Sunday Column (330)

The week, or last weekend, started with really good catch up time with my boys. Being away for a week in Cannes, I got really popular at the weekend. Plus on Sunday was our “Hassocks Bike ‘n Ride”. Mummy got herself a puncture. That resulted in her pushing the bike back, yet we tried to fix it on the roadside. I shall say someone did whilst I fixed a girl’s bike. C of course got all disappointed that we ended up being almost the last ones that came through. Lesson in life, and difficult to sink in for a 6 year old, was to help others beyond yourself and being patient and not grim about “loosing”.

The other one threw a tantrum too. So an all fun weekend. Life is hard if you are under 10 I think :-)

At work things got interesting. Lots of (positive) things happening, yet a lot of work in the heat, but luckily with shorts and my infamous green shoes with pink socks 😉 I am not complaining but when you know you are at the pivotal point of something … it is so much fun! :-) And we are. The product we launched 18 months ago is really getting its maturity now, market adoption is happening and we are having a good time. We are releasing new stuff almost weekly and expanding into the German market. So very exciting times ahead.

Enough about work. The heat and being back from Cannes, re-starting my exercise regime, trying to cut down on the booze and eating less and healthier again, wore me out a bit. I ran three 10 K in a week, and did my planned work outs. It is fun to be back, but I slept most mornings on the train. And the train, how didn’t I miss it. Short formed, overcrowded or just delayed. Reasons are “animal on the line”, or “slow train in front”, “heat”…not an excuse I haven’t heard so far. But never mind, let’s not waste our energy moaning about the rail system every week!

330 life is good

Our youngest got his class allocation. I don’t believe he is going to ‘big school’, e.g. reception this year. Both boys in school. My wife will be bored 😉 Seriously, they are growing up so fast, learning so much and understanding the world … almost better than ourselves. Next weekend I will have them both to myself, and I cannot wait to have LOADS of fun with them :-) I promised them parties, pizza, Indian, Chinese….and BBQs.

On the note of BBQ, I got into Instagram this week. Taking pictures for the sake of having a picture diary is fun. You don’t keep them all on your phone but your snaps document your life. The interesting ones you share on Facebook, the others you don’t. Get the concept now and I am snapping away. Follow me there.

My parents visited at the weekend. It is nice to have family over. An extra pair of eyes to look at the kids. Great weather, a BBQ of course and good catch ups. The kids love it to have the grandparents over, to spoil them rotten, to play UNO, to have fun. Gummibears are a good currency, and chocolate always wins. Unfortunately Rohan fell and really bumped his head and nose. Och well, happens. The first proper cut, surely not the last!

I sometimes take myself back a bit. Look at my life and realise how happy I am. A healthy family, some well behaved kids, good parents, good upbringing, enjoyable, nice job and a supporting wife. Life is so good to me. Our dog is getting better behaving, and I start enjoying having her around, unless she really annoys me again. But that’s normal, isn’t it. She is teaching me to be patient, to keep calm. We can enjoy life and it seems that it never has been better. Almost a bubble of happiness in our own little world.

Let’s not forget how good life is whilst we are in the middle of it.
Let us enjoy life.
Let us be thankful and grateful.
Let us embrace it and spend lots of our time with friends and family. They are worth it.

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (329)

This week was rather pleasant. I got to spend most of it in Cannes at the international film festival, the Cannes Lion, where my industry (advertising technology) has been represented for a few years now. However, it is not so pleasant when we are looking at sleep patterns, food and alcohol consumption. Being on yachts, drinking Rosé and enjoying stunning views sounds good, but at the end of the day it is still work, networking, meeting, greeting and getting business done. Yet, I am not complaining about my ‘office environment’ this week.

So coming home on Thursday was a bit of a nightmare, mainly because of a taxi strike. I just don’t understand how taxis can go on strike over the innovation of UBER and blocking an airport? What about my right to choose services and paying what I think is correct? Public transport got us there in the end. A bus. Almost on time, and a walk in the heat. Because the trains were on strike too. Luckily, I don’t have more travel planned for the next few months. Of course this might change. And, I was lucky as some passengers and UBER drivers even got attacked. Burning tyres. A war zone…..a bit OTT if you ask me.

running on a beach

Another amazing moment was on Wednesday morning in Cannes. I ran my 10K along the beach boulevard, just before it got too hot. 7 am and I was off. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep well, so little sleep, lots of booze, yet the run was good for the soul, and my body I hope. Keeping fit and having to do runs is a new experience. Am I addicted to exercise now?

