In life we just need to keep going and keep looking for the positives. We must continue to tell our story to ourselves and focus on what we want to achieve for us and others. Every story is different and some clash, but most of them just move alongside each other in the greater unconscious. Life is there to make the most out of given your ability and desire. It is down to you to achieve what you can and want to achieve, and it is down to you to react to situations in a certain way. Life is simple, embrace it and make it happen. Action it now. Don’t ever wait.
Another strike commute week behind me. Three days of delayed services and reduced services, early mornings without the kids, changed exercise routine. It is interesting to observe how your day is impacted by the commute. But as of last week’s post, there is no point of worrying or getting annoyed about it. I cannot change it. Things just seem to all happen regardless of whether I worry. Let’s look at the bin men. They didn’t collect our bins on Monday because a commuter parked in a way that the bin lorry couldn’t reach our bins. Of course it was the same car that had parked halfway across our driveway entrance before and half on the pavement of our neighbours. People just don’t think. They don’t think of the consequences their actions have on others. Now, in one of my Buddhist podcasts, they explained that the word Karma was invented to explain that every action has a re-action. I truly believe that.
But maybe I am sweating the small stuff here, or actually I am not. At least not as much as I used to. 9 years ago it would have been different. Just in time for half term and the arrival of our new bed and mattress, we had our 9th wedding anniversary. There is much to say about that. To be honest, looking back to when we first moved in together, to where we are at now, times have changed so much. To an extend that I don’t even remember my wife not being part of my childhood. The arrival of the little ones, 7 and 5 years ago respectively. Our first house, first pets, first decisions on how to arrange the garden. First time I paid for the full rent in a month when my wife didn’t have a job. That was before we were engaged. Then again she worked when I was still at uni. So many happy and sad memories, we always made and always will make it work. And 9 years on, I love this woman more than I ever have. Could not imagine a day without her. Couldn’t imagine not being with her, not having her as a companion in life, helping me to master the challenges, and to share the joy. I love you wifey! And I believe I am the luckiest man in the world to have you around me.
In line with above, and me being a happy person, I was asked this week whether I will be the next German Anthony Robbins. What a compliment yet I am far from being him, and don’t think I will ever be like him. I might be able to help in a similar way to how he does, giving my studies and background, but in a much smaller scale. Who knows and even that isn’t happening yet. However….I read an amazing quote this week: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF. LIFE IS ABOUT CREATING YOURSELF. Got it. Simple words, and as my Freedom Fastland podcast put it the other day, you are the one in control of changing the future of your family. You can change the standard path. You are the one creating the new opportunity and become the entrepreneur that changes the income and outlook for family generations to come.
That’s if you want to be like that. I don’t. I am not born to change the life of thousands by creating a product I can sell. I am not. I love being where I am, changing a life and improving a situation at a time. As someone said to me, you might not become rich with what you are doing but it is going to be fun. And that’s important. I created myself. I didn’t find myself. The “ballueder brand” is being build but I am not creating a new Robbins or Burchard. I am creating a person that is enjoying living my life, having a lot of fun on the way and create a future for my family. The things, the small stuff above, is what we create. And I like to just get on with my job, do it bloody well, and go home to be a good dad. In between I enjoy developing my kids, my friends and colleagues. I love helping and giving. About two years ago I managed a very successful transformation of attitude and it scared me a bit how successful you can be by putting enough energy and change management into a person and process. Great learning. Nothing is impossible and everything is possible. But stop searching for something that someone else wants you to be or you think you want to represent. You won’t find the answers. Life is about creation not copying.
Sometimes those personal development quotes just hit you. They all say the same and someone said the other day, that the ones sharing them, are the ones that least live them and are least successful. I tend to disagree. Each to their own and I personally enjoy a bit of self help banter. However, this is just one way of expressing your emotions, fears and thoughts. No results without massive action. That’s a quote from Anthony, and he is right 😉
And as I progress towards the end of Bruce Springsteen’s book there is more that resonates. The stuff you learn from your kids. They make you see the world differently, make you understand the world. And as you grow up you learn how much you don’t learn and how often you just make things up as a parent as you go along. I love my boys, and similar to the wife above, I couldn’t be happier.
As I reflect on this week, having been fairly busy, yet had some challenges to overcome, life is good. I am happy. Content. I arrived.
Have a great week.
From my little corner of the world, I send you lot of love and happiness,
Monday started off nicely and when drafting my blog I realised I ended up writing a whole post on Brexit. See Brexit.
So I had to stop myself writing another post just about train strikes on Tuesday. The RMT union, rightly or not, strikes. Again. Overrunning engineering works added to the misery. I finally was on my way on the first train (!) running from Brighton to London. Just before 830 am. Two hours later than anticipated. I am up early anyway. I can change my schedule but my employer expects me in the office for 9 am. And they should do. The ongoing situation with Southern Rail is inexcusable. It is utterly disgusting in this day and age. But I wouldn’t add anything to the conversation by getting annoyed.
