Posts Tagged death

Sunday Column (510)

I wanted to publish a different post this week. As you can imagine I have a lot of thoughts and love writing to comprehend them, to work through new input I am getting from podcasts, work and life in general. That’s one of my things. My creative outlet. So there are always a few posts in the pipeline. But then a few things happened which made me think, and I wanted to share those thoughts.

After last weekend’s 20 mile run, I wanted to run 22 miles on Friday. However, I came down with the man flu, aka as a common cold, and therefore didn’t run. I guess I am ready to go the marathon distance already, but will have to do a 22 mile run before the event. Hopefully I am better by next weekend to tackle that one.
And, we are lucky with the dry weather. The crystal clear air, filled with cobwebs and mist, that slowly burns away by a low standing sun. It’s mystical almost. One of my most favourite times of the year, and I was told that San Francisco is like that all year around. Wouldn’t that be nice?

In Germany we celebrated the reunification, it must have been 29 years since the wall came down. We plan a trip to Germany again soon. I want to show the boys the fatherland, introduce them to Berlin, some history. I couldn’t imagine to ever go back and live there but I want to at least experience it. So as a matter of fact, I am looking forward to it. Hope the boys and the family will like it too.

A podcast I recorded with a German living in Los Angeles this week, brought up the topic of greater German (or any nation’s) collective unconscious. Allegedly it takes 7 generations (or 140 years) for it to clear. So Germans still look at the Great Depression and two worldwars in their collective unconscious. That would explain some of the stereotypes and values I see in myself as well, like a need for security, cautious, not wanting to make mistakes, and being the good person. Interesting isn’t it? Or it is over-interpretation? It’s difficult for me to compare that to any other nation of course. The inheritance of a nation or even family, I remember studying family constellations at university, is a highly sensitive yet fascinating topic. Watch out for the podcast with Conni when it goes live, I really enjoyed that conversation.

Life goes in cycles, and there is only one certainty. This week I learned that an industry friend died at the age of 49. When I attended the industry trade shows recently, I saw him and we had a chat. This week I also caught up with a mentor who had health problems when I was working for him. It was good to see he is better for now. Those moments are when you pause for a second, take a deep breath in, and breathe out. I don’t know about the exact circumstances, but I know that in our small industry I know a few people, and we are close. We look after each other, and it is always with great sadness to hear someone passing away or being ill. It affects me. One reflects on priorities, the focus we discussed a few weeks back. One thinks about their own lifestyle, health choices and how long one might have back on the clock. And then it’s business as usual, isn’t it?

So a bit of a melancholic week almost. Taking a flight on a Saturday missing a family weekend isn’t nice but to see a bit of the world prior to a conference makes up for it. Monsoon season though 🙁 A weekend to myself, 10 hours of uninterrupted time on a plane. To relax, reflect, write, read and sleep. What’s not to like?

I will tell you all about it next week. For now, have a great week, enjoy the autumn and stay well.

Volker

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Sunday Column (474)

I thought I start differently this week. The weather: cold, yet warm. Sunny yet rainy. Lack of Vitamin D (supplements!) and it all seems slow. But, there is energy. Positivity. Fun times and conversation with people that make you rock. A hot chocolate with a neighbour who just gets it. A benchmark to mastering life and to understand I am not alone with the problems I face. The challenge with the kids to make their bed, wash their teeth, get dressed in the morning and eat breakfast. Being at home brings those things into focus. It is good to be home, and it has been a fun time, but it is time to go back and work, to contribute, to make a difference.

Anyway, next week Tuesday, my 2nd interview goes live on my podcast. I cannot wait. I got loads of feedback (shoutout to Debbie, Anna and Spencer) and the third episode will see some changes; from the 4th episode onwards the quality should improve. I am recording 4 (!) podcasts next week. So this week it is going to be a different angle on Stories of Success. Another great industry friend, a fun conversation about life. As I investigate jobs I think about what he said:

1. Can I make a difference to the job?
2. Can I learn something?
3. Is it going to be fun?

I found a few jobs where that is the case, e.g. where I can say YES to all of those questions. Some are more formal, some are more fun, and at some I will learn more, others I can make more of a difference. Weighting, values, priorities and what I learn more and more, there is an emphasis on meeting your manager early on. If the chemistry sucks, you are out. For both parties this makes a lot of sense.