Running along the water front, looking at yachts and enjoying the views, seeing lots of like minded joggers – that was a pleasant experience. I will continue to take my running gear to conferences I think, it is such a nice thing to do. Whether you do 5K or 10K, that’s up to you, but get it all out of the system and explore the city in a different way.

On that note, there was another thought that crossed my mind this week. Middle aged men, you know the guys that are old and have family and … yes, that’s me now. It sounds silly but somewhat I catch myself being this middle aged man. Lots of us going around, getting lazier and overweight, enjoying life because we can. Yet I focus on exercising and loosing weight because I don’t want to end up like most of us. I got that from my dad I suppose, he never wanted to get fat, and he never did.

And I am, we are, getting greyer. I am now that person I looked at in the past and thought, this is this middle aged person, the family dad … I arrived I suppose.

Life just moves on. In a good way I suppose. Life is good and I am not complaining. I even got a tan this week :-)

There is a German saying, “von Nichts kommt Nichts”. From nothing comes nothing. Hard work, sweat and honesty, patience and good values get you somewhere in life. Whatever you want to achieve.

Say well and safe,
Onwards and Upwards!
Volker

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Sunday Column (328)

If I were to say the week was quiet, then I were to lie. However, after a slow recovery from last week, I managed to get back out there running, doing my Kettlebell and feel alive again. Bl@ exhausted though :-) but that’s how I like it. What I don’t like, and yes I seem to have one topic to moan about, is the weather. Hot one day, cloudy, rainy the other day. High humidity. Just how I don’t like the summer to be. Never mind. I am off to sunny Cannes tomorrow for a couple of days. With a cold of course…I don’t seem to win at the moment, do I?

Hard life isn’t it? Almost as hard as the Labrador’s in Hassocks. Allegedly someone left a Lab unattended, tied up with no tag outside the local shops. And it caused a social media storm. Friendly and caring at first, people offering to take him in for the night, go to the vet the next day etc. Yet as the post developed with over 100 comments, mind you that’s about 1.5% of our lovely town’s population, the question came apparent how long this poor doggy has been left. Was it 20 minutes or 5 hours. It seemed to me the former…

I noticed two things in the thread. There are a lot of people that genuinely care. That is great and social media gets the community together. Yet, some people then starting to stir things up suggesting the Lab was never there and people should mind their own business. Whether or not the Lab was left or not, and whether it was gone before someone checked or it was all made up, or the owner left it there for a while longer than normally acceptable (because something can happen!), I don’t know. However, people show their true face on social media, showing their vulnerability and then will be used and accused of minding their own business. That’s not going to work, is it?

The Lab, I assume, is safe with their owner. The time the dog was left probably ok but maybe life just happened. Me making it a story of my blog is sad enough yet I care about my community and the village we live in. Let’s use social media in a good way and share those stories, concern and make it a better community. You will always have people moaning, and complaining but so what. Support the ones that care and help others via social media.

social media community

It is just a nice case study of how social media works and can support and help communities, I wrote about the new way of sharing and selling things before. The idea of an online flea market. I would have binned my old kids socket protection, so someone picked them up for free. Nice I could help. Yet there are dangers of misuse of social media and if one doesn’t watch it, one gets sucked into it, and inexperience can lead to frustration and people even being ripped off. That’s life I suppose.

I asked the other day, whether we are too cautious. That came out of a discussion when our kids should go to school themselves, and we agreed that we went by ourselves when we were seven, with a friend though. Could I imagine my son going to school himself in a year’s time? Am I afraid of paedophiles lurking around every corner? The press makes us paranoid, every accident we see we think it could be our child. No one wants their children to be hurt, misused or abducted. But is that the reality we are facing in the UK? I don’t think so! Particularly in family villages there is very small chance. Even the latest shooting in the US: the press makes is sound as if that is normality. And of course it isn’t.

The more you think about it, the more you start worrying. Yet the best thing is to let go, leave it to the universe and trust in your child’s capability to apply common sense and all the rules you told them about. They will. I did. Letting go is the hardest part of parenting I believe. From the first sleep over to school walks, to parties to holidays. Life.

Let’s embrace life. Let’s make it the best there is, there is only the one we have, we all have.
Let’s pull together as a society and community to help each other. Not segregated by money, status, heritage, religion or colour of skin. We, in my humble opinion, don’t have time for that bullsh@t.

