Sunday Column (486)

Isn’t it just fabulous when the sun comes out? It feels like summer, and the mood is just great. It feels like everyone is out and about to make things happen, to push forward, spring is in the air or summer almost. I sent out an email to a few of my LinkedIn contacts this week, as I am determined to find my next position soon. It is time to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into the daily sales grind, strategically positioning and growing propositions in market. That is what I do, that is what I am good at. But I also look at alternatives to adtech, more focused on bringing the best to clients direct or working for clients direct maybe? Let’s see what life holds.

I am excited about the opportunities. About what life has to offer us. I published a podcast this week with Katie Ledger who is an amazing woman and a great coach and guest. Speaking to her makes you think about life, about what you cherish and what is really important to you. People like her I find inspiring and motivating. I am hopeful my listeners feel the same listening to our conversation and can take things away from it. That is why I am sharing those conversations I have. To inspire and to provoke positive change in you.

Not sure if that is just me, but every now and then I take stock and evaluate my values in life. Of course you do that when you don’t have a job, and when you decide what you really want. And then you think the job you wanted to apply for had over 400 applicants. I am wondering where the industry is going, too many senior people in a field that is going to be consolidated even further. What’s next with adtech I wonder. And I am not the only one, having heard from a friend this week that she applied to a job where 1000 people applied as a lot of senior people got made redundant in the advertising world. It is worse than the 2009 recession it seems.

But you wonder if the rat race, the daily commute to London is the opportunity or if the opportunity is closer, maybe being more present and around the kids, and having less pressure to achieve status and outside recognition. A Buddhist thought for sure. Yes, I wonder what’s going to happen, but taking stock is never a bad thing. What if I never became the CEO of Unilever and return to my old dream of becoming a Shepard in Australia?

We were lucky, ever so lucky, with the weather this week. The hottest day in April for 70 years. Two spontaneous BBQs, some nice beer and wine, and it felt almost Mediterranean. I could get used to that. Then not really, 15 degrees and a cold breeze is all I would need. Or do I? I had some positive news this week too, things are moving in the right direction, let’s see…where and when things end….

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (485)

Let me start with last week: thanks for the feedback that allegedly my blog sounded a bit miserable. You know, maybe it did but I am not. I am not 100% sure if that makes sense. The job search of course can be frustrating and tiring but on the other hand there are a few exciting opportunities out there. Patience, trust and ‘letting the universe do its thing’. I am good, don’t worry. As a matter of fact, given I haven’t been searching that intensively for that long due to some other things that were going on, including a contract and family matters, I am very happy with my progress. I have definitely accelerated the search again and also, with the end of the financial year (or start of it), things are picking up. 🤞🏻

On Tuesday and Thursday I had the kids. The wife was working. I was waiting to hear from a few companies and also had a few calls, a podcast recording that didn’t happen etc. So you cannot be fully with your kids when you have other things on your mind. The focus needs to return, and in order to do that I need to let go and be in the moment. Every time you take redundancy, or really every time you are taking time to reflect, you end up getting better in understanding what really matters in life. Having had 5 redundancies so far, 2 because of office closures and downturn, both in 2009, and 3 because of company take overs and mergers (you have to love adtech), one learns a lot. I always bounced back and got stronger. Other industries don’t experience this very much but our industry is very prone to those circumstances. And the higher up the food chain you are, the longer it takes to settle again. So all normal, and yes it takes longer every time, but GDPR (the new data legislation coming into play in May) isn’t helping at all.

For me the learning this time around, is that I need to be more in the moment with the kids, and secondly I need a hobby. As the wife isn’t allowing me to get a motor bike, the next thing to decide on is a car. Something for the weekend, to tinker with and get the boys involved into mechanics. I think it is going to be a Landy but maybe, it is going to be something different…..a Jaguar or so 😉 Anyway, there are other things that are more important first.

My podcast guest next week explains ‘being in the moment’ very nicely. She has been reflecting a lot and a lot of things have been thrown her way. I cannot wait to share her story. This week’s podcast surpassed earlier episodes for downloads. If you haven’t seen my first quarter summary of my learnings from the podcast, please read the Stories of Success Summary Q1. A good catch up with a friend got me another idea on what to do. ABC, always be closing, and moving forward. Chin up and keep on walking. The path will open up to what the universe has in stock for you. Visualise the outcome, and things are going to be great. They will, no doubt. Believe.

No more!

On Tuesday the boys were desperate to watch Liverpool against Manchester City. One supports the first, the other the latter team. So it was a late night for them, watching Liverpool progressing in the Champions League and Manchester City I guess will most likely win the Premier League. Maybe we have two winners this year. If Liverpool vs. Bayern are in the finals, then we might see a cousin fight coming up 😉 Oh the joys. I have never been more interested in football than now, and even contemplating to put my name down for a season ticket with Brighton.

