Posts Tagged energy

Sunday Column (469)

Merry Christmas.

Given today is the Holy Night, and Christmas morning tomorrow, I don’t anticipate many people reading my column. That is fair enough. It should be a time of year when you don’t check your social media and relax a bit. You should have down time, and you should not have to worry about what is happening in the world. Christmas for me is all about having a week off, knowing everyone else is off, and you are not missing out on anything.

Merry Christmas to you, peace and happiness.

I want to use this week to look back – personally – on the year. It has been a turbulent one to say the least.

First things first: family. My first priority. We keep on learning how to bring up our children, we make things up as we go along, and I am absolutely enjoying it. From holidays in Centre Parks, travel to Legoland and day trips down the coast, Brighton football games, grandparents visits and trips to Germany, and time for the wife and me in Edinburgh or London. It has been an eventful but good year, and – being hopeful to say that every year from now on – we are getting better at being a family. Not that we weren’t before, but I am a strong believer in a growth mindset, and a collective unconscious. I feel like things are falling into place and we are growing together, and that is so nice to feel and experience. To speak of two things that made my year, I’d say the youngest starting and enjoying Karate classes, and the oldest working hard for 6 months to win a trophy in football. I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my two boys, and without my wife, Jenny, I couldn’t be doing all this. She has been on my side for 10+ years and I love you more every day! I am very grateful, thankful and full of appreciation of what we have.

On the other hand there is my career, which still takes up most of my week. That’s true for work for most of us. In January I joined a plc which I knew might be sold or change its proposition in one form or another. It was somewhat a gamble to join them, yet you never know who might buy a company. Looking back it was the right decision as I got to work with some very talented people, joined a fantastic culture and got a lot of learning from it. Unfortunately, I spent 2-3 days a week in Germany from April to October. That took time away from the family, and juggling two jobs, this put a lot of strain on me, family and the job I was originally employed to do in the UK. But I made it work, working from taxis, airports and making up with the family at the weekends. I loved the experience and sincerely think that I made a difference for the company. I lost out on a lot of things at home and burned a lot of energy.

Then over the summer things got quiet and the company sold. It became apparent, that moving forward, my role might be made redundant. I did what I could to avoid redundancy but likewise appreciate the help and support I got in the process prior to leaving last month. Whilst redundancies are never nice, I have so far enjoyed the time off to re-position myself, to re-evaluate my life and career. I might even go as far as saying that I have grown and gotten more confident. I know what I am doing and got confirmation of that a few times in the past few weeks. New projects will be announced early 2018. Based on the first few months of the year, I shall decide what the long term plans are. Most importantly, I am looking forward to align work closer to my values and my life expectations. Similar to the family, I am growing up too, still, always growing. And the break of a few weeks was needed, I felt burned out a bit. But I got my energy back, and that is the most important part, and of course I made up for some lost time with the family.

In the meantime I want to spend as much time as possible with the most important people in my life. As I do over Christmas. My family. Having had the privilege to spend more time with them over the past few weeks was amazing. From school drop offs and pick ups, them helping me testing some new equipment, watching Star Wars and making a routine and habit work at home. I am training them well I think 😉 They make me realise every day why I am doing what I am doing. They are my inspiration and motivation. Somewhat I enjoyed working and juggling two jobs and a family and going out of my comfort zone whilst upholding a 5 am routine and exercise, and meditation and personal development practise. As I said, I grew over the year, and that is the most important thing for me. It makes me who I am. I am happy. Yet, closer to Christmas I did notice my body getting tired, so time to have a few days off and relax.

A turbulent year. Just as well I am now relaxing and unwinding for a few days. And so should you, to my point earlier, there is nothing to miss out on. Don’t feel guilty and have another glass of wine, the extra piece of cheese or turkey/goose/duck. And if you are a grinch like me and don’t like Christmas, or you might not celebrate it due to religious reasons, enjoy the quiet time. Enjoy not having to read emails, not having to watch the news and spend some time looking deep inside yourself. Embrace yourself. And hug the person next to you, show them appreciation for them being them and being here.

