Mar 6, 2017
SimplyKaterinaRose is finally up and running! Look forward to new posts each week!

Tag: life

What is success

What does success mean to you?

Is success owning the fanciest car? Is success buying a house on the water? Getting that corner office in the company you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into for years? What is the definition of success to you? How much does it differ from your friends; your family? Your coworkers?

Success is, by definition, a favorable or desired outcome. Many think of it as the attainment of wealth or favor.

My summer was a crazy one. Besides changing jobs, which you’ll learn more about in another blog posting coming soon, I had the chance to lead a group of co-workers through a program called P3. P3 was, essentially, the best thing that has happened to me since starting my professional career almost five years ago.

What is it? P3, which stands for “purpose, passion, and principles,” was started at Whorton Business School as a way to get the conversation flowing between students around the idea of success.

Being a participant, and then a facilitator, was a fantastic experience.

We began by talking about our families and how those closest to us helped define success while we were growing up. For me, as a student, the only measure of success was getting good grades. My parents were both school administrators, and my siblings all became teachers. I had to prove myself. Some of my peers saw success as being active members of church groups or having lots of friends.

Our families guided us and the moment we were out on our own, that all changed. Rules were gone. We no longer had that safety tape guiding us on a set path.

The sessions then began to dive more into the idea of happiness and how happiness can be a measure of success. We talked about the various things we were strong at, where we struggled, and what we hope to accomplish in 15 or so years.

Each week was a different prompt, a different reading in one of two books. We looked at various articles online or shared new ideas through Slack to keep the conversations going between sessions.

In total, I participated for two quarters of the year. Defining success still wasn’t easy for me… until just the other day.

I was sitting at home after a long day at the new office, watching the news and eating dinner, when an email popped up from a former P3 participant that I had facilitated. The email was short and sweet… a simple thank you for bringing her through the program and just being a part of the discussion. She said that she continued to apply what she had learned from P3 in her day-to-day and that, to me, was the moment that I knew I had been successful. For me, I had been successful as a facilitator and as a participant. It felt amazing, and it lifted my spirits.

I later learned that there had been hundreds of layoffs from the company and that it had been a terrible day for everyone. I am so grateful that I was able to be a light during such a trying time and that is what success means to me.


Motivation pops up in the strangest of places

Do you have that one person that, no matter how much time has passed, you can connect with as though it had been mere hours since your last conversation, not the months it had been?

I do.

I have quite a few people like that, all of whom I connect with on different levels and for various things.

Yesterday was a day that renewed my motivation for writing to you. It started with a delicious latte, a gingerbread cookie, and meeting a good friend who I went to college with. We don’t see each other very often, and our lives have taken us in different directions. She focuses on research; I focus on information architecture. She works on educational systems; I put my focus into healthcare. Our audiences are different, but our careers are intertwined.

I asked her what motivates her. I asked her what gets her writing on a daily basis, and what gets her sharing her brilliant mind with the world.

There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is the most common form, and it often leads to burnout. Those New Years Resolutions you plan? Those tend to be based around extrinsic motivators.

Look back at your resolutions. Why are you doing them? Some of the most common examples include:

  • More money; this buys happiness and status, right?
  • Being thinner; most of us compare ourselves to our friends and those photoshopped models in magazines
  • Flaunting your ability to do something difficult – such as waking up early in the morning; not everyone can do this and surely they end up scrambling through their days trying to get everything done!

All of these are external things that others can see and weigh. You are pushing yourself to prove something, not because it makes you feel good.

Intrinsic motivation is what becomes sustainable and enjoyable. I draw because I love the feeling I get from creating something new, not because I’m building my portfolio. I want to blog because I want to be able to feed my need for social interaction, not because I want to post x number of times in a month.

Some other common examples of intrinsic motivation include:

  • Curiosity; I want to learn more about women in technology and how I can make a difference in my own little way
  • Independence; I don’t want to ask for help… I want to do the things I love to do without needing to ask for help
  • Acceptance; I want my co-workers to accept me for me, because I am an awesome person and I am happy with where I am in my life



So where am I at?

In looking back on my conversation with my friend, I realize that extrinsic motivators were creating most of my goals… and that was why I was unable to keep up with them. I would look at my bullet journal each morning and sigh with frustration when I couldn’t check off my habit tracker for the days before. I was burning out and only two months had gone by this year.

  1. Why am I blogging?
  2. Why do I want to open my own Etsy store?
  3. What benefits do I gain from losing weight and getting myself on an exercise plan?

These are the questions I began asking myself. This coming month is my time for self-reflection. 2017 is going to be a year of change and improvement for me but it’s going to be as such because I am inspired to change for myself, not for others.



Let’s chat!

What motivates you? How are your New Years Resolutions going? Are they failing or are you rocking 2017 right from the start? I would love to learn about your thoughts around what motivates and inspires you!

Sunrise at work

Balancing work and life and why we need it

We all take our jobs seriously. It’s a daily grind and, though hopefully, you love your job, it can become taxing when you don’t take time for yourself. I know I struggle to step away from the office and take vacations, even when my manager asks me repeatedly to do so.

So why does he keep pushing me to take time off? Why is it so important?

If work consumes your life, you will, eventually, burn out. It is inevitable. I work in a creative field for a living, and that area requires my artistic side to stay always plugged in. Writers get writer’s block. Designers lose inspiration to design. Constant meetings, deadlines, and expectations begin to weigh us down, no matter what our job is. Taking a step back to breathe is key to survival in the adult world.

Oh, it’s hard, there’s no doubt about that!

The constant thoughts and concerns begin running through my mind when I take time off become: if I’m out, will I become a blocker? Will my developers understand the designs that I have given them? If I’m out and my team receives design feedback, when will I find out? Who will defend the work that we’ve done? The list goes on and on.

To truly step away and relax, to find that proper work-life balance, think about some of the key ways you can leave the office and feel that your team can handle your absence for a day or two.

  1. Give your team ample notice. At the beginning of each sprint cycle, I look at my schedule, and if I have appointments or vacation planned, I inform the team. If I know that I’m going to be on vacation for a longer period, say a week out of a month, I’ll send out an email at the beginning of the month with my plans and how people can reach me.
  2. Review your work a few days before you leave. If my designs need to be vetted by higher-ups or some people haven’t seen it yet, I try to plan ahead and get it in front of them before I leave.
  3. Ask your team if they need anything before your planned time off. I always check to see what’s coming up the pipeline and if it looks like designs are going to be needed, I review with my team
  4. Turn off your work email and enjoy yourself!



So here’s my question to you! What do you do to make sure you find that perfect work-life balance? Have you been struggling with this? Let’s figure it out together!

Exploring Maine at the UX Retreat

A fresh start

Being an adult isn’t easy. Being an adult just out of college, settling into the “real world” and trying to understand how to actually adult is absolutely terrifying. I should know… I’ve been out of college for almost 4 years and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this whole being a contributing member of society-thing.

So how do we become functioning members of society? How do we balance our jobs, our social lives, and our “me” time? It’s actually quite simple. We band together, try to stay organized, and fake it till we make it.

Being a good member of society isn’t just about getting up in the morning, sitting in traffic, working 9 to 5, and then going home in the evening. It’s about staying ahead of the game, making healthy choices, learning when to speak up, and making an effort to make a difference in the world. We’ve got it covered from various organization tips to learning how to take time off from work even when it feels like there’s no good moment.

My goal is to really help set you up for success. I’m going through this transition into adulthood just like you… why not do it together?

So who am I?

My name’s Katerina Rose and I’m a Programmer-turned-UX Designer living in the wonderful city of Boston, MA. I graduated from college with a BFA in 2013 and I’ve been a working girl ever since. My experiences include freelance design, working at a small startup, and immersing myself in the corporate world at a company boasting over 4,000 employees.

For those who know me personally, I’m obsessed with planners, exploring the city around me, and organizing all of my crazy projects into manageable little chunks.

I decided to start Simply Katerina Rose to share my journey, and the journeys of my friends who may be sharing their own experiences, with you and to help you get through this crazy thing called adulthood with me.