Sunday Column (400)

400 Sunday Columns. Wow. That’s 400 weeks, just about….seven and a half years. Well done me!

dont ever give up

Holidays. Yes, we spent a week in Centre Parks, Elveden Forest, last week. It was great. I have always been a bit sceptical of holiday parks. Yet I was very positively surprised. Given you can book a week, we had essentially four full days of fun, activities and (family) togetherness. And not too far to drive either. Maybe when the boys are older we consider a bigger accommodation or we might stay longer, but a mid week break with lots of activities was just right given their age. A run in the forest most mornings, some wine at night, take aways, good (?) and too much food, swimming, going down a cyclone (check out cyclone video: https://youtu.be/yggVvOid7TI, it scared Colin and me. Both of us luckily did not know what we got ourselves into), lots of water plays, hot tubs, wave pool etc. Then bowling, owls, play parks, cycling, pony riding, adventure golf and the list goes on. Fun. Utterly enjoyed a week off and away. Spending quality time with the family.

centre parks

For many years I have not been a big fan of holidays to be honest. I am quite content sitting at home doing nothing. I did that this year already whilst the wife had the boys in Scotland. And as the boys are getting older it is nice to go out and do things. Even though they fell to bed totally exhausted most nights. But that is how it should be. Wireless throughout helped to stay connected, yet I tried to stay away from social media as much as I could. However, being able to follow the news was nice or not so nice given the earthquake in Italy. I pray for my friends and families who hopefully are fine. I start to enjoy going away and experience things with the family and find new relaxation in doing so. It is nice and great to see the kids engaging in new environments and exploring new things. I believe it is good for them, and me, and the wife of course too. Centre Parks even offers baby sitters so we had a date night too. Result! Only things that lets it down is the quality of food eating out. Yet the spa visit whilst the kids joined a Pirates’ party was amazing. We even consider rebooking for next year already 🙂 Maybe a different park though.

Above are the highlights of the week. I am mentally preparing for a new challenge, a new start of my career. If I say start, it is more of a new beginning. Already, I feel like this is the right move and things will be great. They will be different but I can make a positive change and move my career in the right direction. And, it will be a lot of fun, and hard work. Latter is what I enjoy a lot, so it is all good I think. Given tomorrow’s bank holiday, I look forward to a new start on Tuesday.

There is little else happening in my world at the moment. I am exploring options for diagrams for my new book, e.g. to outsource the drawings. Then there is still a lot of editing to be done which I hope to get done by end of year before publishing it next year – maybe. Time is the main challenge, as I have a few projects on the go at the moment. The other one is to see which or if I can get myself a toy for my 40th birthday next year. When I say toy I am thinking Porsche, Jaguar, Alpha Romeo, Audi….but to be honest I am not sure how much I have to spend and how much I want to spend for something I do not need, but I do want. Not sure if my common sense prevails over my appetite to own and enjoy. A fine balance to strike, and still a lot of money to earn, which then puts things into perspective I suppose. Maybe we postpone to my 45th….

digital agency

What is life all about? Fun, family and memories? Ownership and wealth? Creation and making a difference? I don’t think life is as black and white and I also think it is a combination of above. As a Buddhist it is definitely not about ownership, but about fun and enjoyment. Little attachment, lots of fun, as far as I am concerned. If you realise that, you can own too. Maybe a loop hole but there is no reason to not owning nice things as long as you are not attached to them and they are the only thing you care about. Health is sitting on top of all of this, and you cannot buy health. And if health isn’t great, you end up cutting your life short, excluding most of the above, no? It helps to drill on that every now and then and put life into perspective. And value one’s holidays. To allow the odd indulgence and enjoy life – not excessively but consciously, not knowing when it will end. Yet we must assume it won’t end anytime soon, else we will not be able to enjoy it as much. And this week we enjoyed ourselves a lot!

I hope to look back on life in a few years time or hopefully many years from now and I might even look at my blog and read this – and I’d like to think that most of my decisions and thoughts were right. And that we made the right choices for our little men and pushed them into a happy, content life! It is a balance what you say to them, what you explain to them and how. They suck up your explanations like a sponge and don’t question it at all. Dangerous sometimes.

To finish….I had a dream a while back. I was breaking into a bank and was with two friends. One of which I remember. And we stole some gold bars or tried to anyway, and got caught. Instead of going to jail we were told that we will find out in a few weeks time what would happen. So we went home. Whilst on holidays the dream came back to me. This time being anxious that I haven’t heard and they hadn’t been in touch. I was hoping work wouldn’t find out about me having broken into a bank and trying to steal gold. No, I didn’t think of nor executed breaking into a bank. But maybe that dream tells me something. About waiting for the gold to come to you and not chasing it? Of being patient and seeing the gold in front of you rather than stealing it? Or maybe it was about letting go of ownership and chasing the dream with a friend? Maybe it was just a weird dream. Any ideas?

Have a great bank holiday. Spend it with the people you love and cherish. Share your love and gold and avoid short cuts. Life is good and you should appreciate it when it is there. Don’t live the future dream, enjoy the now.

