Posts Tagged balance

Sunday Column (439)

Hello friends. I noticed that, if I am awake early on Mondays, that this is good writing time. So I am on another flight. Just about 16 hours after I disembarked my last. Yet the last one was for fun. My wife took me to Edinburgh for the weekend. It was amazing. Not only did you not have to worry about the kids but could do all the grown up things kids are not interested in. Culture, sight seeing, castles and whisky tastings. Plus, my wife took me to a restaurant, allegedly the best one in Scotland, the Witchery, where I ate the best steak I ever had in my life (and I had a lot), and I discovered the most interesting and tasting Italian blue cheese I ever had too. What a great weekend. Thank you again.

Later in the week I got a belated birthday present. Two actually. One was the picture of a Buddha my youngest drew. I love it. I even got two copies, one for each office. How sweet is that? The other a book of pictures and quotes collected by my wife from my closest friends. It was very emotional to read the impact I can have on lifes. I love you too guys, and this is only the beginning. 40 is the time you turn up the heat, put your foot down and enjoy the wind in your hair. Because you can. Because you don’t know how much longer you can do it either.

So as I wander through the airport on Monday morning, I am tired. Of course I am. The cold I had is still lingering around. Maybe it is more of a hay fever. The weekend was exhausting. I am happy though and that’s what matters. I am trying to think how we best plan our holidays over the next year(s). Also, I am listening to my podcasts again. This time it is all about passion. That someone should not necessarily want to be like someone else, but everyone is an individual. Realising you don’t want to be Steve Jobs or Anthony Robbins is the first step to realise that you are not like them. As I have learned over the years, it is about what you can take from any of those individuals and how you can put it together to form your self. The podcast guest suggested that you shouldn’t quit your job and start working on your passion. A passion is still what you do in your own time. And if that takes off from a side project, so will be it. Those podcast paired with the book I am reading about evolutionary coaching just make a lot of things come together. What an amazing life we are living, and slowly it all seems to make sense. The dots are connecting more than ever before. Wow.

Discovering your passion as something like ‘helping others’ and ‘developing others’ is great. That’s what I did. And if you as a reader of this blog or someone reading my productivity book is interested in what my opinions are, then please share and get engaged. I am just someone with some strong opinions on certain topics. I believe I know how to set up a productive work life scenario and work efficiently for others. I believe I am mentally strong and have a good working routine. A routine that allows me to cope with the workload and life load. And whilst doing all that, I still have a lot of fun. I cannot see myself being the Jim Rohn or Darren Hardy or Anthony Robbins but I can envisage to offer seminars for lifes’ little tricks in years to come. Not in my 40ies though ๐Ÿ˜‰ And one of the reasons is that once I stopped university, I started learning. Life experience, personal development books and so on. Experience of others that helps me to go through life. And that experience is something I’d like to pass on. But I am far from perfect and yet have many years of (life’s) training to come. Embracing this makes it even so exciting. Evolution at its best.

Bad news this week are coming from Manchester. A terrorist attack killed teenagers and hurt a lot of people. Terror at a โ€™teenager eventโ€™. 22 people died. A 22 year old was named by the police. I am speechless. Those kids had their whole life ahead of them. A 22 year old, someone who just started out in life, what did he know? Was it hatred or religious reasons or just someone being confused. At time of writing I am not sure, but in the end it doesnโ€™t matter. It is awful. My thoughts go out to those affected. And it impacts things in London. Fear of attacks, disruption and anger. United we stand. We will get through this, terror will never win.

In other news, as I still recovered from the weekend, I took it easy this week. A lot of work to catch up on, not too crazy tbh, and I managed to even fit in two saunas. I got a haircut in Hamburg (never as good as home) and caught up on a lot of catch up TV. I havenโ€™t done that for a while, so a relaxing and very productive trip at the same time. Some me time to catch up on important things, testing my new Asics trainers which arenโ€™t as good as the Nike. My pain creep back up running in the Asics but not in the Nike trainers. The weight of the shoes, the way I run in them etc. So the Asics are going back. I might still try some Ultraboost, but at least I am getting back on track. I even managed my first 10K in ages on Friday. Somewhat I haven’t been in a good place with running and the 24 hour race is coming closer with only eight weeks to go. So I better find the right trainers and the right mojo to make it. It’s going to be epic. It must be. Another wall to climb, to break through and move forward from.

When waiting for my plane on Wednesday I was wondering why those trips are so draining. And my conclusion is that you cannot do both of your jobs 100%. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I enjoy what I do. I chose my job to make it successful and be there fully, giving my best and make sure I have an impact. But by doing two jobs, it seems as if I do one or the other, and both only 90%. That is just not satisfying to be not as good as you could be because of restrictions you cannot change. Not sure that makes sense. Nevertheless the support from my boss, HR, colleagues is overwhelming. A great place to work. And so much more to learn and walls to climb. I definitely put my ladder on the right wall here.

However, I enjoy things as I used to. It is a cracking challenge, lots of fun with some really great people and amazing tech. Things are good, and I am not complaining. I am just tired this week, thatโ€™s allowed sometimes too I suppose. As the week moved on, my tiredness turns sleepless due to the heat. I am up most nights at 4:30. So I fit in the above 10K, a cheeky 5K and time with the boys before school. Challenging at times, but hey, isn’t that fun. 40 – life is only just beginning. Only now got I the tools to break through those walls. Keep them coming.

From my corner of the world, have a great week ahead. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend! Sun. Summer is almost here. BBQ. Family!

What else to live for?
Volker

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Sunday Column (310)

lk rohan colin rohan volker geenee nanee goodis ome oallp croopesh volker ule volerstela and stooit kasdon and rcaila rosee lilee

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I guess that is Colin’s first blog post. Can you spot your name, Judith, Michela, Krupesh, Oma, Opa, Karsten, Stuart, Stella, Rosie, Jenny, Lilly…..and Nanny of course. Not only did he win a prize in football this week, his brother turned 4 (officially), our neighbours got locked out, I had a doctor’s appointment I didn’t like and also I got a new filling, had to go to the dentist. And the dog went crazy, work was challenging, but overall as I am sitting down to start writing this blog on Friday night, I am content and happy.

Why? I keep asking myself what makes me happy and content?

I guess it is about accepting the challenge that you cannot change things. Things like life plays with you. Whether that is the wrong label from Amazon or the flower delivery on Valentine’s Day. The minor things or the major things.

It is the challenges in the job and the progress I make on a daily basis. Really enjoyable work. A great company, exciting space and of course it comes with challenges. And I love them. And next week I will be travelling again, then every week until Easter break. Will see the family less. Yet, I look forward to it, evangelising the world for 2nd screen TV Sync.

On top of that I have a fantastic, engaging family. I worked from home a day or two, was home for bathing, got lots of work done on the days as I got less disturbance and wasn’t held up in meetings, and can balance work life. Work is dominant, of course, after all that’s 8 hours a day, yet being able to relax for 10 minutes, tickling your youngest, or having a coffee with the wife makes life and work nicer. A great benefit of our company.

lifebalance

Being able to live where I am, and how I am. I am managing my early morning, exercise before work, breakfast with the kids, walks with the dogs and long extensive country walks with the dog at the weekend. How can’t you love that? Helping the neighbours to break into their own house (as they locked themselves out), being able to light a fire, have a glass of wine and just relax and feel at home. I am very content and happy, can’t you tell ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, all of above of course comes down to personal taste, personal development and feelings. And there are things that throw you off that balance sometime. But one has to believe that things are good, don’t we. Own circumstances, external influences, love and connectedness, contentedness and knowing what you want. Shared love, values and a strong partner, valuing my wife for Valentines of course. Life takes its course, good or bad, and will continue. Being able to stop, internally, put the screens aside, the disturbance and breathe in, breathe out, enjoy the moment with the dog and the fire, the taste of a good red wine, a good book or movie, the escape or the push forward….all that is key. To a balanced, healthier life.

I strongly believe I have the best framework in the world, receive the best love I can ask for, have the right job and challenges, and seem to balance it quite well, with being in the moment.

Yes, I am just lucky. Why wouldn’t I be?

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (304)

The first post of 2015. Funny that. Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope you had a great start!

I will post some motivational and new year planning thoughts on Linkedin tomorrow, so watch out for another post. And, this year will see a lot more productivity and personal development thoughts over at tidWOWs.

We started off well, sound asleep by midnight, and a long walk with friends and kids in our woods around Hassocks. Afterwards we had coffees, good chats and lots of homemade chili. What a day to start the new year!

So what’s in stock for 2015? What are your plans?
We got our car repaired as it failed its MOT. That wasn’t the best start. Then, I decided, after losing all the fat around my waist, that I need to get rid of is my belly. Nothing better than starting the year with a “dry January“, e.g. giving up my beloved wine and any alcohol for that matter. Time to beat the belly. A better routine, some more physio to improve my running and a lot more focus on weight exercise to shed off the extra belly fat. Wish me luck!

Matt Cutts, ever since I was first introduced to him back in 2008, has a 30 day challenge every month. Maybe something I will consider this year. I keep thinking about it for 7 years now, gave up alcohol or meat for a month, but maybe this year I should look into doing something each month.

