Principles of Success – Values and Standards (7)

High standards and values for yourself and others build a basis for SUCCESS.

Maybe not surprising for some, but I was a bit surprised when revisiting all the notes from my podcast recording to find a pattern I wasn’t aware of before. Most people I interviewed had high standards for themselves, and they defined values for themselves and others to live by.

Whether it is high work ethics, gender equality, emotional intelligence or helping others – there are traits that are presented by most successful leaders. I believe Sophie Newton was very self aware and explicit in terms of the values she had, and how she lives by them every day.

When living with high standards, you often have to accept that others cannot live up to them. Something I learned early in my career. Whilst I think something might be right and the right thing to do, others might disagree. And that is ok too. Not everyone can live to my values and standards. Over the years I learned that having high standards and measuring up to them is important, it is like not letting your guard down, no matter what comes your way. You measure yourself constantly. You will make sure you keep up the good work.

And then there are values you define for organisations. Jim Brigden talked about values they set out for his companies, coming from the people who worked from him. Those values are measurement tools too and ensure people are happy where they are if they identify themselves with those values and everyone living by them.

But it is also that balance to let go, to not act too stringent on violation of your standards the values you have, whilst always bearing them in mind and helping you to do the best work you can do.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

, , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (511)

India. This week was my first trip to this beautiful country. Like most business trips I mainly saw the hotel and the office, besides a few bus trips and an additional day spent on a temple tour. So at least I got some flavour of what the old town of Chennai, Mylapore, is like. The temples, the way Hindus celebrate religion and how India developed. Included was a ride on a motorised rickshaw or tuk tuk which was a lot of fun given the crazy traffic. When most people travel to India for the first time, they have a culture shock, I didn’t so much.

I guess I have been in the job a while now, and I have been working with my Indian colleagues quite intensively. So for me it was a lot about putting a face to the name, connecting to real people in person. People I have known. Also, it reminded me of other emerging markets, e.g. Cairo where I spend some time in 2006 and also Thailand in 2007. A combination of emerging, high tech offices and crazy traffic; cows on the road, dogs, and organised chaos. I enjoyed India, Chennai to be precise, and hope to return many times over the next few years.

The friendliness is amazing. I have many Indian born friends in the UK, and I have to say, I love the culture and people. They are very friendly, forthcoming and helpful. The food for one is very flavoursome, yet after a week, I was glad to have something more Western tasting again, I have to admit. Being able to visit the team, and particularly work with my colleagues in one location, was not only useful from a job perspective, but it gives it the human factor. Too often do we underestimate the power of real, personal meetings. There are things you cannot achieve via a video conference, it just isn’t the same. Also, people from a variety of backgrounds in the business joined, location and function wise, which gave it an even more important angle. A fantastic trip!

What I missed most were my boys. Seriously. I couldn’t wait for today, or yesterday for you readers, to take my youngest to karate. That is the thing I do with him, and I missed that last week. Then we had the boys’ rooms re-plastered and made decisions on furniture. Exciting times for us, but foremost for the kids. It’s great to see them excited about their new bedrooms and seeing the walls being done. It feels like the last bit in the house we haven’t touched, and it is good to know we are now 100% done … when do we start again 😉 I suppose with a house that’s how it goes. Once you finish, you start over again. You are never really done.

And over the weekend, and my colleagues said I talked about it a lot, I ran 22 miles or 35K in preparation for my marathon. Yikes, this was hard. Still not 100% recovered from my cold, and exhausted and jet lagged. It had to be done though. I must have spoken about it a lot, as most of my focus outside work is going into it at the moment. That’s a good thing I think, however I don’t like the time away from the family at the weekend. Three more weeks to the big day. Fingers crossed.

Could life be any better I was asking myself this week. What do you think? I am very happy. I find the job is going well, things are progressing and privately we seem to get into more of a flow too. Life is good. Is it good for you?

Have a great week.
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Principles of Success – Visualisation and Success (6)

Visualisation of what you want to achieve and focus on creates SUCCESS.

It was Spencer Gallagher who first mentioned visualisation. He came from humble beginnings and kept visualising how things would be better in the future. They would be and he never forgot where he was coming from.

I have experienced similar for myself, and in the wider personal development community, this principle is well recognised, that thoughts and pictures create who you will become. The Secret is the most famous application of it all.

From Mahatma Gandhi to Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy to Anthony Robbins. Most personal development trainers suggest to stop your inner voice that tells you that you will fail. They say to turn up the positive thinking and develop a growth mindset. That is what it is. You start with the voices in your head, and this might sound quite peculiar at first, that tell you that you cannot achieve something, and ignore them or turn them off.

