Sunday Column (370)

I start this blogpost in the air. My second flight of the year. I am in a Fokker, a KLM Cityhopper, from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam. I just spend two great days meeting clients in Germany and now I am heading to another meeting in Amsterdam, flying back on Friday night.

I miss the family. At time of travel I spoke to the wife twice but hadn’t managed to speak to the kids. Busy. When I landed I managed FaceTime at Amsterdam airport. It isn’t easy but they don’t know any different. Also I am not gone for too long. Not that often. We trying really hard to balance life and work. Life really is what we balance. And in the end I managed an earlier flight home, surprising them to be home for dinner.

It is fun and seeing it in any other way doesn’t make sense. Whilst one hotel wasn’t up to the ‘Ballueder standards‘, the ride there was. I managed to catch a Tesla. It was futuristic. It was amazing to sit in that car. That feeling was like being in the future already. Wow. That reminds me that we are still looking at cars. The Skoda Superb was thrown in the mix and surprisingly the Mazda CX-5, a mini SUV, which could kind of be a nice family car. Test drives to follow in a few weeks time. Interesting development, as I didn’t think there were that many cars out there that could host us, as the price level we are looking at.

Skoda-Superb-2016

As always I am working late nights when on the road, exercising early mornings despite my cold. I love pushing boundaries. Over 100K run this month! I am confident that in 2016 things are soaring to the next level. This is true for various aspects of my life. We should finish the house renovation, have a first package holiday with the family, career, fitness, engagement with kids, personal confidence and strengths in multiple ways. Life is awesome.

I want to give more. I want to make more happen. And I will. 2016 is a pivotal point I think. Ask me again in a few months time. Or 2 years from now looking back. Connecting the dots. Contributing to that is village life and us getting more engaged in the local community. My wife is a member of one of the running clubs and we went to their annual party. That was fun, and fascinating to see how popular running and exercising got. Great!

I am grateful. I am appreciative. What you don’t appreciate, depreciates. Tony Robbins. Stop to smell the roses, live the moment, work hard, play hard. You can probably tell I am on fire. But that is it. I am so knackered at the weekends, but I am on fire. Not sure that makes sense but I am pushing boundaries and then rest up for the coming week. Yet, weekends are great. Playing chess with the eldest, cuddles and reading with the little one. We are having lots of fun!

mazdacx5

Last but not least there are two more decisions this week. Firstly, after a non successful 4 weeks but 2 weeks long dry January, there will be more periods of less alcohol. However, I want to worry less about my alcohol consumption and don’t believe, given the statistics, that I have to. Hence I stop counting my alcohol intake. Whilst I always said that if you monitor things, that you can improve on them, I don’t have to improve on it. I had some really interesting chats about it, and I am done with counting alcohol, I don’t need to anymore I believe. It makes me more paranoid than it is helping me to count everything. Similar is true for food calorie intake. I did that for a few monthlong periods but haven’t done it for a while as I am quite aware of what I am eating. So I will stop counting and simplifying life a bit more.

And the second decision is to change my supermarket. I move away from Tesco as we complained about their ongoing quality issues. However, when the delivery truck was 2 hours late we complained properly. Yet when discussing the issues with a customer representative, she only saw the delay of the van as the issue and, despite us mentioning it in emails and in conversations, she was oblivious to everything else we complained about over the last few months. They didn’t see the bigger picture of us changing. Result: I let go. I cannot hold on to Tesco and went back to Ocado. For now anyway :-)

My best thing this week? Coming home of course. Cuddles from the kids. Being super productive late night and up early in the gym. When I am achieving. When I am disconnecting. Fire and ice. I love those extremes as much as I hate them. And yet I am not complaining.

A lot of thoughts this week were around my chosen life and industry. What do we do and why. And I am happy. I am in a sweet spot I like to believe within our small world.

Then I stop and smell the roses. Say thanks. Meditate on what life is all about and hug my sons.

Have a great week.
Love and Kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (369)

Happy Sunday.

Another week in adtech. What happened since last week? More rumours around IPOs, discussions around the industry, if adtech is merging with Martech and how many acquisitions will happen between now and the end of the year. Nothing new, and when watching the final episode of MadMen, without wanting to take anything away, I was thinking how my career will turn out, 5 or 10 years from now.

Life is constantly changing. For the better I trust. There are some things we can influence and some that we cannot influence. I keep thinking that only if you are working for yourself you are in full control of what you deliver, what you promise. Standards and values vary amongst people. The negotiation book I am reading is suggesting the same, the value exchange and making use of the power of standards. No one wants to hear they are working towards low standards. I practised this weekend with Tesco and so far it is working.