Love and kindness from my little corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (399)

Iron-Sharpens-Iron-So-one-man-sharpens-another

Iron sharpens iron – one man sharpens another. Darren Hardy spoke about Rivalry this week. It’s a proverb. Nothing wrong with that of course, the key is what the quote stands for. Iron sharpens iron – as one iron, one man grows, the other grows too. If you are getting up every morning and have someone to fight, you want to better yourself daily to become better than the other person. You want to win. Then he wants to win too. You might become friends and you strive by competing with each other. You help each other to stay focused, motivated and push each other towards the top. Like a sparring partner. I like that analogy and think you should too. Find someone to work against, someone who motivates you and take massive actions towards ‘beating’ that person. In a good way of course, become friends and push each other to success!

A different, in between week, this week it was. I mean, it was my last week at my old work. I tidied things up, did a final hand over, updated what had to be updated and put my work and mind to rest. I reflected on the last 2.5 years. The accomplishment of putting another product on the map. The ability to put something out there in the market, position it, sell it, make it successful. I enjoy that part. There were struggles, challenges and fights but overall, it wasn’t a bad time. I had a few managers I learned from. Good mentors. It was good and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. It was also time to move on. One email I got this week summed it up. Farewell, Goodbye and Amen, as Hawkeye Pierce said in Mash4077.

Listening to another Mentee Podcast, career development is not only about money and what you do, but more about why you do it. The ultimate thing is if you can give back, and if you are able to make a difference. And I deep down believe that I can make a difference and help, support and develop myself and others. That in itself is worth the change in career and focus. Having met most of the people, it will be a fun time ahead! I really look forward to start working with my new team. A team to grow and coach. Unlocking potential and driving business forward. Working on strategies, new technologies and deep diving into some industry topics. What is there to learn? Where can I make a difference? Getting direct input from clients, that will be different. Weren’t they the holy grail to sell to a little while ago? Also, the ability to change suppliers and technologies if they stop performing. Not relying on one but more than one supplier if you like. There are many solutions that are interchangeable, so building the relationships with the right ones is key. Spotting the sales people talking BS when trying to sell you the latest programmatic solution.

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For now I still have some time to reflect. I start at the end of the month. My priority for the coming week is to spend as much time as possible with my family and give them some time back. When you get to the cross roads of your career, open a new chapter in your life, one likes to think about life. About priorities. Those are clearly with my family and the progress of my children – personally and in education. I guess for any parent, there is no doubt that health, development and happiness of your family comes first. Then it is you/your partner, and what you have decided to do with your life. Both of which will impact the main priority of course. I have been thinking about how we model our life on what we know from when we grew up and realised that over the years the technology advancement, let it be iPads or iPhones as the obvious ones, have influenced the way our children grow up. The younger generation is working seamlessly it seems with the challenges of technology and uses it to their advantage whilst we use it as a necessary evil almost. And by the time they have children, things and life as we know it would have changed again. When I was a kid I was dreaming of this big house with this big stereo in the corner. CD shelves. Video cassettes. I enjoyed libraries and always thought I would have one myself. And virtually we do. We have the videos, the CDs and books I wanted. It is still the same, yet different, and in a different format. The world is changing, advancing and nothing will be the way it was. That’s not a bad thing though.

So let’s embrace future developments. Let’s embrace change and let’s embrace technology. Let us accept change in our life and the opportunity to influence the outcome. To trust in the positive outcome. That is fun, that is helping you to grow and make a difference for the better.

Go get them and enjoy the last days of summer.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (398)

The news is out this week. It is official. I am leaving my current job, and I will be officially leaving the end of next week. I has been a great 2.5 years of exploring a slightly different angle of the industry, going through another acquisition and finding new friends and colleagues across the world. It was nice to hear just last week that clients would have loved to work with us, just because it was me. Those compliments are amazing and make me appreciate the lives I am touching, and the lives I am touched by. I am a people person, I care about people, in business and private. I am feeling flattered and it shows that sales and business relations still come back to personality first, product second. Sustainability, honestly and win/win go a long way. I was always keen to deliver on promises, and learned lessons early in my career that you don’t over promise and under deliver.

Now, the new role is different. It is still about promising to clients, internal and external, yet it is also about evaluating the sales people and technologies I have been representing in the last 6+ years! I am turning the table and apply my knowledge on the other side. It feels like I move from sales to procurement, get a lot more managerial and strategic tasks and joining a company that is on the edge to really move the needle in the space. I like to hope so anyway, and I cannot wait to join them at the end of August! I am going agency side. When working agency side in 2007, being responsible for sales, I enjoyed it and then got dragged into the tech sales, which in all honesty I enjoyed a lot too. Now I am back, with more experience and knowledge about the space, and I am excited to not pay the bills for lunch and ask those questions to sales people trying to sell me the latest tech. If you cannot summarise your solution in 30 minutes without a powerpoint…. 🙂

So the news is out, and the dates are set. I am very much looking forward to my new direction and another step in my career.

hand-over

I kicked the week off with another 25K run. I started early at 5:30 am and was back just around 8 am. It was fantastic, running with the sun rise, overlooking the South Downs being dipped into the golden morning light. Not a lot of people around and it was great to just get on. It cleared my head, made me think and came up with some solutions and ideas. Great start to the week!