So I breathe in and out. I decide how I feel. Southern cannot make me feel a certain way. I cannot change the situation. I can only accept it. Doesn’t mean I like it. Far from it. Totally out of my control. The same is true for my headphones. After spending a small fortune on my Bose noise cancellation wireless headphones I exchanged them on Monday. Interrupted and intermittent connectivity. I have been testing the new ones all week. It seems better and I am in close contact with Bose support. We will tackle that. The sound of the Bose headphones are just too good.
The commuter nightmare. A lot of people feel the strain and pain. It makes people sick. And I wonder why or do I get sick? On Tuesday I couldn’t leave the house before 8 to catch any train. On Wednesday I was in London before 8. Madness. No reliability or consistency. The fear and worries of the train company’s delays reflecting bad on you and your ability to be at work. Companies luckily understand but they shouldn’t have to. And neither should we as commuters. A never ending story but shouldn’t we just get a reliable service most of the time? The other challenge is that most people don’t know how to use the commuter time. I have habits. In the morning it is very much about me-time. I read. Without (many) exceptions I try to go through a book every 10 days. On the bus it is a mix of emails, podcasts, preparation for the day. Depending on the day I might just chill out to some music. On the way back I work on the bus. Time sheets, feed reader catch up. On the train home I usually work. If there is nothing to work on, which is rare, I read or watch some catch up TV, an episode of a TV series or chill out. Moving forward I also will make sure to finalise my next productivity book. Once I finished reading Bruce Springsteen’s biography. Yet without that routine and use of the time to accomplish something, this commute would be hell. Now it is one of my most productive times of the day. The reduced strike service causes less delays and less time to work. I get home quicker. Bit odd, and counter productive 😉
Due to the strike I also changed my exercise routine. A nice run on Wednesday night, given I had time, resulted in a 43.16 for the 10K on my treadmill. Result. My body went in overdrive and resulted in some ‘stress pimpels’. Never mind. I enjoy challenging myself and pushing boundaries. I feel like I am moving in the right direction and get a few things done at the moment, clearing out the old, bringing in the new input. I am looking forward to a break, to recap on a few things, and make sure I am not missing anything in life. Half term is not too far away! On the other hand there are things that seem a bit off at the moment. Without wanting to go into great detail, just when you think things are all happily moving along, more change is in the air. I hope for positive change of course but that isn’t always guaranteed. Sanity is what you must aim for.
Coming back to Springsteen’s biography I realise a few bits about life. No great revelations but essentially, as you grow up, you notice more and more that your life isn’t at all different to other people’s life. Bruce said in one of his chapters that ‘I loved as best as I could, but I hurt some people I really cared about along the way. I didn’t have a clue as to how to do anything else.‘. I see myself having done that in the past, and had to learn a lot about loving people. Something that just didn’t come natural to me. I am great in building rapport with people, mastering situations, dealing with people and having a higher EQ than some. Yet under the skin, the love and appreciation for people beyond the daily interaction was something I had a hard time learning. My wife would be a in a better position to tell you, but also my kids. It took me a long time to come to terms of what fatherhood means to me, and how to love kids in the right way. To appreciate them seeing the world from a different place and to understand how to change my perception to their level. It is a wonderful world, once you are in it, but getting there didn’t come natural for me.
Where is that coming from? I often had doubts if I could ever learn it. If I say that Bruce gives me the confidence that it is normal, I don’t have many other people I could ask. But that’s what you learn in life, that actually the challenges you have, the things that you worry about, are the same things everyone else is worrying about. With personal nuances of course. Talking about his puberty, Bruce writes ‘I was a punk, grumbling my way through….My dad’s journey on this ship was probably one fo the most meaningful of his life and I couldn’t respect it.‘ – and I can remember those days when I was just a grumpy old teenager, and so can many, that didn’t respect their parents. And looking back we will feel bad. When Bruce looks back and says he would like to turn back time to change it or get a second chance to make it better, we often don’t get this. We often only have this one chance in life, yet we mess it up. And so what, you might be thinking. You are probably right. I have regrets in my life but I am not worried, don’t want to go back to rectify them. I found my closure in life a few years ago. I went through the exercise of writing letters to people asking them for forgiveness and closure. The ones that wanted, replied. And it is good, it is healing for me, and hopefully it was for them too. We move on in life and need to focus on what lies ahead of us, not looking back. We cannot change the past or dwell on it. We would go crazy. Would I love to go back in time to rectify things? No, I honestly would not. Maybe I don’t have enough baggage and my things are small in comparison to others, yet when in puberty, I am certain my kids will go through the same thing and I will experience life from the other side. What goes around comes around I suppose. Cycle of life.
