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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Sunday Column (391)

This week’s highlight was Cannes I suppose. As every year, at least for the past 3 years, I went to the Cannes Lions where the adtech and martech industry is celebrating itself (actually it is the creative industry and we hijacked it, but that’s for another time). Lots of meeting, lots of yachts, Rose, fun, booze, dancing (not me), an Irish pub and football, good meetings and new developments. A great event. A bit too hot for my liking, national strikes on the way home, but eventually I made it back. I missed my family most of all, and whilst a lot of people think that Cannes is all fun, it is also hard work – just in a very nice (!) environment.

As a matter of fact the week was very productive. Good outcomes that should bear fruits in the near future. The only bitter taste is that last year the Uber strike made it difficult to get home. This year a national strike affecting the airport as well. Air France called off a strike. Some people got stuck. Some missed international connections. What is happening? France just doesn’t come across as a good country does it. But then….

IMG_6097

Then our vote on Thursday. Brexit. I was surprise hearing from someone that he voted to exit the EU. Anyone with a decent education and common sense should have voted to remain. At least this is my opinion. I awoke in shock. 52% of the country voted for a Brexit. The UK is leaving the European Union. You might have seen my comments on Facebook. I am sad. I didn’t expect that. Friends posted from Cannes that investors started withdrawing money from the UK right from 1 am, when the results pointed towards Brexit.

Where does that leave us as a family? Will we stay in this country I chose to live in and have a family? Will we move to Germany, Australia, New Zealand? What does it really mean? I have always said that history repeats itself, the European Union will come to an end at some point. I anticipated this happening via a few bankruptcies of countries and then the union deciding to unravel. Now Britain decided to leave. Scotland will now most probably leave the Great British Union, then Northern Ireland. Will we then see England being on its own?

And as is stands, a few people that wanted to ‘vote against the system’, never believed their ‘exit vote’ would count. Never mind. We just got through a recession, we are in growth mode and what we do not need is about five years of uncertainty, trouble and bad relationships with our neighbouring countries. Would, post 5 years, things get better? Maybe, but not guaranteed. Let’s face it we are better in than out. And also we don’t really symbolise as a country that we welcome foreigners and immigrants. People we need, the country needs, to fuel growth. As someone said, the people that voted to remain are the ones able to leave; whilst the ones that voted to leave won’t be able to leave and will get the brutal force of the exit. It also seems that more older people voted to exit, whilst the younger generation would have preferred to stay. Democracy I suppose: every vote counts the same.

FT comment on Brexit

FT comment on Brexit

Some predict that five years from now we will see a better and stronger Britain. Will we? Maybe. I always say to trust in the future and that things will work out, and that the universe will sort things out. Yes, I say that. Yes, I believe it. But who is influencing it. In our own little world, it would be us. In the greater world, it might be people we cannot trust anymore. Or can we? I am shell shocked. I am feeling sick and lost at the same time. Sick of thinking that you can build something that lasts. A house, a home for the family. Build to last for 20+ years for the kids to grow up in a stable environment, for us to go to work, go on the occasional holidays and have a good life. All that was put at jeopardy now? For what gain? Or will it all come good? Will we be looking back in 5 years time and say that it was the right decision for the future of our country? Will I have a British passport by then? Might I work in Germany, living in England? I guess only the future will tell.

To early to make any rush decisions I suppose. Politicians would have to come up with answers. Quickly. We need leadership and guidance, a plan to become a great nation and to offer employment, security and stability for the people in this country, no matter what their background is. London already said they would put all wheels in motion to help people to stay; a petition to have another referendum was already signed by over 1 million people. I just hope I can stay … will be made welcomed (again) but according to the legislation, after the next two years, I might not be eligible to stay. I was crying. I was in tears watching the news. I didn’t expect this. And I have the responsibility (with my wife) to bring my children up in a country with opportunity and in a stable and secure environment. The next year or so will show whether or not Britain can continue to deliver that. Or England as it looks atm, given Scotland’s looming referendum.

The dust will settle and hopefully settles quickly.
All will be good in the end I suppose. I shall and will not panic.
I don’t believe I ever have to leave the country, probably easily get a passport, but do I want to stay in the long term?

Let’s change the topic:

As you know I am writing a lot on productivity and life life balance. There was an article I read this week about why do we work so hard. A rather long article but well worth a read. Mark Zuckerberg originally shared it on Facebook. It gave some insights on our love for hard work. Quote: “It wasn’t the stress of being on the fast track that caused my chest to tighten and my heart rate to rise, but the thought of being left behind by those still on it.”