Unfortunately my adidas Adistar Boost trainers are broken again after only 350K. My first pair was broken, the 2nd pair lasted, the exchanged first one now broke and I am ‘breaking in’ another pair just now. Definitely my last Boost pair, I can assure you. Having said that I went to sweatshop on Saturday afternoon and tried the new UltraBoost trainers. They are amazing, very soft and cushioned, and feather light. I am keen on getting a pair but it all depends what adidas says about whether the old pair was a manufacturers fault. Given I contacted Sweatshop 3 days after they sent the replacement, I have to take it up with adidas directly. I emailed them, let’s see, sending off the old pair on Monday. Definitely something wrong with that shoe! I did a cheeky 7.5K later in the week with the new pair of Adistar’s, just to be ready to hit the 10K in them next week again. Over are the days where a pair of trainers lasted me beyond a year.

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Then I have been back to Scotland this week. I flew up on Wednesday and then drove the family down again on Friday, with another stop over in Preston. This time the journey was a little bit more pleasant as traffic was better then going up. So we arrived on Saturday morning. Enough time to get the washing on, settle back in and be home again. It was good without the family but it is even better with the family! I missed my two boys and my wife of course. Now the cats pester the others not me 🙂

Also it marks my last flight for a while. At least my new job won’t demand me to fly regularly around Europe. An era of good 10 years in a European role coming to an end. There will be travel and potentially more international ones but for now I can hope for some fewer flights and hotel stays abroad. This will be nice for a while.

Some people asked me what I did, 10 days without the family? I can tell you that much: it felt a lot shorter, as I had been very busy. Partly I was working on some forms and test assignments, and on the other hand I made progress with my book. Yes, I now need to find the best way of drawing up some nice graphs, put the overall flow together and get it finalised. The end is in sight, early 2017 I should be able to publish my new Productivity on Life book. I thought of calling it #bebetter but feel free to come up with better suggestions.

I also found a lot of time to watch TV, movies, chill out and read. It is almost weird to be able to organise your own days and work around your work. Not sure I ever watched that much TV in a long time. And I also ate healthily, didn’t drink a lot (besides the stag do without a stag at the weekend in Brighton), and overall got a lot of chillaxing time in. A holiday as it should be on my own terms.

Now, having the family back is great. Catching up on 10 days of excitement and experience with my boys is fantastic. Almost a lifetime at their stage. The next break is with them, and I look forward to sharing experience with them too and maybe give the wife a wee break too. Life is hard, yet beautiful 🙂

That’s about all folks. I love driving the new motor, particularly the cruise control that breaks on your behalf and then accelerates if it can. Just like a self driving car.

Have a fantastic week.

Volker

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Sunday Column (397)

bright side

I have been to Scotland over the last week. A long drive up, a short and delayed flight back. I love Scotland. It is a peaceful country. It feels kind of rough and you feel close to nature. Whether that is the rain, the cold or the rocks and trees. It is an outdoor country where you don’t necessarily have the weather to be outdoors much. So the coal and peat fires go on. The heat from the natural resources keep you warm. You are close to the heart of yourself, the earth and close to what’s happening deep inside this planet. We did a 25K run which was nice too. Very connected to the elements I have to say.

That’s how I feel. I also felt a bit detached from civilisation. Whilst of course Tesco is still there, same products and offers, which gives you the consistency you are not necessarily longing for, there are a lot of new things. Paying with Apple Pay got a reply from the waitress that ‘this is the first time she has done this’ or looking at the mobile phone reception, you might think you are somewhere in the bush in South America. Other than that, it feels so good to be there, and maybe it is because of these isolation that it does.

Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

I relaxed a bit. My MIL helped with the kids, I had snoozes, was cooked for and enjoyed some down time. I shared my bed with my eldest and he was literally heating the bed whilst outside it was down to 3 degrees. Yet it was bright light at 9 pm at night. So when I came back to London it was dark at 9 pm, I thought of putting the fire on and with the drizzle it felt like October or November even. Autumn arrived, the summer is over. Yet we managed to have a great sunny day out on Saturday – boy’s day out.

So I chilled out on the flight back, to turn on my phone and got a message from someone on Facebook. Nothing too uncommon but that I haven’t spoken to her for 21 years. If I say I had forgotten about her, some memories came back. We met 21 years and for some reason she went through some old stuff discovering my name, looked me up, and got in touch. That was rather nice. A blast from the past. Sometime in 1995 our life lines touched. We then went off in different directions. She got a kid, I got kids, I got married and to be honest, the past 20 years, I probably forgot who she was, and this is not meant in a negative way. I am fascinated by those stories of people that come to your life and the reason they do. Some show you a different side to yourself, sometimes you help someone and sometimes you just have a fun time together. So it is without offence that I forget about people sometimes. I discussed that with a friend this week, that we both had friends we tried to find closure with. A few years ago I sent out a couple of letters to reach out to people, thanked them that they were part of my life, and that I never intended us growing apart without clearing some things. Some never got back to me, and of some I don’t even know if they ever got my letter. That’s life I suppose. Life’s little stories.

ppl in life

This week was very productive in terms of getting a lot of reviews done for my next productivity book. No, it is far from being finished, yet I made some progress this week. Now a lot of tidying, adding and stuff to do. But my hope is that by end of year this should be finished. Fingers crossed. All depends on undisturbed time I suppose, which is getting less. There are so many plans moving forward and life will change a lot. But it can only get better, as things always improve in life. Things change for a reason, and those reasons are always worthwhile. I have been meeting up with interesting people over the past few weeks. Again, everything happens for a reason, some reasons to be discovered further down the line. Job opportunities, product discussions, industry discussions, chewing the fat, discussing life over lunch and wine, partying even with friends. I am having a great time. Every now and then I am in the position to reach out to my network and give back and receive. This was one of those weeks, amazing people!

People are fascinating, so is life. It seems a theme this week, which makes me think how much I appreciate the life I have. The people that are close to me which I miss. The people worth dying for if you like and the people that are close to me, part of my life, and the ones, like above, who came into my life. And I could fill a whole life just to speak to people and philosophise on things, but then I have to focus again on everyday work, and do what I have to and what I want to do. That’s happening too. And then you bring focus back into your life and push back on some meetings. You naturally prioritise.

And I guess that’s how we all live our lives. Bound to our own little back yard, own little circle of friends which every now and then expands. And you suck a few new ones in the circle and you get sucked into other people’s circle, and then you continue as you were. A pulsating way of extending your horizon and circle of influence. I am pulsating. I am breathing. I am alive and I am enjoying my life and my circle of influence and friends. I appreciate you. Thanks for being part of my journey.

Have a fantastic week and make the most of the summer!

Volker

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Sunday Column (396)

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The end of July. Wow. This year flew past. It is Thursday when I start this post, and this week passed quickly too. I don’t even know what I did on Monday. Amazing, and good to see I am busy. There are so many things I need to be sorting.

Let’s see. I updated you on my job situation last week. More updates to follow, once hopefully things get a bit clearer, once people are back from holidays. Emails are quiet. News sites are quiet. I keep writing my own news on Linkedin, so if you haven’t seen my articles there, please have a look. Holiday season means slow response times, no decision making. Hey, keep looking forward, enjoy the quieter time, and some of the nice weather. It will get busier before you know it.

In Germany we call it the Sommerloch, literally the summer hole. No, nothing rude, not an a*hole, but the hole the press and everything else falls into when it gets really quiet. My FT is getting smaller by the week, and the content worth reading too. Hibernation almost. I did notice that I got more tired, but a few runs sorted me out again. Some more sleep would be good but too many things are going around in my head. Summer hole. I like that term. It reminds me of home, of the smell of grass from the fields, the freshly cut one. The one they collect later on in the year for hay. It is like the beginning of Autumn, my most favourite season. I know we make it to the end of the year. Things are moving forward. When I grew up I didn’t have hay fever. I now seem to have some allergy. Things are in constant change.

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Talking about change. I noticed this week in particular how change is affecting fast growing organisations. I wrote about it a while ago that when people join organisations at the early growth stage, and they then evolve and these people leave, they might leave with a bad memory. Yet a lot of companies then attract new people. I overheard at an event a few weeks back, that someone said ‘how could you join this company, they are not doing well’. I don’t ever say that about any company. And this is not in regards to my current situation. But companies go through changes and if one person leaves, others transition in. It might just be the right opportunity for them at the time, and works very well. They grow with the company probably for another 2-3 years and then a new group of people transition in, the new old ones out. Only bigger cooperations can afford to job rotate you every 2-3 years, and only a few hang around to grow with smaller companies and continue to have an interesting job for life.

That is one of the reasons of digital staff turnover. Too many small to medium sized companies grow too quickly. Some people cannot cope with the amount of change or like more stability. Some people grow and some outgrow a company, growing personally quicker than the company. Then there are changes, and it is very common. Whether that is redundancy, voluntary leave or head hunted to another position, doesn’t really matter. But this change must be managed very carefully. Companies who do, are the ones that survive, grow and outgrow competitors.

No this picture isn't really the way we live in Scotland ;-)

No this picture isn’t really the way we live in Scotland 😉

So when I am speaking to companies about jobs, I don’t only look at the job. Given my experience I can do most senior jobs unless they require a very specific skill I might not have. Equally important for me is due-diligence within the industry. What is it like to work there? How high is the staff turnover? And if high, why? If low, why? What are the points of differentiation? Are we onto a winning organisation? What are the values represented within the company, what do they stand for? I am a people person and my next step needs to be right. Above is just one example of a whole array of questions and talking points when discussing jobs and positions. With the change of guard there are opportunities and they might just be right for one person and not right for another. That’s what makes our industry so exciting.

In the meantime I spent a fantastic weekend with the family in Scotland. I love being in Scotland and enjoy the Scots, their mentally and the fresh air. No kidding. 15 degrees, slight drizzle and some fresh sea air. Nothing beats that. Whilst you looking out of your living window, across the Black Isle, having a coffee, the peat fire on and think about the things to come, the things to accomplish. You hug your kids as they wake up. You makes sure they are happy and you think, that this is now the only thing that matters. Everything else must wait. Everything else is secondary.

I cherish those moment. The moments that fully fill that summer hole for me!

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (395)

Has this week finished yet?

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Yes it has. We won 3.60 GBP in the lottery. Must have been a lucky week. And warm it was. 30+ degrees, little sleep, a cold and some runs. 25K runs this week and then a minor operation on Wednesday. All back up and running again 😉 But running has to wait until mid next week.

It was a busy week. Ups and downs. Despite having some time off for above op, it was very stressful. And the main reason, as outline below, is that I am in between jobs. That’s probably the best way of putting it. But more below.

Sometimes it is helpful to reflect. To see what is happening and good to chill out and come down. Reflect and take stock. What is happening, what is working, what isn’t. Where have I gone wrong lately? What has worked well lately? How can I improve?

Life shows itself in various ways, and sometimes one has to let it happen. One has to lean back, take it in and enjoy the ride. I am trying, and sometimes it is easier said than done.

How can I improve myself has been a major topic of mine for a long time. Personal development. Productivity. And just when I end up thinking that most things have fallen into place, I am where I am, and ready to learn more, to conquer the world, to make it happen. Then things seem to fall apart again. Can you win?

Yes, you can. Believing. The end is near, life goes on, and you are unstoppable. You can win if you put your mind to it and if you believe you can. What if you changed your whole life, take a side step in your career, or change your career entirely. You will make it work, no matter what. And it is exciting, isn’t it? Lean back and enjoy the ride that life has in stock for you. It always works out in the end and that for whatever reason the universe decides.

Driving is a new feeling, as I found out earlier in the week. I took the motor for a spin, and boy, not a sports car, but the difference to the Alhambra is immense. I am loving it, and looking forward to many fun years with it. Until of course they bring her/him out as a SUV, next year allegedly. Now, maybe I change the lease then 🙂 Having flexibility and fun in driving…I feel like life is back in town. The struggle of starting a career whilst having young children seems over. To the next 10+ years of my life. NB: I am not 40 yet, however statistically I am at the point where my career and life should really take off! I believe it will.

enjoy the ride

But seriously, the last few years have been functional. Family, small kids, the right child seat, the functional car, etc. We are now moving on, out of the baby stage into a more fun stage with the boys and at the same time we are in a position to finish the house renovation, make our life the way we want it and offer a good life to the boys. Yet, we are also looking around how we can increase and improve other people’s life. And that’s important to me, one of my values in life. I would like to spend more time on that moving forward.

The highlight of the week was Thursday. School leaving assembly. Yup, my oldest finished primary school. Wow, at his age I only just started school. He loved it. And I found that he was very mature in ‘moving on’ from it, very functional about ‘I am not going back, ever’. Guess he got this unemotional side from me, yet I did shed a few tears when one of the kids started crying as he didn’t want to leave school. Bless. They are at a fantastic age. Now on to 6 weeks of summer holidays.

In other news:
I can now say that I signed my settlement agreement at work, in other words, I am leaving my current employer. I cannot talk about why and how, but in the public domain it is known that the company decided to change the way they offer the service I have predominately been selling. The service I evangelised for them over the past 2.5 years. Hence I am now seeking new employment, the next exciting step in my career.

Feel free to contact me with ideas or anything you think we should discuss. You will understand that I won’t speak about any details here, for legal and professional reasons. It was all amicable in the end, so all good, it always is. They will do well as a company, I am sure, and I am confident things will move on for me too. Fingers crossed. For the time being I help to wind down the current product and my official end date will be confirmed in the next couple of weeks.

It isn’t the first time I took redundancy. Relocation of offices, changes in structure, product and politics have lead to redundancies in the past. It often happens in our industry and I can say that I know many people, see last week’s post, that took redundancy. In other industries this is being seen as a problem, and most companies rotate employees every 2-3 years to avoid people getting bored, but in our industry redundancies are very commonplace. Acquisitions, change of strategy, start up and growth companies, changes in direction….are all too common in a young and dynamic space.

So where does that leave me this weekend?
I am dwelling on a few things. I am thinking about a few things. I am moving forward. I don’t dwell on the past. I am excited about what is there to come actually.
Because I BELIEVE. I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I know that things work out in the end. That’s the key and as long as you believe that, and trust in the universe, things are going to be ok. They will always work out. Believe in the universe sorting you out.
Positive Energy creates Positive Energy and causes a ripple effect.

If you can be bothered, have a look at Anthony Robbins “I am not your guru” on Netflix. It is a documentary about his five day workshop ‘Date with Destiny’. What he does is very simple, and yet very effective. By using a variety of techniques, and a lot of love and emotions, he shows people their real value in life and why certain situations in life haven’t worked out for them. Together with his team of coaches he transforms lives for the better, for good. For some this might be too much, or a bit cheesy, for me it is a great example on how someone dedicates his life to transforming people and making this world a better place. Amazing.

So this summary shows that a week can be very varied. On Friday night I met a few folk for drinks. London. Ale. Friends. It cannot get better than that. We spend a relaxing weekend with the family. The kids are off school. I am trying to find some peace and wind down. Getting my wife’s cough 🙁

Breathe in, breathe out. Life is good. And it goes on and on and on….

Speak next week, no doubt! 😉

Volker

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Sunday Column (394)

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Roller Coaster Ride! My life took a turn and it is moving only in one direction: it is up and onwards, and time bound, because we cannot stop time. It means that it is becoming a bit more unstable before it becomes more stable again. Hopefully anyway, a bit of bumps on the road ahead I fear. And when I keep saying you must trust that things will work out in the end, now is the time for me to do exactly that. And I do.

Things in life happen for a reason. Things happen to push us out of our comfort zone. We are here to learn, to grow and to move on. Exciting and daunting at the same time. Isn’t life wonderful? We must embrace it as much as we can.

I got more endorsements last week on Linkedin from more senior people than ever before. I am winning. I am doing things right. You remember I was saying that a while back. Mentally I am strong, I always was very head strong (my granddad Heinrich’s fault). So now is the time to go back to my roots and make sure they are anchored the way they should be. They are!

Exercise is steady. I did my two 10K and another 7.5K. My kettle bell exercise are back on, strength training is prioritised. Week after next I need to go back to the pool. It feels like I gain circumference without gaining weight. Wrong food I suspect.

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Now, let’s talk about you for a moment. Yes, you. Thanks for continuing to read my blog, engage in my life and take something from here to your own life. I have got so much positive and encouraging feedback from you over the last few weeks, that I can only ask you to do 2 things: Please share this on social media and talk to people about my blog. I want this blog, and ultimately other projects that are brewing in the back of my head, to help others. To be an inspiration for others. I would love people to send me questions, ask me about advice and ideas on what they should do in certain situations! Feel free to reach out to me and thank you for your participation. Thank you for enjoying what I have to say.

Please share it on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Follow me. Please reach out to me. Let’s make this world a better place. Together. That must be our ultimate goal.

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There have been a few highlights this week. My parents stayed over the weekend. We got a new gas BBQ just in time for some sunny days – I have to say I like it. And, we finally got our car. The machine. The Skoda Superb. The family wagon. I love it. Needless to say, after driving a mini bus for almost 4 years, it was time to upgrade to something more nippy. And the kids love it too 😉

Material value. I listened to a Buddhist podcast this week and actually, we shouldn’t feel attached to things. And I don’t. Having a new car for me isn’t about value, showing off or attachments. It is about functionality and freedom somewhat. Something nice. Yet, whilst it is physically on our drive way, I am not attached to it. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it.

We suffer from attachment. Greed. I am money driven so I can distribute more. So I can invest it to secure a better education for my family. To make my life easier and better. But not only my life. The life of others. I like to create value. That doesn’t need to be monetary value but can be any value. Helping people. Supporting them through difficult times. Coaching them. That is where I want to add more value and contribute more regularly.

And for my job: I know the industry. I know the people you need to speak to. I put companies on the map of the industry to be recognised and sold. I have done it. I am winning. I love looking at new technologies, understand what is possible, meet enthusiastic entrepreneurs, see great technology and believe in their future potential.

Let’s make it happen. Let’s keep winning.

Are you?
Are you living the life you want to be living?

Have a fantastic week. Keep going after them. Keep winning!

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (393)

winning

Alright. This week was a weird one. The Brexit seems forgotten. The people that put us in the dilemma have resigned and left a mess behind. Great leadership to start something awful and then bail out. No surprise I always hated politics. I can be quite good at it though. However, in a work context, I don’t enjoy too much of it, but guess it is almost unavoidable. Change of strategy and politics lead to unwanted results sometime. It is what it is.

Networking is speciality of mine. I managed to add another 20 odd contacts to my LinkedIn profile, almost at 6,000 contacts now. Changing some settings and social distribution got me more attention. I enjoy playing around with social media, as a whole, and experience the uplift of attention. ‘Not a place without you knowing someone’, said my sales director the other day. He is right. And the majority of contacts are personal, not just added on LinkedIn for no reason. It gives me reach and one of my articles on LinkedIn got picked up by a Canadian publisher recently. Result.

I caught up with a few industry friends this week. Redundancies, he said, was common place in our industry. So many mergers, acquisitions, the best people get made redundant. Totally normal and one shouldn’t worry about it. Just in Cannes I managed to catch up with someone who has been made redundant four times. It used to be seen as failure, and probably still is, if you work in a different industry. In ours it doesn’t. Redundancy isn’t the same as being fired. So it’s all good, isn’t it?

winds-of-change

Why I am writing about it – because people I know have been affected. One speaks in the industry and discusses. I have done a lot of networking, lunches and meetings this week and it was one of many topic that came up. Our industry is a mess, sometimes, and is changing again. If 6 years ago I did one thing, I could do the same thing over again. Equally successful or better. We are coming full circle, it is fun. Yet when companies get sold, one duplicates talent, and within a year changes happen. That’s totally normal and we just come to accept it.

People I am selling to trust me. I have integrity. I am known. It is nice to see the influence I have and the change I can facilitate. However, most importantly I can help others to find a job, to have a career and moving to a better place. I am in no denial that this is my call. Yet, I have not figured out a way yet how to monetise it. Maybe I need to. In the meantime I try to help whoever I can and hope the favour is returned when I am in need.