I am not quite sure where I am leading with that. I look around the full ram packed train which I am on at 7 am in the morning due to the strike in order to get a seat and look at the commuter crowds. If we took a snap shot of those people and ask them the above questions, they would all agree. Life is what it is. No surrender. No regrets. Moving on and up. We can change the now and are obliged to make the now the best one yet. We must ensure that we always give our best, to keep winning and moving in the right direction. I am certain of that.
We sometimes remember snapshots that might be, over time, look bigger than they are. Like the famous objects in the rear view mirror. Yet often the opposite is the case. We lay to rest what we have to lay to rest. It’s done.
I am done. I am done for this week. An amazing week. I feel in more control of things and had a few things I took care of. Nice. I feel like I am winning. In my game. Getting shit done, adding value. But that’s all I want. All I can ever ask for, isn’t it?
Have a fantastic week,
I have been thinking about the Brexit again. Not only are we nearing parity with the Euro, we are wiping off money by delivering uncertainty to the markets.
My favourite topic, Brexit, got a new twist last week. Yet it was quickly withdrawn, the argument that every company should list their foreign workers. Blimey, this sounds to me like an outing of some kind. Discussing it with my Irish mate today, it feels like a counting of people with a different twist. Are we going to wear a certain sticker to identify us as non British? What is going on in this country I so felt settled in until the 23rd of June this year?
I am worried, admittedly, not that I cannot stay in this country, but what my chosen home country portraits to the outside world. Whilst I enjoy living here, what is Britain going to be like in a few years time? Nothing is forever, yet what if our plans to retire here won’t work out? Just as we finish the house, could we consider re-locating again, in 2019? Germany, New Zealand, America, Singapore?? I don’t know. There is a lot, if long term, uncertainty out there.
The six human needs have uncertainty as a need, but for me, I prefer certainty over uncertainty. I like my roots, my house, my home, and a regular routine. Doesn’t mean I am not flexible and cannot do my running at 4 am so I am not affected by the Southern train strike. Whilst I try to better myself in my job and my career and being a better dad on a daily, weekly, continuous basis, for my home and life, I like it to just stay the same and never change. Maybe that is an illusion.
That isn’t just me. A lot of people, I might even argue the majority of people are like that. A home, a castle and a place for the kids to grow up. A quality service of trains to and from work. A quality of life. Nothing else. Yes, the odd uncertainty if the exchanged Bose headphone will work better or if there is a problem with my phone. Is wireless bluetooth technology not good enough yet or is London full of interferences. But those uncertainties are fun in a way, geeky and solvable.
My cousin is going to visit from Singapore soon. She lived abroad a lot of her life time, e.g. away from Germany, yet she is happy and young, no kids, not as many roots and dependencies as us. But would re-locating kids mean un-rooting them? Surely not. But as my dad said, it is far too early to think about all that, as we got 2 years to brexit.
By that time, so I think, we will have no EU left. Then it doesn’t matter who threw the first stone. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, and where you live. Or does it? Guess time will tell, but only the uncertainty is certain I suppose. I love Britain, I chose to stay in this multicultural environment and form my life and career here. At the forefront of digital marketing, and I am hopeful, yet not certain, this will continue to be like that for a while.
Fingers crossed and let’s hope we get confidence back in the values Britain stands for: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect/tolerance.
God bless the Queen!
It got frosty outside. The mornings are colder and you can see a nice layer of frost and fog covering the country side. Idyllic I’d say. As I start my morning commute, start writing this post, you can look at the fields and trees covered in white, cold fog. The sun starts burning holes into it as the day goes on, yet the picture is amazing. As so often I don’t get a chance to take one as we are flying past the pastures. Same as the week passes by. This week has been busy but good busy. I seem to be able to manage my work load and slowly get to grips with how things work. A few weeks in, and I enjoy my job more than ever. I feel like I have arrived, and I can move on from saying I have been weeks in the job to months in the job. It feels good.
It’s funny how your life plans out in front of you. Years of doing one thing, a change in industry, offers from the other side, then moving to the other side, further away from what you ever thought you would do….to end up closer to where you ever wanted to be. What else does life have in stock for us? What is planned? Where next? I mean, for now, I would be foolish to change anything and don’t have any ambitions to do so. But where will I be in 5 years? I have to think…but this is a long time to go. Seeing a little baby boy on Friday in the office made me think. 5 years is not a long time since my youngest (!) was filling his nappies.
Life moves very quickly. Just finishing renovating the house we remodelling our bedroom; I think we are done, yet the kids rooms are re-arranged, and before we know it the teenage posters are up and the doors shut. Let’s make use of every minute of our time with them. They are such a gift!