Is it perception that drives us? Is it what others think?

Having been, more than ones, in difficult emotional situations, I realise that most of what makes us worry, makes us think, flight or fight, is based on our thoughts. Our brain wiring. Coffee or alcohol can accelerate your thinking and emotional stress. Constant input from emails, tasks to finish, things to do, to remember etc etc. brings strain upon us. We don’t want to fail and want to be winning! Being available all the time and not being able to wind down will become, naturally, challenging for ‘human kind’. If I say human kind, I say that with a distinct thought that we must start to relax more often, take breaks, evaluate what is happening. We should not be constantly available and rely on people getting back to us via emails.

Whilst I am working on my next productivity book, I see the need for disconnection. For down time. There is no way that it is sustainable, let alone productive, to be constantly connected and constantly in touch with everyone. I manage to not check emails and work related things at the weekend. Quite frankly this is down to having no time and all priority on the family. This again happened this weekend.

After being away and really missing the boys, not being able to find the key rings they asked for, I took them to the Zoo on Saturday. That was my highlight. My wife was away at the weekend, so the boys and I went on the adventure to the London Zoo. We left early in the morning, spend 4.5 hours in the zoo, walked 12,000 steps (10K) and had lots of sweets, ice cream and FUN! They were knackered. They loved it. They had a fab day and I didn’t have to shout once. Being able to fulfil their needs and care about them, is fantastic. The possibility to engage with them, bonding and creating shared experience. We missed mummy of course 😉

I hope you had a great weekend too.

Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and with the ones that are dear to you. Uncertain times ahead, yet let us hope that things will always work out in the end. Because they will.

Have a good one,

Volker

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Sunday Column (390)

A busy week lies behind me. Draining. Even my 5 year old said he was ready for a week vacation. Bless.

Firstly I had to overcome the thought of not climbing my wall, overcoming my fear and challenging my body in 6 weeks time. I am a tad disappointed. It feels like I revert back to my swimming and kettle bell and running exercises as I have done, to keep fit, without a goal. I was asking myself if I should just do a marathon instead. But I still don’t fancy it. So the search continues for another wall. I keep you posted. Any ideas are welcome.

When running a 10K on Tuesday I felt drained, tired. I don’t sleep well lately. The swimming on Monday seems more exhausting than anticipated. 1.5K is my swimming distance and whilst it doesn’t seem that far, it does take a bit out of you. As a matter of fact you burn almost the same amount of calories with a breast stroke 40 minutes swim as you do with a 40 minute run. Who would have guessed.

Next week is Cannes. Less running, busy days, Rose fuelled. Maybe I take it easy for a week re exercise, reset the system and get on with it from the week after again. It almost feels as if I need some time off. Not long until the summer holidays.

Cannes for adtech

Cannes for adtech

I really feel that for the past 2 years I haven’t had a proper break. A detox of work, being responsive to emails. Just this week, reading another productivity article, I have been supported by my theory that those productivity principles don’t cut the cheese. Yes those gurus are right and my summary of the tools are right too. However the key to unlimited productivity lies in a personalised system. As every job, every relationship, every circumstances are different, we must apply a person based productivity principle. That’s the theory I am working on in my next book, to allow for a tailor made system. Being able to get your personalised productivity plan.

Having said that, Forbes published a video about that time bound work, 9-5, doesn’t work any more. And this is one of the overarching principles that will always apply. We are not machinery and each of us has peaks and troughs at different times of day and months. We must work with and in harmony with our own energy system to reach peak performance. Taking breaks every 90 minutes is essential.

What I have noticed is that I haven’t written much about my commute. Sitting in first class accommodation whilst writing this, you would assume it is fine. No, it isn’t. The conductors went on strike. But nothing changed. With the new trains they are fearing for their jobs. However, I understand that Southern and other train companies offered to retrain them and keep them as employers. This is supported by the train drivers, who don’t want to steer 12 carriages without a conductor, fearing to leave the cabin if anything happens on the train. Fair points.

