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?

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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.

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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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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….

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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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