Have a great week,

Volker

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Sunday Column (327)

This week was odd. You remember I spoke about this virus I had last week. Now on Sunday lunch time I got a major headache. We were in Brighton doing some shopping and bang, it hit me. Monday I worked from home anyway, yet didn’t feel right. Almost flu-ish without a temperature. Just a virus. Not better on Tuesday, so I called in sick (whilst working the urgent stuff from home).

I slowly went back to normal by Wednesday, 10 days into the virus infection. I had arguments about whether I should exercise or not when ill, and how much I should push my body. A virus takes as long as it takes, there are no short cuts. Temperature came back too and even today, I still feel not 100%, but no temperature, a bit of a headache, and the oncoming of a cold. I guess once you are run down, the body can’t fight back.

Moving on: The highlight of the week was Colin turning 6. Wow. 6 years since I was holding my first child in my arms, and I had no clue what to do with it at the time. I was just made redundant, 2009 recession. We pulled through. We always pull through and make it work. And this week I was able to give him a superb birthday party as a present, some toys and a voucher (not sure he understands that concept yet) for a fish tank. A small one I got off the local swap and sell page on Facebook, yet he doesn’t know we already got it 😉

happy birthday

The kids are growing up. I more and more realise how tall they get. What happens when they get in trouble in school, how they deal with situations in life and what they really enjoy. It is great to have kids, and 6 years ago I was just “having them”, little did I know about the joys they bring. I learned a lot. It almost brings tears to my eyes thinking of how boring life would be without children. Without the challenges to put two little people through life. Teach them that it isn’t always sunshine….

And great respect to my wife. Not only for organising this fantastic party, working relentless and non stop to finish the sandwiches, cake, organising and still being there for the kids. Wow, you are awesome! I love you!

In a few weeks time my wife is away (well deserved break!) on a Friday, the day my youngest goes to “sing and stomp”. I have never been but know he loves it. So I asked him if he wanted daddy to go with him. He hesitated a bit, looked and me, and said ‘he would love me to go’. So do I. It is nice to be able to be part of their life that I normally don’t see. Being able to see the world from their point of view is amazing. And, to be honest, I cannot wait for that weekend. Because that weekend me and the boys can just be friends, have fun, and enjoy a great weekend together. I see us being up to a lot of mischief :-) Being a dad is great.

My dream is, when they finish university, that they will say to me, when we go for a graduation dinner: “Dad/Mum, I love you guys. You have taught us so much about life without being a teacher. You balanced the telling off well with the support, and we never ever had the feeling to hold back, to not being able to call you in the middle of the night or approach you for any topic.” – that’s my dream. But that is every parent’s dream I suppose?!

Enough nostalgia. Time to ramp up the fitness level again, put the virus behind me and get cracking.

Life is to short to rest.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Sunday Column (326)

A funny, kind of weird week that was. On Saturday last week I was very active in the morning and treated myself to a nice afternoon nap before friends came over for a BBQ. Finally we had the weather, yet I woke up feeling cold and not right. Of course we soldiered on, yet on Sunday I woke up with a temperature. I ultimately postponed my trip to Berlin from the Monday early red eye to Monday afternoon, had delays etc. – to cut a long story short, I felt fit enough on Monday and alright on Tuesday.

After a great conference we went for plenty of beers on Tuesday from which I awoke with a rash, small popped blood vessels on Wednesday morning. Not even feeling hangover at all. Whilst most would say it is a hangover and I am a lightweight (and I am a lightweight), my body definitely had some allergic reaction. I had that previously with beer, so I assume the virus, beer, and maybe some hay fever, all came together to cause this. I felt dizzy on and off, but not bad enough to not go running in Wednesday after coming back home nor on Thursday. I hope coming this Monday things will be back to normal. Yet odd. And today I even got a blizzard of headaches…really odd.

I don’t want to bore you with my health problems, and thank god I am as healthy as I am, but it did give me a scare. Whilst part of my adrenalin flow was surely booze related, there was something that was more an allergic shock. The former I know. The latter scared me a bit. Oh and did I mention some trapped nerves….But it is all good now I think. Getting there anyway.