And thoughts for 2018….you are the one that already knows where you want to be, what you should be doing and what is right in life. And you must always trust that the dots connect looking backwards. Hence, move forwards, always, and the right path will open up. You know it will. Trust in the future.

Speak to you in the New Year. All the best for 2018.

Love and Kindness, Peace and Happiness, and of course a Merry Christmas.
Volker

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Sunday Column (367)

The first week back at work is always hard you might think. It started slowly but intensively. Long hours and lots of work but just the way I like it. Some great discussions about the future of the industry and future prospects.

And I seem to have so much more energy. Whether this is due to dry January, I am not sure. Things seem to happen.

I also pushed myself physically this week. Two 10K runs, a 1K swim and two kettle bell sessions topped up with some body resistance training. I am a bit knackered, really feeling it. Also, I went back to wear more formal shoes. I love my green trainers but thought maybe it is time to be a bit more smart, to step up the game again. Maybe it is just a fad. Maybe go back to the comfy trainers again soon. Then again I bought nice new winter ankle high boots (see Instagram). My wife seems to like it though.

This week I kept pushing myself. Going outside my comfort zone. Listening to podcast pushing boundaries. Is that my 2016 resolution? If you do what you have done, you will get what you got. Time to push. Outperform and go beyond of what you have. Maybe words but followed by actions. Demanding answers, making things work, pushing the needle, winning. Sometimes there is losing, re-negotiating, learning from set backs and pushing forward. Times are good and right to push forward. Standing still is not an option!

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The goal of this week was to push forward with reading a book about negotiations. I did that and I love it. Some of the theories are not new, but yet very effective. Some are new theories and show new ways of getting agreements. Things are never the way they seem. Most thoughts and situations are in your head. Being able to quieten some of those voices, concentrate in the moment, listen and following up properly does help you in negotiations. Just being the human you are with the ability to connect, cross reference and understand. Seems simple yet there are only a few of us capable of doing this effectively. Confidence has something to do with that. Experience I suppose.

The beginning of the year. Time to still reflect on the old and looking forward to the new. Expectations. Values. Friends. Priorities. There are a lot of things to consider in life. Work, income, career prospects. Life is there to make the most of it, in which ever way YOU want to do that. What intangible value is the most important one for you?

I had this interest in HR and leadership ever since I got my MBA. That’s what I live and want to make sure people understand people. I am a people person, that’s what I do, I want people I deal with being happy and getting value from the exchange with me. Trading intangible values. Whether you read my blog here, at tidwows, my articles on LinkedIn, my book on productivity or you talk to me, negotiate with me, or buy from me. I am essentially a value proposition 😉

And in the meantime just be a good friend 🙂
That’s what I did at the weekend. Meeting friends. Letting go and just be myself. For what I am worth.

Sending you love for 2016. From my little corner of this ever exciting world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (233)

Thank you.

Thank you first of all for your compliments and the visits and comments on my post about the job hunt. A lot of people felt for me, had similar experience, and were astonished how open and honest I was describing my feelings and experiences. It could happen to you. Why not talk about it?

Thank you for your support. All of you!

I am humbled. When I started this blog, I wanted to write about productivity and coaching. I tried different topics but ended up writing about me, my life and my feelings. I am happy it resonates with you. I am happy that you are finding it useful. This means a lot to me!

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This week saw me returning to work. Start-up. Technology. Media. Lots to do, prioritisation, focus and energy needed. I got it. Making it back to my 5 am exercise routine, my Rotary meetings and new projects. The company is called Adizio. The first week felt like I have been there for ages already. Just imagine me in a few months 😉

Also there is a book I read about personal development: What got you here won’t get you there. Last but not least my involvement with the advisory board for ad:tech and iMedia. Both events which I supported over the years (not least launched ad:tech in Germany many years ago), and events that will be getting more popular again and delivering on what the industry wants. Watch this space!

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Often people ask me where I take the time from to write my posts, do all of what I am doing and more. I sleep but not more than six hours really. I have two hours train journey each day to GTD (Getting Things Done), and I can be very disciplined. I have drive. I want to get somewhere.