Explaining life to the boys however seems almost too difficult just now. They ask about my job, why I am not in the moment, why I am on my phone and other things. They do not understand the concept of stress, pressure, restlessness and that daddy needs to plan things. And the latter is a big part of my life which is why I prefer going into a permanent role. This will work out eventually, it needs to be the right opportunity though.

One day the dots will connect looking backwards and the learning will increase and the resistance already has. Don’t live someone else’s life. Be the change you want to see. Enough about that. The universe does what the universe has to do, as a friend of mine said, and that is true.

We finished this weekend with a 1 mile run by the eldest and a 10K run by my wife at the Brighton running weekend. She had to downgrade from the marathon due to the eye operation earlier in the year. It is difficult to plan life sometimes, and you have to take it as it comes. But life never gets you down as you always get up again. Never ever give up, life it too precious. We also managed two (!) BBQs, washed the car and got the garden furniture out. Spring!

Make the most out of life and therefore I am ending this with a positive note 🙂

Volker

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Success Stories – first quarter summary.

Dear listener (and readers of course),

You have been likely to listen to my podcast Stories of Success over the last few months. I have been going for 3 months now, and I figured it was time to write up a solo episode which I then decided to put into writing rather than ‘reading it out’ or podcasting it. Again, thank you for staying with me over the first quarter and we have some existing guests coming in Q2 this year. Please rate my podcast if you like it and also, please subscribe on your favourite podcast outlet, as this will help me to increase my fellowship and amount of listeners.

I started the podcast in January to explore how some of my friends are successful, some aren’t as much and what it takes for some of my mentors and industry leaders to climb up the career ladder. This was triggered by a) me looking for a job and looking for inspiration but b) also to build more of an expertise of what it takes to coach people to become (more) successful. So a lot of my learning is based on their learning and experience. Naturally, as it is in adtech, we are a male dominated industry which sees a lot of male leadership. However, I have since managed to get a few women onto the podcast and there are many more to come. Also I have been venturing outside the industry a bit. It is and has been an exciting journey with me having a lot of fun recording the podcasts, meeting new people and digging deep into principles and habits. Thanks for sharing your stories! I appreciate my guests’ time and effort and patience.

What are the main learnings? I think the main learning for me is that most of the successful entrepreneurs and leaders aren’t feeling successful because they earned money. Money seems to be more of a measurement of success in the USA, whilst overall for most interviewees success is all about achieving a goal, being on the journey of achieving things and ideally making the world a better place. Making that famous ‘dent in the universe’ Steve Jobs spoke about, and money usually follows. Follow your passion of being in the moment, create experience with others, and help others achieve their goals. Rise with the tide and lead from the front. Success as a term seems to be very objective, and further is not really the same as happiness.

Is it that simple?

Yes, as a summary maybe. It is also about a lot of hard work and clear cut prioritisation. On the back of that, work life balance seems to be key for most Europeans, and a key part of the success story. From what I gathered, this is because you work very hard, you sometimes neglect the family a bit, but you will make up for it as and when you can. And sometimes that means to put family first, and turn off emails or calls for a while. That is dedication on both ends, and a bit ‘black and white’. Preparation and being thorough is key too – whether that is to prepare a board and investor meeting or just to organise your thoughts. The focus on the bright sparks in your brain that move you forward, focusing on positivity rather than negativity.

Not that I want to quote Steve Jobs too much, but a lot of the success is due to serendipity, and that means, that the ‘dots connect looking backwards’. Being at the right place at the right time – but how do you know? You don’t until you had the success or you are on your journey of achievement.

We also spoke a lot with my guests about routines and habits. I have, as most of you know, a 5 am routine. That means for me to get up at 5 am, exercise for about an hour, meditate, shower, breakfast, out of the door. That’s what works for me, and it wouldn’t work for everyone. But I noticed that a few of the guests I interviewed had a morning routine, to achieve something before everyone else does; or you had, similar to myself, a journaling routine, a planning routine or to take time off on a regular basis to do what David Allen would call a ‘brain drain’. And those habits are sacred, and from what I learned more instilled in men than women, given the way our brains work. However, I have heard of fantastic morning routines from females, so not all black and white after all.

Meditation is a common theme and really relaxing and focusing on things outside work, which could be reading or building models, or just family as of above. It is the focus and drive, the razor sharp prioritisation of the right things that make the difference. The yin and yang of work and life.

Another topic and theme I explored was upbringing. You would expect upbringing having a huge impact on your life. Whether an entrepreneurial family breeds an entrepreneur or quotes and mantras instilled into you from a young age. Or the influences you had from a cultural point of view. A lot of success is related to self awareness, being emotional intelligent (EQ). In contrast to that I found that the connection across the globe was mentioned and people being more connected through smart phones and social media. That in return leads to loneliness and as one guest (episode with Chris) pointed out a higher suicide rate. Is greate connectivity really leading to more loneliness? This is an area I would like to explore more, yet it is a bit outside the scope of a success podcast, more of a view on the social development of the world. I do have an opinion on that of course but maybe that’s for another time. We often drifted into different topics and got philosophical, which I found interesting and the listeners appreciated from what I heard.