Cut a long story short a lot of conductors are now long term sick instead of going on strike. Train drivers seem to join in a bit and we have lots of cancellation of trains. Today’s train is one in three they didn’t cancel, yet they made it 5 instead of 10 coaches. It is standing only, ram packed and by time we get to Gatwick it will be that full, that I can only assume what the visitors to Great Britain think of our rail system. It is disgusting really and has been ongoing for a while. The service, as you might remember from my last moans, has never been that great but now it is even worse. Lucky for me the air conditioning is working this morning. I saw a pregnant woman and hope she found a seat (she went to a different carriage) and elderly which I likewise hope got a seat. This is getting dangerous. Do I have sympathy with the conductors? I do and I don’t. They should go to work, take offers to be retrained or find a different job. Easier said than done but sometimes work is like that. They wouldn’t have to endure the journey. And another strike is looming next week.

I am wondering where that leaves us as a country. The looming Brexit, the conductor strikes, the shooting of an MP this week. Sometimes I fear this country that I adopted as my home is turning for the worse. I get scared sometimes. Just as we seem to settle, raise the family, and just want to get on with life, this is happening. Let’s hope we get through that turmoil quickly and back to the old British pride in the next couple of months. Very decisive weeks ahead.

At the end of the day it is what it is. You cannot change life. It is almost predestined. Your life overall. Family. Kids. Job. Success. Or not. The way you want to live your life. Whilst it all depends on you, at the end of the day you live the life you were told to live. That isn’t bad and you just carry on, be one of the many. However, some people are very successful in breaking those patterns. They break free and accelerate beyond what would be called the “norm”. They might take more risks than an average person, or they might just not go with the conformity.

I have seen a few changes with people recently which makes me think about the state of affairs. About motivation, external influence, and understanding of business. It might be a phenomenon of our industry yet there are too many people not investing in talent and or experienced managers. They think that they know it all. That they are untouchable. Yet the really successful people have strong, experienced advisors on their side, the ones that help scaling the business and introduce processes important to smooth growth. Hiring of top talent. Maybe I should do more consulting work, yet I enjoy what I am doing at the moment. My company is at the edge of the industry, pushing boundaries. I like that.

Predestined. That’s my word this week. I am not actively watching the Euro Cup yet I am looking at the results and fill in the wall chart for the boys. Who is going to win? When will we all dance like Swedish and Irish fans in harmony rather than rioting? Will there ever be peace?

My bags are packed. For now to go to Cannes. To go and have a few days in harmony. In peace with the industry and have some fun in the sun. Yet a strong business focus too. I hate to leave the kids for the few days, but I am looking forward to a weekend with them next week. The wife is away and I am in charge. We are going to have fun.

I report to you then.

Best wishes,

Volker

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AdTrader Germany 2016

Here is the video of my recent panel appearance:

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Sunday Column (389)

Thank you all for numerous feedback on my blog over the past couple of weeks. Some think my blog is too business oriented, others find comfort in what I am writing about personal development. I hope that overall I cover enough common ground to interest most of my readers. It is comforting to hear that one likes the thoughts I put out there, the guidance to cope with what is happening in life. And there is a lot happening. See below.

If you like what you read, please share this post and my blog, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, forthcoming, there might be more topics covered here around personal development and productivity. So watch this space.
I suffered a bit this week. Having started my training for the 24 hour relay race in a few weeks time, meant more runs. Even more runs next week. Delayed and short form trains. New developments at work. And yet, I am trying to stay calm, to cope and make sure my mind is like water. That I have enough thinking resources left to keep my mind above water, to not be irrational, and to cope with the pain and strain on my body. I am toughening up, one would say. Also, the picture displayed, is my new favourite profile picture, taken at a conference in Berlin two weeks ago. 

Ballueder

Ballueder


Then the unexpected happen. I got a letter from my doctors with an appointment to have a small surgery I need to get done, nothing to worry about, but they scheduled it 3 days before the 24 hour run. Decision time. 

I am gutted! The fear of having to postpone surgery for another month or even two given the holiday season, I had to cancel the run. My wall. You remember, the one challenge I was looking forward to. The thing that kept me afloat with the hard training. I am not devastated but disappointed. I feel like letting the team down and also to not being able to do this challenge. Would I have succeeded? Will I do it again next year? What do I train for? Do I scale back training?

I must find a new wall.

Moving on. The highlight of the week was today. Seven. The amount of years since my first born came to us. I feel blessed every day for what a gift he is to us. The challenges he brings, the joy he brings and the unconditional love between us. Character wise we are very similar. We clash sometimes and I can see this developing in hopefully a very close understanding of each other. We can guide him and help him, the decisions are his though. Ultimately anyway. But that is for when they are older. Discussing that with another dad earlier in the week, the boundaries cannot be loosened until they are at least 10 or so. For now they are better off in a controlled environment. 

