Sunday Column (334)

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. This is not only a post, it is an article I suppose about coping with change, making decisions and being self critical. I am sad, devastated. Yet the decision we made is final and right. This isn’t easy. But who ever said life was.

Whilst last week all looked very well with Rosie and we were hopeful to have new training methods that stopped her from jumping on people and snapping at them, we decided to give her back to her breeder after all. It broke the family’s and my heart. And the questions are asked whether we gave up? Did we fail?

We got Rosie despite knowing that C was scared of dogs. He turned out to be her best friend, and to that extend the person that loves dogs more than anything else. His whole attitude changed towards animals in general. He loves any animals and isn’t scared of dogs anymore. Rosie helped us to transform his life. But also she helped transform R’s life. He loved that dog too, and cuddled beyond acceptability, and she let him do it. True companion and friendship. This dog didn’t have a malicious bone in her, friendly, good with children, yet she needed a lot of attention too.

As you might remember we went a long way to get Rosie. A long journey every weekend. Proving that C would be fine with big dogs. We put a lot of research in which breed to get and settled for the GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) as this breed is intelligent, good with children and easy to train, willing to run for hours. That was the plan, once Rosie was old enough, we wanted to take her on daily runs.

However, the main problem we had with her was her jumping up. This started from day one. The first dog trainer at early puppy stage said this was a puppy behaviour and you tackle it when they get older. And that is where our inexperience came in, we had to believe that dog trainer. As time progressed and she started jumping up and snapping at our kids, it was time for another trainer. Even at that stage we put it down to puppy behaviour, yet she did jump up on strangers, out of the blue, after excitement, without excitement. The kids learned (!) how to kneel down and seek cover when she ‘attacked’.

The next dog trainer put it down to the dog, saying maybe this GSP in particular wasn’t going to stop jumping and might have to be on a lead all its life. This wasn’t an option or isn’t an option for a GSP. So we soldiered on, always on the look out for strangers, then putting her on the lead if she was off it. We stopped going to the park or the beach as we couldn’t take the dog.

We tried more training. We went from buying a citronella collar, to almost buying an electric collar but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the latter. My wife spend hours training her, any free minute she had, sacrificing a lot. Yet it seems as if Rosie needed more than 3 hours of attention a day, taking the attention away from the kids. Rosie then jumped on R again at a walk a few weeks ago, and shortly thereafter on an elderly woman. There was nothing I could do, I had no control of that dog. For all I know, I could be in jail if that person had pressed charges or had had a heart attack.

Rosie

Don’t get me wrong. There was not a bad bone in that dog. She wasn’t evil, just very excitable and very jumpy. A GSP through and through. And maybe the jumping was normal and will go away as she gets older. But maybe not. The snapping got worse and we continued to solve the problem. Yet, with her ‘attacking’ (playing with) a friend’s child and out of the blue, without any playing involved, coming up to C to snap his face (luckily nothing major happened), we felt we compromised on the safety of our children.

If we cannot trust the dog we love, the one we put so much hard work into, and yet the dog without prior warning comes up and snaps one of our children, a decision must be taken. Whether this is puppy behaviour, wrong training from our part, or whatever, the safety of our family and friends must come first.

We just had got another dog trainer involved who had the best approach yet. We are almost through the first year, her birthday coming up, how much longer can we wait? Will Rosie be ok when we go camping? We cannot put a GSP on the lead, can we? What if she decides to jump on a baby, another older person or seriously (if not deliberately) injures one of our kids?

Again, this dog is far from aggressive. She, and maybe it is just her personality, wants to play and expresses her needs by snapping at people. If she does that with a grown up, this might just be ok, yet not acceptable, but with elderly and children, vulnerable people, this isn’t going to work.

And yes, maybe we had to try it for another few weeks. Another, third, dog school. A gun dog trainer taking her away. And maybe she would have been fine. Maybe she would have hurt a child. We do not know. And giving her away for someone else to train didn’t feel like the right thing to do.

It is devastating. We miss her. It is one of those logical decisions, not emotional ones. I tried explaining it to the kids but one cannot. They will get over it. We re-homed our cat because of the dog. We cut our personal life and visits to friends short to accommodate Rosie and trying to make it work.

