Posts Tagged berlin

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, was a Berlin that is a bit run down.

I guess, given it’s size, there are different areas. When visiting friends of ours one night, we loved the big side streets, high ceiling flats and quality of living. Our AirBnB on the other hand was in an area which seemed a bit less upmarket, yet had a flair, which at least I love about Berlin. The multi cultural aspect you don’t find in every city around the world: openness, togetherness, community.

So we did what you do with two little ones on a city tour. We visited the main attractions like Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate. We looked at famous squares, hopped on a tourist bus and went for walks in the park, finding some play grounds. We met friends, caught up over locally made pizza, gyros, ouzo and wine. We went up the TV Tower for the sunset and had a drink at the bar, taking in the view. We met with extended family, school and university friends, as well as having a night in whilst autumn weather was blowing the rain outside. We just enjoyed ourselves with no agenda, made our own chocolate, went for our runs, watched TV, went on a boat tour and visited a planetarium. And above all, we had a lot of fun as a family. Thank you Berlin.

On Thursday came the highlight. Something I wanted to do for a long time. We went to Hamburg on an early morning train to see the Miniature world, a model of the world out of minituare trains, planes, cars and everything that belongs to it. It was mind blowing. 3.5 hours of miniature world watching. And, we managed to have a look around Hamburg, a harbour boat tour again getting close to big container ships. For me, Hamburg is a city that portraits itself so differently to Berlin, and we enjoyed our time there very much. It might have been that it is smaller, more affluent, or that the shower in the hotel just gave much more comfort than the one in the AirBNB. But in the end, Hamburg as a city, won over Berlin, it just impressed more.

Now back to reality, back to work.

Have a great start in the week, it got colder out there.
Volker

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AdTrader Germany 2016

Here is the video of my recent panel appearance:

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Sunday Column (388)

A short and busy week. Whilst it was quiet on the client front on Tuesday, given Monday was a bank holiday, I managed to catch up with lots of internal discussions. Also we made progress in the garden and got more commitment from our bathroom guys, so this should be sorted in the next few weeks.

Things just take time. We must accept it. Nothing ever, or maybe hardly ever, goes to plan. But that’s the beauty of life. Or is it? We always get there in the end. Patience.I am typing this post on my latest gadget. A Bluetooth keyboard by Zagg that attaches to my iPad. It is rather small but very versatile with different options to attach the screen in a way to work in presentation, reading or typing mode. And it works well so far, still getting used to it. However, already, I am loving the fact to be laptop less. Essentially all but attachments can now be easily done on the go on my iPad. Longer emails, excel sheets, presentations, etc. For short trips, conferences and most of my private advisory roles, this is the ultimate working machine.

There is this quote I heard in a Tim Ferris podcast the other day, that just wouldn’t leave my brain: Do you believe what you think? Do you? I listened to it whilst doing my half marathon distance on Monday, 22K in just under 2 hours. Do you? I mean our brain plays tricks on us all the time. We use our kids’ brains thinking to get them distracted or off to sleep. Whatever it is, our brain tells us something. It makes us feel sick thinking of things that might happen, no matter how irrational those thoughts might be. It keeps us awake at night and yet we are able to calm our mind down through meditation or exercise. Latter works really well for me, processing thoughts. GTD users would know how to sit down and ‘drain their brain’, e.g. Writing all your thoughts out of your brain, to free up thinking space.

We must train our brain to think positive and to engage with us, listen to us, and be confident. It must black out the negative thoughts, the what ifs and the maybe one days. The worries should be neglected and we must focus on the positive things in life. Maybe not a new thought but very important, particularly with more and more input coming into our brains atm.
Another podcast, Freedom Fastlane, suggested that there is no insecurity as our brains will always fight for survival. He gave you the food for thought to be told you are incurable ill. If you were, wouldn’t you fight for the most satisfactory life to have until you die, making it happen, no matter what. And once you have been told that there was a mistake, and you live, you never go back to your life of fear but you stay at your most intensive life and living experience you ever had. And that is it. That is the one and only thing I must still learn: living the life of no regrets and within realms of our society and peer pressure life style. Latter are probably the most worrying restrictions, and quite frankly, we shall succeed. 

