Posts Tagged BBQ

Sunday Column (495)

How are you all? Did I catch a snippet of someone saying that global warming results in us having stints of good weather for longer and then stints of bad weather for longer. Clearly we are in the former and I cannot say that I do not enjoy it. BBQs all weekend 🙂

Let’s speak about muscle memory this week. I was very proud of running a 10 mile run outside last Friday. I thought I coped well when I went on a 10K treadmill run earlier this week but one of my weak muscles gave in a bit. Too much too soon maybe, and maybe I need to take it slower. When recording a podcast with an Ironman runner on Friday, he said 50% of progress is recovery.
But that wasn’t the only muscle memory event this week, I also went back for an 8 am flight from Heathrow. That meant a 5.15 taxi pick up, 90 minutes drive to Heathrow and so forth. I must have been on autopilot having done that every week for a few months. Now I am back doing this on occasions with my new contract work, and as much as I enjoy the variety, I don’t like the strain associated with travel. But probably I never will, or nobody ever does.

It is funny having had a break from flying for so long and then coming back. The same people, the same characters if you like. The same breakfast, routine and queuing system, nothing ever changes, and nothing ever stays the same. Mentally I am preparing, sorting out my life. I am creating a blank canvas, like a new start for myself. It might sound funny to some of you but I started sorting my shirts out, topped up on a few; I sorted my shoes out. My running routine is being sorted, thoughts around stabilising the above mentioned muscle group. Everything is going to change and everything is staying the same. What I really miss at this stage of my life is a routine. A regular occurrence of events that make up most of my life. Like going to work Monday to Friday. This week I didn’t even make it up to London and I didn’t miss it.

Life at the moment is a bit like Yin and Yang. Life is driven by 6 human needs: insecurity and security. Or variety and habits for me. The habit and security part is a stronger need for me. Then it is about significance and love / connection. A job or even a contract brings significance, otherwise you are sitting at home without a purpose, and that is ever so daunting. The following level is growth, and I am definitely one for personal growth, and contribution, being able to give back and help. On a good job, a good run, a good life phase, I am ticking the boxes. But it comes back to the first two to really trigger me off on small things.

Sometimes I want a life where I want my family happy, my health good, my mind right, my finances flowing and no drama. Of course this cannot always be the case, but wouldn’t that be nice. I remember when we started out in our first flat, then house; having a lot of unknowns threw us off. Those are still there but resilience took over. Less worrying about the small stuff, and focus on changes throughout life.

What I am trying to say is that as you grow up you realise to not sweat the small stuff. You start focusing on the things you can change, the now. You realise less is more, whether in exercising or other things.

I am happy. And, subject to all coming together, happiness can only increase I suppose. Life never stays the same, it always changes.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (494)

Experiences. Given I write this blog a week in arrear just before the weekend, the reflections are almost a week old. Never mind, the story last weekend was more experience. We rented some kayaks and went onto a small lake. Needless to say the boys are in an age now where they love it. We got wetter than anticipated, yet not totally soaked, and enjoyed the new experience. Following on from that we of course had some ice cream and time to play in the park; finishing the weekend with a BBQ in the evening sun in the garden. What else to wish for? We might never get a summer like this again, so we must make the most of it whilst it lasts. I very much appreciate what we have, what we enjoy. Every moment matters.

Now, 10 years ago this week we moved into our first house. That was back in Beckenham, just after the house prices came down. We probably overpaid, were naive and inexperienced but loved the experience. Exactly to the day a year on, we had our first son. I cannot believe he turned 9 this week. Watching the smaller kids on the playground last weekend makes you appreciate how far you have come and how grown up our boys are. How far have we come? It’s this amazing journey of bringing up a human being, to teach, to love, to develop. Nothing ever prepares you for it, and I hope this journey will continue a life time for me, a bond only father and son can have. I am truly blessed with my two.

I am not sure if I used the analogy before but my job hunt which turned pretty much into a consulting role, became an episode of waiting for a bus. Looking back at some of my conversations, thoughts and opportunities in February, compare them to April and then the big promise of part time work in May, only ever materialised in June. This week I got rather busy and enjoy the work I am doing, working with a few companies to see how things can progress.

