyond it. This is why if you stay with one company for too long it can sometimes go against you because some employees may feel that you are too used to another companies way of working and may have difficulty adapting to theirs.

I value loyalty and personally I’m not one to change jobs every five minutes but I also believe that variety is valuable and the more varied you’re working experiences are the more equipped you are to handle a variety of situations and people. I think the reason why many people are frustrated and bored in their jobs is because they’ve simply stayed too long. Many people are too scared to look for something new; a job might be mundane and boring but many will say ‘at least it’s safe’. Staying in a job too long can knock your confidence and give you the feeling that you can’t do anything else and find anything better. I’m reminded of something I heard recently from a Pastor I know; “Never be afraid to lose your job to find your calling/purpose in life”.

I believe we all know in our hearts when it’s time to move on and look for a new challenge but many times we ignore the nudge and settle for the safe option, in this post I want to encourage you to embrace the ‘nudge’.

I’ve always made it a priority to train not just for where I am but for where I’m going  this has meant that although I haven’t made many career moves they’ve tended to be big career jumps, because I’ve been prepared for promotion, for example:

What How
Secured my first marketing job 3 days after my last university exam, before I had my results I knew what employers would be looking for, tailored my CV accordingly and applied for jobs while studying for exams
Promoted from Marketing Coordinator to Head of Marketing within 8 weeks of arriving in a new job I had the necessary experienceI had industry standard professional qualifications not just a degreeI worked to the standard before I had the title

Equipping a team as well as yourself

As a manager I also train and coach my team to equip themselves for success within the company and beyond it in the following ways:

  • By sending them on trainings that are relevant to their work as well as the direction that the industry is moving in
  • I deliberately get them to work to goals tied to the company’s success as well as their personal development goals
  • I encourage them to stay close to the industry and build their own networks in and outside the company
  • I constantly challenge their assumptions and encourage them to ask better questions, after all, the quality of learning is determined by the quality of our questions

In this way my role is twofold, both manager and a mentor.

So here are my  6 top tips for equipping yourself for success inside and outside the walls of the company you work for:

1.      Build your own networks inside and outside the company

LinkedIn makes this a whole lot easier than it used to be

2.      Stay close to your industry

This includes connecting with key influencers, becoming a member of relevant trade organisations and attending industry events. For me this meant becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing very early on, through which I am now Chartered and sit on the local non-executive committee. I also connect with marketers I admire across social media.

3.      Read broadly

For me this is crucial it’s almost impossible to stay ahead of the game without reading; everything from, books to blogs and biographies

4.      Be committed to  continuous development

Continue your training and remember that ‘a degree is just that a degree of knowledge’ as my Pastor recently said. With the rate of change and knowledge increase in most industries, you cannot afford to stop at a degree. For me the CIM CPD program has been invaluable in this regard. It’s not your employers responsibility to keep your knowledge relevant and up-to-date, it’s yours so live life learning.

5.      Have a balanced life

Make time for a range of interests, research shows it makes you better at your job as it broadens your vision and improves  creativity.

6. Always be preparing for where you’re going

Focus on the future not just where you are today, remember a job is no longer for life it’s just for a season

Finally, don’t live to work, work to live.

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Work your SHAPE!

 

 

I recently wrote a chapter on branding and positioning for a B2B marketing publication, one of the points I raised was that in order for you to effectively brand and position your business, you must know your business S.H.A.P.E.

 

This was inspired by a phenomenal book I read at the beginning of the year called ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren, in which he asserts that in order to know your purpose you have to first understand your S.H.A.P.E, which is essentially the unique combination of qualities that make you, you. The same applies for a business; in order for a business to effectively brand itself and occupy a unique position in the market, it has to first understand and then leverage its unique qualities in a way that resonates with its target audiences.

So, if you’re contemplating a business idea and considering where you could position it in the market or you already have a business and you’re considering how to re-position your brand, you may find the table below useful.

It will soon become apparent that your business is more unique than you may have realised and most likely has a natural fit in the market.

Uncover your business S.H.A.P.E and then work it!

 

Situation What is your current situation? This doesn’t only include an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, but also your company culture, financial situation and business model
Human resources What human resource do you have? Do you have specialists and experts within your business whose expertise can be leveraged to your advantage? Human capital is more valuable than ever, talent costs a premium, so much so that there is an increasing trend towards acquiring companies purely for the talent that they possess, because of the market advantage that it affords.  Be sure to leverage your expertise in the positioning you adopt.
Abilities What can you do best with the resources available? What range of products and services should your business offer?
Passion What business areas are you passionate about? ‘Passion’ is not a word we hear often in business, but I suspect that it governs more business choices than we care to admit. The truth is that the things that we are passionate about tend to be the things that we are best at. This is evident in some of the most successful companies that exist in the world today, such as Google and Facebook where passion is rife.
Experiences Make a point of learning from the past? Learn from past successes and failures and relevant business experiences. Use your experiences as well as those experienced by others as an influence in your strategic decision making.
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Not just material things, meaningful things…

So I’ve not posted anything in quite a while for various reasons but over the last couple of days I’ve felt compelled to write a post or two.

You probably won’t now this but I turn 30 in less than a month and I feel quite excited about it, I actually feel more comfortable in my skin with each passing year and I quite like the feeling of being a little wiser than I was the year before. Anyway, because of this milestone I began this year thinking about the things that I really want to achieve in life, not just material things but meaningful things. I’ve always been a goal setter but to be honest up until this year most of my goals have been about me; what job I want, what house I want, what car I want and so on, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with such goals, I still have them but I’ve felt a stir in my heart of late towards more meaningful goals.

I recently suffered the loss of someone incredibly dear to me and anyone who has experienced the death of someone close will know that it changes you, it causes you to evaluate your own mortality and the things in life that matter most. Suffice to say much of my thinking this year has been about defining my life’s purpose sowing towards a lasting legacy and not just material goals. In this vein I’ve been seeking projects to get involved with and one crossed my path recently…

A couple of days ago I was listening to the Premier Gospel show ‘what’s in yours’ and the guest was Beth Redman whilst discussing her life and work she mentioned a project she’s involved with called the A21 campaign a campaign that is working towards eliminating human trafficking in the 21st century, I was stunned by some of the facts. Did you know:

  • Human trafficking is the second largest global organised crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year.
  • There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide.
  • Over 25% of sex trafficked victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe.
  • 90% of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry.
  • Tragically, only 1-2% of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted

Source

These facts are startling and I’ve come to the realisation that we can all live in our comfortable bubbles closing our eyes to such things as though they don’t exist (as I have done) or we can each seek to contribute towards meaningful causes that are bigger than ourselves. It’s true that none of us can achieve much on our own towards eradicating the many evils that exist in our world but neither are we helpless, there are things that we can do, in fact if you’re interested in helping with the A21 campaign here are 21 very simple ways you can help, I believe each of us are capable of doing are part it simply boils down to how much we care.

I’ve been challenged this year to focus more on meaningful goals than material goals, I’m not saying I don’t have material goals because I do, but I’m learning a few valuable life lessons in this change process, and I’m a firm believer that when you experience something good in life it’s good to share, so I’m sharing :).

Blessings,

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather