Expert communicator by day, Ninja Warrior by night! We caught up with Cathy MacDonald, a former police hostage and crisis negotiator who now runs her own business, The Art of Communication, helping people to communicate better with each other. Find out more about her workdays and weekends below!
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I completed my service as a police officer with Police Scotland in 2015. I was a full-time hostage and crisis negotiator so I worked pretty much round the clock - I now have my own business based on the skills I developed as a negotiator - in simple terms I help people communicate more effectively!
My day starts with routine paperwork (mainly the electronic version!) some reading, some research and a chunk of preparation.
The practical part of my work varies from 1-2-1 coaching where I travel to meet with clients or use Skype / Facetime if they are beyond realistic travelling distance. I also present to groups and always arrive early - how early depends on the size of the group, the location and the facilities. I routinely work in Perth, Dundee, Stirling and Edinburgh but travel further afield including, Manchester, London and New York. I don't market my business - word of mouth has created an exciting demand which means that I work at weekends, some evenings as well as through the day so I am not sure if I have a typical day.
What signals the start of your days off?
Usually a gym visit with no time limit and a wee glass of red wine at night!
What might people be surprised to know about you?
Taking part in this year’s Ninja Warrior UK is perhaps a surprise. I am 50 and while I ache like an 80 year old after a tough work out I will defy my years as long as I can. The Ninja Warrior experience was fabulous and while I was fit and strong enough to complete the course my skill between the obstacles wasn't good enough and the course spat me out at the 4th obstacle. I am training hard for the next series including skills training and hope to be the oldest lady ever to 'beat the wall'.
What’s at the top of your bucket list?
As corny as it sounds, to enjoy life and see the good in everything for as long as I can. It's difficult to write that without it sounding empty and false but I truly mean it. I am lucky, as I have a naturally positive outlook and have a lot to be thankful for.
What’s the worst job you've ever had?
As a police officer there are a lot of jobs that could be classed as the worst but as they normally surround death and sad stuff let’s stay away from them.
My earliest worst job that makes me laugh a little now was picking potatoes at the age of 13. It was the done thing in October. My friends and I all 'went to the tattles'. I recall being paid £8 a day and feeling very rich but the trade-off was smelling of rotten potatoes, trying not to need a pee for as long as possible, having horrendous back ache, and being cold beyond belief. I recall wearing woollen gloves inside my mum’s marigolds to try to stay warm.
Who or what inspires you?
I like the unexpected inspirational moments that stop me in my tracks. Sometimes there's a film clip on Facebook or on the news and I have to watch it. I recall one recently of a lady called Eileen Ash who was 104. She was filmed parking up her mini and going to her yoga class. She had such a positive 'can do' attitude and I found that inspiring. I have a love/hate relationship with social media and this is the bit I love.
Tell us about a weekend you would love to live again?
10 years ago, my husband and I shared time in the arctic with friends. It was longer than a weekend but we had an amazing experience. We 'mushed' our own huskies and sleds, camped out in freezing conditions and enjoyed the wilderness of the frozen north. At times there was complete silence, complete darkness, complete isolation and other times the air was full of husky howls and laughter. The only missing element was the northern lights so I would love to live that again with the addition of the aurora borealis.
What's the best part of your job?
I love every element of my job, partly because I am my own boss and I can create a good balance between family, friends, fitness and work.
There is a true magic about understanding human behaviour and I love bringing life and simplicity to communication for my clients. The Art of Communication will continue for as long as that magic exists.
The absolute best part of my work is feedback from clients when they use the skills I coach them on, particularly when they have agonised about having challenging conversations for a long time and suddenly the weight is lifted from their shoulders. A letter, an email or a quick call to say how much their new skills have helped - that has to be the best part.
What's in your perfect day off breakfast?
That is an easy one - eggs benedict using eggs from Gloagburn Farm at Tibbermore. That is my favourite breakfast treat; in fact it is sometimes a lunch treat or a supper treat!
Complete this sentence – the best things in life are ...... worth investing time and effort in. For me, they all relate to time with those I love and care about. Time is the most precious of things and we waste it too readily.
Tammy Fleuchar is Club Manager at Fit4Less gym in Perth City Centre, fitness fanatic and loves keeping Perth fit and healthy.
January 9th Thursday 2020
Rehanna MacDonald plays Sinbad the Sailor in Perth Theatre's 2019 Christmas Pantomime Sinbad.
December 20th Friday 2019
SIsters Kathy Gillon and Liz Munro have a background in hospitality and when they saw the Berryfields tearoom they knew it was the business for them.
December 1st Sunday 2019