Yes she was a hard work, like any dog would be, to be dependent when you go on holidays, travelling in general, taking her for walks in bad weather, making a mess. The inconvenience she caused, not least of her behaviour, that limited us to do things, all that we could and would have and did deal with. She was the greatest joy and transformed our lives for the better. She taught me patience most of all. It is empty in the house without her. No one that greets you in the morning or when you come home from work. And, without a doubt, I would get a new dog tomorrow. But I suppose we wait for a while…before we decide on another pet.

I guess, my honest conclusion, is that we got the dog at the wrong time. A time when our kids still needed most attention and they weren’t in school yet. Also, I believe we got the wrong breed at the wrong time. A smaller breed, or quieter breed might have been better. One that might have needed less constant attention, less energetic. Whilst of course there is hassle, and the dependance, and all the negative things that come with a dog, we were happy to do that. I remember the pain of going to Germany, putting my parents through the experience of a hyper active GSP. This was all fun :-) However much inconvenience it caused.

This isn’t about blame. Whether the less experienced breeder had the right limitations with giving us the dog or whether we should have been less determined to get this breed. It is not about whether the breed is bad (which it isn’t, we would get one again), and maybe it was just Rosie’s personality. Maybe we did a mistake from the beginning or should have waited another few years. Hindsight is always easier. The only thing I would do if I could turn back time is to wait another 2-3 years before getting a GSP. So the kids can be more involved and hence the dog got more attention. Then again, more than 3 hours are hard to find…and I still wonder if there was something wrong with ours (Rosie).

But we don’t know and can only speculate. The decision was right. We were not able to judge if the snapping develops into a more malicious biting, and whether you could have friends with children around – and it wasn’t fair on the dog to put her in the crate when all others were playing? Or, we likewise didn’t know whether she might just stop snapping tomorrow. Speculations.

So we are glad the breeder took her back. Matter of fact she managed to re-home her with an experienced dog handler who already has a GSP. We are glad about that. I could have not brought myself to put her into a dog home. I love her too much. We couldn’t risk injury of the kids for the sake of a dog. And that is what the kids will understand over time.

Things in life, I tell them, happen for a reason. Rosie transformed us, tested our patience, was a true companion, a lovely cuddle and great friend. She was a challenge and we loved her. She gave the boys so much confidence in dealing with animals. She made us learn so much. Rosie, you will always have a place in our heart and we will miss you. When we put you in the car to drive you back to the breeder, you knew. Your eyes told me that you knew you were in trouble. Yet you loved being back with your sister and mother.

And we tried a lot to make it work. I hope, for my Karma, and for Rosie’s sake, that Rosie will be able to forgive us. That she understands that she wasn’t the right companion for us in the long term. That she went one step to far, and that we couldn’t bear the thought of her not being controllable. That she understands that we tried, and tried again but at the end of the day, the life and health of our family is more important than her. And I hope she understands that she enriched our lives, and will always be in our hearts. And that we love her. We cherish her and wish her well. And we believe we put her in a place where she will be happy.

Farewell Rosie. You have been amazing!
We lost a true companion.

, , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (333)

July. A month that is traditional quiet, even in media. Not so for us this year or last year tbh. Whilst a few meetings got moved about, and yes you could argue a lot of admin catch up is going on, there is also still a lot of work todo. It doesn’t seem to stop, which is good I suppose.

Also, which doesn’t seem to stop, is the renovation work. Finally we made some progress. Builders, with all due respect, are not easy to handle. You kind of know you have to pay a bit more than anticipated. And you know they are dodgy or sleazy somehow. Not all of them, and the one we have is really good, and does a great job too. Yet, in stereotypical manner, they are what they are. Two more projects to finish, then we are done.

We also saw the dog trainer – that is good news. It is a bit down to us, a bit down to the breed and a bit down to the dog and its age. But overall we learned a lot more about what we have to do with Rosie to keep her stimulated, and train bad behaviour out of her. Nothing anyone before told us in that way and it looks like she is a keeper. After a very stimulating 2 hours work with the dog trainer she was mentally exhausted. Fantastic, yet a lot of work we still have to do with her.