Life dials you funny cards sometimes. I had a rash on my hands as a boy and went through trillions of test. Cat allergy, cobalt (metal) and all sorts of allergies were found. Boom, the day they tried to get a piece of skin cut out to test it, the rash disappeared. Coincidence? Stress? There are thoughts regarding this too. Maybe some other time.

Going back to the fatherland was a pleasure, the conference was in Berlin. Life is good, sunny, friendly and Berlin is very cosmopolitan. The cultural impact it has on me is amazing, the impact its history has too. I met some great leaders in our space and amazing people. And, I enjoyed my stay but the above of course.

Berlin

I am glad that for the next two weeks I will not be travelling. I will be able to get back to my exercise routine, healthy eating routine and seeing some clients locally, seeing the kids for breakfast. There is not a more precious moment as when you are away for a couple of days, and you go into your four year old bedroom and pull his blanket up whilst he is asleep. He wakes up ever so slightly and gives you that deeply loving smile, turns around and is back to sleep in a second. True bliss.

These precious moments are the key. The key to motivation. To keep going. To think and visualise his smile when speaking to a boring person…..to escape any situation. Escapism. We all need that. Those days being disconnected. A day off or an activity alone. Taking 5 minutes away from what has been a busy day.

So in closing we are waiting for a quote to do the rest of the work upstairs, had some builders around for inspection and settled the suitcase story. Amazon pushed the seller to reimburse the money and I ended up buying one in a shop. About £70 cheaper. Win/win and I finally can put that to rest too. We even got some ice cream on Brighton beach today. Life’s too short not to.

Enjoy your moments and have a fantastic week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (325)

Hello there.
Another mad week. In a good sense though!

The weather wasn’t great on the days I was off, but it was nice on the days I was busy. Not fair, but the usual scenario. Monday was a bank holiday, yet it seems like it was flying past. We finally managed to put our tent up we bought a while ago and decided a ground sheet would be a good idea. That was last weekend.

We are now all set to go camping. With the kids having been off for half term and me having had two major work engagement, one on Tuesday in London and one on Wednesday in Eindhoven, it was nonstop on the two days I was working this week. Essentially I flew to Eindhoven on Wednesday morning and came back late at night. Thursday and Friday I was off work but had to keep an eye on a couple of things.

On Thursday night we managed to sleep in the tent too. As always we didn’t sleep right and were tired, and thanks to the aforementioned bad weather, we were just hanging around on Friday, lighting the wood fire at 11 am and got all cosy, snoozing on the couch and watching TV….lazy times! It was raining most of the day, so fair enough. And, of course, we had to test our new fire wood that got delivered, and fits just perfectly into our shed :-)

I like being busy and I am off to a conference in my fatherland tomorrow. Another three days away from the family but it is getting less travel over the next few months. Summer is upon us and the summer break is near. It has been another busy quarter.

I really enjoy it though. I had very inspirational chats this week, lots of good things happening. I am very excited. So things are good and I am happy. That is what counts.

Spending time with the kids is getting better by the day. By each weekend if you like. The engagement is going beyond what I ever expected, so that’s fun. Not only being on the trampoline with them, cooking, having chats and discussing the world, just getting those hugs and kisses, just really being valued is a nice thing. And them using their brain to actually help! Life is getting better by the day. Building a foundation of more trust in the future – so I hope.

motivation

Prompted by an article I read this week that stated that most people regretted on their death bed of not having followed their hearts but acted on their minds, I wondered a bit. I wondered whether I do follow my heart. Will I sit on my death bed and regret of not following my heart?

I don’t think I would. No, I won’t. I am following my life path which I enjoy. When I was younger there were a lot of things I wasn’t too keen on: mortgage, marriage, kids, fast cars, family cars, camping … but now most of these things happened. Do I have any regrets. None whatsoever, I love my life, and I followed my heart. And they were all the right things to do.

Job wise it is the same. No, I never started to say that I wanted to work in sales but I always wanted to work in management. I didn’t know what that was, but helping people and managing them, firing them and hiring them, speaking to them and presenting. That is what I do now. And: I love it.

If there was one regret it would be of not having done my own thing. But I am not dying yet and I still got plans. Maybe to do something that is mind changing or changing minds. I have been working on my next Ebook/Whitepaper this week. Maybe I will be making this dent in the universe and setting an example for future generations. Yes, that is still a dream, but no regrets if I don’t achieve it.

Are you the same? Can you sit there today and say that you living the dream?
I do and I cannot stress enough to make sure I keep reminding myself about it daily. The grass is always greener, but currently there is no way it really is.