January blues is happening I suppose. Yet I am in a happy space, I am very grounded and connected. The only thing I am not that great at is patience. To let go and let things take their own time. Although with some things I have been more than patient. That is also true for our bathroom. Opinions, designs, discussions. Gladly I am married to an amazing woman that does that for a living if you like. She organises the back office: bathrooms, house designs, kids, school, garden etc – for me to just rock up and enjoy. And I do. And yes, I do get involved a little bit too 😉 But I couldn’t cope in life without her. Thanks honey!

The bathroom on the other hand, having got a decent quote for the things we wanted, we got a horrendous quote on the actual fitting via another company. Sorry, but I cannot imagine a bathroom fitter taking the same amount as the costs of the whole bathroom. That said, we got someone else involved and things are moving in the right direction. Fingers crossed we can get it all signed off this week.

don draper

In other news our youngest actually told us that he is hungry. You might not understand that but he, since I “met” him just under 5 years ago, has been a difficult eater. No food was ever good enough for him, easy for him and you had to force him to eat. So him coming to us to ask for food is like ‘problem solved’. It might have to do with school lunches, the food wow chart or a growth spurt. Maybe all of it.

The food wow chart is my invention, a bit of a competition between the boys who tries more different foods. So far we got to celery, squid, peppers, cucumber, pork chops, chilli (kind of), chicken satay etc. So we are doing well. Printing all that out and showing off with it is great too.

Next week I am travelling again. Having a cold and not feeling great, doesn’t help me getting motivated for a January trip to Germany and the Netherlands. A round trip. I normally don’t mind, but find that the first trip of the year is more of a hassle, to get up and going again. But there are many exciting clients and meetings we have schedules, so I am looking forward to going.

That all is if my cold is better by then. I have had a cold all week, which didn’t deter me from exercising. However, at the weekend I felt worse, and hope it is over by Monday/Tuesday. I am sure it will be :-(

I keep you posted next week and will also officially talk about the previously mentioned venture I am getting involved in.

In the meantime stay warm and safe,
Volker

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Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

connecting dots

Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

mondeo

We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot 😉 After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

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Sunday Column (367)

The first week back at work is always hard you might think. It started slowly but intensively. Long hours and lots of work but just the way I like it. Some great discussions about the future of the industry and future prospects.

And I seem to have so much more energy. Whether this is due to dry January, I am not sure. Things seem to happen.

I also pushed myself physically this week. Two 10K runs, a 1K swim and two kettle bell sessions topped up with some body resistance training. I am a bit knackered, really feeling it. Also, I went back to wear more formal shoes. I love my green trainers but thought maybe it is time to be a bit more smart, to step up the game again. Maybe it is just a fad. Maybe go back to the comfy trainers again soon. Then again I bought nice new winter ankle high boots (see Instagram). My wife seems to like it though.

This week I kept pushing myself. Going outside my comfort zone. Listening to podcast pushing boundaries. Is that my 2016 resolution? If you do what you have done, you will get what you got. Time to push. Outperform and go beyond of what you have. Maybe words but followed by actions. Demanding answers, making things work, pushing the needle, winning. Sometimes there is losing, re-negotiating, learning from set backs and pushing forward. Times are good and right to push forward. Standing still is not an option!

energy

The goal of this week was to push forward with reading a book about negotiations. I did that and I love it. Some of the theories are not new, but yet very effective. Some are new theories and show new ways of getting agreements. Things are never the way they seem. Most thoughts and situations are in your head. Being able to quieten some of those voices, concentrate in the moment, listen and following up properly does help you in negotiations. Just being the human you are with the ability to connect, cross reference and understand. Seems simple yet there are only a few of us capable of doing this effectively. Confidence has something to do with that. Experience I suppose.

The beginning of the year. Time to still reflect on the old and looking forward to the new. Expectations. Values. Friends. Priorities. There are a lot of things to consider in life. Work, income, career prospects. Life is there to make the most of it, in which ever way YOU want to do that. What intangible value is the most important one for you?

I had this interest in HR and leadership ever since I got my MBA. That’s what I live and want to make sure people understand people. I am a people person, that’s what I do, I want people I deal with being happy and getting value from the exchange with me. Trading intangible values. Whether you read my blog here, at tidwows, my articles on LinkedIn, my book on productivity or you talk to me, negotiate with me, or buy from me. I am essentially a value proposition 😉

And in the meantime just be a good friend :-)
That’s what I did at the weekend. Meeting friends. Letting go and just be myself. For what I am worth.