How goes it? The voice of my friendly Southern Train Services station staff. Yes, those people are affected the same way we are by their company ….poor management and strikes causing grief across the organisation and commuters. On Monday someone was taken ill on a train and we shared a taxi from Haywards Heath. We as in the commuters. That was a bit of bonding, but you couldn’t blame Southern for it. You can however blame them for the poor service and three days of strike coming up next week. Will it go ahead? When do I start re-organising my trips, my exercise routine and evening appointments to make sure that those days aren’t turning into a night mare? WTF is going on – why can’t Southern sort it out. This week I found out a train was cancelled last minute to rush to the station to make my 9 am meeting. It is appalling and utterly disgusting to see a company not being able to sort out their staff and company issues. VERY poor management. Get rid of your top brass I’d say. It is not only the money and inconvenience, it is an attitude problem I have huge challenge with.
Just imagine I walked in on Monday and said to my boss ( 🙂 ) that I am going on strike…not only am I new in the job, he would hand me my P45 straight away. And rightly so. Fair enough, he treats me nicer than Southern seems to treat their staff, but that’s exactly the point. Never mind, my rant won’t help. The only thing that helps is to breathe in and out, and wonder WTF is going on. Never mind.
Brace yourself for economic disruption. Yes, the strike is one thing, but the other one is Brexit. The pound is on an all time low. After our PM suggested the date of Brexit or article 50 being triggered to be in March 2017, the stock market lost enough money to push us down to 6th place of wealthy nations. Really? WTF. I started swearing a lot more recently. Can you tell? Do you understand why?
Article 50 will be triggered by end of Q1 next year, and then faith decides if I can stay. Why wouldn’t I? It is an insecurity, another burden. I would have until 2019. So that’s ok. By that time we might all be eligible to get American passports, who knows. No point of worrying. Despite, I am looking into Naturalisation. That means, if things go well, I should not have a problem to become a British citizen by maybe mid next year. However, the process is long, bureaucratic and time consuming as well as expensive. Patience Ballueder, patience.
In that sense I breathe in, and slowly breathe out. Time to move on and not worry about the things I cannot change anyway. Life is going to be ok. It is pretty good at the moment, not taking above into consideration 😉 I started reading Bruce Springsteen’s biography which made me revisit some old Pink Floyd and Bruce’s albums. Old times. When I had a bike and was a bit wilder than I am now. Those days I put on my biker jacket, the leather gear and just hit the road, see how far I could lean into curves and push boundaries. Crazy, yet it was nice. I sometimes wonder what it would be like today but the wifey isn’t allowing me to have bike no more. And she is probably right. No, she definitely is. So it might just have to be a smallish sports car, we shall see. I am not 40 yet.
Yet life is now. I am embracing it. Minute by minute. And I am enjoying it.
I feel tired. Maybe the weather change, maybe the wine, maybe just being on the edge of winter? The fire is on, I am finalising my blog on Sunday morning. Not that it is that cold, but why not. However, I also feel full of energy. I am bursting to put more hours and effort in to get things done. Make this my world, my day, my minute. Make time work. Make this my life. Somewhat, over the last few months, I feel more in charge of what is happening than I have ever done before. This is a new but amazing feeling. As my American friends would say, I am pumped!
Beer. Football. Fun on a Saturday afternoon. Fish and chips, take away pizza and a curry. Am I turning into a Brit? No doubt I still have my German accent, yet I feel, after 15 years, things are coming together, and I am more settled than ever in this society. I love this country. Passport or not, am I turning my back on Germany? Slowly but surely I am I think. Whilst I still have my roots there, no travel is required to the fatherland at the moment, so I get little exposure to it. So maybe I am just properly settling down… nothing wrong with it, life is good, I am happy.
Brexit or not we keep investing. Hopefully into something money cannot buy, but health for my back and sanity: a new bed and memory foam mattress. A bit beyond what I wanted to spend, but I feel this is an investment worthwhile. Our first bed after uni was IKEA. The mattress lasted a few years, then it was gone. Then we had a futon mattress. 4 years, it is gone. Now a memory foam one with 8 years guarantee and 40 days return…we cannot go wrong with that one I don’t think.
On the note of health and my wife completing her first marathon, I am getting obsessed with my Apple Watch as a fitness device. Whether to track my runs, or to see how often I stand during the day, how much I move or how well I sleep. The health app and my watch keep me right. A gentle reminder on my arm suggests to breathe, take a minute out and refocus. Nice. I need those reminders and find them useful. I remember too well that my colleagues at uni in halls of residence laughed at me, when I had my first palm pilot, and it reminded me of things. And they said, is that to remind you to breathe, Volker? I didn’t then. My device now does. I think it’s funny now. They probably don’t -) Particularly this week whilst I suffered from the evil man flu. Trying to not fall asleep in meetings and getting any sympathy of course doesn’t work, so a bit of focus on the inner self was useful.