Yet, as I have written this post earlier this week, I had to amend it for two reasons. Firstly, I have had such a great time with my boys this weekend, that I feel so blessed. Don’t ever forget the precious things you have, right there, in front of you.

And secondly, I came down with a temperature/flu. So no trip to Berlin tomorrow 6 am – and I see if I can join the industry event on Tuesday. My old boss, a serial entrepreneur and workaholic, actually not too dissimilar to me, always said I don’t need ill employees. I need people being healthy. Get well and give 100% the day after. He is right. And it is one of my values ever since. Look after yourself. There is only one you, and you are still needed.

So to all others not being well, get better.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (324)

My wife made me very proud last weekend. She managed to walk 26.2 miles, the Moonwalk, a marathon, during the night, no sleep. That is a fantastic achievement. She has been training very hard for the past few months and she really deserves an applause of finishing and raising money for charity. Well done!

For myself I feel a bit under the weather. The changing weather, no one believes it’s actually summer, some virus and a lot of work don’t help me getting back into my routine. Another bank holiday this weekend, a day trip to Milan just don’t get you into the swing of things. Anyway, I am not complaining, just the opposite. I have probably never been happier in any job nor in life in general. That is a good sign I suppose.

The shed is finished and the camping equipment is here. Now we need to test it of course. A lot of returns and exchanges via Amazon partners made me realise how much stuff gets actually sent by partners and not Amazon itself. Rude customer service with awful English and offers to take a discount to avoid returns, shine a bad light on Amazon. They tried their best to calm me down and enforce their T&C and customer service standards on their partners, but with little success. For me, having had a few negative experiences, it is clear that anything that is not shipped by Amazon will be avoided unless it is a low value item that I keep regardless whether I am happy with it.

Life

We should really return to the brick and mortar stores, look at things, maybe pay a bit more for less hassle. I am learning. Still. Maybe eCommerce isn’t the holy grail after all? I think it is but why bother with the hassle of trying to be charged £24 for a return of a suitcase to Germany that was bought on Amazon.co.uk. In the UK I can ship it for £6 or get free return on the Samsonite website which is only marginally more expensive. I learned. And I let Amazon know. That’s all I can say. Still waiting for the refund, and Amazon telling the seller off. You haven’t heard the end of it yet….

Milan was a nice trip as always. A bit short. Flight in at 6 am, back for 7 pm, three meetings, a few calls. Wow. I actually enjoy those days but they feel you a bit knackered the next day. I wonder why :-) Next week I do Amsterdam, train to Eindhoven, back to Amsterdam, flight home. Yet I also got a few days off too. Might just be what I need.

The time with the boys is precious. I managed to work from home two days this week. Whilst I spent most of the time in my study, I managed bath time once and breakfast 4 days this week. That is good. The neighbours complain about the noise in the garden after we got a trampoline but I think they are just picky as the kids can see over the fence 😉 Never mind, we moved it for the peace of the neighbourhood.

Life is wonderful. Let’s hope the weather continues to improve and we have an awesome summer. Half term next week, and hopefully some more quality time with the boys. The first BBQ is done yet we haven’t tested the tent yet. Maybe tonight….maybe next weekend.

Last but not least a good friend died this week. A family friend. It came very unexpected, so the news was even more shocking than it normally would have been. May you rest in peace, you enriched many lives, not only ours!

Have a good week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (323)

What a week lies behind me. There was an awakening moment this week, when I realised that, boarding a plane to Rome, the eternal city, what my real and most important purpose in life is: to look after my family. This might sound obvious. Yet, when you have a moment like that, realising that actually you are living the happiest life you could have ever dreamed of. You can still improve but hey, this is as good as it might get. Start enjoying it now. Enjoy the now. And I do. Every day!

It was a revelation this week. An obvious one.

This helps. It helped me making it through this week. Leaving Sunday afternoon instead of morning to a conference. Waiting for hours for a flight back from Rome, arriving home after midnight. Being able to share moments with friends and industry peers. Sharing moments. Sharing the now. The joy. The stuff that stories are made of. To sit down on a 2.5 hour late flight to realise it doesn’t matter that the flight is late. It’s you who decides and takes the 100% responsibility for your decisions and your life. You decide how you feel.