Actually, I really enjoy being able to help, offer advice and come into a company and give a new perspective of what’s happening. Then again, I can still do that in 5-10 years time when I have even more experience, when I had another few learnings under my belt. What became clear across the board was that people appreciate me ‘getting stuck in’ and ‘my management style’. I just love working with people and want the best for them. And I am not one for taking the mickey either. I like to get sh*t done.

Yet I resigned from one role this week. It was time to move on as I had done what I could do. The other role is just ramping up and there is something on the horizon – so I hope anyway. It is a good position to be in if you can choose, to be able to make decisions. Put your head where your mouth it, is that the right expression? Maximise your impact, maximise your outcome. And on top of that I had the privilege to spend some quality time with a mate. Those moments are rare. I cherish them. We talked odd stuff too. Enjoy the moment, know when you can enjoy it, be within it. Be in the now.

Friday I had a day off. Often happens these days, and I decided to go for a 10 mile run. Why not. The wifey went for one, and I kept up well. It was one of the first runs outside, and I definitely have the fitness, just need to get used to the running outside bit again. So I am planning another 10 mile next week. Back into it. One of my podcast guests suggested me to run the London marathon for her charity, and I happily accepted. The episode goes live week after next. I am excited again about running, about making things happen in life. Now, just another few days and hopefully life will be sorted for a few years….famous last words.

Keep your friends close. I really appreciate what I have, what help I have received, and life has in stock. I am passing things on as much as I can. Be well, stay safe.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (394)

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Roller Coaster Ride! My life took a turn and it is moving only in one direction: it is up and onwards, and time bound, because we cannot stop time. It means that it is becoming a bit more unstable before it becomes more stable again. Hopefully anyway, a bit of bumps on the road ahead I fear. And when I keep saying you must trust that things will work out in the end, now is the time for me to do exactly that. And I do.

Things in life happen for a reason. Things happen to push us out of our comfort zone. We are here to learn, to grow and to move on. Exciting and daunting at the same time. Isn’t life wonderful? We must embrace it as much as we can.

I got more endorsements last week on Linkedin from more senior people than ever before. I am winning. I am doing things right. You remember I was saying that a while back. Mentally I am strong, I always was very head strong (my granddad Heinrich’s fault). So now is the time to go back to my roots and make sure they are anchored the way they should be. They are!

Exercise is steady. I did my two 10K and another 7.5K. My kettle bell exercise are back on, strength training is prioritised. Week after next I need to go back to the pool. It feels like I gain circumference without gaining weight. Wrong food I suspect.

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Now, let’s talk about you for a moment. Yes, you. Thanks for continuing to read my blog, engage in my life and take something from here to your own life. I have got so much positive and encouraging feedback from you over the last few weeks, that I can only ask you to do 2 things: Please share this on social media and talk to people about my blog. I want this blog, and ultimately other projects that are brewing in the back of my head, to help others. To be an inspiration for others. I would love people to send me questions, ask me about advice and ideas on what they should do in certain situations! Feel free to reach out to me and thank you for your participation. Thank you for enjoying what I have to say.

Please share it on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Follow me. Please reach out to me. Let’s make this world a better place. Together. That must be our ultimate goal.

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There have been a few highlights this week. My parents stayed over the weekend. We got a new gas BBQ just in time for some sunny days – I have to say I like it. And, we finally got our car. The machine. The Skoda Superb. The family wagon. I love it. Needless to say, after driving a mini bus for almost 4 years, it was time to upgrade to something more nippy. And the kids love it too 😉

Material value. I listened to a Buddhist podcast this week and actually, we shouldn’t feel attached to things. And I don’t. Having a new car for me isn’t about value, showing off or attachments. It is about functionality and freedom somewhat. Something nice. Yet, whilst it is physically on our drive way, I am not attached to it. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it.