The idea is to let go or do something additional for a month. Whether this is giving up booze or writing a chapter of your book every day or just not checking Facebook for a month: it is entirely up to you. Making a difference to a fellow human for a month by helping someone on/off the train or across the road. We shall see what I am going to do this year and if I am working with those 30 day challenges or just add things to my motivation in order to lose weight. The other big aim is to get even happier, more engaged with my family.

The aim of all of my efforts in 2015 is to become a better family man whilst not losing out on my career. Balancing the ultimate home experience with the best work experience. Hope that makes sense. And part of that is to be more in the NOW, more engaged with the kids, be healthier and fitter (and setting an example). Actually, I just want to take the status quo to the next level. Modest as it might seem.

life life balance

So balance is the key word for 2015. I anticipate some exciting times in my job and career in 2015 which will challenge me to stabilise that with the family time. To balance the train journeys with todos on and off the main job. Having enough family time whilst also having me-time and wife-time, ensuring friends and family are catered for. Whilst I am not the most popular person in the world (or am I ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – I do like to be sociable and hence need to prioritise how to spend my spare time, and with whom. Due to these constraints I have decided to not continue as a Rotary member. Whilst it breaks my heart as I am strongly believing in the good that Rotary offers, it was a decision based on travel, work and home commitments, paired with the thought that Rotary will still be around in a few years. Maybe I join the local club post retirement.

All of that will lead to the decision on our holidays this year, and maybe a new car, some home improvement works but nothing like last year. Who knows what we can afford, needs doing and how to progress in 2015. Without a crystal ball it is difficult to see what is going to happen.

So there is to 2015. A year my gut tells me will be very exciting, very positive and it will lead to something bigger and better. In other words, I will progress in life this year. If that is work or private, or what it is, ….. make sure to stay tuned so I can tell you all about it.

Have a great 2015. A great start back to work.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (300)

Three hundred Sunday Columns!

Amazing. Almost 4 years. And I get more and more committed readers. Thanks for the support and kudus over the years. I keep on going, maybe stop with column 2,000 – around the age of 70. But who knows if blogs still exists by then, or the Internet. A life’s work by then.

Tomorrow I am off for my last trip of the year. In the first half of the year I spent 22 nights away and had about a return flight within Europe every other week. Yet the 2nd half of the year seemed a lot busier. That’s because I spent two full weeks away, did a longer flight to Turkey, but overall actually had less flights. But the run up to Christmas only seems busier as it starts around September but then it is full on from there. More work in less time. Never mind. I believe travel also helps to get away and clear one’s mind a bit. Whilst the separation from the family isn’t nice, the coming home is fantastic. The balance is key as so often.

Mother Theresa

My week has been very productive and I created lots of new content over at tidWOWs. The best quote I read, from Johann Wolfgang von Gรถthe was “as soon as you start trusting yourself, you learn how to live.” How true and I almost feel that has happened to me over the past two years. Not only job wise but also in regards to my private life, commitment to success and being clearer of what I want to achieve. This quote came to me for a reason, that I am sure about.

On other news we continue to enjoy Rosie. She is growing a lot and learning a lot and seems better behaved. Having said that she is just after any food crum there is, peanut butter toast or crisps. We get through that too.

On Saturday we went to Littlehampton beach. We left early in the morning to be there for sunrise and Rosie had a fantastic run on the beach. It was a bit chilly but it was great to go and the light was amazing.

Being at a beach early in the morning, seeing the sun coming over the horizon, the tide coming in whilst enjoying the fresh crips air with the ones you love. The odd fisher boat leaving the harbour and all you hear is the rattling diesel engine. Is there something better in life? The winter sun was very intense, the temperature pleasant, almost warm, not windy. The kids loved it and Rosie was running around like crazy. Not another soul on the beach. We spend an hour there but it felt like 5. Peace.

Often, I get humble in these situations. I look at the bigger picture, I think about what is important in life. How small the world is compared to the sun. And the little place we are living in compared to the size of the globe. In those moments I just think: Life is amazing! I am happy. I have a good life.

I hope you do too!

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (205)

This week started really on Sunday night with us having had friends over for dinner. I feel like I am really settling in and enjoy life in our community. Other parents, kids, activities, sharing. Latter seems key to build good relationships. We have long arrived in Hassocks and go with the flow. Probably one of the best things I have done in life so far. Settling down.

On that note it has been a year this week that we sold our old house and put an offer in on the current place. Time flies.