Sending you love for 2016. From my little corner of this ever exciting world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (366)

Happy New Year. To 2016. The year I have been in the UK for 15 years! I feel more British than German by now 😉

It is going to be an amazing year.

Why I am saying that? It is really simple. I spent the last year preparing myself, both physically and mentally, to grow personally. I have put mechanisms, routines, habits and structures in place to kick start 2016. Subtle changes, yet I am prepared to move beyond achievements of 2015, both professionally but also personally.

Last week I pushed myself. Over 40K in running in 4 days, concluding over 100K in December and 900K in 2015. I am really getting into my running and will add swimming to the balanced exercise plan as of tomorrow morning. I cannot wait to get fitter and establish a routine to run 100K regularly per month. Working towards my 24 hour relay challenge in July.

Upon us is January. Dry January. I did it last year and I will do it again. No alcohol for the month of January. It isn’t difficult, a lot of people are doing it and it is healthy. I mean most people are debating how healthy it is to go from excessive Christmas drinking to zero in January and then back to normal. A general moderate approach is surely healthier, yet a month without booze won’t harm my liver, mood or exercise routine, that’s for sure.

I am also thinking of logging off my Facebook. Using it half for work and half for pleasure, I think I keep on it once a day but on the desktop only. Constantly checking on the go is such a time waster and not efficient either. So that and some other email, social media and reading apps need to be removed or put in the background to work more effectively and efficient on the go – as some apps are just time wasters and the ease of access via a mobile is just to tempting. Notifications are stopped and more focus put on the work at hand.

thankyou

Anyway, I don’t want to repeat what I write over at my tidwows productivity blog. That blog will cease in 2016 or get a new format. This will depend on the progress I am making with my new book and my ideas towards a new productivity guidelines and principles. I shall surprise you.

A New Year. New Year resolutions. Achieve your goals!

I am more prepared than ever to enter 2016. This has to do with the relentless learning I have done in 2015. The relentless working I have done and of course the ongoing work on my book and deep dive into productivity principles. Pair that with stamina, a good health and clear goal setting, I am ready to roll! This might sound like sales pitch, but that’s what it is really. Things will fall into place and things will happen in 2016. The industry is in a state to consolidate.

We wish you a Happy New Year. A healthy new year. May all your dreams and wishes come true.

May 2016 be the amazing year you look back upon in 12 months time and you might say that you lost that surplus weight, ran your first marathon or run your first 5K. You might have had your first baby, got married or moved on from a bad relationship. Whatever it is that 2016 holds in stock for you, it is your path, your life. Make the most of it.

All the best, and thanks for continuing to read my blog.
Volker

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Sunday Column (365)

This year flew past. Yet, I have been saying that every year. And there is nothing else than looking back at 2015 and saying: this was a successful year. I am truly grateful for my family, my wife, my boys and the life I am living. I am grateful for my job and my friends, the amount of good I can do by giving to others. I am just happy.

It has been, as every year, a year of ups and downs. Ups in terms of development from a personal perspective, but also from a house perspective. We build a shed, renovated and got a few new bits and pieces. On the other hand, we didn’t have a big holiday, had a first and last camping trip, and didn’t go anywhere far away. Hopefully we change this next year.

From my perspective, there have been a few changes though. As I am getting closer to 40….I discovered my fashion style and really settled for green trainers. I love those. Further I didn’t go cycling once this year but instead ran about 900K since January, did sixty 10 minute work outs with kettle bells, did about 2,000 push ups since May and lost around 10kg pending the day of time I measure myself. Since I embarked on a Low carb high fat diet in the run up to Christmas, e.g. I loosened my routine a bit, I seemed to have gained a few kilos again. Not long and I will loose them again.

Oh and I did 2 hours of front planks too! I lost circumference and almost got a flat stomach…I wish 😉 I got fit though, probably the fittest I have ever been. If nothing else happened, I did get fit in 2015, with a 5 am routine, long walks, a variety of work outs and a diet focusing to eat less carbs; I wrote a paper on weight loss here: How to lose weight.

green trainers

I have been pushing myself hard, yet found a time and place to put things into a routine. A habit. And whilst doing so, I have been writing on my next book on productivity. Just last week I finished an early first draft, however it is still a lot of work todo. Stay tuned. I am still debating if I aim for a 2016 or 2017 publication, pending progress and aspect of the book.