We suffer from attachment. Greed. I am money driven so I can distribute more. So I can invest it to secure a better education for my family. To make my life easier and better. But not only my life. The life of others. I like to create value. That doesn’t need to be monetary value but can be any value. Helping people. Supporting them through difficult times. Coaching them. That is where I want to add more value and contribute more regularly.

And for my job: I know the industry. I know the people you need to speak to. I put companies on the map of the industry to be recognised and sold. I have done it. I am winning. I love looking at new technologies, understand what is possible, meet enthusiastic entrepreneurs, see great technology and believe in their future potential.

Let’s make it happen. Let’s keep winning.

Are you?
Are you living the life you want to be living?

Have a fantastic week. Keep going after them. Keep winning!

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (387)

The old bank holiday weekend. In Britain that means an increase appetite for BBQs, that is weather permitting. As so often, unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking that good, maybe dry but not too hot. Summer hasn’t really arrived yet, there is hope so.  And yes we managed a lovely park run on Sunday and a BBQ. Hurray!

Let me update you on a few things. I didn’t go on my trip to the states this week. There were business reasons which made sense to postpone that trip. That left me with a rather unplanned week, which I could use to get on top of forecasts, planning, pipeline, Salesforce, and preparations for a conference I am speaking at next week. On Wednesday I shall go to Berlin for a few days to speak at the Ad Trader Conference. I remember its origin in the summer of 2010 in London. A pub, funny enough now opposite the biggest ATD in town, a dark room, and a few entrepreneurs that wanted to do this thing called ‘real time bidding’. That was then, now this conference attracts a few hundred people each year, and RTB became programmatic. Amazing.


On the private side of things are updates too. Firstly I caught up with a friend of nearly 25 years on Monday. Man it was good to speak. To take the time and compare notes and realise this person has the same challenges I have, the same issues, fears and challenges, dreams and opportunities. Yet we live far apart. The beauty is we are so familiar to each other that it doesn’t matter. Latest next year we should be able to catch up in person again! So whatever you think, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, no matter what it looks like.

The bathroom is finished. 6 or so weeks! The finish is not as envisaged but we glad it is all working. Kind of anyway. We found out why the tap/sink is leaking and this was fixed this week. Temporary I should add. Manufacturers problem. The bath still needs to be examined as it moves and shouldn’t. We are kind of confident it was fixed correctly (how can you not fix a bath correctly), so maybe another manufacturer’s fault. Given the money we spend on it….but never mind. If we have to replace the bath tub, then this is what we have to do. No choice. And we will get through that too. It all works out in the end.

Two trees made their way into our back garden. This is to block out neighbours’ views. A new bush to cover a dry area and break up the looks a bit and then we started on the evening patio in the garden plus the extension of our current patio. Things are happening. We are doing all that in favour of the drive way which we pushed back to the end of the year. No rush. The car should arrive in August, so all will happen in the end. Time will pass. It all works out in the end. My mantra in all ways of life at the moment.


Friday saw a nice get together of the local dads. You begin to feel a bit old. Conversations are middle aged man like. Lol. Vasectomy, kids, wife, family life, local shops, DIY etc… As a matter of fact I am feeling a bit old. Tired, headaches from the change of weather, a sore throat, and exhausted after a 14K run. And I was planning to do another half marathon distance this weekend. Maybe not. Time to sit down, relax, meet the MIL and spend time with the kids. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.
You might have seen it on Facebook. I am reflective. There are a lot of those loose ends I was writing about last week. Things you are not happy with. Things that are not as you would do them. Things that you disagree with. Things that make you worry and not sleep at night. Most people would call it stress. A call on Friday added to it. What will the future bring. No matter what we are going to be ok.

I got a nice compliment last week from someone saying that she liked the quote ‘that one should trust in the future, and things will work out’. And they must. Maybe things are different to what you expect them to be. Maybe it needs some more learning for some people to address and understand the issues you have. Maybe you have to change your perspective. Maybe you are the one causing the issues? One must examine all angles, sit down, map them out, brainstorm and come up with a solution. Not all solutions are taken off our hands, there are still a lot we can influence and do. And this works for any situation. Being able to objectively reflect on your life is key. To sit down, meditate, reflect. And one day you look back and all your issues have gone. And you are annoyed at the energy you put in worrying – but that’s life. 