Video link

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Stop thinking about what you need to do. Instead focus on who you need to be. We do not live someone else’s life, we are creating our own life. Our rules and dreams, no one else’s. We are leading not following and we make it work, always. No matter what. The inner force will drive us on, make us succeed in whatever we do. And that is life’s golden ticket, isn’t it?
So do not believe everything your brain thinks and believe in what you want to believe. It will happen. Life is funny like that. Believe you are going to be the next CRO and you will. Believe in your kids and give them all the tools you own for them to build their own life. They will not disappoint you, and how can they if you just expect them to build. Don’t tell them how the house is supposed to look like, they work it out themselves. Their life. Their love. Their passion. What is it to you? Why should they follow your ideals? They will work it out themselves.

My MIL stayed this week. Her partner too. The kids were off school and I was in Berlin. I would have loved more time off with the family but I was speaking at a conference about data. I enjoy those kind of things and it went really well. Likewise I enjoyed the networking, the discussions and of course attention 😉 I am back out there mingling with my old friends and partners. 
Then there was a 10K run I did in Berlin. Tiergarten, Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag. At least that’s what I planned. I ended up with a 13.5K run, a detour and seeing a different part of the city. Never mind. It is nice to run in cities, see post about Rome, and nice to see some great things. Life is good, and with me doing on average about 110K per month, I do feel fitter too. Actually, as a matter of fact, I am feeling fitter than I have ever been. Yet German beer, Schnitzel and Gyros didn’t help this week.

Life is amazing. Let’s embrace it and let us enjoy it. In full swing, in full acceptance. And let us pass on our passion to the kids, to make sure they grow up and develop the way they want. We can only help them on the way, they have to walk themselves.

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (326)

A funny, kind of weird week that was. On Saturday last week I was very active in the morning and treated myself to a nice afternoon nap before friends came over for a BBQ. Finally we had the weather, yet I woke up feeling cold and not right. Of course we soldiered on, yet on Sunday I woke up with a temperature. I ultimately postponed my trip to Berlin from the Monday early red eye to Monday afternoon, had delays etc. – to cut a long story short, I felt fit enough on Monday and alright on Tuesday.

After a great conference we went for plenty of beers on Tuesday from which I awoke with a rash, small popped blood vessels on Wednesday morning. Not even feeling hangover at all. Whilst most would say it is a hangover and I am a lightweight (and I am a lightweight), my body definitely had some allergic reaction. I had that previously with beer, so I assume the virus, beer, and maybe some hay fever, all came together to cause this. I felt dizzy on and off, but not bad enough to not go running in Wednesday after coming back home nor on Thursday. I hope coming this Monday things will be back to normal. Yet odd. And today I even got a blizzard of headaches…really odd.

I don’t want to bore you with my health problems, and thank god I am as healthy as I am, but it did give me a scare. Whilst part of my adrenalin flow was surely booze related, there was something that was more an allergic shock. The former I know. The latter scared me a bit. Oh and did I mention some trapped nerves….But it is all good now I think. Getting there anyway.

Life dials you funny cards sometimes. I had a rash on my hands as a boy and went through trillions of test. Cat allergy, cobalt (metal) and all sorts of allergies were found. Boom, the day they tried to get a piece of skin cut out to test it, the rash disappeared. Coincidence? Stress? There are thoughts regarding this too. Maybe some other time.

Going back to the fatherland was a pleasure, the conference was in Berlin. Life is good, sunny, friendly and Berlin is very cosmopolitan. The cultural impact it has on me is amazing, the impact its history has too. I met some great leaders in our space and amazing people. And, I enjoyed my stay but the above of course.

Berlin

I am glad that for the next two weeks I will not be travelling. I will be able to get back to my exercise routine, healthy eating routine and seeing some clients locally, seeing the kids for breakfast. There is not a more precious moment as when you are away for a couple of days, and you go into your four year old bedroom and pull his blanket up whilst he is asleep. He wakes up ever so slightly and gives you that deeply loving smile, turns around and is back to sleep in a second. True bliss.

These precious moments are the key. The key to motivation. To keep going. To think and visualise his smile when speaking to a boring person…..to escape any situation. Escapism. We all need that. Those days being disconnected. A day off or an activity alone. Taking 5 minutes away from what has been a busy day.

So in closing we are waiting for a quote to do the rest of the work upstairs, had some builders around for inspection and settled the suitcase story. Amazon pushed the seller to reimburse the money and I ended up buying one in a shop. About £70 cheaper. Win/win and I finally can put that to rest too. We even got some ice cream on Brighton beach today. Life’s too short not to.

Enjoy your moments and have a fantastic week.
Volker

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Wee man in Berlin (2)

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Wee man (on a bull) in Berlin

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Wee man travelling…..in Berlin

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Cold but great.

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