As with other plans, I am working on some own ideas. Listening to a few podcast I am certain to be able to get my own business off the ground, or at least generate a passive income. Watch that space. Remember what I said last week, I am winning. It will happen.

Life is good I suppose. We are healthy. The kids are happy. I am writing this as we are crossing, once again, the viaduct before Haywards Heath. The landscape is touched by the evening sun, green and beautiful. What is there not to like.

viaduct

My life got awfully complex over the past few years and I wonder if it will ever feel normal or if it will always stay that hectic. I dunno. However, I do know that happiness, and my children, are a lot more important to me than anything ever was. And that’s what it is to protect. That is what to live for. Everything else has to take a back seat sometimes.

Like this weekend. Whilst my wife was off again, a well deserved break, we had another fantastic weekend together. I notice the stress getting to me and me being on edge. We managed Friday night with a take away pizza and I put two exhausted boys to bed early. Saturday we played by ear and had a nice day down the beach – Lancing – and Daddy fell asleep as soon as we got home. In the meantime we stopped by the garage and got a peek at the new motor we can collect later this week. Exciting times.

I think it is a success if we go through a day without having the TV on. Without parking the kids in front of a box. They played outside, won against me in football, played in the sand and ‘gravel’ from the patio extension. Diggers, monster trucks and stunt cars. They loved it and their imagination lead to cars being hid in the new bushes. Why not? That is what childhood is all about.

They were tired again. And we managed to have a chilled out weekend. They are at a great age to just get on with things. They make life worth living. Yet, I will be glad when the wifey is back home again. Maybe I am off next weekend in return 😉

Have a fantastic week with your loved ones. Remember why you do what you are doing. Remember you are winning.

Be well,
Volker

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Sunday Column (392)

Who are your 5?

jim Rohn who are your 5

Another week. Another Brexit? Sure, the England team left the European Cup. Whilst I don’t really follow the UEFA cup, the last few games are the ones that are interesting. Opposite to the actual Brexit in politics, the UEFA cup becomes more interesting as we go along, the real hype is the final. Whilst the real hype for Brexit was last week; things now turn into more of a day to day life again, with of course lots of politics, embarrassing speeches, unbelievable positioning etc. etc. I am sure you are following it and if you follow my blog and comments, you will agree. Never mind, let’s park politics for today.

Then we had more losses. 2016 seems to be a year of a lot of celebrities dying, which includes two actors of my childhood. Unfortunately, we also had someone in the family dying. No matter how much you expect someone to move on, you never really ever come to terms with it. You look at the pictures, the memories, the shared experience and think that he will be in a better place. Their journey is over, always too soon. Yet, we cannot hang on to life forever. One of the few certainties of life is death.

I started my exercise regime again this week. After Cannes last week, I decided it is time to challenge myself again. I did a 10K and a 7.5K run. Some kettle bells, body resistance and a healthier diet. I am feeling a lot better again. But I am not sleeping well. Something keeps me occupied, I wake up in the middle of the night. I am stressed it seems, and I also seem to have some allergy. Luckily I got that confirmed by a colleague as he had the same symptoms. They seem similar to a hungover but they weren’t. Some hay fever tablets sorted me out. I never had any allergic reactions like that in my life before, but puffy eyes and a feeling of ‘temperature’ paired with tiredness aren’t good. Particularly if you are under pressure to deliver results.

hayfever

Where are we today. July just started. The first half of the year is gone, we are in the run up to Christmas. Amazing how quickly time flies. Or scary if you like. Either way I feel like I need a break. I am debating to take some time off, go away but find myself that I’d rather spend some time with the family or work, or get things done. I seem to not be able to slow down. I live life in the fast lane. Just this week a new client told me how he follows my blog and tweets for years, and seems to know me so well. We had so much in common. I am somewhat a celebrity in the industry, yet I am not a rock star. But I will be.

I will be a rock star. The reason I am saying this is as I am working on my master plans for my book. Realising it takes forever if I continue at the current pace, I will make changes to my daily routine to fit in more reviews and more work on the book. I want this book to be published by mid next year and help more people by doing so. It stays a side project and will not impact my work and other commitments, but I MUST make more progress. I am excited about the prospects of it becoming a must read book. Something you want to read, apply and have at hand when planning things, making decisions and working on personal development. A guide, a friend, a mentor. On the back of that I could work on subscription based models to create a passive income. I believe that is possible. The idea isn’t really mine but one of my American mentors, yet the challenge is to have the critical mass which of course you achieve a lot quicker and easier in America – that country is just a little big bigger than the UK 😉

winning

I am winning. Are you?
A rhetorical question. Maybe. I am listening to a lot of podcasts recently and managed to catch up with a few friends this week. It happened to be one of those weeks where you realised where you are and what people think. What is happening and where do you fit in. On the train, on the plane, in a meeting, at lunch. Connections and the greater universe. The law of attraction. The idea building machine which is called your conscious. Rumours about people. Sad news. Actors dying I have known since my childhood. Heroes for me. A friend died. Other people being sick. And there am I, what am I complaining about, I am winning. But I am far from the finishing line because I chose that relay race. I am doing the runs and do them fast, quick and efficient. I drive the team, the situation and then I leave it to the capable hands of the next person. That’s what I do. I connect people and was nominated by someone this week as the most connected person in adtech. Maybe I am. Still just short of 6,000 contacts on Linkedin, the quality is what matters. The relationship building and the depth of those relationships. Speaking to another mentor this week, I got reassured that the winning formula is in your head. You sort your head, you sort your life, your sleep, your job, your family. Another one suggested the inner peace and self awareness in the now. Step by step, I am winning.