Leading from positive self talk and a can-do attitude, you start visualising how to achieve success. You amplify the positive voices. What would it mean for you to be successful, what would it look like? How does it feel? Over 15 years ago I learned a re-framing exercise in my NLP Master Practitioner which taught me how to make the picture of a negative outcome small and black and white in your head, even make it go away; on the other hand, you increased the positive pictures, the colourful positive outcome in your head. Focus on the positives, very simple.

But for success you can go further. You can visualise what success might look like. A lot of sports people use visualisation to play better and improve their skills. There is a study suggesting that in order to program the subconscious brain for success, you actually achieve success. Visualising that you score the goal in the premier league final or that you win the Grand Slam. Whatever it is, concentrate and visualise the positive things and the successes. You will get there. Believe.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

, , , ,

No Comments

An interview about my book, podcast and myself

What a great interview I did with Shane Spiers – that was fun, speaking about #productivity and my #podcast Stories of Success and of course my book I wrote #BeBetter which is all about #habits and #routines – Thanks for having me. Check it out at here.

, , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (510)

I wanted to publish a different post this week. As you can imagine I have a lot of thoughts and love writing to comprehend them, to work through new input I am getting from podcasts, work and life in general. That’s one of my things. My creative outlet. So there are always a few posts in the pipeline. But then a few things happened which made me think, and I wanted to share those thoughts.

After last weekend’s 20 mile run, I wanted to run 22 miles on Friday. However, I came down with the man flu, aka as a common cold, and therefore didn’t run. I guess I am ready to go the marathon distance already, but will have to do a 22 mile run before the event. Hopefully I am better by next weekend to tackle that one.
And, we are lucky with the dry weather. The crystal clear air, filled with cobwebs and mist, that slowly burns away by a low standing sun. It’s mystical almost. One of my most favourite times of the year, and I was told that San Francisco is like that all year around. Wouldn’t that be nice?

In Germany we celebrated the reunification, it must have been 29 years since the wall came down. We plan a trip to Germany again soon. I want to show the boys the fatherland, introduce them to Berlin, some history. I couldn’t imagine to ever go back and live there but I want to at least experience it. So as a matter of fact, I am looking forward to it. Hope the boys and the family will like it too.

A podcast I recorded with a German living in Los Angeles this week, brought up the topic of greater German (or any nation’s) collective unconscious. Allegedly it takes 7 generations (or 140 years) for it to clear. So Germans still look at the Great Depression and two worldwars in their collective unconscious. That would explain some of the stereotypes and values I see in myself as well, like a need for security, cautious, not wanting to make mistakes, and being the good person. Interesting isn’t it? Or it is over-interpretation? It’s difficult for me to compare that to any other nation of course. The inheritance of a nation or even family, I remember studying family constellations at university, is a highly sensitive yet fascinating topic. Watch out for the podcast with Conni when it goes live, I really enjoyed that conversation.

Life goes in cycles, and there is only one certainty. This week I learned that an industry friend died at the age of 49. When I attended the industry trade shows recently, I saw him and we had a chat. This week I also caught up with a mentor who had health problems when I was working for him. It was good to see he is better for now. Those moments are when you pause for a second, take a deep breath in, and breathe out. I don’t know about the exact circumstances, but I know that in our small industry I know a few people, and we are close. We look after each other, and it is always with great sadness to hear someone passing away or being ill. It affects me. One reflects on priorities, the focus we discussed a few weeks back. One thinks about their own lifestyle, health choices and how long one might have back on the clock. And then it’s business as usual, isn’t it?

So a bit of a melancholic week almost. Taking a flight on a Saturday missing a family weekend isn’t nice but to see a bit of the world prior to a conference makes up for it. Monsoon season though 🙁 A weekend to myself, 10 hours of uninterrupted time on a plane. To relax, reflect, write, read and sleep. What’s not to like?

I will tell you all about it next week. For now, have a great week, enjoy the autumn and stay well.

Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Principles of Success – Balance is key to Success (5)

SUCCESS isn’t created by business itself; a balance in life with family and hobbies is key; happiness is an important factor closely aligned with SUCCESS.

I touched on that in the previous principle. Happiness is closely related to success, and my humble opinion is that without a partner and maybe children, or a healthy family that balances work, success in work alone is not worth it. But that might just be my perception.

It is a bit of a bold statement of course. And how you define family is down to you, and whether you want to or would like to have kids. I wasn’t sure for a long time but couldn’t wish for anything else but my two boys, my wife and us sharing experience and life together. You can read more on this blog in my weekly Sunday Column.

However, if you aren’t lucky enough to have family, you need a hobby. This is something I realised very late in life, because my focus was always on work and family. There wasn’t much room for other interests, particularly as my wife never allowed me to get a motor cycle 😉 Yet the key is to find something you enjoy outside work. Maybe you play golf, or hike, build car models or exercise. It is important to have a focus outside work. Ideally it is family plus a hobby.