The kids and the animals would have been a theme this year. We decided in August to give back Rosie, our dog. This of course wasn’t easy, yet it was something we had to do. If I follow my belief that things happen for a reason, I guess there will be a reason sometime in life where I look back and think I am grateful for the experience. We since got a cat, Teddy, who is the most loveliest spoiled cat I have met ever! He is more like a dog, hence a good ‘replacement’ for Rosie.

Life is good. The kids are growing up. It is hard to believe the eldest is turning 7 next year. Time goes on and I have been at my job for 2 years; we got acquired this summer and things are changing. I learn a lot. Things are good and I enjoy the challenges ahead. We opened an office in Germany and I embarked on a few consulting jobs on the side, keeping me busy and advising start-ups. I love business!

Yet, at the same time I love my family and balancing the two is hard. With a commute of 90 minutes each way I get a lot of writing, reading and working done, but cannot play with the kids. Hence one of my main things for 2016 is to make more undisturbed time with the kids and family. I want to be able to put distractions aside and carve out more intense family time if that makes sense. I want to live a life full on, work or life side. I want to stop looking at emails as often as I do. I want to get fitter than I am without working myself into the ground. I want it all with as little effort as possible :-p

There are a few things I want to achieve in 2016. I want to be able to give more than I did this year, to help those that need is more than me. I’d like to be able to help others more, to give. Whether that is money or time, for business or charity, doesn’t matter. We are all in this together.

I worry about climate change. About what kind of planet my kids will inherit and how they will survive. Then I do not worry about them, they will be fine. They are winners. They are a team, looking out for each other, looking out for themselves. Helping others. I will make sure they will always value others as high or higher than themselves as we are here to share. That is true love, that is happiness. At least for me.

giving

Whilst writing this it is stormy outside. Over Christmas I wanted to give my body a rest, a well deserved break. However, given the sluggish feeling after a couple of days of binge eating and drinking, I did two long runs this weekend. Yet over Christmas I enjoyed to be engaged in building lego, taking super heroes apart and sharing the love. Building a fire, and keeping the family warm and safe. That is what I do, putting them above me.

And whilst I reflect on 2015, I am eager to see 2016. More changes, more challenges, more building work and yet we might be able to get the first full house renovation done. That means four years in the house and we did every room at least once! We will start over again, no doubt. But not next year. I would like to do the drive way, but there is no urgency. Yet, hopefully we can do that too.

Time flies, remember.
Remember those days when you were a kid, and your parents were planning all that and you took things for granted. They were just there, things were just happening. And you never wondered when and how they did it. Those were the days.

We are now doing things and making things happen. We are the magicians, at least in some tiny eyes.

Love and Blessings to this world. I love you and hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

See you all in 2016.
Greetings from my little corner of this world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (364)

The year is coming to an end. Same procedure as every year. We are trying to cramp as much work as possible into the last week before Christmas, starting work early, finishing late, and then realising that the day before Christmas, we got most things done, and the rest we postpone to the new year. Every year we are going through this rather stressful cycle. It is what it is and we are doing it for years, don’t seem to learn. Maybe, and a lot of my clients are doing it, I should take 3 weeks off around Christmas to avoid the pressure and the stress.

Never mind, I enjoy a year’s end. I usually get some time to clear out my desk drawers, to clear old folders, tidy things, update my Salesforce and get order into my life. Until January that is :-)

The kids had their last day at school. They are off and are looking forward to Christmas. They are excited. That is what is most important just now. Christmas. And the kids. How can we make those days special for them? How can we succeed in them always remembering their childhood Christmases as being special?

Merry Christmas

Then there were sick bugs this week. Whether the cough triggered the spewing or it was a combination of both – it is 12 degrees in December, global warming is happening, and whilst it all sound a bit gloomy, I believe the Paris treaty to combat Global Warming is a step in the right direction.

It makes me look back to my childhood. Besides the Christmases, I do remember being part of a nature group protesting against global warming and using certain gases (CFC/FCKW) in spray cans. Did it help? Not sure, but I did my bit and still do my bit when and where I can to preserve energy and to recycle.

Let’s not get too gloomy as December’s lack of light already does that for itself. Life is good. Everyone is in a festive mood, is having a good time and is looking forward to some time off. Well deserved.

What will 2016 hold for us. For your family? For business?

I will write a post looking back next week. I think it will be nice to reflect on 2015 and then subsequently looking to the next year. Like every year. There are unknowns, and lots of things that might change. There are opportunities. There are threads. No one knows what the new year will bring.