However, the companies need to want me first. And I am not at the stage yet where that’s necessarily the case, and I update you as I go along. I am hopeful though, and everything else would be worrying. The pipe isn’t as big as it could be but things only started to pick up. When I first left my last job I had one verbal offer which turned into a ‘no more recruitment before Christmas’ and another where I lost against an internal candidate. Things happen for a reason and things will work out in the end. I am very positive about things and I am keen on moving on.

That’s my update. Or is it?

The most important part happened over the weekend. My youngest got a red belt in Karate. Only a few months in, he managed to get the first accreditation. He was chuffed and proud, and so should he be. And I am too. I am very pleased he enjoys it and keeps going at it.

We also saw my mate who recently had twins. It is somewhat weird to see these small babies. It is as if it never happened to us. It seems so long ago, I feel so old ;-( No, actually I don’t, but I am glad the days of nappies are over. It was a great afternoon with lots of industry friends.

Weekends can be super to chill, spend time with family and friends. That’s how it should be!

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (436)

The days after a bank holiday weekend seem busier. On the one hand as one thinks the work load has to be caught up with, and on the other hand, when working for American companies, you have a day to catch up with the US’s input. Luckily for me, this isn’t too much the case at the moment, and most of the International territories are still off. So a good few days mixed with work loads and a day working from home on Friday. That is to take care of the kiddies and finalise and review a few projects. Reading a book about ‘Essentialism’ makes you prepare to focus on what’s important and put your energy and focus onto what is really important and makes a difference. Puh, a great week.

The weather. I don’t often speak about it and it had been awful last weekend – to an extend we put the fire back on in May (!) – yet it smells of spring, sounds like spring, feels like spring. A bit too dry, not warm enough but it seems we are getting there. Spring and summer are on our door step. Let’s hope we see some nice weather ahead in the upcoming weeks. It can’t get worse I suppose. We managed a BBQ at the weekend. Just, making use of some midday sunshine.

I feel like this week a lot of things fall into place. Let’s hope this is a trend to be continued. Making decisions and focusing on the essential things, is what is key. Finishing above mentioned book on Essentialism by Greg McKeown, really puts your life into perspective. It is highlighting some topics I addressed in my productivity book about habits, routines and focus. Having done 30K in 4 days this week to focus on stretching my fitness level, followed by a deep tissue massage, stretches my body. At the same time I manage to stretch my mind and thinking beyond what I have done before. Getting more done than I ever have, sorting things and seeing results. From little things like giving away our sandpit which no one wanted at first, to filling the shed with new fire wood for the winter (German efficiency), and more important tasks at work. Sometimes it is hard to make decisions but that’s what you have to do. Life is lonely at the top 😉

Writing this as I am about to come to London on the train, I am staring out of the window. It is grey. London has been grey this week, not a lot of light, little sun. More like October weather than May. It is a bit of a shame. I sometimes wonder if the weather will ever improve or if we have to relocate to get enough sun. I never felt more settled in our house, our community and this country than now. Yet, I never felt so much that in the long run I have the feeling I won’t stay around. As if something inside me tells me that one day we pack our bags. Maybe I am wrong, and I have not had that feeling in a long time, yet it is there. I shall forget about it as I focus on the tasks at hand and enjoy the daily moments. The time with the boys, particularly on days like Friday where I was able to work from home and take them to school. I even picked them up and we played. Moments that never come back, and can only be enjoyed there and then.

Isn’t life wonderful and full of surprises?

At the weekend I found out that an old teacher of mine died. Another one, 76, too young. He was a great helper, supporter and mentor. Yet, he moved on to pastures new. RIP.

A full week ahead, so I hope you had a relaxing weekend. I tried to save up loads of energy.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (392)

Who are your 5?

jim Rohn who are your 5

Another week. Another Brexit? Sure, the England team left the European Cup. Whilst I don’t really follow the UEFA cup, the last few games are the ones that are interesting. Opposite to the actual Brexit in politics, the UEFA cup becomes more interesting as we go along, the real hype is the final. Whilst the real hype for Brexit was last week; things now turn into more of a day to day life again, with of course lots of politics, embarrassing speeches, unbelievable positioning etc. etc. I am sure you are following it and if you follow my blog and comments, you will agree. Never mind, let’s park politics for today.