And as we found more and more philosophical terms and discussions, we learned about visualisation and how there seems more energy in America to push things forward. The law of attraction (LOA) was discussed without many using the term of it. The visualisation of what is going to happen and how life will plan out. However, some cultures hold themselves back or express their energy in a different way. But we all move towards the same connectedness and realise the potential of coming closer together. Like failure used to be a stigma in the German culture but now is more and more recognise to lead to success – as long as you learn from failure I suppose. The more mistakes you make, the more you avoid those same mistakes in the future.

Another trend I noticed is that we find more coaches and mentors being present in the Anglo-Saxon world (US/UK culture) and this is a trend that continues into the rest of the world. To have someone you can trust with anything, you can share your fears with and also to speak to like a mother or father. But someone who understands the corporate world and the values that are important to you. They are helping with being persistent, with helping to move forward. I do this coaching too, so if anyone has an interest in that, please feel free to reach out. Nothing like someone that can help you develop and understand the situation you are in. Someone you can trust.

Yes, as we are looking at some of the key drivers above, we notice one more theme: don’t take yourself too seriously and make time for a laugh with friends. Life isn’t all work. Play it well.

I am looking back at an intense and amazing quarter of podcasts and discussions around success. Some philosophical, some flowing, some less flowing conversations. Some I listened in awe, others I got right in. It has been a lot of fun, so thank you for your time and input.

Please if you get a chance, subscribe to my podcast on your favourite podcast outlet, and please rate me 5 stars if you think I deserve it of course. If you can share this post or the podcast with friends, that would help me too. This project is going to continue for the foreseeable future and please let me know who else I should have telling me their Story of Success.

If you are looking for the books that have been recommended on the podcast, please got to my recommendations page.

Thanks for listening, and please leave me feedback (just email me)
Volker

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Sunday Column (484)

Easter is over. I don’t really enjoy Easter generally, and this one was just miserable weather wise and being a non-believer, it doesn’t have any meaning for me. Unlike Christmas, which for me marks the end of the year with a new beginning. Besides Easter was far too early this year. And it was raining for the most of it this year. Anyway, it is over and I look forward to summer – if it ever comes. We did have a few great days last week, so fingers crossed this will continue. The car needs a proper wash and the garden some doing too.

Life moved on this week, things come and go, and opportunties come and go. I am a bit fed up but enjoy the moment, the contract work I am doing and the time I can spend with the boys. I had to take a day off this week feeling under the weather, and have a few days off next week to spend with the boys whilst the wife is back at work. Life is in constant change. Let’s see what the next week brings.

One day this week it was nice to be on the train coming home in daylight, after 7 pm. It was actually very nice, as the sun was setting, a beautiful light and a calmness. The train was a bit emptier than usual, as a lot of people were still on Easter holidays I assume. It was one of those nights, where the mood from nature took over, I had little to catch up on and just relaxed. I guess it was almost an enjoyable train journey where I tried out a new app I downloaded, called Subliminal. One can choose different themes of underlying, subliminal, messages like ‘attracting opportunities’ or ‘attracting a male/female’ or ‘being more confident’. The messaging cannot be heard but are within the music and tunes. Really weird, but I was keen on trying it out for a month before subscribing. It reminds me of ‘alpha waves’ I used to listen to in order to concentrate better when I was at uni. Not sure that got me the good degrees, but maybe it helped. Love the idea of subliminal messaging, and tunes to relax and perform better. The ways our brain works, the law of attraction (LOA).

I am reading this book at the moment called ‘Brain Chains’ (BrainChains: Your thinking brain explained in simple terms. Full of practical tools, tips and tricks to improve your efficiency, creativity and … email, social media, lack of sleep and stress) and it is highly fascinating. It looks at how our brain works and how we are able to influence how it works. E.g. the way we structure our day and life, with always checking our phone for emails and messages, the whole information overload, does have an impact on how our brain performs. And some tasks are just not made for our brains either, multitasking is a big no-go. We have less of a disconnected life and less of a relaxed life, we chill out less often. Reading this book, I am trying to consciously change some of my daily routines to ensue my brain capacity is actually increasing rather than decreasing. That goes in line with the above subliminal messaging. We must use science to improve what we are doing and how we are doing things, in a way to constantly better ourselves. I couldn’t sit still for a moment, could I 🙂 And, as you know, I am doing the same with sleep, which again has a huge impact on brain performance.

People can think what they want whether exercise is good if you feel under the weather. On Thursday morning I went for a 7.5K run after going to bed with a hot tottie at 8:30 pm the night before. And I had energy. So much energy and felt so good, almost a spring in my step all day. Of course it wore off during the day and as daily things take over, this is just the way it goes. But spring must be in the air, and running ‘away’ my virus seems to work. Onwards and upwards.