What am I aiming for? I guess I want to change the world. A bit at a time. I would like to make the famous dent into the universe of which Steve Jobs spoke. Things grow over my head too. But I am learning to focus more. I like pushing myself, and the recent break helped me to reflect. And for my job? I want to make RTB mainstream and transparent, away from ‘black magic and hidden margins’. Oh yes, I am motivated 🙂

Anyway, it is weekend, and time to spend as much time as possible with my boys. A night in the tent is planned. Not being able to see them in the week make weekends even more precious. Particularly if they are long ones. I can now properly focus on them. No worries about jobs. No worries but the boys and the wife!

Enough said. I hope you had a great weekend, and hope you spend some quality time with some loved ones too. We had great fun, and ….

….don’t forget, we ain’t back to work until Tuesday 🙂

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (195)

I was off for a few days early this week. So a quick one really. An action loaded week. Kind of.

Let me start off with Monday. More decorating, more DIY, more quality time with the boys. That plus a Tuesday in Brighton in Sealife where we now have a yearly membership really helped bonding with the boys. I don’t know what it is but probably just being properly off, eg no work, nothing urgent to do and the wife being busy decorating, that those days I were off helped me to bond with them. A truly enjoyable time.

I believe, and that is thanks to my wife, that we concluded most work on the house for the foreseeable future. I enjoyed spending time with her and my parents too. We couldn’t do it without the family support at all.

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One thing I picked up from going to Sealife though was the great question of evolution or “grand design”. Or the combination of both: survival of the fittest (Darwin). If an Octopus looks like a spider, are they related? If a turtle lives for 150 years, does that mean it survives anything and everything else. Is that because it is so slow or is it because it is that slow, that it lives that long? Do you know what I mean?

I am still fascinated with those questions and they get triggered each time I go to Sealife or similar. It brings back memories of discussions with my physics and biology teacher when I was an exchange student in the USA 18 years ago. He was a Christian and part time preacher too. Those moments when you start discussing the worlds’ problems. When you start thinking about the meaning of life and how unimportant oneself seems to be in the universe. Crazy, ey?

To tie this over I met my old friend on Thursday who similar to me spend a year as an exchange student at the same school in Kansas. I haven’t seen her for 18 years. Wow. A good conversation, a catch up on life, a meet and greet, as well as a thought on “the times were crazy, the experience shaped our lives, and we are glad that we did it”. What would have been if we hadn’t gone?

In these moments I sometimes like to withdraw myself a bit from the world. To go into the corner, sit in the dark, meditate and think. What if? What had happened if…? How much of a difference does an individual make? Will I be able to be a big cog in the overall clockwork? Will I make the bell ring?

Yes. The simple answer is yes. That is because I like to concentrate on the important things. I have a plan fuelled by actions. I have an idea. I take steps in the right direction. I am back running on my treadmill, my back is getting better and I feel I get traction. Yeah!

I get my energy back. I have plans. I am on track. I went to another networking event, I managed to increase my fellowship on twitter, I got new contacts on LinkedIn, I made a difference in some one else’s life today. Did you?

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For some part since I did my back in, and I have been mentioning it here, things almost gave me a gloomy outlook. Ok, it wasn’t all that bad. Life is a lot better than most people’s. However, I seemed to have lost momentum a bit. Not struggling, but going at the speed of sound starting to rotate. A “Baumgartner moment” that lasted a bit longer 😉 now it is time to kick ass again. I am ready to fight, be there, get there and smash my goals. I am more motivated than ever for what is there to come!

To relate to the picture on the right. I believe everyone is confronted with this in life. Those moments when you run around the mountain. The moments when your inbox is so empty that you check it very 2 minutes. Doesn’t last long. You need to climb the mountain. Again and again. For you, for your ego.

I will always be a “mountain climber“. A team leader going to the peak. Leading. Managing the team, it’s expectations. Constantly trying to improve performance and productivity to free up more time for new projects. I enjoy that. The higher the peak, the greater the challenge, the better my performance.

Looks like 2013 has a few mountains to climb. I better get ready and get my gear packed.