The reasons are simple. Life is there to be enjoyed and being happy. And most people are happy when they spend time with family and friends, relax, chill out and have fun or create experiences with others. So if your sole focus is work and career, and if you are success driven, there is a danger to get stuck in that rut. So instead one should ensure to have a balanced life to relax from work and get a different perspective at least.

Research has shown that people who have a happy and satisfied life outside work are actually better at their day job, circling ever so much higher into the orbit. Just switching off your phone and not checking emails after work is a win/win situation for both work and life!

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

, , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (509)

What a great week, wasn’t it? Sunny, yet cold mornings. Proper autumn with lovely sun sets. Nothing else to ask for. I felt I made a huge leap at work, and my marathon prep is going well. I left the house early Saturday before dawn, had some lights on, and came back about 3 hours later. 20 miles done, some walking though. This was tough. I call this success, or achieving means goals, goals that mean something towards an end goal. That’s a new thing I learned this week. The end goal is the achievement of running a marathon, the means goal is to hit 20 miles. As satisfying as it is, it is bl* hard.

But let me have a rant at cinemas, or showing my pure ignorance that I don’t understand the value it brings to me. I work in advertising and I love it. But when I go to the movies, I hate the ads prior to the movies. You cannot skip them, and I always wonder how relevant they are. First of all, you almost always rush to the movies, get there just in time, and your boys want sweets. When you finally settle in your seats, you spend up to 30 minutes watching adverts. Those additional 30 minutes are ‘make or break’ whether you have to have a toilet break with a 7 year old throughout the movies. Again, no chance to pause it either.

If you think of someone going to the movies with their children, maybe a Halifax mortgage ad is fine. I don’t think it is too relevant for the kids, but I can understand the thinking of showing it for the parents. Seeing babies and follow on milk for Aptamil, maybe justified as you have some mothers there. They could have another child at home, as the Incredibles age range is far too old for follow on milk. Maybe someone has a huge age gap. In my opinion not the right audience at all. Most kids in the movies would be around 5-7, so yes they could have smaller siblings, but relevancy isn’t that high I don’t think. Worse even was Qatar airways. Nice ad, fun to watch, but no relevancy for children. Maybe for adults? Same as Comparethemarket, kind of being funny with the meerkats, the kids laughed, but just because I am a parent, insurance isn’t really relevant.

Of course you cannot target products at kids, and the restrictions and all, but on the other hand, come on, some ads are just not relevant whatsoever. Why not show family holidays or Nintendo game stations or something like that. And why show a short movie in front of the main movie. An irritated 7 year old blaring into your ear that we sit in the wrong movie. I started considering that possibility.

Now to the economics. For my two kids and myself I paid £30 for the tickets and another £15 for drinks and snacks. Sitting through 30 minutes of awful ads that I cannot skip to then see a pre-movie and having to have a toilet break wasn’t the best experience. The movie was ace though 🙂 So do the experience outweigh the costs? In my opinion not at all.

I just cannot see how cinema is surviving. The appeal is getting smaller. The dreaded arriving in time race, overpriced snacks and then irrelevant ads you cannot skip and toilet breaks without pausing the movie. The bigger screen and sound is the only argument but with home hifi system and decent TV sizes, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. For me anyway. For £45 I rent up to 6 or buy 3 movies for the kids which they enjoys multiple times at home. Peace of mind there.

Rant over. I guess I enjoy cinema again when I can go there to escape. From home, the kids and watch a nice movie with the wife. As if that happens often. Is there a future in cinema, what do you think?

I finish writing this during my youngest karate grading. That was the most important bit of my weekend. Another money making machine but here I see the value for money. And really, I am just annoyed I never founded a karate school or similar. In the end, he passed. Proud daddy.

Until next week,
Volker

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Principles of Success – Luck and Serendipity (4)

SUCCESS has to do with luck and serendipity; the right place, right time is almost as important as the right idea, right support.

The fourth principle is about luck and serendepity. Being at the right place right time. Of course, and we discussed that in the first principle, the idea and the environment for the idea, as well as resources, are key of becoming successful.

However, and most podcast guests mentioned that they never set off to be successful. Life just happened to them as it happens to you and me. What I mean by that is that you make a decision in your life to join a start up. Or to take some time off to go back to university. Or you read the paper in your local take away and find a job ad. Whatever it is, you end up somewhere due to a portion of luck that catapults your rocket in a slightly different direction, to a higher orbit.