It is weird to think that my son is seven years on this planet. We were in a different place, physically as well as emotionally, back then. A different part of our life. And now he is part of the life we are living. Looking back, we were so young, weren’t we?

And often, when there is so much joy and fun, there are opposite forces at work too.

There were really sad news. I met an long term industry friend a few weeks ago. We caught up properly, on the industry, his job, family and all. He was saying he will be on holidays with his two daughters I believe. Monday I heard the sad and terrible news that he passed away whilst being on holidays.
It is the second industry friend I lost within the last four years. Surely not the last. We weren’t close but could be. A great guy. A family guy, knew what he was doing at work, yet dedicated to life. Genuine. RIP. Never forgotten.

On Thursday this was followed by more sad news. My friend from Rotary, my mentor and the club’s mentor really, passed away too. He was ill and last I heard he was on the mend. Now, he took a turn for the worse. Bad news seems to trickle in from all ends. RIP Herbert, a good friend and mentor.

Again, it makes you think. It could be over tomorrow. Things might change in an instant. What if. Nobody knows. Yet we cannot think it happens to oneself, yet we cannot think it won’t. Carpe Diem.

To end the post on a positive note: Friends of ours just won a legal better for better treatment for their child. I know it sounds bad that you have to go through such an ordeal. Yet they won. I am very happy for them and their child to have such a positive outcome. Emotions, positive, negative, they are all around us. I have been sitting down a few times lately, drying the odd tear, and thinking how lucky we are. How happy we are. We appreciate what we have, which is so important.

I often fear what would be if….and then remind myself that we must focus on the good things in life. The things that make us great, that keep us going and bring positivity in our life. That’s the key. I don’t want to say to ignore bad news but don’t get beaten up by it. Don’t get sucked into negativity.
Only by beating your fear, by overcoming the fear you might have, you win. There is a bit of risk but no real insecurity. As you will make it work. You will work it out. You will not allow yourself fail. Whatever life throws at you, you will be ready to fight back.

Enjoy life, have a long one,

Volker 

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Sunday Column (388)

A short and busy week. Whilst it was quiet on the client front on Tuesday, given Monday was a bank holiday, I managed to catch up with lots of internal discussions. Also we made progress in the garden and got more commitment from our bathroom guys, so this should be sorted in the next few weeks.

Things just take time. We must accept it. Nothing ever, or maybe hardly ever, goes to plan. But that’s the beauty of life. Or is it? We always get there in the end. Patience.I am typing this post on my latest gadget. A Bluetooth keyboard by Zagg that attaches to my iPad. It is rather small but very versatile with different options to attach the screen in a way to work in presentation, reading or typing mode. And it works well so far, still getting used to it. However, already, I am loving the fact to be laptop less. Essentially all but attachments can now be easily done on the go on my iPad. Longer emails, excel sheets, presentations, etc. For short trips, conferences and most of my private advisory roles, this is the ultimate working machine.

There is this quote I heard in a Tim Ferris podcast the other day, that just wouldn’t leave my brain: Do you believe what you think? Do you? I listened to it whilst doing my half marathon distance on Monday, 22K in just under 2 hours. Do you? I mean our brain plays tricks on us all the time. We use our kids’ brains thinking to get them distracted or off to sleep. Whatever it is, our brain tells us something. It makes us feel sick thinking of things that might happen, no matter how irrational those thoughts might be. It keeps us awake at night and yet we are able to calm our mind down through meditation or exercise. Latter works really well for me, processing thoughts. GTD users would know how to sit down and ‘drain their brain’, e.g. Writing all your thoughts out of your brain, to free up thinking space.

We must train our brain to think positive and to engage with us, listen to us, and be confident. It must black out the negative thoughts, the what ifs and the maybe one days. The worries should be neglected and we must focus on the positive things in life. Maybe not a new thought but very important, particularly with more and more input coming into our brains atm.
Another podcast, Freedom Fastlane, suggested that there is no insecurity as our brains will always fight for survival. He gave you the food for thought to be told you are incurable ill. If you were, wouldn’t you fight for the most satisfactory life to have until you die, making it happen, no matter what. And once you have been told that there was a mistake, and you live, you never go back to your life of fear but you stay at your most intensive life and living experience you ever had. And that is it. That is the one and only thing I must still learn: living the life of no regrets and within realms of our society and peer pressure life style. Latter are probably the most worrying restrictions, and quite frankly, we shall succeed. 