Let us rejoice, and let us find some time with our families. Let us go into ourselves. Let us reflect in the run up to Christmas. Let us sit down at Christmas, have a great time, and appreciate what we have. As anything we do not appreciate depreciates. My new mantra.

Have a wonderful Christmas and give those in need and those you love your fullest attention. Share the love in anything you do.

Love and Kindness from my corner of this small world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (363)

This week was far from slow going. It started with the little one’s nativity play in which he was a donkey. I loved his outfit, yet his role was all but sitting around doing nothing. He loves acting and in years to come I see him taking on more prominent roles. Just the opposite from what his brother is like when it comes to performing.

On Tuesday I went to a meeting outside London for a big presentation, to come back to our official Christmas party. I stayed over in London, in one of the posher hotels, which didn’t fail to disappoint. It is a shame how hotels in London get away with being so tourist oriented and less service oriented. Not good advertising for the tourists that come over.

lucky happy

Never mind, we had a great night out at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants, amazing food and fantastic chats. It is always a pleasure to meet the founder of the company and talking shop. Having said that, it is nice to also not talk shop but about experience, family, and life overall. Working for smaller companies and start ups is great as there is a real connection between the top and the bottom. Not that I consider myself the latter, but speaking about it in a general sense 😉

Not to say it was a rather calm night, but I was on my best behaviour. Some bug is pestering me for a while, and I have been ‘under the weather’ really. So Wednesday passed quickly and Thursday saw another Christmas play. This time it was the eldest play which I truly enjoyed. Off to work, a few meetings, lots of things to take care of and finishing off with a rather busy Friday. Wow.

It is a diary this week really. Not wanting to get into politics but this Donald Trump guy .. anyway, don’t get me started.

More amusing, or not, is a video of myself. My old search agency I used to work for 8 odd years ago, asked me to talk about programmatic, about TV data and made the following video about me:

Volker talking TV Data.
Let me know what you think. I believe I need to work on my eyebrows and my paleness a bit 😉

Saturday closed with a lovely Christmas party we hosted for a few of our friends. However, we went for a ‘Santa Run’ in the morning which really was a 400 m run for the kids and they loved doing it and getting a medal. Having done my 20K this week (2x10K to be precise) on the treadmill, and the treadmill needing a repair, I took it easy at the weekend and didn’t join further running. We went ice skating though, and luckily to our earlier attempt last week which was more a lido than an ice rink, it was really good!

We are getting closer to Christmas. Most presents are bought, most things organised. Work is still very busy and will be for a while, but come the 24th, I cannot wait to sit back, raise a good glass of red and cheer to a very successful year. I consider myself lucky. I consider myself happy.

Happy Holiday Season,
Volker

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Sunday Column (362)

This week saw the start of the Syrian war, the time when Britain decided to attack the terrorism in Syria. I am not very political but I remember, as a teenager, to listen to the 6 am news one morning, that the US announced to go into war with Iraq. It must be 20+ years ago. I am still not sure if the world is a safer or better place since. I cannot make those decisions and will just accept things as they are. However, as of discussion with a fellow father, what are we leaving for our kids to be sorted. Essentially we have been at war with terrorism for more than 20 years, right? It is a different war to the world wars. That’s for sure. But isn’t war war?

Another of my lowlights this week was an early morning start. Not because it was early but more because it was early out of the door. And surprisingly to me, when you catch a 6.13 am train from Haywards Heath it is ram packed. That’s a 5.53 am from Hassocks btw. Crazy. No way you can work or get anything done. So I started writing this blog post on my phone :-( I am getting too used to be able to get a good hour of work done on the commute each way.

What followed that day was awesome. A really well attended panel discussion, 8 am breakfast meeting, delivered by a few people on the convergence of social and TV. Digital and TV. And it is coming together. Finally. We are far from connecting the dots but we are getting there. I am excited for next year. As the industry evolves, so does the attribution, the connection of the silos and the cross device connection. And we are in the middle of it. Amazing.

tidsoptimist

Then my wife called me a Tidsoptimist this week. What’s that? Oh someone thinking they have more time than they do. And because of that they are late for things. Time, as it seems to me, expands. But it doesn’t. It is the same for everyone. It all started when I worked for a company that made meetings with agencies. I arrived in time and realised that 9 out of 10 meetings started 10-15 minutes late. So I started being 10-15 minutes late, to make my work flow more efficient. In London you can always blame the tube.