Then we had more losses. 2016 seems to be a year of a lot of celebrities dying, which includes two actors of my childhood. Unfortunately, we also had someone in the family dying. No matter how much you expect someone to move on, you never really ever come to terms with it. You look at the pictures, the memories, the shared experience and think that he will be in a better place. Their journey is over, always too soon. Yet, we cannot hang on to life forever. One of the few certainties of life is death.

I started my exercise regime again this week. After Cannes last week, I decided it is time to challenge myself again. I did a 10K and a 7.5K run. Some kettle bells, body resistance and a healthier diet. I am feeling a lot better again. But I am not sleeping well. Something keeps me occupied, I wake up in the middle of the night. I am stressed it seems, and I also seem to have some allergy. Luckily I got that confirmed by a colleague as he had the same symptoms. They seem similar to a hungover but they weren’t. Some hay fever tablets sorted me out. I never had any allergic reactions like that in my life before, but puffy eyes and a feeling of ‘temperature’ paired with tiredness aren’t good. Particularly if you are under pressure to deliver results.

hayfever

Where are we today. July just started. The first half of the year is gone, we are in the run up to Christmas. Amazing how quickly time flies. Or scary if you like. Either way I feel like I need a break. I am debating to take some time off, go away but find myself that I’d rather spend some time with the family or work, or get things done. I seem to not be able to slow down. I live life in the fast lane. Just this week a new client told me how he follows my blog and tweets for years, and seems to know me so well. We had so much in common. I am somewhat a celebrity in the industry, yet I am not a rock star. But I will be.

I will be a rock star. The reason I am saying this is as I am working on my master plans for my book. Realising it takes forever if I continue at the current pace, I will make changes to my daily routine to fit in more reviews and more work on the book. I want this book to be published by mid next year and help more people by doing so. It stays a side project and will not impact my work and other commitments, but I MUST make more progress. I am excited about the prospects of it becoming a must read book. Something you want to read, apply and have at hand when planning things, making decisions and working on personal development. A guide, a friend, a mentor. On the back of that I could work on subscription based models to create a passive income. I believe that is possible. The idea isn’t really mine but one of my American mentors, yet the challenge is to have the critical mass which of course you achieve a lot quicker and easier in America – that country is just a little big bigger than the UK 😉

winning

I am winning. Are you?
A rhetorical question. Maybe. I am listening to a lot of podcasts recently and managed to catch up with a few friends this week. It happened to be one of those weeks where you realised where you are and what people think. What is happening and where do you fit in. On the train, on the plane, in a meeting, at lunch. Connections and the greater universe. The law of attraction. The idea building machine which is called your conscious. Rumours about people. Sad news. Actors dying I have known since my childhood. Heroes for me. A friend died. Other people being sick. And there am I, what am I complaining about, I am winning. But I am far from the finishing line because I chose that relay race. I am doing the runs and do them fast, quick and efficient. I drive the team, the situation and then I leave it to the capable hands of the next person. That’s what I do. I connect people and was nominated by someone this week as the most connected person in adtech. Maybe I am. Still just short of 6,000 contacts on Linkedin, the quality is what matters. The relationship building and the depth of those relationships. Speaking to another mentor this week, I got reassured that the winning formula is in your head. You sort your head, you sort your life, your sleep, your job, your family. Another one suggested the inner peace and self awareness in the now. Step by step, I am winning.

It puts a smile on my face to write about it. I cannot really express what I am trying to say and some people might say I talk a lot of rubbish. The connectivity with one inner self. The living in the moment. The roses, the moment you stop and smell them? Your remember. The moment you reach out to your child’s hand and pull him close to you for a cuddle. The energy flow to attract the life you wanted. The energy flow. The love. The happiness. The inner peace. The tranquility. The balance. The secret.