Video link

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AVo7DdiMXGY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Stop thinking about what you need to do. Instead focus on who you need to be. We do not live someone else’s life, we are creating our own life. Our rules and dreams, no one else’s. We are leading not following and we make it work, always. No matter what. The inner force will drive us on, make us succeed in whatever we do. And that is life’s golden ticket, isn’t it?
So do not believe everything your brain thinks and believe in what you want to believe. It will happen. Life is funny like that. Believe you are going to be the next CRO and you will. Believe in your kids and give them all the tools you own for them to build their own life. They will not disappoint you, and how can they if you just expect them to build. Don’t tell them how the house is supposed to look like, they work it out themselves. Their life. Their love. Their passion. What is it to you? Why should they follow your ideals? They will work it out themselves.

My MIL stayed this week. Her partner too. The kids were off school and I was in Berlin. I would have loved more time off with the family but I was speaking at a conference about data. I enjoy those kind of things and it went really well. Likewise I enjoyed the networking, the discussions and of course attention 😉 I am back out there mingling with my old friends and partners. 
Then there was a 10K run I did in Berlin. Tiergarten, Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag. At least that’s what I planned. I ended up with a 13.5K run, a detour and seeing a different part of the city. Never mind. It is nice to run in cities, see post about Rome, and nice to see some great things. Life is good, and with me doing on average about 110K per month, I do feel fitter too. Actually, as a matter of fact, I am feeling fitter than I have ever been. Yet German beer, Schnitzel and Gyros didn’t help this week.

Life is amazing. Let’s embrace it and let us enjoy it. In full swing, in full acceptance. And let us pass on our passion to the kids, to make sure they grow up and develop the way they want. We can only help them on the way, they have to walk themselves.

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (387)

The old bank holiday weekend. In Britain that means an increase appetite for BBQs, that is weather permitting. As so often, unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking that good, maybe dry but not too hot. Summer hasn’t really arrived yet, there is hope so.  And yes we managed a lovely park run on Sunday and a BBQ. Hurray!

Let me update you on a few things. I didn’t go on my trip to the states this week. There were business reasons which made sense to postpone that trip. That left me with a rather unplanned week, which I could use to get on top of forecasts, planning, pipeline, Salesforce, and preparations for a conference I am speaking at next week. On Wednesday I shall go to Berlin for a few days to speak at the Ad Trader Conference. I remember its origin in the summer of 2010 in London. A pub, funny enough now opposite the biggest ATD in town, a dark room, and a few entrepreneurs that wanted to do this thing called ‘real time bidding’. That was then, now this conference attracts a few hundred people each year, and RTB became programmatic. Amazing.


On the private side of things are updates too. Firstly I caught up with a friend of nearly 25 years on Monday. Man it was good to speak. To take the time and compare notes and realise this person has the same challenges I have, the same issues, fears and challenges, dreams and opportunities. Yet we live far apart. The beauty is we are so familiar to each other that it doesn’t matter. Latest next year we should be able to catch up in person again! So whatever you think, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, no matter what it looks like.

The bathroom is finished. 6 or so weeks! The finish is not as envisaged but we glad it is all working. Kind of anyway. We found out why the tap/sink is leaking and this was fixed this week. Temporary I should add. Manufacturers problem. The bath still needs to be examined as it moves and shouldn’t. We are kind of confident it was fixed correctly (how can you not fix a bath correctly), so maybe another manufacturer’s fault. Given the money we spend on it….but never mind. If we have to replace the bath tub, then this is what we have to do. No choice. And we will get through that too. It all works out in the end.

Two trees made their way into our back garden. This is to block out neighbours’ views. A new bush to cover a dry area and break up the looks a bit and then we started on the evening patio in the garden plus the extension of our current patio. Things are happening. We are doing all that in favour of the drive way which we pushed back to the end of the year. No rush. The car should arrive in August, so all will happen in the end. Time will pass. It all works out in the end. My mantra in all ways of life at the moment.