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On Tuesday I started running again. I find myself very unbalanced on Mondays. This is due to back-to-back meetings and follow ups you never really get on top of, followed by discussions, frustration, joy and curiosity. In other words: Mondays seem to be a roller coaster ride and you never know what happens. Tuesday results in lots of follow ups.

I tend to either fast on Mondays or if I have a meeting I aim to eat reduced calories: salad, lean ham, no bread. Latter was the case this week. Anyway…

Whilst running on Tuesday I watched the BBC’s/Dave Attenborough’s Africa report. When I was a teenager I red Grizmek’s Serengeti shall not die and was fascinated by the continent back then. I had a chance to go to a Kenyan wedding a few years ago but just couldn’t afford it. Now with the kids and the political instability in most states, I am not sure if I would dare to go. Having said that I was in Egypt a few years ago for work.

As a child I loved animals. Most children do I suppose. I loved the wildlife of Africa. From the beetles to the lions. The metamorphosis and evolution as well as adaption of wildlife to a hostile environment in some parts is amazing. It still seems like an untouched place, the birthplace of mankind, mystical, dangerous yet amazing, vast and calming at the same time. I love Africa.

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One day I will visit it. Maybe a safari or so. With the family. Until then it will be a dream. Friends of mine used to live there. Someone I know still does. I have chosen to stay, to finish university, find a job, settle down, have a family and pursue a career. Others have decided to follow their (own) dreams, found a family on the way and will eventually settle down. Pros and cons. I follow my (own) dream. Ever since I was 17 or so I wanted to be a manager. I never really knew what a manager does. Managing things I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚ I follow my dream, however it might not have been too exciting. However, exciting enough for me.

On Wednesday I met another potential extra curricular activity in London. I walked away from that meeting being amazed. Having thought that I have seen most, experienced a lot, those guys just added to it. I believe that might have been it. Decision made. Would they want me to join? I don’t know. Again, it will take a while until I find out and make a final final decision. I keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜‰

I finished reading “How to win in the sports of business” this week. Mark Cuban describes his entrepreneurial life story which is quite fascinating. Keep at it, get your teeth into what you are doing and take risks. Loved reading every word of it.

It has been an interesting week with lots of facets of life. Some disappointing ones but I work on that. Not even for me but for other folk. I more and more experience the WE of happening. Not to worry about myself but about my fellow colleagues and friends which then in return will work in my favour. The Secret. The greater unconscious. The greater good. Life is falling into place and I am in the middle of it. At least that’s how it feels. And it is a great feeling when you think the universe is moving into the right direction.

Before I waffle on too much, let me finish here. A networking party this week, a good start into February and long days at the weekend best describe the rest of my week. New faces, ideas and lots to think about. I am loving my life at the moment. Make sure you love yours. Be in it. Live it!

Onwards and upwards.
Have a good one,
Volker

dent in the universe steve jobs

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Sunday Column (187)

This week started alright I thought. Slightly hung over from Saturday I didn’t feel well on Sunday. But it was Sunday to Monday night that I found out that it wasn’t the booze but some evil virus that made me feel sh@t. A stomach bug.

Two days off sick. Or, as it happens these days, home office from your bedroom in between sleeps and toilet visits. My boss had the cheek to say “you look good being sick”. I didn’t feel it ๐Ÿ™

20120929-201129.jpg On Wednesday I went back to work. Not only did I feel better but I also didn’t have a choice. We got a new water tank and thermostatic valves fitted. No water, no toilet flushing ๐Ÿ˜‰ But as I said I was much better anyway. By time of writing my oldest seem to recover and we wait for the wife to be sick. The youngest had some symptoms already, maybe that was it already? Maybe it wasn’t. A bit of a gamble.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my trip to Madrid. I haven’t seen my staff there for a while and had some good meetings lined up. Also I wanted to meet our new staff. Never mind, you cannot force things. And looking at times of visits to the bathroom, I am glad I wasn’t sitting in an airplane taking off at the time. I shall meet them all again soon.

Enough about the bug. I am glad we got another thing off our todo list for the house. We are getting the standard we want slowly but surely. We still need to get an outside vent fitted (soon), the garden sorted (October) and the downstairs loo (soon-ish) replaced. And decorating which hopefully will be done with grandpa early November. We are getting there. I feel very homely and comfortable. Definitely the right move.

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At the weekend we sat down with neighbours which are in our age group who have two little girls. Not only are we on the same wave length, we also have similar life styles and problems: what to decorate, what next to do in the house, when to see the kids when working late all week…. It is a great life we have but on the other hand we are working very hard to have it.