Creative Space

Now, maybe I write a bit about my plan for our spare bedroom. When we moved to Hassocks we got a 4 bedroom house, with the intention to turn one room into a guest room/office. However, I noticed we don’t have too many overnight visitors and often they come alone. So we have an extendable bed/sofa bed and a height adjustable desk. This in itself is great but when you start putting a 22 inch screen and an iMac on it, it gets too small. My dream was to get a big office, with a desk for the family with the desktop, printer, Jen’s stuff for her photography etc. and a desk for myself or later the boys to hot desk with a 2nd screen to increase productivity. This is now happening. I am excited!

Also, we reduced the amount of books, reducing the shelf space needed. Based on that we free up floor space for both a green grass carpet and an orange bean bag. The room, to increase harmony and productivity and stimulation will have grey and green walls. The walls will be getting motivational quotes, a Buddha wall paper, white board and furthermore some pictures.

Overall we aim to create a creative, yet energetic room where anyone can relax, use it as a second living room without a TV, read, work or study. A family room that is used for work, play and fun. Whiteboard sessions for the family, boys, or work; Flipchart demonstrations and planning sessions for anyone. Top of that, it is a guest room, ironing room, laundry room and meditation room. Calm yet energising.

Once the new carpet is in and we have the first walls painted, I shall post some pictures. Hopefully you agree with me.

I am excited about the room, the space and the possibilities. Hopefully the wife and the boys agree to use it regularly for all kinds of activities.

Stay tuned and have a great week. I don’t believe next week it is going to be August already!

Cheers,
Volker

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

Sunday Column (332)

I survived, actually really enjoyed the long weekend with my boys. Having dad time is great, yet juggling the school run, taking the dog for a walk, particularly in the rain, with two little ones….anyway, it was all fine. The kids seemed to have enjoyed it and I did too.

This week at work it was still busy. Looks like next week a lot of people are on holiday, then another busy week and July is already gone. Wow. Time flies when you are having fun! We interviewed for a German Sales Director position based in Germany and are in the process of appointing someone soon. So that’s good news, we are moving forward. Lots of things to do, targets to achieve. Exciting times.

On the private side of things I am looking at my health again, my exercise patterns, my sleeping patterns. I am tempted to experiment more. My 18K run encouraged me to extend my running cycles but looking at having to spend 2 hours running and being tired for 2 days, just doesn’t work for me. My ambition is to stay fit and healthy. Also, my leg pains are back, not as strong, but I believe it might have to do with my shoes. If you run 20K a week, 800-1000 km are quickly done. Time to get new trainers.

So this week I went back to a 10K, a 5K and another 10K over the weekend. This plus 2 sessions of kettle bells and 3 sessions of own body weight exercise, plus my 10,000 steps a day, keep me fit. Given I continue to eat healthy, I shouldn’t put on more weight.

xk8

What’s my aim?
I want to spend as little time as possible away from my family exercising. I want to stay healthy. I don’t want to regain the weight I lost.

Along those lines I have been looking into my sleeping patterns and the 90 minute cycles. I seem to really be refreshed after 6 hours of sleep (that is 6:30 in bed). 4×90 minutes. I wake up ready for the day. The next one would be 7:30 of sleep, e.g. 8 hours in bed, catering for half an hour of going to sleep.

So rather than sticking to a 5 am start, I might change to a 6 am start but a later time to go to bed? It is all about routine, accepting your body’s internal rhythm and monitoring what works for you, extending on what you have learned. Personally, I find that very interesting and fascinating 😉

mercedes

But let me not bore you with all that. On other notes, our dog got into a habit of jumping up on strangers, licking them and ‘play biting’. Nothing malicious yet unacceptable behaviour, particularly with older people and children. So we seeing a specialist to hopefully get on top of that. She is otherwise such a lovely dog and has positively transformed our kids’ lifes over the past 12 months.

We are also in the process of renovating upstairs. Good bye artex ceilings, new skirting, new design/outlay of our spare bedroom/home office and some electric work on top, matching downstairs’ design. Last but not least we are getting new carpet too. Exciting times.

There is not much left to renovate now, a bathroom and a shower room and my long anticipated driveway….all that to be concluded for my 40th when I then park a birthday present on it…the dream. I will continue dreaming :-) See pictures.

Not long now! Things are falling into place.

Whilst summer is on and off, we managed to have a lovely BBQ with friends today, enjoying some of the outdoors, a good chat and some wine 😉

I hope you had a great weekend too.