Then my parents came for a ‘second Easter’ if you like. So besides the usual wine shipment they brought sweets and stayed a couple days longer, e.g. they are still here at time of publishing. It is nice to get everyone together and exchange ideas, see the kids spend time with the grandparents and have a good time. Good food, enjoying the moment and making the most of the time we have.

I am a bit sentimental this week, not sure if that’s due to the weather, or just the general mood. It feels we have been stuck in a world for the past 2 months now that could be worth living for, yet isn’t sustainable long run. And the learning from that is amazing, interesting, scary and relevant all together.

Where next?

Volker

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Sunday Column (483)

Happy Easter.
Happy April.

Monday. Did you notice? At least in Hassocks, there was sun. Sunshine, it felt like spring, and I bought the boys some ice cream. I had the day off, took the wife to hospital and her eyes are healing. Things are coming together, which is nice, and we were all looking forward to Easter. To go swimming and make bread, cook some nice food and go for long walks. They say it is going to be cold, but not sure it will be. It cannot be cold, I want sunshine, no? And last Sunday I almost forgot to turn the clocks forward. What a difference it makes in terms of sunlight, but of course it makes me tired. Look at the blog posts from the last few years around March: fresh air, more light, and I am tired. Germans call it ‘spring tiredness’, and I will overcome it. Too much to do, lots to arrange.

It has been a fairly busy and intense week, with a bit of a cliff hanger. But I am getting used to it. As doors close, other doors open, and as a friend described it the other day: Volker, he said, as you push things out into the universe to do their thing, you need to sit back and wait for the results. Ok, I keep doing that. Fingers crossed. Just on Thursday I had a chat with someone where I realised that things could get busy quickly. I am excited, yet tired, yet energetic. Not sure that makes sense, but the dots will connect looking backwards, I am 100% sure. Nothing happens over Easter, enjoy the time off.

Sometimes you just have to dive into things. I remember in 2010 when I dived into this ‘RTB’ thing that turned ‘programmatic’. Take a leap of faith and trust it works out. Life is far from linear and there are so many leaps of faith around at the moment, maybe that’s what it is. Then something else came up this week where I thought that, wow, I’d love to get involved. Patience it is, and programmatic turned out to be a hit, so why shouldn’t this one. One thing I learned is to not update LinkedIn anymore. Who really cares, or the ones that really care will know. Does that make sense? I am fed up of living a life for others to judge by the CV I put online, or the reputation I have on paper. People who know me, worked with me and supported me over the last few years know what I am like and what value I add. That’s important, not a piece of social media where anyone could put anything. Time to do things without telling everyone. No?

Easter came too early for me this year. That’s how I feel anyway. Things are early yet late, yet unknown. However, the boys needed the break, and we spend a lovely weekend together. Those are the times you need to cherish and you need to use to foster growth in them. Create experience as Mike says in the podcast coming up after Easter. Having interviewed a few people for my podcast this week, there was one lady suggesting her mum giving her a mantra along the lines of “you can handle this” – isn’t that amazing. If you can install in your kids early to be able to trust and go through any situation, they will have more confidence than others, being able to master more complex and difficult situations. We used to have the mantra ‘Always remember you are being loved‘ on the kitchen wall.

My wife used a different phrase recently called ‘parent guilt’ – that you as a parent are not feeling that you gave 100%. You weren’t there for pick up, school evenings, breakfast or bed time story. Yet, they still love you and often don’t notice whilst you have the guilt. Of course you have regrets and I am sure my parents would, and it is normal. Like with anything else in life, just accept the fact that you cannot be perfect, you cannot control everything, and move on. You cannot be there all the time, and the little ones often don’t notice. Just be present, that’s my advice, as much as you can when you are with them. Share the love and hugs, be there when they ask for help, and really need you. Ignore your phone or social media. In person or at the other end of the phone line – day and night.

I hope you and your family had a great Easter too.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (482)

Let me start with last weekend. My youngest attended a Beaver’s sleep over and on the way home he noticed that I downloaded a new song to my car playlist. Seems to happen after watching Steve Jobs on a Saturday night, over and over again. Walk on the Ocean….and Stronger Than I’ve Ever Been. He easily picks up on small changes. Not only was he keen on listening to the new songs, we went for a bit of a drive, to catch up, to listen to music and then go home. I absolutely love those moments when you have quality time together with your family, friends or people in general. Hence I strive of doing my podcasts, interviewing highly successful, and highly interesting people about their stories, about what they want to share that made them a bit more successful than their peers.

Just going with the flow, the little man sitting next to me on a booster seat, listening to tunes. This is heaven, I could have driven for miles without stopping, just the two of us, the music and the chat. That’s why I love taking him to Karate each Saturday. That’s our thing to do. Our thing!