And I am now competing with my friend Adam on performance on a daily basis. How many steps did he take? How long did he stand up? A nice competitiveness. I think my wife needs an Apple watch too. Christmas coming soon.
Another thought this week. Whenever I start a new job I am getting consciously aware of new people reading my blog. Often I get asked, based on my bio, whether I am a Buddhist, and I guess I am. Why, I wonder, am I classifying myself as a Buddhist. And I guess the answer is relatively simple. As simple as most things in Buddhism. For me it is about the philosophy. The bit about being in control of your thoughts, to be able to help and to be a good citizen. But foremost it is the philosophy of calming your mind, being mindful and present in the moment. Focusing on the one thing that is important. It isn’t a religion for me, it is a certain commitment to be a good human being and focusing on improving my mindfulness. It is that simple really.
Being a good dad. A good father. A good husband. A good manager. I was told this week by an ex colleague of mine, that I am very good with people. A huge compliment. I love people. I love working with people, developing them. One of my biggest things. Hence I love my new job. I can so see how I can help and impact the workflow and people. I enjoy that. Yes, there are things I don’t like, but there always are some in any job. I only started and got a chance to meet the big boss this week. You know, and I would say that, meeting the founder is impressive enough, but meeting the guy who has the vision beyond your little world is impressive … Jim Rohn said to surround yourself with 5 people that help you develop. I am improving my 5. And hopefully I am to others what they are to me.
Jim Rohn. Anthony Robbins. Freedom Fast Lane. The Mentee. There are virtual mentors and instructors, coaches and helpers, yet having people in the real world that talk sense makes you feel good. Who are your 5? Who are the five people that influence you? I enjoy sitting in the middle of receiving but also giving. Helping and being helped. One grows, all together we improve and grow for a bigger purpose. I enjoy that, an environment I strive in.
Hopefully, so will my boys. I haven’t seen much of them this week but when I did, I feel like the bond is improving day by day. I want to be a good dad. A good friend and sparring partner. A coach. All their life. That is my purpose. And the only way I can achieve that is by gaining trust.
You know, trust is key in any relationship. It takes ages to build, and once destroyed it is difficult to regain. I remember in one of my start ups they gave me the trust to be the sole account holder, I mean kind of. So, when I left, in theory they had to cut my card. They trusted me for so long, would you trust them? Yes you would. And still today you would. This is the key to any relationship. My wife, and we had a great night out on Saturday. Let’s work on that in our lives to improve the relationships we own. Let’s make time for each other, rech out and share trust and love.
I wish you well.
Have an amazing week,
She has done it. I am super proud of my wife this week who finished the Loch Ness Marathon. What an achievement. Given she didn’t really start running until a few years ago, she has transformed her life by running half marathons, 10Ks and now the ultimate goal: a marathon.
I have always said, I am not interested in running a marathon, yet given the achievement I have seen, maybe I am. Yes, if you follow a routine and you train hard, you can do it. Even my wife says everyone can do it. However, the mental power, the will to do it, must be there. I am a bit jealous as I had to cancel my challenge this year and I am not sure what I put my head towards to next. We shall see. Something will come up, I am sure.
This also meant I had the boys all weekend. So what do three lads do at the weekend? Take away and beers. No, maybe not beers but take away and a football game. We went to see Brighton Albion play Barnsley in the Amex Arena in Brighton. 2-0. What an experience. My first ever live football game (after almost 40 years) and the first for the youngest. The oldest watched his first game earlier in the summer in Scotland. Yet 26,000 people create a different atmosphere than the few 😉 in Dingwall. I can’t say I am more interested in football now but genuinely enjoyed the atmosphere and the joy the kids had. Luckily we had some great company to make the experience a bit easier. Also the seagull welcomed us, and my manager from my new job, a Brighton season ticket holder, helped out with some introductory gifts. A fantastic, yet busy, day. Great fun, I would certainly go back and watch another another game.
The common experience is what we create and what we look at in years to come. That is what we remember. You remember when the first McDonalds came to Detmold, Germany in 1986 (?)? I do. It was a big deal for a 9 year old and a Big Mac too. That’s the most important thing in life. The stories you create in your life. That’s my priority for the kids. For the boys to engage in sports, seeing their mother running a marathon and dreaming of becoming athletes. That is the spirit we are trying to spark, not with the ambition for them to become the next Rooney, and most likely they won’t, but their engagement with positive things like sports and exercise. We have to lead children into the right direction and help them to develop and then ultimately make the right decisions moving forward. Isn’t that right? Isn’t that what will make us great parents?