Should we have got a different bathroom? Should we have prioritised the driveway? Would it have made a difference? Probably not in the greater scale of things. 

Trust in the future. Visualise you sitting there at Christmas. Glass of bubbly. All worries gone, nothing there to stress about, a new year and new start ahead. Things will work out. They always do. Even if you cannot see it today. And whilst this is easy to say, there is nothing we can do about it either. Talk to friends about it, map out a plan and have a massive trust in things working out. Put your energy towards your confidence and trust. Visualise the positive outcomes. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

Watch Tony Robbins for some extra motivation.

With those (wise) words I leave you to it. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Maybe we get the weather for another BBQ after all, wouldn’t that be nice? Kids playing in the garden, the smell of freshly cut grass, the meat being cooked on the open fire. It takes me back years. The Shiraz at hand, a football to close to the fire and a laugh with Nanny. 

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (332)

I survived, actually really enjoyed the long weekend with my boys. Having dad time is great, yet juggling the school run, taking the dog for a walk, particularly in the rain, with two little ones….anyway, it was all fine. The kids seemed to have enjoyed it and I did too.

This week at work it was still busy. Looks like next week a lot of people are on holiday, then another busy week and July is already gone. Wow. Time flies when you are having fun! We interviewed for a German Sales Director position based in Germany and are in the process of appointing someone soon. So that’s good news, we are moving forward. Lots of things to do, targets to achieve. Exciting times.

On the private side of things I am looking at my health again, my exercise patterns, my sleeping patterns. I am tempted to experiment more. My 18K run encouraged me to extend my running cycles but looking at having to spend 2 hours running and being tired for 2 days, just doesn’t work for me. My ambition is to stay fit and healthy. Also, my leg pains are back, not as strong, but I believe it might have to do with my shoes. If you run 20K a week, 800-1000 km are quickly done. Time to get new trainers.

So this week I went back to a 10K, a 5K and another 10K over the weekend. This plus 2 sessions of kettle bells and 3 sessions of own body weight exercise, plus my 10,000 steps a day, keep me fit. Given I continue to eat healthy, I shouldn’t put on more weight.

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What’s my aim?
I want to spend as little time as possible away from my family exercising. I want to stay healthy. I don’t want to regain the weight I lost.

Along those lines I have been looking into my sleeping patterns and the 90 minute cycles. I seem to really be refreshed after 6 hours of sleep (that is 6:30 in bed). 4×90 minutes. I wake up ready for the day. The next one would be 7:30 of sleep, e.g. 8 hours in bed, catering for half an hour of going to sleep.

So rather than sticking to a 5 am start, I might change to a 6 am start but a later time to go to bed? It is all about routine, accepting your body’s internal rhythm and monitoring what works for you, extending on what you have learned. Personally, I find that very interesting and fascinating 😉

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But let me not bore you with all that. On other notes, our dog got into a habit of jumping up on strangers, licking them and ‘play biting’. Nothing malicious yet unacceptable behaviour, particularly with older people and children. So we seeing a specialist to hopefully get on top of that. She is otherwise such a lovely dog and has positively transformed our kids’ lifes over the past 12 months.

We are also in the process of renovating upstairs. Good bye artex ceilings, new skirting, new design/outlay of our spare bedroom/home office and some electric work on top, matching downstairs’ design. Last but not least we are getting new carpet too. Exciting times.

There is not much left to renovate now, a bathroom and a shower room and my long anticipated driveway….all that to be concluded for my 40th when I then park a birthday present on it…the dream. I will continue dreaming 🙂 See pictures.

Not long now! Things are falling into place.

Whilst summer is on and off, we managed to have a lovely BBQ with friends today, enjoying some of the outdoors, a good chat and some wine 😉

I hope you had a great weekend too.