That moment when the captain said that there is no food on the plane, that they were late as the plane had some technical problems, the plane then collided with some ground vehicle, then the crew came from stand by and …. Could anything else have gone wrong? Probably not. Should I have changed the plane to an earlier one, a Heathrow bound one, should have I….

It doesn’t matter. Yes, I was a bit more tired the next day. But I saw the boys. I got my hugs and kisses. I listened to their stories. I heard about them playing with friends, building Lego and building dens. That is their most important thing in life. They don’t care if I fly BA or Easyjet or come home at 11 or 12. They are asleep. They care about me being there for them, when they need me. And damn do I hope they will need me for quite a few years to come.

I want to be there for them to ask me advice about their first love, their first fight, negotiation or any major decision that might be there to come. I love you both so much. And one of the reasons, if not the main reason I do what I do, is because of you.

just done

There was something else this week. I was at an amazing conference in Rome. Great networking. Great contacts, selling, etc. But, as a matter of fact, my ex company, a pioneer in the field of clever data decision making, spoke about the ‘Mars mission’. Shortly after someone from a different company suggested that he wanted to be remembered to be the person who launched the first mission to Mars. A non return journey. Certain death. Yet, since becoming a father he reconsidered whether he would go himself.

It strikes a cord with me. You cannot be right thinking to leave planet Earth in a suicidal mission to got to Mars. If you like to sacrifice your life there must be more important things that one can do for mankind here on Earth. Surely, there are better ways of wasting life than flying to Mars. To gain honour, to die on a mission that might one day lead to us moving planets. What problem are we trying to solve? We destroy a planet to have a reason to move to another? That’s BS!

Don’t waste your time and energy to live a dream that is not reality when there is so much left to be done on the status quo here.

Maybe I am missing a point. Maybe I just care too much about what I have. About what I enjoy. My life with my family. I am probably the happiest person ever with two boys, a loving beautiful wife, a house in the countryside and a place and life worth living. And on top of all that I enjoy the job I am doing. I wake up every morning and love what I do, with whom I work. And I live the little wins. And the big ones. And we are winning, and that is amazing.

Enough for this week I suppose.

Have a good one. Look around you and value what you have. Stop chasing the future. It is now. Happiness is happening. Just now. Right here. Don’t miss it.

Love and kindness from my little corner of this beautiful, blue planet.
Volker

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Sunday Column (322)

Exciting times. At time of publishing I will be networking with the international digital industry. In no other place than Rome. I haven’t been to Rome for a long time, yet probably don’t get a chance to see much either. Let’s see. Of course I report back next week.

Despite my hatred about the commute, the train had been on time once this week, I also enjoy the community of commuters. The chap that confirms the train is stopping at our station despite the wrong on-train announcements. The guys in the morning for the daily chit chat. Yet, the moment we get on the train it is “each to their own”. We get on with our things. Sleep. Reading. Writing blogs. Internet banking. Emails. Whatever is on the list that day.

A lot of ladies put their make up on and I am still debating whether I mind it or not. I suppose I am not too bothered, yet I wonder what people would say if I shaved on the train. Surely that wouldn’t be acceptable.

I get a lot of reading done on the train, yet this week was all about recovering. I had my first Kettlebell class which was more exhausting than I thought. Now I am trying to fit in a Kettlebell routine into my exercise plan, as I now have the garage free of stuff. My den. Yet my new shed is still not finished, so the overall project would have taken two weeks longer than anticipated. A bit annoying. Great craftsmanship yet no delivery on time.

As you know I have very high standards when it comes to customer service. And again, I was surprised twice this week. The first time that my insurance didn’t kick a fuss or made it extra difficult to repair my phone. So I got an exchange and will pay my excess, and the cheque arrived already too. Wow!

However, Apple of course wasn’t a problem. Their online chat was great helping me when I ran into problems restoring the phone. It is all set now, I hope anyway. Yet Vodafone once again managed to piss me off!

I contacted them on the 24th of April for a “copy of my contract”. They said they send a pdf which they didn’t. I called again on Saturday and they explained it takes 24 hours. Monday they told me I should email them, however it was on my file but delayed due to the weekend. The email team got back to me asking for security details and never got back to me after that. My tweets to VodafoneUK_Help rang through, then again another email and 10 days later I had my proof. WTF?? Seriously, that is rubbish.