Friday saw a nice get together of the local dads. You begin to feel a bit old. Conversations are middle aged man like. Lol. Vasectomy, kids, wife, family life, local shops, DIY etc… As a matter of fact I am feeling a bit old. Tired, headaches from the change of weather, a sore throat, and exhausted after a 14K run. And I was planning to do another half marathon distance this weekend. Maybe not. Time to sit down, relax, meet the MIL and spend time with the kids. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.
You might have seen it on Facebook. I am reflective. There are a lot of those loose ends I was writing about last week. Things you are not happy with. Things that are not as you would do them. Things that you disagree with. Things that make you worry and not sleep at night. Most people would call it stress. A call on Friday added to it. What will the future bring. No matter what we are going to be ok.

I got a nice compliment last week from someone saying that she liked the quote ‘that one should trust in the future, and things will work out’. And they must. Maybe things are different to what you expect them to be. Maybe it needs some more learning for some people to address and understand the issues you have. Maybe you have to change your perspective. Maybe you are the one causing the issues? One must examine all angles, sit down, map them out, brainstorm and come up with a solution. Not all solutions are taken off our hands, there are still a lot we can influence and do. And this works for any situation. Being able to objectively reflect on your life is key. To sit down, meditate, reflect. And one day you look back and all your issues have gone. And you are annoyed at the energy you put in worrying – but that’s life. 

Should we have got a different bathroom? Should we have prioritised the driveway? Would it have made a difference? Probably not in the greater scale of things. 

Trust in the future. Visualise you sitting there at Christmas. Glass of bubbly. All worries gone, nothing there to stress about, a new year and new start ahead. Things will work out. They always do. Even if you cannot see it today. And whilst this is easy to say, there is nothing we can do about it either. Talk to friends about it, map out a plan and have a massive trust in things working out. Put your energy towards your confidence and trust. Visualise the positive outcomes. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

Watch Tony Robbins for some extra motivation.

With those (wise) words I leave you to it. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Maybe we get the weather for another BBQ after all, wouldn’t that be nice? Kids playing in the garden, the smell of freshly cut grass, the meat being cooked on the open fire. It takes me back years. The Shiraz at hand, a football to close to the fire and a laugh with Nanny. 

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (386)

This week started off wit some travels. On Wednesday morning I went off to a conference in Rome. It is a great opportunity to network with senior industry peers. It is the second time I attended this conference and often the Festival of Media is referred to as “little Cannes”. I will give full account on our corporate blog if anyone is interested. However, as expected, the conference delivered on some awesome contacts, ideas and talks. Media is changing, accelerating. I am excited.

meditation

On the flight over I finished a series called “Collision”, about a car crash, death and ‘random’ connections. Everything is down to chance. Life that is. The moment you make a decision you go for it. That’s why sometimes we don’t want to make decisions. We procrastinate. And then chance plays into our life. Or is it faith. Can we predict life? Not really. Another plane crash this week. No one knows why. Terrorism, or pilot, or technical fault. Awful!

We must believe in the great there is to come. To focus on success and to not worry about setbacks. If we believe long enough in our higher calling, others will start too. One will always find negativity in life but energy only flows to what we give attention to. And those must be the happy and positive moments. The high moments of life. This one was definitely one of those higher weeks.

At time of starting to write this blog, on Wednesday morning’s flight, I can already name a few highs. My wife and I had a brilliant night and laugh on Sunday. We are still in love and look after each other. Despite setbacks we focus on the positive things.

Of course this isn’t always easy. We aren’t that happy with the bathroom (see earlier post for context) but it is all done now. We hope to not having to replace the bathtub. Even if we do, we will learn from it and move on from it. This experience has been very stressful.

And then, my oldest went away for a day with Beavers. He got a badge. And he got one for his little brother too. They were both mighty proud. And they are happy. The little one woke me up the night before my flight. I gave him a big hug, kiss and cuddle. It was nice to see him and hold him before being away. Two nights, three days, sometimes seem like an eternity. And when finalising the post, there were countless others. Go and find your highlights, focus on them. The run around Vatican City before 730 am? Beating the bicycle going up the hill? Meeting this awesome CEO, or getting this campaign finally off the ground?

There are a few loose ends in my life. Of course there are. Some are only in my brain and I am trying to work out why they are there and how I best deal with them.

2016-05-20 21.05.37

Watching that movie and meditating on some of those challenges, I must trust things will work themselves out. Trust and faith into the future and the chance of it all happening the way you envisaged life. Patience. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part and showing stamina and patience can be very difficult. Because life will always work itself out. It always has done. It always will. So I am sitting back and practise patience.