Stay tuned,
Volker

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Best #BBQ in a long time

Pictures say more than words. Haven’t enjoyed a BBQ like that in a long time!

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Sunday Column (126)

A Family Man in Digital Marketing – the title of this blog couldn’t have been more reflected this weekend. I finally, after long planning, managed to get a few friends over to my family home: friends from digital marketing.

One ex staff member and his highly successful academic partner, one ex colleague of mine, now coach, with his partner who runs a business in wine (so very interesting), and one close friend who I have not (yet) worked with and his partner who works for the big G. Three friends from different walks of life, all connected through the passion for digital marketing.

You can imagine we talked a lot about work and the industry, but more so about passion, the way the world and life is going, and what comes next. A fantastic day, fantastic people, a really good time. And, they all met with the family: my wife and the two boys. I couldn’t have wished for a happier day. Thanks guys.

The rest of the week, given it was my first week back from my holidays, went “balanced”. What I mean by that is due to Colin having trouble settling at night at the moment, I made a point of coming home early-ish most nights. I still managed to fit in a few meetings with friends, hourly catch ups, and a networking night.

The networking night, and I often don’t think too highly of those forced get togethers, turned out to be really funny, entertaining and great for contacts. I have to say that this was the best networking event I attended in a very long time, if not ever. I met quality people, got some leads but foremost met true entrepreneurs and people with a passion. Fantastic.

However, there was one little cloud in the silver lining this week. And that was communication, or mis-communication. This week made me learn one thing clearly: if you work across languages, which I often enough do, you have to be careful how to phrase things. Some “mini-teasing” phrases in one language can turn out to be quite offensive in another. Not a new learning of course, but astonishing in this case.

Without discussing details here, I want to use this topic to share some thoughts on language. With my wife being British (Scottish), we often enough have mis-understandings. Mainly because I as a husband apply selective hearing 🙂 But often things are clear in my mind, and I just spoke to the boys in German, turn around and don’t know how to phrase simple things. Or I am unsure of certain pronunciations. That is normal.

She also noticed that when I call people for the first time, as I concentrate to say every word as correct as possible, my accent is a lot stronger than when I have a normal conversation. Just this week someone told me “yes, of course you have an accent, but if it wasn’t for your obvious German name, I couldn’t have told you where you were from”. Others of course say exactly the opposite, and my wife often enough doesn’t notice me speaking with an accent.

NLP states very clearly that everyone forms their own map of the world. Some put a high focus on language, some don’t. And, across languages (German-English) or foreigners speaking English together (German/English-Finnish/English-Spanish/English), we have even more problems, as we use a common language that is foreign to all of us.

Hence for important documents, or even for some emails, I get native speakers to review things. I know my weakness and make it a strength by getting help. Something you do with every other task you are unsure of, you get yourself some feedback.

However, the other, probably bigger thing, is that it shows me that I left German and Germany behind. I have left Germany 10 years ago. I have lived in Britain ever since, and English is my main language. And, I wish to believe, in a good enough way to be highly professional with the use of it. Partly, because I ask for feedback and I am willing to learn and listen. And, my map of the world is not as rigid as other people’s thanks to my NLP background and my sensory acuity.

I am ready to conquer the world (instead of taking over the world 😉 ), ready to move up and on. Germany was a big part of my life, and I still teach my boys German. But my life is deeply rooted in the English language now, less often branching out to Germany. Whilst some of my roots might still connect to it, I am happy to let go.

I moved on.

Have a fantastic week, and if you speak to a foreigner this week, ask him what he thinks.
Cheers
Volker

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Precious Moments (11)

Nothing like in the summer to have friends around (or be around at friends), sharing a BBQ, good food, wine, beer, sunshine and just doing one thing: enjoying oneself and others. Summer BBQ.

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Sunday Column (13)

Another week full of excitement. Where do I start? At the beginning I guess.