On the note of my podcast; on Monday I recorded a fascinating chat with a fellow German. She went through an amazing transformation and now helps people to transform. I keep thinking that I should move to recruitment as I have learned that much about recruitment and understand the industry that well. You never know what’s next I suppose. Amazing transformations…

You know, when people talk about gratitude and giving, and being there for others, and helping. I just want to say here that I am grateful for all the help we received over the last few weeks. As you know I am contracting and therefore have to go to work as regular as possible, and also have to attend interviews to see where things are going to. Yet with my wife having had her eyes lasered, and her having had pain, sleepless nights and ‘complications’, the amount of help is overwhelming. I am very grateful for friends and neighbours taking the kids during hospital visits, taking them to school when I can’t and pick them up, driving them to tennis or just generally giving us a big hug that life will be better. Needless to say I happily return the favour, but that’s not what it is about. The sheer amount of positive energy we received, let me just say Thank You!

On Tuesday I took an early train again to a breakfast session on leadership change. Due to the above challenges I ended up booking my MIL a flight to London the same day, which was a huge relief to have her with us and not relying on too many people re basic daily tasks. Luckily by time of publishing the wife is a lot better (we even went out for a cheeky drink) but it is fantastic to see the help we received. Thanks again, and thank you MIL too! I never thought I was so glad to see her LOL (just kidding, I know you reading this 😉 ).

In other news. Were there other news? I keep myself so busy that on Thursday night I collapsed into bed. When you do two interviews in one day and have some other things going on….preparing a presentation for next week which you get so engaged in because you absolutely love doing what’s required. Where is this journey going to end? Nowhere. It’s a journey, where is the next stop? I want it to be long, intense, yet full of learning and full of fun. Can I make a difference? Whilst hopeful, I don’t want to jinx anything.

And maybe that’s it for this week. Let’s keep it short. Surely I have more time over Easter to write a bit more.

Not long now, I keep telling myself, thanks, from my little corner of the world….
Volker

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Sunday Column (481)

Spring is in the air. If you listen carefully as you board the early morning train, you can hear the birds singing. Our cats got a lovely mouse I rescued from them, and there is a ‘new beginning’ in the air. I signed another advisory role for a blockchain and ICO/ITO (Initial Coin/Token Offering). This is exciting for many reasons. On the one hand I get to work with some very smart people and on the other hand, I am able to learn a lot from them and the product/offering itself. There is no doubt this part of technology is going to be big, so getting involved early is never a bad thing. Exciting times ahead, and more info will be shared on LinkedIn when appropriate.

So as you can see I keep myself busy. That is essential. It is interesting how weeks evolve and things happening out of nothing and your week just gets a different spin. For example I spoke to a company one day which after only 30 minutes thought I wouldn’t be commercial enough, despite my experience definitely being able to do that. Then just a few hours later I was in knee deep discussions how to help a business to structure their sales and account management team across EMEA. Wowsers. Let’s see. I am hopeful.

I won’t, for obvious reasons, discuss any details here, and I am deliberately vague. However, the point I am trying to make is that with every interview you learn. I even discussed my education and went back throughout my whole career. I enjoyed the thoroughness and the chat, being very reflective, it helped me to focus on what I enjoyed in each job, which is what my interview partner wanted to know. It is somewhat fun this journey, to explore opportunities, technologies, and meeting very interesting people. Yet is can also be tiring adhering to time lines, chasing etc. I am hoping that at the end of this journey, besides a job, I will come out with a position that will last me for a few years. And as of the paragraph above, people see and spot different things in different people. The reason that’s the case is because everyone has their own filter of the world, I am going back into NLP here now, but if you are someone that is keen on finding X in someone, then that’s all that matters. Chin up.

On top of that I recorded 2 of 4 scheduled podcasts this weekand, and I scheduled another 2 to be recorded next week. Amazing conversations, each of their own kind. Maybe I need to increase the frequency and the best thing is, I so love doing them. The thought crosses my mind to build my own media company in years to come. Producing podcasts, events and venturing out into new areas. There is no limit to what you can achieve in life, is there? And I am still trying to identify the perfect way, but to be honest, is there ever going to be something that is perfect? Is there something ever going to be the life you dreamed of? As my wife pointed out, life isn’t a straight line, and once you accept it being up and down, ride the wave. F* it. Easier said than done when you are the breadwinner. Who knows what life holds. One interview this week might have lead to some media deal – oh I love those days in media really LOL – Don’t I?

I am trying to figure out bigger questions in my head, and to be honest, my question supporting those thoughts are around ‘why did we dream of the perfect life in the way we did’. Maybe I should have studied philosophy and psychology, but if we imagine for a moment, and I discuss that in my podcasts, that our dreams are influenced solely by upbringing and parents. So success, and however you want to define that, is based on what ‘seed’ was planted for your dreams. Did your parents suggest you dreaming big or small? In colour or black and white? Were they taking risks or not? One of my podcast guests coined the phrase of ‘entrepreneurial GM’ which I like to adopt for myself. Fits the bill, dont’ you think? He made me a great compliment too 🙂 . And he made me think whether I am already at the right place at the right time, but I haven’t noticed it yet. You ever thought that sometimes you step out of the future you dreamed of, to be sidelined into what you should do (or what seems right to do), but not realise it?