It’s like when looking back in life. How your childhood experience influenced your university choice, and your choice of fraternity your value system and friends. Your first job, which most took because it was out there, and the big plan we had for ourselves. Still all to come or already achieved? How will the next decision influence our life looking back? The car we buy, the builder we trust or the school we choose for our kids. The activities and influences we engage in. Similar, in a few months time I will look back at this busy period, where we made decisions, learn from the outcome and realise why certain decisions were good when we made them. And, at the same time I have another few loose ends to tie up. Life repeats itself. Every 6 months you are faced with a major decision and something will change in your life. At least that’s true according to a theorist I listened to back in 2004 when moving to London. It doesn’t always work out that way.

What an intense week. A great week. Then that feeling when you look out of the plane window high above the Alps. Above the mountains. I used to do that trip every week. I feel so high – not on drugs – yet on opportunities and possibilities in life. Life is so amazing and embracing it is key. Hugging those little people that missed you. Almost missing your plane because you had to buy them some chocolate. And then you have all weekend to make up for being away.

Life is amazing. I don’t travel next week. For better or worse. Yet I get a lot of work done and rescheduled a few meetings. It gives me opportunities. Life happens whilst you are busy planning other things. Embrace it.

Have a wonderful week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (385)

This week seems to have gone on forever. I found it tiring. Very tiring indeed. Not sure if it was because the weather played up, things were a bit sluggish or just because it was one of those weeks. We had brilliant sunshine, torrential rain, long winded discussions, great decisions, good presentations and awesome chats. We made progress, we won things, we lost things. It was just another week really.

Another week. Another decision. Car ordered. A Skoda. Brand new. The finance deals you are getting these days are just too tempting. If you had told me a year ago I would ever buy a new car, I would have told you that you were crazy. Anyway, I wrote a lot about it and will write about it again when it arrives. I cannot wait. It feels like it completes something. We are back to having a car instead of a functional vehicle to accommodate rear facing car seats that are long gone. As a family, we are growing up.

Skoda Superb

The bathroom is done. I mean to 99%. Still some niggles, some electrics, some parts. Only took 6 weeks 🙁 We might still have to exchange the bath tub, don’t ask. We might have got a faulty item. Happens I suppose. Anyway, the bathroom finishing completes the house renovation. A 4 year project. All rooms have been done now. It is done. Sometimes it seemed forever but it didn’t. And yes there are small things to sort, and things to be redone, and of course, last but not least, my beloved drive way. We put that project back a bit, hopefully autumn, to prioritise family holiday, the car and sanity above all 🙂

Things cannot be rushed yet not happen quickly enough. I am writing this bit as I am sitting on the 8 pm train home because I had a great meeting with someone I really value. Someone I know I am going to be friends with for a long time. And that’s when you don’t mind the longer night. You write your blog as the sun sets when you leave Victoria station. Good things take time. And a drink. Something to seal what you have, right. Something to seal that there is more to come. Our industry is a group of friends, this is so nice.

As I am writing this and getting emotional, I am listening to Jack Savoretti. An artist/singer I recently discovered. I love him. Just the right mix of what I’d call folk and ballads. Lots of guitars, good songs and a great voice. I keep listening to him, and cannot stop listening to him. Something in his songs gives me this feeling back of being young and wild. Riding my motor bike down the country lanes in Ireland, getting caught out by rain, seeing my friend skidding off the road. This is years ago and you longing for that freedom and independence you once had. The lack of responsibility but for yourself. Things changed of course. I am an adult now and don’t need to ask for permission or acceptance. I am responsible for my own action and, yet, I cannot have a motor bike. That’s of course where family responsibility and common sense comes in. That is where my new toy, the family car comes in. And following from that, the mid life crisis Jaguar XK 8 or the Porsche for my 40th birthday. Long time to go and who knows what is going to be then. We don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow.