Besides a doctors appointment that started the week with some mixed feelings, I had a few meetings on Monday to find out more about my opportunities. As they say, “too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death“, I found that one on Twitter. And, on Tuesday nothing changed. More meetings, a proper interview and a lot of input on different areas of online marketing. All very helpful, but I am not much closer to my decision on what I want to do. As often, if you are put in a situation like myself where you have to find a new job to make a living, you tempt to go into a survival mode to find a job instead of doing what you like. I try to avoid that and early on got myself lots of information on what I could do and therefore the interviews I had and the ones that are coming up are going into the right direction. More about it hopefully next week.

On Tuesday night I met a friend and we went back to the Thai place I liked. As always it was good to catch up and see what she is up to and how her business develops. Self-employment is still on the cards but I think that is something I can pursue later in life too. Not sure yet, but maybe it is too early?

I had to go back for another back massage on Wednesday. If you remember, I twisted my back when I had the man flu and ever since then I cannot straighten it 100% and it still hurts. My massage therapist says it takes up to 4 weeks to heal. No gym, no exercise, no heavy lifting.

On Thursday I managed to go to Tai Chi after I met a friend for lunch. Again, she had lots of useful inputs and useful things to tell me. Having a great network of friends and colleagues helps in times of these and beyond 😉

Saturday (after a slow Friday) was great. Jen and I went to Bromley to buy a present for one of our friends who gave birth this week. We are getting very excited and it won’t be long until Colin Heinrich Ballueder will be amongst us. It is as if he is already there, engaged and all, ready to come out. However, he is not here yet but won’t be long 🙂 Night time we spend with our neighbours and had a great BBQ. We could sit outside until after 10 pm although it was not too warm. We also had our first home grown radish and first home grown salad. Quite chuffed! If the link to the picture does not work, just go on my Facebook profile and see it there 🙂

Now, today was another quiet day. Sitting and sleeping in the sun lounger, going for a walk and have another BBQ. We are very grateful to have a house, a garden and all what belongs to it. You sometimes forget how fortunate in life you are and then you need to take these 5 minutes and come back to where you are and remember yourself! For the BBQ we got ourselves some pork fillets and some big prawns. We might as well enjoy this bank holiday weekend. And, we should enjoy our time together until the little one arrives. Who knows, next week my update might come from the 3 of us.

Have a great bank holiday Monday and a successful week. Let’s hope that next week gets me closer to securing this job I always wanted!

Love and Happiness from us in Beckenham,
Volker

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Sunday Column (9)

Wow. Time seems to be flying. Is it really Sunday again?

I need to re-cap my week. Monday was just a big catch up on things and sorting out schedules. Really, that was my whole day. Tuesday was an eye opening trip that made me think a lot about what to come. And, Wednesday and Thursday just flew past. Friday was great. A very enjoyable and productive day at work and my usual take away pizza – falling asleep on the sofa.

I feel like I am progressing in Tai Chi a lot and that my work life balance improves too. Why? Several reasons really. Firstly I started using a direct train from Beckenham to Farringdon. Saves me no time but the hassle of changing from tube to train which in the rush hour are heavily packed. However, it also means I leave the office 10 minutes earlier and have the feeling that I have a better cut between work and life. I don’t mind being on demand via blackberry all night anyway but with the nice weather it is great to get this flexibility, particularly since I start at 8 am anyway. So that is all good.

Secondly, my ipod gets me a lot of awesome podcasts, including innovative and managerial topics from top industry leaders. I really enjoy that. A really clever invention.

Also, which I think is the major part of my “new life” is the re-discovery of sports. Ever since I have been back to the gym on a regular 2x a week basis I feel much better. It not only gives me a “healthier” feel but also a good way of relaxing, de-stressing and calming down. That in combination with the podcasts which I listen to whilst exercising really help.

Now, on top of that we have met a lot of friends this week. Just yesterday we met with our neighbours and their almost 1 year old daughter and had a fab BBQ, a great time and lots to talk about. Today we had lunch with a great friend and had great chats. All that contributes to an almost perfect life.

I think these are my real thoughts at the moment. I am very happy. The summer is coming and all signs show that it seems to be a good year. How blessed am I?

Love and Kindness to you out there,
Volker

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