Life of a Family Man

After 10 years of regular columns, I am now back to more regular personal updates and personal development advice. I work as a business and executive coach, consultant, and host a podcast. Whilst I have published a productivity book already, 2019 will see the publication of my 2nd book. Stay tuned for updates! Feel free to follow the links on the left hand side, or reach out to me directly!

Sunday Column (517)

At time of writing, late Friday night, the week seemed as if it was extra long. No idea why, it was just one of those weeks, busy and full of achievement; a week that makes you think you are progressing. A nice week actually. It went differently as planned. Instead of going to Germany, the trip had to be cancelled last minute. Never mind, I actually spend a lot of time catching up on some work which meant I got ahead of a few things. Nice! It also meant I worked from home which was nice too. I am clearing out my blog drafts and noticed that I still had the following draft about reading books: Not many people actually know but I read a reasonable amount of books. Over the years, since commuting an hour into London, I make a point of NOT doing work in the morning but read instead. So unless something urgent is happening, the morning commute is my time. The evening commute on the other hand is different 🙁 I mainly read personal development books and biographies. Steve Jobs’ biography resulted in me becoming an Apple fan boy and I truly loved his story. Currently

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Principles of Success – Mentors and Coaches (12)

Mentors and Coaches support your SUCCESS This is the last chapter on my principles of success. Then again they are not mine, they are principles collected from my podcast guests at Stories of Success. My guests have been fantastic. And whilst some of them have been my mentors over the years already, some became mentors to you and me in the course of this podcast. I love to do this podcast, interview people and understand the key principles of success. However, as most of you realised when I did ask the question, most of these successful people didn’t make it to the top themselves. They all had mentors, worked with a coach on a long term commit and had input or help from more senior, more experienced people. Having worked in the industry as a consultant and advisor for many years, I realised that when you are going into new projects, you are the experienced person, someone who has been there, done it. You are the one they look at for advice. That experience helps to examine situations, understand the concepts quickly and then figure out how to move forward and make a difference. The experience is what pays, not

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Sunday Column (516)

Would you believe what I did this week? I spend my evenings, or I shall say my wife and I spend our evenings, filling a basketball hoop stand with 150 kg of sand! Through a 3 cm hole with a funnel and spoon!!!! This was the early Christmas present, not only my youngest was looking forward to, but also myself. It takes me back years, and reminds me how well I played and how much I enjoyed it back in the days. Yet, I never took it forward, or was pushed out of my comfort zone to do it. No regrets, a lot of learning for how to bring up my kids though. Hence, no compromises, and we got a proper basketball hoop 🙂 Christmas is coming around quickly. I have a few business trips coming up, loads of projects to finish and lots of planning to do. I am settled in the job and being busy, drinks are flowing pre Xmas already and it gets more difficult to fit things in. Blimey, how did I miss that season. With the marathon over, the post marathon blues over, I am trying to get back into a routine. I said I

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Principles of Success – Failure breeds Success (11)

Failure breeds SUCCESS; keep trying, learn constantly, don’t take yourself too seriously, and improve daily; be fearless Similar to last week, when I first heard of a growth mindset, I thought of another management fad. Of course it isn’t, but the growth mindset goes in line with self consciousness and EQ. When you start monitoring your impact on your environment and see how people react towards you, you can adjust your behaviour. You are starting to learn from mistakes and see what works. That is true of course with any mistake. If you make a mistake, the key thing is to learn from it. People used to be afraid of mistakes and I often joke to my staff that I never make mistakes. Then I stop and see how they react. I then clarify that I am not serious, as even managers make mistakes. And that is important to admit, because we all fail. A silly email, the wrong wording, the wrong people on the thread, or even something more serious, the wrong amount in the campaign set up….it happens to the best of us. Lack of sleep or not concentrating, distracted by noise or hayfever….the reason doesn’t matter. Important

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Sunday Column (515)

Hello. I got about seven regular Sunday Columns left. That means Christmas is not far away. I managed two early Christmas presents for my boys, one is a trip to Manchester in order to see Man City play; the other one is a basketball hoop. Latter is also an early present for myself, but that aside. I can’t stop myself supporting the boy’s ambition to play sports, be healthy and exercise. How could I? Today it has been 100 years since the end of World War One. It is hard to believe. My grandparents would be over 100 years old now and the world has moved on. Thinking about it, I introduced my youngest to some ‘oldies’ music from the 60ies and 70ies, another (Vietnam) war generation only 50 years ago. He wasn’t too keen. It reminds you to appreciate the peaceful times we live in. Despite mid term elections in the US and Brexit. A year from now, the world is a different place. On that note, I read an article on the BBC about the decline in fertility rate. It is scary that we might not have an overpopulation problem but a problem of not too many kids

