I’m a particularly visual person; most projects must begin with a large sheet of paper and some sharpies, or Post-it Notes. When you get smart people together (and it is achievable with Zoom, as long as someone has Post-its), as soon as you map out the point you need to get from and to, and start filling in the gaps with those lovely little yellow squares, people’s brains start working differently. I’m a big fan of other processes that benefit from Post-it Notes, like Fred Pelard’s Happy Line, or creating focus on a singular goal as taught in the brilliant book 'The One Thing' by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
'Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!'
Contentious title – that’s what appealed. Quite early in my career, I came across an author called Denise Duffield-Thomas, and this was her first book. Some of her mantras have stayed with me for 10-plus years. I have to make it clear that I wasn’t looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. What appealed was her positive approach to manifesting results. I’ve always put a lot of time into questions like: ‘If I need to be here, what do I need around me to make that happen?" It’s not about praying to the gods for long enough that something magically occurs, it’s about lining up the right pieces every time you need to achieve something so that the chance of failure is small.
I am a massive advocate of lumpy mail – the kind of post that arrives and you immediately squeeze and rustle it. Some of the best campaigns I’ve worked on have centred on something tangible being mailed as surprise and delight or really low-cost spot prizes being sent to people; day-changing joy. The key is for the customer journey to be entirely joined-up, foolproof, instantly obvious and shareable. Once, DHL messed up a delivery and they sent me an iced biscuit saying: "We’re sorry, Catherine."
I’ve made some incredible friends and contacts from networking, found inspiration, solace and everything in between. Lots of brands have hosted digital networking events to try to acquire customers during lockdown. One in particular that I attended online this summer did an incredible job, posting out breakfast hampers to enjoy during the early morning session, and using tech to its full potential to split people into discussion groups and breakout areas.
Becoming a gardener. It's the biggest cliché of 2020, for sure, but less time commuting and more time at home opened up some new opportunities for me – gardening being one of them.
Early into lockdown I had this vision of myself gazing from my laptop over a beautiful wildflower garden. So obviously that day I purchased all of the seeds from Amazon and diligently put them into pots. Now, when time is on my side, I spend five minutes between meetings ‘deadheading’. I know all the lingo.
The other unexpected opportunity of this year for me has been spending a lot more time with my two children. So, I started turning to them for advice – I’ve asked them all sorts of business-related questions. The answers have consistently been simple, profound and always routed firmly in what the right thing to do is.
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