Productivity – as you know I am still drafting on my next book release – it is fascinating. From a variety of views, I am exploring theories. From a book I read to focus on one thing only, and ever only have that one thing that is on your mind, I realised that some of those applied techniques will make you more productive. Instead of exercising regularly on a moderate level, the BBC proved you can get better results by doing high intensity exercise. Saving you time and fitting better into your life style. Then, another book I am reading focuses on the intensity of your work. Deep, uninterrupted, work. Our attention span, as previously suggested, is below that of a Goldfish, at around 8-9 seconds. New devices, reminder, alerts and constant interruption and attention seeking reminders are taking its toll. Meditation and deep breathing exercises are helping to concentrate, increase your attention span, helping you to work deeply on your one thing. That makes sense. Productivity is intensity over time.
I covered a lot of personal development with the team this week. I am learning how to navigate around the agency and how to say no to some meetings. I am learning how to say yes to others and how to prioritise effectively. I enjoy what I am doing and I am happy in my world. Exciting things are happening and I am managing more and more to take less work home. And I am happy. Anything else I could ask for? I have arrived. This is my destiny.
So this way my week concludes. It has been a good one. I have been in my job for four weeks, yet it feels a lot longer. I am keen on making more progress quicker. Not because I must but because I want. When you know your goal and you know you have the tools…don’t you want to build your house quicker? Yet it needs to be sturdy, properly and lastingly build to withstand stormy weather. It will. Watching the100 (see earlier post for reference), I truly believe we as human kinds are ones that survive. Our species is build to move forward, to succeed and survive what we do. Because we like winning and achieving things. Most of us do.
There are always two sides to each coin. Being with people that only see the positive and better side of the coin spurs me on.
And then there was this light on Friday. An autumn morning, a light that just makes you vibrate, to embrace life. A life that gets you moving, motivates you get things done, to live and to actually embrace our little but foremost reason to be on this planet: To live, to give to make a difference and help others. The opportunity to grow and give back to the system, to mother earth if you will. I am writing this as I watch the sun setting over Gatwick airport and the South Downs as I am on my train home. The intensive sun with an energy that makes you soak up every drop of light prior to a long and cold winter.
I hope we’ll have more of those days. And Friday was a very good day. A day to look back at and think if life is going to be like that, then life is ok, isn’t it? Let’s be grateful.
We are winning!
We are giving.
What a week! It ended with a walk today where I took this picture:
Never know where your path is leading to. Yet you have to trust your intuition and faith. Take massive actions towards your goals. Be you. Succeed. You will be ok.
However, the week started with an amazing Adtech event. ATS, Exchangewire own Ad Trading Summit, which I have been attending since the summer of 2010. Ciaran put on an amazing line of speakers, insights and discussions around the real time bidding, programmatic advertising technology market. Well done! This was amazing. An industry get together. A catch up with publishers, suppliers, vendors, media owners and tech heads; geeks and friends. This year felt special, as I find that the industry is growing up, and maybe because there were a few acquisitions announced or talked about, a big tech IPO due soon, and all of those rumours bring the excitement back. dmexco is the largest global online and digital market show. It’s predecessor used to be a competitor show to one I launched and the founders of dmexco once offered me to join them for a sales role. Maybe I should have….hindsight. Anyway, 10 years on my friends have done very well and it is the second time this year, in the aforementioned 10 years, that I haven’t been to Duesseldorf (OMD) or Cologne (dmexco). That’s ok though.
My focus has changed. Not only do I feel more UK focused, I also feel more inward focused, both from a job and a personal perspective. I feel like my new job and challenge is what I was seeking. It is something that uses a different part of my brain, makes me use my intellect and people skills, yet has less pressure on sole revenue figures. Less travel. More home time. Less email strain. More fun. It is a change, and I openly say it, but it feels right and a change for the better. And I am not only saying that. I am convinced this is the step in the right direction. Thanks for the opportunity!
When you, like me, see an industry growing up. Changing. It feels great. When you are told that you put companies on the market and my name is in line with ‘TV Sync’, it is nice to hear. I achieved something. I made people rich, as someone said, but I also made myself rich. Not in terms of cash but in terms of experience, in respect to contacts and reputation. I am thankful for that. And whilst this sounds like a bit of a funeral speech, I am looking back at my career and feel like I have finally arrived. It has been a good journey, and it will continue to be amazing: that I am sure about. I feel a lot more balanced and content. Isn’t that a good thing? And I haven’t really started yet, have I? My careers is only started, the most important part has just begun.
The remainder of the week flew past. Meetings. Training. Pitches. Management. Kids up late. TV watching the100. New trainers. And on Friday: the Apple Watch. Wow wow wow. Steve. You would have seen a predecessor of that beast. I feel like 2011. When I researched tablets and realised the only device that does what I want and all others are modelled on is the iPad. When I searched for fitness devices 18 months ago I could find the one that was right for me. Garmin was the closest but it wasn’t wearable tech. Now with the Apple Watch I have the fitness tracker and wearable tech in one. I was waiting for it. What a treat. Given I only used it for a weekend, I am impressed by the technology. I mainly used it as a fitness device and still figure out which other added value it has, besides being a gadget and makes me use my phone less often for things like checking the weather, emails, timers, stock market and so on.