Then two days later a call centre agent tries to upsell me on Vodafone. Sorry, but sort your sh* out and call me (I am sure you have my number) and apologise first, then offer me a deal and make sure I am not leaving you guys when my contract is up. And it is up very soon! I then, upon request, emailed them again with that story. Give me some free stuff and make me happy I said. Let’s see what they answer.

Why I am still getting annoyed at them? Because I am helpless and in no position to actually change their behaviour, yet I am dependent on what they tell me and how they treat me. And they can treat me however they like, can’t they? Maybe I should contact Watchdog or some kind of website or TV programme and really go after bad customer service. Whilst not trying to overlay my high standards on every thing, as otherwise I would get too frustrated, I do expect more respect from a brand like Vodafone. Guess not.

Another bad example of customer service

Another bad example of their customer “service”

Also this week I booked some time off. Plan is to go camping. Putting all those little things in the Amazon basket that we might not need, camping gadgets, is exciting. Will I enjoy it? Yes, I think so. It will get me out of my comfort zone and as long as the boys love it, I am sure I will. I just hope the dog is ‘out of’ season by then.

A catch up with a good friend and a great networking night left me a wee bit ropey on Thursday. A good night though. Some proper high level networking which is great. Being a bit tipsy definitely helps to chat, connect, and ‘speed date’.

Hey, and that was another week. As normal, the usual working hours cramped into less working days.

Last but not least Cameron won the election. Not a bad result, given all other leaders resigned. He seems to be our best choice currently, so let’s carry on for another 5 years and see.

Have a great week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (321)

I fell in love twice this week. The first time was unexpected. We planned a night out with work and went to watch Sweeney Todd, in the ‘Harrington Pie and Mash Shop’ – which literally was what it said on the tin. A fantastic show, sitting on benches, watching a great display of this classic play.

Unfortunately it was so intimate that I couldn’t sneak out during the 2nd half to catch the second last train home. Hence I left in the interval. I was a bit gutted yet promised myself to visit a play again soon. Maybe in Brighton or Haywards Heath. Did I re-discover my love for ‘old fashioned’ culture?

The second time I fell in love was, after endless repeats, the Bach Cello Suite No.1. I was made aware that Steve Jobs chose that piece for his funeral. So I downloaded it, curious whether I would like it. I knew it, heard it before many times. Whilst it sounds cheesy, it gave this piece of music a new meaning knowing that Steve loved it. Or maybe he didn’t and someone just chose it for his funeral. Not sure. The story sells. And the piece is lovely 😉

Valuing classic plays and classical music is one of those amazing things we don’t appreciate enough. Maybe I only notice it more with age. To be able to immerse ourselves in a full blown artistic performance, enjoying ourselves, soaking up the performance or enthusiasm playing a piece of music that is many years old. Yet, after all those years it has some fantastic life left, a touch of love and greatness, allowing for us to indulge. I love immersing myself into music.

There of course were more things I fell in love with. The breakfasts I had with my boys. Hearing their previous day’s stories, experience and what kind of ‘card’ they got with their sweeties. Sharing their experience of exploring the world and making their little experience matter more to me than things that matter when I step outside the house. This love of them and love from them is so pure one cannot touch it, describe it or put it into words, a play or piece of music. This is unique.

mark twain

Once one realises this unconditional love, inner bond with one’s children, it is like realising the ‘why one lives’. There are two important days in your life. One is the day you were born. That was this week too. The other is when you realise why. And that happened the last few months too.

Often one doesn’t realise but when one starts examining what makes you happy. And you realise it isn’t the house or the car or any material value. It is the sheer love and happiness you receive by accepting the challenge with your family each day. Giving your boys undivided attention, being with them in the now, responding in real time to their requests.

Being able to realise the love you experience when you do, is the moment you are happy, and being able to cherish the moment and not realising it when it is far too late, is a gift. This gift is greater than any present one could receive. You cannot measure it in money terms.

Now for me this comes also with a few conflicts and challenges. That is around commitments. Commitments that doesn’t allow me to be there in the moment; things that stop me from concentrating and being there in the moment. Things, that quite frankly, pre-occupy my mind. With an unfinished shed, lots of transformational changes in my life and at work, this can be quite a challenging time. Yet the shed is almost finished, things sorted and day to day life can slowly creep in again.

Until the next time, when I realise I am pushing boundaries again.
That’s what I do.
That is what I enjoy!

It has been a fantastic week. A good week. With challenges. Yet with satisfactions, love and affection.
Have a great week ahead my friends.

Yours,

Volker

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