Stay tuned,
Volker

, , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (331)

A while back I have been looking into applying some app that would let me write my blog posts offline and send them whenever I am online. That app in form of WordPress exists on my ipad/iphone yet not on my Mac. What I found for my Mac was too complex for me, and I ended up writing a draft into my notepad instead. Why not. Copy/paste is simpler than trying to learn a new system.

Thinking about what I wrote just now, it sounds like I am getting old. Maybe I am. Maybe I am getting a bit inflexible in terms of using new systems, or changing some processes. Don’t get me wrong, I love processes, and I love implementing them. Following the rules, black or white, yes or no. But, these rules and processes need to have a purpose, fulfil a sense for the workflow. If they don’t, what’s the point.

The latter is the case for most organisations I worked for. And this will always be the case, in days of change, in days of growth. Growing a company above 50 employees is when it gets critical to implement the right processes. Having different people involved, across time zones, doesn’t make it easier. Never mind, to my satisfaction, things are well where I am.

Yet the same is true at home. Having the right processes in place as a family, ones that make sense, rules that everyone can adhere to, is important. There is no other way for people to work or play or live together, than accepting each others’ territory, freedom and stick to certain rules and processes. So work and life are really similar.

Despite July I have been busy at work. Advertising doesn’t seem to slow down, yet in my line of work the summer frees people up to catch up on things they neglected most of the year. Pitches are usually finished by mid/end July, then there is room for holidays, catch ups and strategic thinking. I love those meetings with a loose agenda, brainstorming potential synergies and partnerships. I am excited. But before I know it, September is back and the buzz is to start again. I am loving adtech!

This week I was off from Thursday lunch time. I had that booked for a while as my lovely wife went off on a jolly to Lisbon with some friends. Good on her! I am very happy for her to be able to do it, to be able to let go and enjoy herself. When Rohan was upset when she was leaving, I told him we should thank Buddha that we are in a grateful position for mummy to be able to go away. Not that I think he understood it, but the distraction helped to calm him down in no time.

I was looking forward to that weekend for a long time, not for her to be away but on the one hand I think she deserves a break; on the other hand, I want quality time for and full attention from my boys.

kids

So how did the weekend go? Mixed to be honest. We had lots of fun, some tears, some shouting, some time outs, some cuddles but overall very positive! They adhered to the above mentioned rules, accepted my authority (they really didn’t want me to get cross), and helped me where they could with the little chores. In times of test you realise the characters they are building. One rather behaving, being the big brother, the other being more the disruptor. Both great in their own way.

The oldest got his scorecard – he has done fantastically well. Needless to say I am very proud of him, reading the report with a little tear in my eyes. What a lucky dad am I? The youngest asked a lot of questions and going for a walk with him is great. Having time with either of them, conversations about their little world without thinking of work or worrying about anything else is great. Of course it is a full time job. My wife is doing a fantastic job of keeping them entertained, and helping them to grow up.

Having to look after the dog, keeping time of appointments, managing food intake, and yes food was high on the agenda, plus trying to fit in me time, doing the laundry and doing the chores…..it was a lot of work. Just as well I am back to the real world and my wife is back next week. She is a hero, every mum is, at least in my mind. The work they putting in, the love they share, and the things they put up with.

Of course it is all good, and them and I enjoyed it, but somewhat I don’t seem to be born to be a stay at home dad. However, being able to share a day with them, joining in activities like sing and stomp, seeing what joy they have doing activities and playing with their buddies, sitting down and making things with them, that is great. I miss that. I sometimes wonder how much I have missed already from seeing the boys grow up compared to my wife. Whilst I love my work, love working and wanted a career, and I fully understand my kids can do so much because of me wanting a career, it is sad to think that one cannot have it all. The little sacrifices in life.

But the older they get the more enjoyable it gets, the less activities they want to probably share with me. Not long and I will go fishing with the boys, choosing things we can do together, then I embarrass them by going out with them at uni (I think I will be cool, but guess it is never going to happen, I won’t get an invite, let’s stay realistic 😉 ), and then I shall look after my grandkids….

The cycle of life.

Oups, maybe we are looking too deep into things.

Have a great week ahead.

Love and Kindness from my part of the world.
Volker

, , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , , ,

No Comments