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 an executive and productivity coach, mindfulness trainer, consultant, and host a podcast. Whilst I have published a productivity book already, I launched my 2nd book on Success in 2019. Feel free to follow the links on the left-hand side, or reach out to me directly!

Sunday Column (521) – the end for now

Farewell, Goodbye and Amen. That’s how Hawkeye Pierce said goodbye to his friends at MASH. I adore Hawkeye and loved MASH and think the same. It’s not a goodbye though, it is a creative reshuffle, to focus more on my podcast and less on the weekly blog. So please check out my podcast where I continue to interview successful people for their Stories of Success. Looking back over the past 10 years when I started this blog, my wife was just pregnant with our first boy. I am reviewing the blog for a book that I shall publish at some point in the future. It is about 10 years of blogging and this is the final chapter. It covers my first redundancy in 2009. Before that it was me making the decision. Then it covers the next redundancies in 2013, 2016, and 2017. 3 out of 4 redundancies were after an exit through a US company buying themselves into the European market and technology. 2009 was due to the recession. Unfortunately this is how the cookie crumbles for mid management in our industry. It is funny to look back, and this year alone, I learned so much about consulting vs.

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Sunday Column (520)

The end (of the columns) is near. It’s Christmas soon. The days are short, it’s getting colder and the booze is flowing, like any pre Christmas period really. Life is busy and life is good. If I look back a year or two, life has changed for the better. The last two Christmas I was without a job but never without an opportunity. Those moments of change, when you make decisions, that’s when your life is formed. That’s when you become who you were set out to be, consciously or unconsciously. Today is column 520. Actually it is more like 512 as I missed a few counts a couple of years back. Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I am glad though that I numbered them, rather than having had to count them now and then. 10 years is a long time, but more about that next week. This week, as a bit of a summary, was almost the pre Xmas rush already. A lot of folk are off next week, so I anticipate this being a quieter week. I got plans, from 2019 planning to recapping, to organising, to tidying. The usual year end stuff you never finish as you

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Sunday Column (519)

Lovely people. This is the 3rd last regular column. And notice the ‘regular’ bit, I might be back 🙂 If you believe it or not, and of course given I am German and organised, I started writing most of the blog posts already. I have always done that, prepared the blog posts and just published them in advance. As far as I can remember there has been one or two occasions where I sat down Sunday night to draft and publish. It is less the time impact that makes me stopping it. It is the refocus on other things. I am changing my life. The base stays the same, e.g. job, family, house – the stability and foundation remains the same. But I am working on other things that just need more attention. The week started off awful – if you like – last Saturday with a delayed Southern train from Victoria after the footie. 2.5 hours for a 50 minute journey with an exhausted 9 year old. Just imagine you leave on an 8:41 train, go up to Manchester and back, and it takes you almost as long as that getting home on the final stretch from Victoria. As

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Sunday Column (518)

Last Sunday my fish tank was sold. After 6 years I gave up on my hobby. When you buy a fish tank, the value you spend on it is high, yet the value you get for it is low. Just like a car it depreciates. You could sell the fish and the equipment separately but I decided to shift it together and make it a quicker sale. Hopefully the new owner, an “older” lady, will get much joy out of the tank and enjoys my fish. It is with a bit of regret to shift those fish, but neither the boys or the wife really enjoyed my hobby. And I didn’t enjoy it enough to invest more in it. Time to move on. When speaking about it to a mate who has three tanks, I already started thinking what kind of tank I could get next….no, it is time to move on and simplify my life. Another thing done. What is next? Going out of your comfort zone is one thing. Whether that is training for a sports event and completing it, or just learning a new skill. My new job is full of those, sitting more over Excel sheets

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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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