And the kids? The kids settling in well in school and enjoy the time with the child minder. The wife started her journey back into work. Life is changing once again. It is a good change, feels like we are growing up. As a family. We went to London this weekend too. We can do things. We can experience things together. The boys understand it. They gain from the experience. It is a joy. We went to London Borough market, a bit crowded and more touristy than we remember it from 10 years ago. Then the underground and DLR to the Emirates cable car. Did you see my live video on Facebook? I was a bit scared to be honest but enjoyed the day out with the kids. When they wanted to buy books, yes physical books, I couldn’t deny them the educational piece, could I. Back home via Victoria with a bus. Yes, we love living close to London. Next time we are eying up the London Eye and maybe a river boat journey. We shall see.
And during my meditation and walks, I every so often get reminded to not take things for granted. To treat each moment as being precious. To be sure I cherish the love of my family. To be thankful for what we have. What we can give and the difference we can make. The responsibility we have for our life and the life of others.
I meditate on it often. I am feeling blessed and truly grateful.
It is still dark outside. The street lanterns aren’t on, yet the air is hot and muggy. I haven’t had breakfast. Which sounds like a normal start for me, giving I am up early anyway, was the start to my day on Wednesday and Thursday. A quick weight lifting routine followed by my meditation, a mad dash to catch the 6:30 train. Conductor strike, so any train before 7 am should get me a seat. And it did. Still a mess. I cannot understand and will never understand the unions. I am grateful for my job, my opportunities given in life and just want to get on with what I am doing. So why do others impact the life of thousands of people to fight for what they have or haven’t got. Isn’t that almost comparable to terrorism, where a few mad people impact the life of others to alert people of their situation? Maybe a strike is less radical. However, same selfishness. Anyway, trains operated better than anticipated, let’s move on! I can change my routine for a couple of days. I am winning.
What does it mean for me? Inconvenience. But foremost it means that I haven’t seen the kids after their first day back at school. Can’t kiss them good night. Cannot chat with them in the morning. This strike made me change my workout routine. Some might say ‘poor you’, but hey, can I not expect to get the service I pay 4 grand (that’s 4,000 sterling!) for to be half way decent. What a fuck up! I could expect a bit more.
The challenge is that we work within our thinking boundaries. I mean, we decide how far we stretch ourselves. We are in control of our feelings and ambitions. So when we are going into the strike thing, we know that we are out of control. We play their rules and we are winning. Still. That’s achievement. That’s making it happen. We need to always look outside our comfort zone, make things happen, go some places. I effing love that. Push yourself daily!
But let’s move on. The commute got better in another sense. I treated myself to some new wireless Bose noise cancellation headphones. The main difference to my old ones is that they are wireless. It is easier to wear them, walk around in them and connect them to two devices at the same time. I am shutting off the world around me if I want or listen to music. Yo Yo Ma is a classical cellist whose CD I bought this week. Steve Jobs himself allegedly said to him ‘you are the closest proof of the existence of God‘, as he is an amazing musician. I enjoy him playing Bach, yet I seem to enjoy a lot of things Steve enjoyed 😉 I don’t believe he has been gone for almost five years, which is when my love relationship with Apple started.
This week wasn’t different. After my car manufacturer, Skoda, revealed an SUV which is our car on stilts, I am keen to see in real life and maybe exchange ours for it in a couple of years. The new Skoda Kodiaq looks really nice and seems to have the space of our car. However, my other brand, Apple, revealed new products this week.
Whilst the innovation around the iPhone 7 and it finally being water tight are nice, the main thing for me was the watch. Water tightness, particularly using the microphone to keep the water out. GPS. So finally a smart watch and fitness tracker in one. The wait was worth it. I ordered mine on Friday. 8:01 🙂 It is mind bobbling to see the advancement of technology. About 20 years ago we worked off computers that had less features and speed than the watches we can wear on our wrists. That’s amazing. If we fast forward 20 years I would be curious to see what our kids wear, or when we retire. An implanted chip that communicates directly with our thoughts? Probably.
I try to embrace it all but sometimes it goes to my head. I wonder what is going on in my kid’s mind when he wakes me having nightmares. I see the world, in my job this is most noticeable, from a different perspective. I enjoy that very much as the input and learning are so very different. So by using technology and trying to understand what is going on and what is possible, we are pushing boundaries. I am trying to encourage the boys to think big. I said to the youngest that someday he might just go to the moon on a train as he said he wouldn’t want to go in a rocket. And he might. One day, a flying train, might just get him there. And he asked about gravity and why things fall. I love those questions and trying to encourage them to think outside the box. What if they would just come up with a little bit of technology that will make all our lives easier and better, this planet better to live on. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Nelson Mandela said, that the most powerful weapon in the world is education. That must be the key to mankind. Educate. Educate your children and encourage them to learn, to think and question. And to push boundaries. To expand their horizon. To make a dent in the universe.