Life is too damn short. Too short at any one time. So why not surround yourself with people that enrich your life rather than people that pull you down. I don’t need negativity in my life and people that are too stupid to understand. Understand value. People that do not want to understand or have lower values than I have. Jim Rohn says that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Those must be big. Who are your 5? Those must challenge you. Those must be the ones that help you grow, not the ones that pull you down. And by changing exactly that approach, by living and winning, we are in the process of becoming who we are. And success will be drawn to people who are successful and are winning.

Enough about life’s little secrets.
Enough about the future.

The future is now. Your moment is now.
Breathe it.
Breathe out.
Live it.
Make it happen.

Have a fantastic week, and to my US friends, enjoy a nice 4th of July!

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (389)

Thank you all for numerous feedback on my blog over the past couple of weeks. Some think my blog is too business oriented, others find comfort in what I am writing about personal development. I hope that overall I cover enough common ground to interest most of my readers. It is comforting to hear that one likes the thoughts I put out there, the guidance to cope with what is happening in life. And there is a lot happening. See below.

If you like what you read, please share this post and my blog, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, forthcoming, there might be more topics covered here around personal development and productivity. So watch this space.
I suffered a bit this week. Having started my training for the 24 hour relay race in a few weeks time, meant more runs. Even more runs next week. Delayed and short form trains. New developments at work. And yet, I am trying to stay calm, to cope and make sure my mind is like water. That I have enough thinking resources left to keep my mind above water, to not be irrational, and to cope with the pain and strain on my body. I am toughening up, one would say. Also, the picture displayed, is my new favourite profile picture, taken at a conference in Berlin two weeks ago. 

Ballueder

Ballueder


Then the unexpected happen. I got a letter from my doctors with an appointment to have a small surgery I need to get done, nothing to worry about, but they scheduled it 3 days before the 24 hour run. Decision time. 

I am gutted! The fear of having to postpone surgery for another month or even two given the holiday season, I had to cancel the run. My wall. You remember, the one challenge I was looking forward to. The thing that kept me afloat with the hard training. I am not devastated but disappointed. I feel like letting the team down and also to not being able to do this challenge. Would I have succeeded? Will I do it again next year? What do I train for? Do I scale back training?

I must find a new wall.

Moving on. The highlight of the week was today. Seven. The amount of years since my first born came to us. I feel blessed every day for what a gift he is to us. The challenges he brings, the joy he brings and the unconditional love between us. Character wise we are very similar. We clash sometimes and I can see this developing in hopefully a very close understanding of each other. We can guide him and help him, the decisions are his though. Ultimately anyway. But that is for when they are older. Discussing that with another dad earlier in the week, the boundaries cannot be loosened until they are at least 10 or so. For now they are better off in a controlled environment. 

It is weird to think that my son is seven years on this planet. We were in a different place, physically as well as emotionally, back then. A different part of our life. And now he is part of the life we are living. Looking back, we were so young, weren’t we?

And often, when there is so much joy and fun, there are opposite forces at work too.

There were really sad news. I met an long term industry friend a few weeks ago. We caught up properly, on the industry, his job, family and all. He was saying he will be on holidays with his two daughters I believe. Monday I heard the sad and terrible news that he passed away whilst being on holidays.
It is the second industry friend I lost within the last four years. Surely not the last. We weren’t close but could be. A great guy. A family guy, knew what he was doing at work, yet dedicated to life. Genuine. RIP. Never forgotten.

On Thursday this was followed by more sad news. My friend from Rotary, my mentor and the club’s mentor really, passed away too. He was ill and last I heard he was on the mend. Now, he took a turn for the worse. Bad news seems to trickle in from all ends. RIP Herbert, a good friend and mentor.

Again, it makes you think. It could be over tomorrow. Things might change in an instant. What if. Nobody knows. Yet we cannot think it happens to oneself, yet we cannot think it won’t. Carpe Diem.

To end the post on a positive note: Friends of ours just won a legal better for better treatment for their child. I know it sounds bad that you have to go through such an ordeal. Yet they won. I am very happy for them and their child to have such a positive outcome. Emotions, positive, negative, they are all around us. I have been sitting down a few times lately, drying the odd tear, and thinking how lucky we are. How happy we are. We appreciate what we have, which is so important.