Now I have a problem with our local dry cleaner. They replaced one shirt already. Now they couldn’t remove another stain from a shirt and I am convinced they put new stains in my shirts. I have to make the decision now to find a new dry cleaner or give them another chance. I think it will be the former.

Colin started to really like school too. I am glad he does. Also, he now plays by himself with his train set in his room. This is such a great development. Scary to see them growing up so quickly. Rohan is a chirpy one, repeating lots of words and wanting lots of cuddles. Nice ๐Ÿ™‚

I am very balanced at the moment. I think the change of weather, real autumn storms and rain, plus the sickness, make you a bit reflective. Balanced, not stressed. Harmonised, not hectic. Hope that makes sense. Whenever you are sick, at least for me that’s true, you start going inside yourself. I ask myself why am I sick? Why now? Why me? What does my body or spirit need? And I find out more about myself. I grow stronger out of it. I calm down for a bit, I strengthen up, I come back stronger!

Let’s all have a great week. No travel for me, but probably travel each week from the following week.

Have a good one.
Volker

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Sunday Column (149)

Happy New Year again. My first proper Sunday Column of 2012. And what should I tell you. The year started a lot busier than anticipated. The break I had seems far away but was very revealing. I think that this year is going to bring a lot of change.

One change is around the corner but I cannot speak about it yet.

However, the other change I can speak about quite openly: we are planning to move. We are quite focused with our search and surprisingly spend all Saturday looking at places (towns that is). And, even more surprisingly, probably already made a decision on the town. Maybe we should look around more but maybe we should just go for this place. First thoughts but we believe it might be the right decision. We are going to sleep about it a few more nights, do some more research and then going to look for some actual properties. Scary thought to decide on a place for the next 18 years or longer ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway. The year started with every take away on the planet and probably close to the amount of booze as we had before and during Christmas. Not sure if it is the lack of light or what it is but we were lazy to say the least.

All that will change as I am determined to go back to the gym – that is when Rohan sleeps through the night. And, I am determined to eat healthy again. I even emptied my wine shelf, so it is a first to go into the 2nd week of the year with an empty wine shelf.

I believe 2012 is all about the balance too – work & family, diet & sports, friends & family. I went out on Thursday with a few mates and I haven’t had such a great laugh for a very long time.

On the other hand you all know how much I enjoy living and working. I also managed to spend one day in the office until 7 pm – things are back to normal and for some reason I have never believed you should change things just because it is a new year. Whatever you want to change, it is in your head. Reading a book about self hypnosis makes you think. That book opens your eyes of what is possible with your mind. Not sure if reading an MBA book at the same time is the best idea ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, before I drift off too much, I hope you all have a great 2nd week of the year.

Mine is going to be busy. Lots to talk about this week.

Best wishes,
Volker

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work life balance

I think the last time I wrote about work life balance was regarding the entrepreneur and intrepreneur.

A thought I had was when I have been working from home, which happens occasionally, whether I have a better or worse work-life-balance.

And, the answer is difficult. I remember that studying for my MBA we discussed that if you work from home, you should get your own room/desk and area in the house. This way you could “go home” after work and relax, e.g. getting your life.

However, for me as an occasional “working from home” person, it is not that easy. A small house with only one proper desk, it is like you are in your living room all day.

Often, when I discuss that with clients, I get the answer of “I would get too distracted at home” – I agree, some people can. For me it is usually the other way around:

I get up my usual time and sit on the laptop about one hour earlier than I usually do. Then, from a lunch point of view, I eat whatever is around and never really feel hungry, ergo do not have a proper break until the late afternoon. Which is, when I go back to my desk and deal with some work over in the US and end up shutting down the laptop around 7 or 8 pm.

Wow, that makes it a full 11 hour day (only noticed that now). And, my way home is quick. I just sit on the other side of the table and end up being home ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, there are two sides to that:
I personally get more distracted by work than by home, e.g. I enjoy working and what I do, so end up working more at home but cannot really escape work physically. But, I have enough confidence to turn things off if it is getting too much.

Finding the right balance is important. And, as long as you enjoy the work you are doing, working from home occassionally is fine. However, I actually enjoy being in the office too – even if I am alone in the office. Just to get away from home ๐Ÿ™ Is that double minded?

I read “big brother’s” comment about life-life balance. There are so many discussions about what is right or wrong and I believe nothing is right or wrong as long as it works for you (and ultimately for the person you work for). If you cannot turn off the laptop when it’s time and you cannot turn off your blackberry when needed, then you do need to work on your priorities. You need to enjoy what you are doing, that is really the key.

Some more Buddhist thoughst on life-life balance can be found at balamadana.

Enjoy a relaxing weekend.

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