This could be anything from meeting the right mentors, being pushed in the right direction, finding that one job, or making one choice over another. And sometimes we don’t even realise it until we reflect on it years from now.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and the future will always be better than the past. What that means for me is that every redundancy, every change in job, every change in personal circumstance happens for a reason. It helps me catapult myself into a different orbit and when looking back to earth, I realise that I needed that extra push or change of direction.

For myself, I believe that I only started my career, I am just over a decade into it. It is the next 5 years that determine my orbit height and my priorities and the bond I establish with my children. From my point of view success isn’t all about work but also about children and legacy. And here we are looking at the same principles of luck and serendipity. Finding a partner, having healthy children and a place to settle. All that is down to luck as much as it is to calculation, some things you just cannot influence or plan.

So trusting in the greater universe and making sure you believe that you will end up where you meant to be, being able to make a difference and meet the right person. That’s part of success.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

, , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (508)

I want to start with giving thanks this week and share some personal notes. My grandmother turned 98 today and it gives me great satisfaction to see that life is still good for her. On the other spectrum someone I know lost his mother, and in a Facebook post he said ‘you taught me everything I know but how to live without you’. Isn’t that true? Whilst all of that happened, I wrote a card to someone close who was diagnosed with cancer. That’s life for you.

Hence this week might be a good post to read and have some take away from it. A post from me wearing a coaching hat, hoping to help you to develop yourself. I want to talk about focus. A topic I have been looking at for a few months now. Focus is something I am applying to more and more areas of my life. My old manager used to say, “focus, fight and change the conversation”. If you are anything like me, a productivity buff, family person, ambitious, career oriented, and interested in a variety of topics, you can easily lose yourself in it.

As most of you know, I recently started my new job, a new beginning. Sometimes I forget about this blog being public, as for me blogging is my creative outlet, something I enjoy doing. Sharing my thoughts, getting them on ‘paper’. So it was nice to hear that some new colleagues read my blog too!

Without clear focus and priority, I cannot do everything I would like to do. If I’d try to do everything, I’d probably end up doing nothing right plus I’d run out of time. And that’s not the standard I live by. It wouldn’t align with my values. I want to be the best I can be in anything I do.

One of my podcast guests ask the other day, ‘who are you’? Can you answer the question, on how you define who you are? My answer would be that I am someone who loves his career, and achieving. Security is important for me. Something I get a whole lot from is helping others and making a difference. There is more to it but that’s a summary.

The best personal development book I have read for a long time, and I highly recommend it, is ‘The code of the extraordinary mind’. Along other things, a key take away is that happiness MUST be the basis for anything you do. Don’t live in the future, live in the now, be happy now, then build a career on top of it. Because, so he argues, happiness cannot be tied to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them. Have a think about it. For me, it seems that this book concludes a personal development path, what is next?

This is where I think life becomes clear. The next is the now for me. Do things that make you happy. Enjoy the people you hang out with, the job you spend most of your time with, and the family situation you are in. Set yourself goals, one at a time, and attain them out of a happy state. Don’t chase your tail!

If I look at my life, I noticed that I had too many things going on in order to focus properly on the things that are important. This includes my job, my family life, my podcast, my marathon in November and its time commit as well as reading personal development books. Not to mention the book(s) I want to write and other things I want to do like building another Revel model. All that whilst being in the flow at work and life? Surely….FOCUS!

What do you think? What are your areas of focus, and what might have to give to be in the happy state? Get into the flow, the happy state, and start attaining your goals from there. You will soon see how you will become more successful.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. Lots to think about isn’t it? Don’t we just love life? I certainly do!

See you next week,
Volker

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Principles of Success – Success is a Journey (3)

SUCCESS is a journey that never finishes; giving, creating and improving situations creates SUCCESS

The third principle of success is all about success being a journey. I believe it was clear from the beginning with the interviews of Brian Fitzpatrick and Caspar Schlickum, that we realised that success isn’t an achievement where you stop. Often Success is perceived by the people surrounding you, and defined by society to a large extend. However, if people look at you and think you are successful, you are often just on your way to where you want to be.

I personally believe you can compare a career to a rocket flight. You need a few years and a lot of energy to get off the ground. Once you are off the ground, trajectory sets in and catapults you where you meant to be. On that trajectory path people will think you are successful, however you are just on your journey to the moon or mars or you might not even know where you are going yet.

And as a successful entrepreneur or individual you might look out of those little windows on your rocket and think that you haven’t come far yet, and nothing has changed for the past few years; however, you haven’t realised how you got higher into the orbit and closer to your goal. Yet the success is all about the journey you are on, and actually you might feel quite deflated when you reach the moon. What’s next?

That’s why most entrepreneurs don’t hang around the moon or the company that acquired their start up, but actually jump on the next rocket. The success is the journey not the destination. Enjoy it!

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

, , ,

No Comments