I often fear what would be if….and then remind myself that we must focus on the good things in life. The things that make us great, that keep us going and bring positivity in our life. That’s the key. I don’t want to say to ignore bad news but don’t get beaten up by it. Don’t get sucked into negativity.
Only by beating your fear, by overcoming the fear you might have, you win. There is a bit of risk but no real insecurity. As you will make it work. You will work it out. You will not allow yourself fail. Whatever life throws at you, you will be ready to fight back.

Enjoy life, have a long one,

Volker 

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Sunday Column (317)

A week with snow, long drives and mixed feelings lies behind us. Happy Easter.

We spend a few days with my parents in Germany. The long drive, and the crossing via the Channel Tunnel’s train, went very well, given our 3 little companions. Latter includes the dog which of course was terrified but coped very well. The boys behaved fantastically.

The kids loved spending time with the grand parents and exploring Germany. I am still hopeful they pick up German at some point, becoming more familiar with both the country and language. They genuinely enjoyed the trip. We had some snow, spend quality time as a family together and quality time as a couple whilst Oma and Opa were baby sitting.

It is good to be back in Detmold. Good to see that I still like it and that things are still the same but evolving. Could I consider moving back? I would be (emotionally) able to, but no. I am very much settled in the UK, my life and family are there. That’s my home. Yet, and I never thought I would say that, I like the little town of Detmold.

I heard good and bad news this week. The bad news is that my old teacher died of cancer suddenly. He was diagnosed with it about a year ago, I heard, and died about three weeks ago. Only about 4 years ago, maybe less, I visited him and he said to me “I always knew that you wouldn’t stay in Germany, Mr. Ballueder”. We had a “closing chat” without knowing it was our last encounter. He helped me through my A-Levels when I was struggling in German, struggling in life I suppose, after having spent a year in the US as an exchange student. He was a great man of his profession. A true mentor. May he rest in peace.

people come into your life for a reason

On the positive side of things, and I am not sure I remember the whole story, but when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, so about 1985/86 we had a refugee into our class. I remember being friends with him, playing with him, and we might have had him over for lunch a few times. If I say I remember we helped his family I might be making this up. But that’s the memory I have of the time. Now he showed up in the local newspaper supporting some Iraq project for a charity associated with some football tournament. It fills me with joy to see that people that came to my country with probably not much else than the cloths they were wearing, to turn into someone helping others and using the opportunity of a new start.

Whilst not a refugee myself, having moved to a different country, I also used the opportunity to become who I am. It is a new start, a new opportunity if you can start afresh. One must use it! And wanting to contribute and make life happen is a great opportunity that I feel sometimes gets lost if you are stuck in your own rod and your day to day life. Being able to break free is good. I hope that makes sense.

As so often the good and bad things are in balance. Life cycles I suppose. The good and bad things, the help to support and the unintentional closures. One must love life. One must accept its ups and downs. Use the opportunities one has. Meet with people one likes. Seeing my grandma, now almost 95, next to her great grandson, not yet 5, is an amazing picture. Old and Young, Ying and Young, Good and Bad, Hot and Cold.

I enjoyed my week off work.
I love life! I am positive!

With best wishes for the remainder of the Easter weekend, I leave you with deep thoughts of people that come to your life, where you make a difference and who make a difference in your life. Often those move on, sometimes they stay. But everything that happens in life, any person coming into your life, happens for a reason.

Grab the opportunity whilst you are on it.

Love and Happiness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (257)

An exciting week lies behind me. I started my new job with a trip to Eindhoven and a day in Amsterdam, flying back late on Wednesday. The UK was full of storm and rain. I sat on the plane and felt like I arrived: A new challenge to evangelise, position and sell targeting in real time based on TV ads triggering the delivery. A new chapter in the RTB (real time bidding) ecosystem. Connecting broadcast to online ads. Yes, I am very excited!

We came a long way in our industry, and more technology is now enabling us to do more sophisticated things, to make ads more relevant to the users. As I like to tell my stories, four years ago a company that recently filed an IPO still worked off excel sheets. So the rumours anyway. For me this stands as a testament that the industry came a long way, a very long way and is slowly but surely growing up. Pure awesomeness 😉

Another thing I am equally excited about is tomorrow, my son’s third birthday. It feels like no time since he was born. He still doesn’t sleep through but charms himself through everything, cuteness 10/10 we were told. There is going to be lots of fun ahead as he grows older.