It puts a smile on my face to write about it. I cannot really express what I am trying to say and some people might say I talk a lot of rubbish. The connectivity with one inner self. The living in the moment. The roses, the moment you stop and smell them? Your remember. The moment you reach out to your child’s hand and pull him close to you for a cuddle. The energy flow to attract the life you wanted. The energy flow. The love. The happiness. The inner peace. The tranquility. The balance. The secret.

Life is too damn short. Too short at any one time. So why not surround yourself with people that enrich your life rather than people that pull you down. I don’t need negativity in my life and people that are too stupid to understand. Understand value. People that do not want to understand or have lower values than I have. Jim Rohn says that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Those must be big. Who are your 5? Those must challenge you. Those must be the ones that help you grow, not the ones that pull you down. And by changing exactly that approach, by living and winning, we are in the process of becoming who we are. And success will be drawn to people who are successful and are winning.

Enough about life’s little secrets.
Enough about the future.

The future is now. Your moment is now.
Breathe it.
Breathe out.
Live it.
Make it happen.

Have a fantastic week, and to my US friends, enjoy a nice 4th of July!

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Brexit – some personal thoughts

I have been in the UK for pretty much 15 years. That is almost as long as I lived in Germany in any one go, as I left the country when I was 15 to spend a year in the USA. I have seen democracies and understand that the people are the ones in control. When I was young, too young to understand politics, the Berlin Wall came down. That is now over 25 years ago. However, I still vividly remember the visits to East Germany. The discussions with my granny who we took back to where the Russians tried to harm her and the family in the war. The place where my grandad took his two boys, probably not much younger than mine, on his old motor bike to drive them to freedom.

My generation has been lucky. No wars and no conflicts in Europe. We have heard about the war and have been repeatedly told about the evil Nazi machine which had a humongous influence on my grand parents and of course my parents generation. My generation broke free from that. I broke free from Germany 15 years ago.

When I left Germany the primary goal was to study in a more international environment. An environment that supports me. I couldn’t even count the amount of different nationalities that I met whilst studying in Scotland. Then I met my wife and we consciously decided to move to London, a cosmopolitan city open to the world, where we still live – at least in its proximity. This is where my boys were born. This is where I (re)build a base to bring up my boys in a safe environment, with a good education, and where I can pursue both my family life but also my career. Easy access to Europe via Gatwick and Easyjet (and other airlines but I am also part of generation Easyjet).

I never bothered to get the British passport. My boys have both passports: German and English. I work hard and don’t see them often enough to teach them German. Maybe that has to change now. They need to have access to a wider world than ‘England’.

What does Brexit mean for me? I don’t want to leave. I choose this country to live in and bring up my family. I have been planning for the next 20 years to stay where I am, probably longer given retirement age. My pension fund is here, my investments, my mortgage, my bank, my friends.

Here we go with a video from the Wolf on Wallstreet, summing up my mood:

Yet of course we are contemplating. Should we go elsewhere. Would I need a British passport. I shouldn’t have any problems getting one but what for, in a free and open Europe? I guess I got 2 years to decide, and maybe they give me one because I am married to a British citizen? I am not too worried that I will be kicked out of the country and I don’t think that the discussions around ‘immigrants’ that fuelled the Brexit vows are meant against people like me. At least I’d like to think so.

However, it still leaves a bitter taste. There are people in this country, and from what I gather the majority, that don’t understand. People that go with propaganda, the same kind of propaganda Hitler once used. Of course it works, and if you get enough critical mass, you will win a petition.

I am hoping we won’t execute on the petition. There are so many rumours at this point in time, that we will never leave the EU and that article 50 to start exiting the EU will never be executed. We will get a new Prime Minister, the opposition will fall apart over the next couple of months, re-elections etc. The country will reset. The majority of people that are leading the country will have seen the fall out by then, the damage already done, and will do their utmost to stay within the EU or make sure that the impact of us ‘leaving’ will be minimised.

Brexit

Where does that leave us?

I think we stay of course. We are settled here, grew our roots. However, it will leave a bitter taste of knowing you are less welcome that you ever were. That the majority of this country doesn’t understand the wider consequences. Democracy doesn’t differentiate between people’s intellect. And quite frankly it shouldn’t. We are living in a democratic state. And hence I am confident that the government will look at the petitions, the damage done so far and will paddle back. Just in time to limit the damage.

And over the years we will see other countries doing the same, until eventually, the EU will fall apart. Until another person, state or power will try to reunite us again….this is up to the younger generation, which luckily are the future of this country. And they overwhelmingly voted to stay in.

There is hope.
There is a future.

Let’s work positively towards a better Britain, remaining in Europe!

PS: By time of publishing, this might be already out of date. Things unravel very quickly here in the UK.

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