My other theory which goes in line with that is that life is constantly changing. So if I discuss what my career looks like in 5 years time, there is no point. I believe that in 5-10 years our lives would have changed so much, that we essentially work and live completely different to the now. I shared Elon Musk’s theory this week which suggests we all live in a simulation. Maybe we do. Stephen Hawking died this week, one of the greatest philosophers based on physics/science of our time. How is the universe and the universal conscious putting things together to move you forward as an individual? How do we know what is right or wrong, and can our intellect really rely on our gut feeling at all times?

I am drifting again. And people keep telling me that my blog is getting too long. So apologies. Feel free to reach out – with jobs, contract work or for a chat or feedback re the blog 🙂 – as someone said the other morning when we both met on the train ‘Volker, feel free to reach out anytime for a chat, things will be fine, but happy to listen’. Thanks, and you know who you are. And for anyone out there going through the ups and downs as well, ping me, I am always happy to help if I can. Life is about giving back and rising with the tide.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (480)

It has been an interesting and very intense week. I don’t really know where to start but I had a few experiences this week I’d like to share. As someone pointed out to me this week, my blog is very detailed, yet as I explained, I enjoy writing it and it is my creative outlet. And usually I write on the train or during my son’s karate lesson.

I published another podcast and recorded my first 90 minutes long podcast. If there was a way to earn enough money doing that I would consider that full time, maybe one day. For the time being it is a great hobby. If you haven’t seen or HEARD it, Dominic Joseph speaks about his story, and I believe there are lots of learnings you can take from him. Thanks for being my guest!

The main thing this week was my wife’s laser eye correction. I am quite squeamish, so don’t want to go into detail, and whilst I shouldn’t complain as I don’t have the pain, she couldn’t sleep and it kept me awake too. Just to be sure we don’t have a misunderstanding here, I am not cursing her for it, but having had an 8 am interview on Friday, a 6.23 train and being awake half the night knocked me out on Friday afternoon. How did I cope when we had babies?? I remember going from hospital and night feeds straight into interviews in 2009. Maybe a good omen?!

At time of writing she is getting better. And that’s the main thing, and I caught up on some sleep too. It feels a bit like Dusk till Dawn at home, as all the shutters are closed to avoid sunlight coming in. No, she hasn’t turned into a vampire 😉

On Wednesday I tried a new massage therapist. Mine had to cancel and since the meeting didn’t get re-arranged, I figured it was time to try someone else to keep my muscles entertained. I am believer that change is good and that you need to change things on a regular basis to keep yourself or your body from being complacent. For someone who doesn’t get massages on a regular basis this might sound silly and odd, but the massage I got was a mixture of massage and physio which my body responded very well to. If you need a recommendation, I am happy to refer you to her.

Recruitment or job search was another topic of course and I know some people read this hoping for some news. So do I 🙁 I got some new leads, had interviews, managed to schedule some really good interviews for next week, awaiting some more, and of course got some rejections too. It is difficult to balance chasing without annoying the recruiters, so any job that comes direct is so much easier to manage. I feel things are moving forward and definitely I found one job I would love to do. Fingers crossed. Any of my recruiters reading this, let me know if I annoy you, yet most say call me whenever you want….some say every four weeks, others just don’t answer or bother. The industry is an odd one, but hey, I also made some friends in the process. Having this extra layer in between allows you access to the bigger jobs. But on the other hand, it comes with less control. So finding the balance with the middle man can be hard sometimes. Anyhow. I have some interesting discussions at the moment, and I am so curious where I end up in a few weeks time. Or I hope it is weeks and not months anyway. I keep you posted.

Oh, and after some contemplating and meetings, I have now decided to take on another advisory role. I heard headhunters saying I am too young to do that. Other would question whether I am too old to work for a 20 something entrepreneur? Neither is true. I quite happily work for a young entrepreneur and have done so in the past, as that is how the industry rolls. At the same time, I am not too young for advisory roles, yet depends which start up and what area. I have, and that wasn’t intentionally, found one where I am curious to learn more about the topic (it is about blockchain and crypto currency) and at the same time can add value with my experience. It happens to be run by a very smart and young entrepreneur too. I announce it formerly once the paperwork is signed.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a job search has an impact on one’s mood, and one’s surrounding. My kids keep asking when I go back to work and luckily I got some contract work which keeps me sane. I want the right job (fingers crossed), not any job, and I am keen on keeping it that way. Patience is getting less, but on the other hand I need to keep on going, filling the pipe until things are sorted. And of course they will. The next job should be 3-5 years ideally, so better make it a good one and I am keen on staying somewhere longer to make a proper impact.