20140205-193247.jpg

Whilst travelling I enjoyed an app called “7 quick fit“, an app allowing you to do strength exercises only using your own body weight, finishing 30 second long stints of push ups, jumping jacks etc. in 7 minutes. Ideal when travelling and yet still exhausting. I enjoyed it and might do it more often, potentially additionally to my gym sessions. We shall see. I also would like to find a sauna routine as (miraculous) I haven’t been ill yet. Both my new boss and colleagues have had the flu, also my wife and kids. But I am in a lot better shape than I was before Christmas. 2014 WILL be my fittest year (ever) yet.

If there was anything to moan about this week it would have to be Easyjet’s flight from Amsterdam to London Gatwick. I couldn’t get speedy boarding, ending up in the back of the plane. The flight then was delayed by 35 minutes and with such a short flight one hardly get anything finished, almost not even the glass of red 😉 Luckily the service was switched on and quick…

Tube strikes. Transport problems. Bad weather. We just cannot control everything, can we? I am working hard to accept the fact to not being able to and not getting annoyed at situations you cannot change. Having had a few days off really helped me to improve my state of mind. With the help of my coach I feel like I achieved everlasting change. That was the aim. 2014 will be awesome and already is!

Is life that simple? Surely not. A friend’s dad passed away this week. Cancer. It reminds me of posts I wrote before that we need to really try and prevent diseases by living healthy, staying active and eating well. But even then there is no guarantee that we will be spared. My thoughts are with his family.

As I famously wrote before, from Buddhism, the suffering stops for the one that leaves us and our pain increases. We are still here and need to cope with the endless suffering.

Let me finish here for this week. I got a day off to celebrate tomorrow and I tell you, I am so looking forward to it!!! The best present is the one from me (no bias), a remote controlled monster truck. It is so much fun to play with it….. :-))

Have a fantastic week.

Volker

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Buddhist Thought: Death once again

You can confront the prospect of your own death and try to analyze it and, in so doing, try to minimize some of the inevitable sufferings it causes. Neither way can you actually overcome it. However, as a Buddhist, I view death as a normal process of life? Knowing that I cannot escape it, I see no point in worrying about it. – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

This is a very true quote. If nothing else is certain, death is and always will be.

It is part of life. The beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega.

Stop worrying about it. I may die today. It will create suffering to my family and friends but not to me. In the endless quest to escape samsara, I end up on this earth again. For the second time, or third, or hundreds.

Who would know?

Have a safe week, stay alive. Live every moment.

Volker

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I may die today…

Some people might call me crazy for this thought but I got it out of this new book I am reading, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s “Transform your Life“.

So far I have only read a few chapters about Inner Peace and Karma. Also, I love the Buddhist thoughts about reincarnation. And, that if you don’t have fear, you don’t have to worry about your life….and your death. So by saying this mantra, that I may die today, I take off all the fear. But what is happening?

In our samsara, the rebirth cycle in which we are born to different levels depending on our karma and previous lives, we travel from one life to another. We wouldn’t remember any of it consciously, and re-birth might not take place for a while. However, the more stressed and fearful you are about the next one, the less likely you go from this life with a good karma – that is additional to everything else you might have done in your life.

By thinking that you might die today, you are not saying you will or won’t. All you are saying is that you should be prepared for it. So if it happens, go in a good matter. Be prepared. Live your life in a way that if you die today, you don’t have to worry or fear anything. Just let go.

I find this thought very comforting and helpful. It calms me down to think that if I might die today, there is no reason why I should stress or worry now. But on the other hand it doesn’t suggest me to stop living or enjoying myself either. But more relaxed.

I start focusing on the here and now rather than the future or past. I live in the now, worry less and of course enjoy every moment more than before. That combined with Karma means, if you live your life more intensely, each moment more than before, maybe with a strong sense of giving and helping, then you cannot really develop a bad karma, or can you?

And, by thinking you may die today, you take all the fear of it away.

This might be odd for some, but I really find it helpful. Do you?

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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