Have a great week,
Volker

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3 A’s to energise yourself and others

Dan Rockwell, on his blog Leadershipfreak, wrote about the 3 A’s that energise yourself and others. Here is a summary.

The main aim is to understand how to energize others.

Abandonment – you need to have an unreserved dedication to the mission and vision of your organisation. A buzz and feel for the passion to get the job done needs to be felt by everyone around you.

Affirmation – you should make positive statements at least 4 times more than negative statements. Be positive. Use positive language. You’re always dealing with problems. You’re always thinking about ways to improve your team’s performance.

Addition – you should decide to add rather than subtract from others. Find ways to lift others higher than you. Offer staff a career, a path to success. Challenge someone to step out of their comfort zone. Let them feel the pressure and then add comfort to them by expressing confidence in their abilities.

I like how Dan puts the alphabet into context and finds ways to come up with inspiring quotes, comments and ideas to improve leadership and management.

Thanks for this inspiration.

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Energise your life!

Jon Gordon wrote on his blog about how to energise your year.

He came up with about 20 tips, so I thought I summarise the main ones here:

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. Focus on the good things in life and be thankful for everything you have.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement: My purpose is to ___________ today.

4. Live with the 3 E’s. Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

5. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

6. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.

7. Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.

8. Engage in daily random acts of kindness.

9. Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing positive energy into your life.

10. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

11. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

12. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

13. Smile and laugh more.

14. Each night before you go to bed reflect on the day and say thanks for what it was and wish for what you like it to be tomorrow.

15. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

Read more on Jon’s blog and subscribe to his newsletter. It’s good energy and good stuff!

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Good intentions – living the life

I want to live, and of course who doesn’t? I have all good intention to prolong my life. I am conscious of my life and my body, my personal and spiritual development, and I am eager to see my kids grow up.

But, on the other hand I enjoy the odd cigar, I like my drink, and of course I enjoy the odd burger or fry up. Hence, whilst reading books about how to beat cancer by eating right, how to prevent diseases by eating correctly, and how to keep my energy household balanced in order to have a better, longer and healthier life, I thought I share my latest developments:

Sometimes we are living “a” life. Not the one based on our values, our intentions and our inner harmony. We just live and are too busy to notice that we just do that. We are good in ignoring the fact that we put on a few pounds, or that we stopped going to the gym.

From what we get in life we make a living. From what we give, we make a life. Through what I gain by giving to my children & family, and spending time with them, I get more out of life than sitting in the office. However, the latter is for me very enjoyable, and makes me a living.

One question someone asked the other day was, whether the life I am living is worth what I am giving up to have it. What does that mean? I believe that means, that if you are unhappy with your life, and you just do something, e.g. work, for the sake of doing it, you will never be happy. Only if the things you do are based on your values, and you enjoy doing them, you will strive, be successful and enjoy life. You will always have to compromise between a career and your family life, keep balancing both, or at least most of us do.

And on one of those notes, I decided guided on all those health and energy books, to change my diet once again. To lose weight. To drink less coffee. To smoke less cigars. For the sake of my children, for the sake of not losing out whilst being busy living the life that makes me a living.

The lasting change can only be achieved if I define the purpose (kids/health), face the truth (big gut/out of shape) and take action.

The latter lead to a food plan which I am trying to build into my routine.

Breakfast: remove Nutella and peanut butter and replace with protein shake, high fibre cereal/muesli.
Lunch: salad and tuna, couscous and brown bread, brown pita and humous
Diner: rye bread and spreading cheese (light), salads with tomatoes, feta, olive oil and cucumber, yogurts, odd bit of cheese
Snacks: assorted nuts, sunflower seats, apples, bananas, fruit

I hope that this diet and this change will result in some weight loss, a healthier balanced diet (of course there will be the odd indulgence and glass of wine), and a routine that sees me gaining higher energy levels.

Also, once the kids are in a more steady routine, I will go back to the gym, or do some form of exercise.

I have all the good intentions to make my life a life worth living. Enjoying every minute, enjoying my job/work, and giving time to (not only) my family but to life itself.

Have a good one,
Volker

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