On that note I got a call from someone this week. I value him very much as a friend and mentor. A great citizen, a fantastic boss, an amazing person. He hasn’t been well and he might just read this post, and I want to give him a shout out that I am thinking of him. And if you aren’t reading it, others will. When your life changes from almost over to full steam ahead within a few weeks, it must be the most awful roller coaster ride you ever had. I wish you well. You will be alright. Don’t ever give up. Your Facebook post touched me, and I wrote this prior to seeing it. Anyway, your story should be a reminder for us to always look forward, to never give up and to always nourish and value what we have. What we don’t appreciate, depreciates. One of my many mantras. For yourself, for anyone, it is always worth trying. We miss you! It was so good to speak to you and we see you soon. Sending wishes, prayers and positive thoughts your way.

never give up

Towards the end of the week I spoke at a conference. Another event to show off the great solutions we are working on. Being on a panel with industry friends from years ago, people that have shaped our industry and pushed boundaries. We are, no question, leading the market. And in the areas we are not, we definitely should. I am going to meet a few guys in HQ over the next couple of weeks to discuss that evolution. To discuss how we can continue to lead that space we are so good at. I am pumped about the opportunities we are facing. Look forward, live the now and make sure things are moving in the right direction. And that is the most important bit. The belief and future looking aspect of where things are moving to.

Below the post is the video.

What else happened. I believe I am transforming a bit. There are changes I am looking at, things I am developing on. One is family. I am putting a lot more focus, particularly weekends to engaging with the boys. The wife ran another half marathon and I looked after the youngest. He went to a party, the oldest was away with Beavers. I was in charge of the team this weekend and enjoyed every moment of it. Yet I noticed when I came home one night and worked all the way home, I was very edgy with them. I will learn. Learn to reflect, and learn to relax. As they are the main focal point of my life. No compromise.

Last but not least, and maybe insignificant to you but for me it’s a big thing 😉 The Gatwick Express trains that I use, changed, at least on Thursday night. Instead of sitting on an old 1950 refurb comfy train coach with sofa like seats, we got the new hard seated commuter trains. All change. We are arriving in the 21st century with WIFI on the train, cleaner trains, that make us, England, look very modern to visitors. The tables seem to be very far away from the seats, making it awkward to work on, but maybe we will be getting used to it. And we must avoid the temptation to work just because we got wifi. And we got plugs for mobile phone chargers. And the lights are bright. It is a bit nicer really. Yet, there have been some strikes, some delays and cancellation. New trains won’t change that I suppose. I almost missed the event I was speaking at. Never mind, made it in the end.

I made it to Friday too. I enjoyed the weekend. And I am back on it tomorrow. 3 weeks of travelling ahead.
I am loving it. I am winning.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (384)

A short week. A difficult week. An alright week. This week I thought never finished and I had to leave a lot of unfinished business on the table. That’s not like me. But what you going to do. Each day has only 24 hours. Prioritisation and time management comes in handy. The important and urgent stuff gets done first. And, come Friday, I was on top of things. Hammering out meetings and making progress, training new staff and having home runs. It can be done! Nothing is ever impossible.

We got a new starter at work. The same week the toilets didn’t work. He must have been well impressed. Plus me being rushed off my feet doesn’t help. Hopefully we have more starters soon. I guess we are getting somewhere. The industry seems to be at a pivotal point. We are at the points or take off with exciting product launches in the pipe.

And the weather! Sunny London. You beauty. A funfair in Hassocks, play in the park, football in the street. Those were the days and they are here again.

Change is in the air. I had a good chat with a friend I haven’t seen for 13 years and he gave me some really good guidance. I felt like connecting to my interests and roots. To my inner self. I plan to do more of that soon. With a lot of change looming I will have to put a lot of my theories into action. And I will. For a better life and more love. So here I am, committing to change.

kick ass

In the name of change: the most important thing this week was to get a stand up desk at work. It’s great to have a company looking after your health. A nice lunch with a client in the first summer sun and a chat with some old friends. Life could hardly get better but spending time with the boys at the weekend.

Running took a backseat after a 17.5K on Monday I had to recover. So I just did my essential maintenance runs and some body resistance exercise. This was after the half marathon distance last Friday. I am finally getting fit and healthy. I feel like life is coming together. As if the petals of a flower are interlocking and spinning and taking off. It is happening. Not sure this is the best analogy. And boy did I need that massage on Saturday. Full MOT please 🙂

And one day we look back at the small things in our life that are now the big things. The things that matter now and make us moan are so miniature tomorrow. Learning to live life and enjoy the moment and what you have. The ever changing moment that goes away so quickly.

Life is positive. Life is good.

And we will eventually finish the bathroom and shower room. And do the drive way. And will get on top of things. And then…we start all over again.

Let’s stay happy. Stay positive, be good.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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