Whilst Apple, no doubt, is a big corporate, the Steve Jobs thought of changing the world seems to still be there. Changing the world, making amazing products people like to buy seems to be a call for the engineers at Apple. Details like the above mentioned microphone that pushes out water, or the ear buds that work only when they detect your ear based on temperature. They are pushing boundaries. I like that.
In that sense, have a great week. Push your boundaries. Question every day if you can do a little better in what you are doing. Be better. Learn a new skill or optimise your day. Make it happen. Take massive action.
Have a great one!
I am reading Andre Agassi’s biography. It is a good read and in one of the chapters this week he said that when he finally ranked number one, he didn’t care. If I say he didn’t care, what he meant is that he had to tell himself to be happy. Inside it didn’t bother him too much to have achieved such a a fundamental milestone.
From my perspective I understand that. I like to win. Be on the top. Be the one people look up to. Of course, most people would enjoy that. Now I don’t do that for my benefit. My motivation is for others. I am motivated by helping others to succeed and others to progress. Whilst this usually follows with the succession and progress for myself, this isn’t the main reason I am doing it. So if Andre got a nice ranking, and people wanted him to achieve that, then this is for others, not for oneself. His motivation to win is different. I get that. And people get motivated in different ways.
My first week back to work. My first week after the long summer. Summer has been great this year, compared to the last few years, and I truly enjoyed some downtime too. And we had some amazing family time this year. This week it was good to be back. It was busy, good busy, and yet it takes time to find my feet and get things going. I am trying hard, I am enjoying it.
Last weekend we started watching Star Wars. Most people don’t believe I never watched it before, and watching a movie that is now 40 years old was amazing. I genuinely enjoyed it and we will continue the sequel over the next few weeks. Also I started watching ‘The Americans’, a TV show about Russian spies that have been part of the US society for many years. It is a fascinating watch and takes place in a time I grew up in, with the Cold War and everything. It is great to see how much has changed for the better over the years. Yet with Brexit looming, they say that they expect 140 years worth of applications for residence permits in the UK in the next 12 months. Wow. I will be one of them, as I intent to stay and therefore will go through the process of naturalisation. On the other hand I have been speaking to a lot of British nationals that are keen on getting a EU passport to have the chance to leave. Europe, the world, is changing. Let’s wait how the US elections will turn out later this year. Part of me is scared.
We also went rock pooling last weekend. I have never done that before so it was a lot of fun. We found shrimps and fish, caught some not others. We had ice cream and the kids went for a swim in the sea. Contentment. Happiness. What else could you ask for in life. It is the end of summer but I have the feeling the kids really enjoyed it and got a lot of positive experiences and memories out of it. This weekend feels like autumn already. The hanging baskets are coming down. Memories, that’s the main thing. For them it was another summer, new things to explore, doing more of the things they enjoy. I tried to wean them with new food, like cheesy garlicky bread or charcuterie, even Frikadellen. But never mind, they eventually will explore more.
So with summer over, a new beginning at work, it seems like a new beginning overall. I am relatively content. I enjoy my life at the moment. This might change, with the wife going back to work, my work to pick up more towards Christmas, and other changes and hurdles to come our way. I treated myself to new noise cancellation headphones. I can’t even hear myself typing anymore, can connect them to the phone and the laptop at the same time and they are wireless. With Apple’s anticipated new phone not having a headphone jack anymore, things change. And I wanted to go wireless for a while.
I finally decided on a design for my illustrations in my book, using Fiverr. I used the platform before for a logo, but not sure I made the right choice this time. The discussions going back and forth. I guess I see when it has been delivered as a final version. So I am progressing on a few fronts, however the first designer has cancelled their order, full refund 🙁 Shame. I persevere.
Lastly, I listened to a podcast this week quoting ‘Discipline is freedom’. Allegedly an old war poster from the states, this quote, again, makes a lot of sense to me. Any (useful and good) habit you have, will free up your time to think, work, do things you enjoy. Essentially by being disciplined and sticking to routines and habits, you are having less time at which you are pottering around organising yourself. As David Allen says, ‘I am lazy, hence I organise myself in order to spend less time looking for things’. I am the same. I like my routines, my habits and workflows to free up time, thinking space and allow for growth to happen. And yes, I am still growing. Whilst hopefully not vertically or horizontally, my mind should continue to grow and expand. Let me make sure to challenge it daily.
That’s all for this week, have a fantastic one.