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Principles of Success – Emotional Intelligence (10)

Emotional Intelligence, self-consciousness, and awareness of others are key traits of SUCCESSFUL leaders. Key to success is definitely being self aware. How do you react to others? How do you lead others? How are you perceived by others? How do you perceive others? All those questions are simply answered by being self aware. The more modern word is Emotional Intelligence. When I studied my MBA many years ago, I did a research paper on EQ and my conclusion: it is a management fad. That and the habits of 7 effective people have been frowned upon by our studies. However, nowadays I am a lot more relaxed about management fads and wouldn’t even consider them as fads any longer. For me it is important that you take away what you need from those books. The seven habits are great and when I first read that book in the late 90ies, it helped me a lot to understand what the key principles of success are. And so does EQ. Whilst you don’t get more out of the theory by reading more books, a good book on EQ will help you to understand and being more self aware of your situation. Whether that

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Sunday Column (514)

This is a special post. Why? You see below. I have made a few decisions this week, based on having a few hours to think about life and life’s priorities. From January, I will stop writing my Sunday Column. 10 years, over 500 posts and a collection of over 1000 pages are enough for now. It helped me in my personal development, my reflection and I aim to use it as a base for some further book writing, including a publication of the posts in an e-book. It might just take a few months/years to review and publish. When I started my blog in 2009 I was childless, working in search marketing and just bought my first house. Things have changed. I have developed over the years and have found my blog both a creative outlet and therapeutical. However, it is time to channel that energy elsewhere. Stay tuned. This doesn’t mean I will stop writing, and occasionally you will find a topical post here. Instead I want to continue with my podcast, another creative outlet where I personally, and hopefully the listeners, gain more from too. Finding a wall. You might remember that I took part in a 24

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Principles of Success – Journaling and Meditation (9)

Journaling and meditation lead to a balanced mind and reflection fostering SUCCESS. The last principle touched on routines. Part of my routine is to meditate for 15 minutes every day. I have been doing that for over 3 years. But did you notice what my podcast guests are telling me? From deep breathing, cold showers, reading novels to martial arts. A relaxation routine, a meditative habit. However you want to call it, meditation and regular relaxation will help you to transform your mind and the way you deal with things. You learn how to control your thoughts. Loads of research has shown how the brain changes over time to cope better, concentration goes up and you are more ready to handle unexpected things that come your way. There is scientific research suggesting a lot of good things re meditation. I personally find that by concentrating on nothing and reflecting on things, and yes sometimes my mind still wanders, but that’s ok too. What matters with any routine, and that includes meditation, it needs to work for you. If your meditation is a long walk with your partner at the weekend, or taking the dog for a walk, so be it.

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Sunday Column (513)

Berlin. Taking the family to Berlin for half term would always be an adventure. A 7 and a 9 year old on a city trip with lots of history? This wasn’t to meet family, it was about showing my family a Germany away from the grand parents, it was to experience Berlin and a couple days in Hamburg. So before we set off, we talked about German history, about the war and how this resulted in Germany being split in four parts; and it resulted in Berlin being split in four parts. For me, Berlin has always been the capital. From Prussia to the modern ages. I never, probably similar to most Germans, saw Bonn as a real capital city. Berlin just has this charm, this feeling of being able to host big statesmen and to have the space to parade in front of presidents. It is that flair and history that attracts me to Berlin. However, and I want to be as honest as I can be, yet not being rude, Berlin in parts looks tired. My sons pointed out the massive amounts of graffiti and when you started to look under the hood, what we saw at least,

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Principles of Success – Routines and Habits (8)

Routines and habits are key to help with focus and therefore support SUCCESS. This is one of my most favourite principles, and I have been banging on about it since the launch of my productivity book. Forming a habit and successful daily routine will help you mastering your work flow and make your life simply easier. Let’s use Mark Zuckerberg’s or Steve Job’s routine as an example: they both wear the same cloths every day. They never opened their wardrobe in the morning thinking ‘which shirt to wear’. By taking small decisions out of your life, you simplify your life. If you don’t know how to fit in a gym routine or journaling or book writing routine when you are up against it at work, and too tired at night, take my approach: the 5am routine. Yes, I have been talking about it for a while, my alarm goes off at 5am, and I exercise, meditate and set myself up for the day. That is my time before the kids wake up, before the wife gets up and by the time I have breakfast, I have already had my first wins: I took care of myself. On the flip side

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