Now, coming to another experience I wanted to share. My youngest is wearing contact lenses for a couple of weeks now. They shape his eyes over night and he takes them out in the morning. On the one hand they stop him from having to wear glasses and on the other hand it stops his eyes from getting worse. Fingers crossed that will be the case. I am so heartbroken seeing my seven year old putting contacts in, his struggle when he is tired. I am so very proud of him doing that whilst myself I am too squeamish to even consider it. See above, the eye problems run in the family (that’s my wife’s line btw, just saying 😉 ) and I am glad we have the possibilities to make things better moving forward. It all will be good in the end. But it is a struggle to make things better sometime and putting this on children early is balancing pushing and understanding. Not easy to be a parent sometime.

I have been networking this week too, and my Instagram followers would have noticed, I have a new drink of choice: an Old Fashioned. A drink that lasts longer than a pint and taste nice and is still ‘cool’ after the Mad Men era. Having said that, depending who you are speaking to, Mad Men is a thing of the past. The right comment given it was IWD this week (International Women’s Day). This could be another post in itself, I think it is great that the world wakes up to equality, but as I have said here and elsewhere before, I am still buffled that people would treat others differently based on gender, or race, or age, … Anyway, we as a global society are on the way to improve things.

With that hope and wish, my wife being on the mend, and a roast dinner in the oven, I hope you had a great weekend too.

All the best for the week ahead.

Volker

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Sunday Column (479)

6.52 – Monday – my train is leaving my local station to get to Victoria for an 8.30 meetings. It is minus degrees, and bitterly cold. As I am waiting for the train I reflect a bit and realise that I should have taken a woolen hat and some gloves. But no, I never really think about this. As most of my readers know I am an early bird. I lost over 10kg a few years ago and ever since had to bake in exercise into my daily routine. The only way it works for me, given I have a 90 minute door-to-door commute, is at 5 am routine in the morning. So despite people asking me if I am mad, I am not, I am just scheduling things so they work. 5 am wake up, about 45-60 minute exercise, 15 minutes meditation, getting ready, breakfast and out of the door by 7ish. Simple, isn’t it?

Having done some research recently into my sleep pattern, I realise that I have been waking up earlier than 5 am. What happens is, as my body must have got used to getting up between 4.45 and 5.15 every morning for the last 6 years, that the sleep cycles, the 90 minutes cycles, kind of start messing up my sleep. So what I noticed recently, going to bed around 9:30 pm, that I wake up at 3.30/3.45 fully awake. This suggests a theory I have been following by someone who only sleeps about 6 hours (4*90 minutes cycle) and gets up at 3.30 am, yet goes to bed at 9 pm. The theory is that if you get 4 good sleep cycles, that is all you need, rather than 4.5 cycles which leaves you actually more tired. Or you go for 5 of course, e.g. 7.5 hours sleep, about 8 hours in bed. You could argue if I go to bed at 9 pm, I should get 7.5 hours, getting up at 5, but it seems not work like that for me. So I shall continue to experiment, and maybe go to bed around 11 pm. The challenge is that I do not want to compromise on sleep and definitely don’t want to run around like a zombie. Just planning 8 hours for sleep seems a big ask on my time I find, that’s ⅓ of the day. But if I get 4 full cycles, e.g. 6 hours, and wake at 5 am, then 11 pm seems to be the right time to go to bed.

What do you think? Are you an early bird? What works for you? Please reach out to me and let me know. If you read that and have done some studies, please let me know, I am curious on how to master this.

Now the #uksnow – panic set in from Monday yet most trains were running as normal on Tuesday. I was impressed. And pleased. Good to see that the system works and that enough preparation didn’t kill the infrastructure. Well done Southern and Thameslink. I wore my old Navy boots to town, yet changed into more formal shoes once I got there 😉 It is a shame that the UK seems to normally collapse under an inch of snow, the more I was delighted to see it didn’t. And the boys loved it, they haven’t seen proper snow for a while. Personally, I love the cold weather. A few weeks of bitterly cold weather, snow and chaos sometimes doesn’t hurt. But then again…..it is easier without, isn’t it?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I decided to stay at home. Weather was ok-ish on most days, but deteriorated on Friday. So I postponed a meeting I had to go in for on Friday but thought it’s better than getting stuck on a train half way home. A Skype call worked just as well, and after all, the trains were running fine. I actually enjoyed the cold snap and having the fire on most days, getting cosy and drinking wine, and maybe taking it a bit easier, was actually rather nice. Cheese boards. Oh yes, I love a good night in. I have a busy week ahead next week. Fingers crossed I will be getting closer to making progress towards finding a job. I keep saying that every week, but I feel like things must come to an end before Easter. Fingers crossed, I keep you posted as always.