Having said that, even when moving closer to my clients, I was still late, as there was always something to finish off taking only a minute. And none of my clients mind, as it seemed to be the norm. I have gotten better again now, as the meetings become more senior. After all, I am still trying to leave a positive impression :-) So nothing to be proud of, just I get a lot more done really.

On another note I published another article on productivity. Whilst writing my next book chapters I realise that being productive is actually not that difficult. I also realised there had been one advice I got in 1997 that is still true today: only plan 70% of your time. As soon as you step over that red line something will be left undone. This is because you are having to account for the unexpected. For the unknown. The incoming pitch, the email from your neighbour to help or the information about something you need to action on.

Days sometimes don’t feel busy but turn out to be quite manic. And also over the summer I had little time to breathe and think. Sounds mad but if you don’t have time to think, things will be missed. So give yourself time to think, to breathe, stare out of the window and come up with some cool ideas.

We also managed to get all out Christmas presents ordered. The tree is up and cards sent. We went to Winchester to see a friend and his family. Christmas is all about the children. I totally enjoy looking at last year’s Christmas pictures, and the ones before, to see the glow in the kids’ eyes when we put up the tree. The future, the love, the activities, anything we do, is about the children. And then there is Syria.

It is a bit of a damper for Christmas. However, we decided to give some money to a charity supporting a child that got cancer and the hospital he is in for which they collect money or unused toys to give to the kids for Christmas. Isn’t that nice. Nice to give. Nice to be able to make other kids’ Christmas as special as our own.

No, life for me isn’t about myself. My job is for myself, and my goals. But the greater things in life, they are about the children. And they are who really matter in life. Everything else is just not as important. No matter what it might be at the moment. If you are with your kids, the only thing that matters is them. If you are with clients and something happens to your family, everyone understands if you had to cancel a meeting. It is everybody’s first priority. It took me a few years to learn that too.

We had a blessed and great week overall. Despite some lowlights. We also had plenty of Christmas lights and sparkle!

We are truly grateful.

Love to you all,
Volker

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Sunday Column (361)

Taking massive actions towards a goal is liberating. I wrote an article on that which I will publish on Linkedin for the new year. Goals are associated with starting a New Year, a new beginning.

I am saying that as there has been a few things on my mind this week. Even to the extend of me being ‘scared’ of flying to Munich on Monday. I was drilling on something. Watching Mad Men and looking at the world of advertising and realising that sometimes you just have to make decisions. Maybe it sounds cheesy but it takes time to process things and make it happen. A hidden entrepreneur somewhere I suppose 😉

You cannot always change what you do, but you can try. You can go for gold. You can aim high and then take those massive actions to make it work. And that is what I am doing. And it feels great.

I am really enjoying to make decisions. Taking on the responsibility, and more often than not, I make it work (sorry for the arrogance). And if not, I put my hands up in the air and we look at a different solution. Even if things are not as new or crazy as they seem, being able to just look at them and making the changes needed, gives you a satisfying feeling.

Taking massive action

Really, I am going at 100 miles an hour. However, on the outside I am calm. I have the feeling of not being stressed whilst getting massive things done. Working abroad in a hotel room having evening and mornings to get stuff done is brilliant. Besides the exercise routine, work load and all, I managed to get a few articles done, organised some things in my life and took the above massive action.

Towards what? Life goals I suppose.

Being in the fatherland, in Munich, I got recognised as being foreign: North German 😉 When I then tell the taxi driver that I am actually living in London, they begin to be friendlier again LOL. I love Munich and if there was any place I’d move to in a future life it would be here. Simple. An amazing city.

I missed the boys this week, yet had a lot of them last weekend. I managed to sneak off with them on Friday afternoon to attend the local ‘Hassocks’ Light Up’ parade, celebrating the switching on of the Hight Street Christmas lights. Less than 4 weeks it is to Christmas. That’s mad. It came around very quickly.

At the weekend we had some friends staying over. We only manage to see them properly once or twice a year. That means lots of wine and whiskey, and of course my wife’s famous cheese fondue. What a night! Generally a fantastic, somewhat satisfying weekend.

Whilst I can’t say I am looking forward to it, yet I did ask Father Christmas for a small present, I am excited for the boys. Seeing R to be mesmerised by Father Christmas. They seem to be so grown up about it and excited about Santa coming down our Chimney, which is the wood burners pipe, diameter around 15 cm tops :-) Never mind, I am sure he manages, as long as they are believing it.

Have a great December and stay well.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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