So not a hugely eventful week but with the snow and all, that’s what happened. For a few this was the perfect excuse to not do any work on Friday at all. It is wonderful for the kids and only ever happens every 5-10 years. So not a big deal but disruptive. It slows down a lot and given it was MWC this week in Barcelona, half the industry was out of the country anyway. Easter is getting closer with 3 weeks to go, so let’s see how things plan out. I definitely enjoy being out there doing some contract work, being busy and having a purpose. It helps not going stir crazy.

Additionally I booked a few new podcast guests in, and almost filled the schedule until the end of the year. I finally got some women committed and also started having some guests that are not in the adtech industry. We are moving in the right direction and I enjoy listening to my guests, discussing the Stories of Success.

Apologies for a rather diary like column. My focus at the moment is on the job hunting, the contract job and juggling a few things on the family side. Life never stops.

Have an amazing week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (478)

I am thankful for the support and conversations I had this week. I cannot thank people enough whether they spend time making a nice comment about some work I have done, or wether they brainstormed with me over a coffee and a walk. Or some really experienced headhunters approaching me for the roles that would take my career to the next level. I feel like there is opportunity, and listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast interviewing Bob Metcalfe – oh wow, there is so much that can turn out well and of course it comes down to luck and serendipity, but who says I am not in the vortex now. Are things happening as we speak. And where do we end up? Wow. Wow. Wow.

As you can see I am enjoying my journey. That is of course until the cold reality kicks in and I realise that contracting only covers part of my costs at the moment, but there is more contract work on the horizon. I am trusting the path and that the dots will connect looking backwards. That is what I am learning with every podcast I am doing, and you will be pleased to hear that I am in the process of getting some female guests signed up. And another coach. I could spend more time making this into something bigger but fear it takes focus away from the job search. Maybe that’s for the next part of my life?

So this week started out with an interesting discussion on my podcast. Yes, I interviewed a friend and mentor and, given it was 9:30 on a Monday, we drifted in some deep philosophical thoughts around happiness and success. As we finished the podcast it felt like we have talked forever and connected on some deep values, a very intense start into the week.

What am I saying here? My podcasts on success help me a lot to reflect of what is important. Whether success is important and whether happiness is related to success. Or success related to happiness. And with some of my guests I drift down to the question of what’s important in life, and it most often is achievement, the journey, a good life, health and family. Most are high achievers and for them it is important to be top of their game and make a lasting difference. And a lasting difference seems to be set equal with a long and healthy life. It is also NOT set equal with money. Something I always thought growing up.

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Please not that I have now put up a page on this blog to refer to a reading list of books recommended on my Stories of Success podcast and books I recommend anyone to read. Check out those recommendations.
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My question, and this is unrelated to the above, is if it is an illusion we are living in. Have we not always expected to grow old in the same way as our grandparents did. Our parents and the generations before. I have. And, for whatever reasons, we seem to hear from more people that die young or are ill younger, and if I say young, I mean 50-60 years of age. Putting it into relation, I am sure the statistics don’t show more people dieing younger yet, but there seem to be more touching my life. Now we can philosophise as much as we like, and Anthony Robbins invested heavily in stem cell therapy to improve life expectancy (that’s the way I interpret it), but one thing is certain: we will not grow old in the way older generations have.

It is a fact. And the reason I am so sure about that, is that life is changing constantly. We work differently to the generations before us, we consume different foods, we consume different media, get different stimulus, we are living in more polluted cities, we have more reliance on money, ….and the list goes on. Our lives are already fundamentally different to our parents’ life at the same age. And you just need to look at our kids using tablets and iPhones at an age we weren’t even have computers. The exponential acceleration of technology, for better or worse, results in us having a different life when we are older. Whether that is computer and robot related, or better health technology, or us never reaching that age as we all die of some disease or blowing up the planet.

This fact fascinates me, and I’d love to get involved in the development of some of those technologies that might make our life easier and better. One day, I believe so anyway, I come up with an idea that will change people’s life. That is when I will get self employed and go for it. I just haven’t had this yet, but given all the podcasts, when you deeply know you need to do something to make a difference, you will. I sit patiently and observe my thoughts. And maybe it is something small. And different to what I thought it might be. And it won’t be about money. Who knows what the future holds.

For now I am back at work. Not in a full time position but I am doing some contractual work. That keeps me occupied and stops me from going stir crazy. It is fun, I can make a difference, and maybe it leads to some full time employment – one way or another. I said to someone last week that I feel that things fall into place and I am now in a place I wanted to be 3 months ago. But 3 months ago, maybe me or the universe, things just weren’t ready. Timing, patience, believe and positive thoughts are what drives us forward.

Serendipity. And who listened to my 2nd published podcast with Caspar Schlickum knows, I quoted him a lot today. I am grateful for mentors and grateful for giving back. Latter I believe I have done this week too. Give and take. Greater unconsciousness.

Love and kindness to you, wherever in the world you are.
Volker

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