Posts Tagged Friends

Sunday Column (423)

Loads happening this week. Late nights working, getting my feet under the table, early morning runs and getting stuff done. Yes, I had a fantastic week. Busy busy but also demanding and tiring. All good, all happening. I am enjoying myself!

My highlight, clearly 🙂 , was an unexpected meeting with my old ‘boss’. I haven’t seen him for 10+ months, he was in town, and we discussed life, work and what it is worth living for. It wasn’t all sentimental, but it was. A great mentor and friend, it was so good to see him again. I know you are reading that, and hope to meet up again soon. Good to see you!

My lowlight on the other hand was the whole story around Trump. I guess that was everybody’s lowlight, no? Segmenting people because of religious belief, origin or maybe even colour of skin? I thought human kind, being German in particular, passed that stage. I don’t want a 4th Reich, another Fuehrer that ends up causing a world war. Peter Maffay, a German (refugee from Romania btw), sang in his song “It’s time” about signals show red, the piper leads you to death, it’s time to realise and look around you, all signs point towards war. I don’t want a 4th Reich, no destruction and war. I freely translated this and think it is so valid, given it was written a while back. Why….why would anyone do what Trump set out to do? I see danger ahead. I feel fear. Yet I also feel encouraged that the supreme court in the US is stepping in and ruling above the president. That’s how democracy should work, similar to the UK re Brexit. Even if the outcome doesn’t change in this instance, we have tried to make sure we are holding up our values of democracy. Yet what the US government is trying just seems to utterly wrong.

On another note, the train services are back to normal and more reliable. One day of delays but particularly evening services are going ok. It is nice to relax a bit more about getting home. Particularly when the weather is wet, cold and you just come from the pub 😉 On the note of weather, my cold didn’t allow me to train as hard as I wanted to this week. I cannot wait for the weather to warm up a bit and me hitting the gym harder again. And I got outdoor, muddy weather, running shoes. I cannot wait to try those bad boys out either. It’s going to be a fun year in terms of exercise I think. Not sure what I plan besides the 24 hour race… but time will tell.

My biggest compliment this week: I am happy, said the wife. She has done well to get a job, so things are falling into place. We renewed our mortgage for the next 5 year on a good rate and we are sorting some other bits out. Winning I think. At least from our perspective. We are happy as a family, and love where we are living. I managed to spend some time with the kids this week, yet R was ill and it was a bit difficult around that. But we managed in the interest of all of us. I couldn’t be more on top of the world at the moment.

I also listened to Kara Swisher being interviewed by Tim Ferris. She mentioned that one of her regrets, if I didn’t misheard, was that she wasn’t as passionate about her kids/family as she was with her job. I am not sure if I am similar. I love my kids to bits, so does Kara, yet we sometimes put work first, and this isn’t right. And it is difficult to understand or for anyone to accept unless you feel similar. I know a few people like that, and it doesn’t mean they do not love their kids, it is more about being so driven in a job, that it seems to overtake everything else sometimes. It is as if you were as passionate about your kids and could spend 50 hours a week with them, it would be awesome too. But we seem to enjoy the work we are doing, and it ultimately benefits the family and kids too. I will be working on that, improve on it, being more mindful. It isn’t a bad thing, it is a thought of priority and passion. And passion is there, priority is difficult sometimes. I am on it.

And on that not, there is nothing like getting this 2 minute hug from your youngest in the morning before going to work. To chat with your 7 year old about how he solved the Rubix cube. To see them succeed and better what we never achieved. You want them to win, be part of what they do. That ignites my passion. I often think of them during the day, what they would be up to in school and what would they be playing just now. And I trust them being young intelligent human beings, making their own decisions. They are growing up far too quickly.

I cannot wait to take them to my new office. To show them around the free snacks area 🙂 To let them draw on the whiteboard wall (paint) in the board room and look at all the goodies we have. They will just love it. Half term is near! I want them to be involved in what I do as I am getting more involved in what they do.

Life is good. I am happy and content and feel like things have just began.

From my little corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (420)

Ok. I have some time on my hands, don’t I. Actually I don’t have as much as I would like, and I got a lot busier than anticipated. That’s a positive thing, things are happening. So what do you do if you have some waiting time in London? People just went back to work properly this week being busy, so I had a few meetings in town, but then a few got cancelled last minute. Then I got some additional ones in. The train strike took me to London Blackfriars and this can be a bit inconvenient given most digital businesses’ location in London. Cut a long story short, I managed to walk a bit in London. Yes: W-a-l-k, take things in, smelling the roses. It was fantastic.

Yes, I absolutely loved it. Not only did I manage to burn some calories and make some phone calls, I also managed to just wander around London. I was thinking for a moment to stop all the time and take some pictures, but I found this would distort my idea of experiencing London. I almost went into the National Art Gallery. When did you last have time to just wander through the streets of London, look up the buildings and take in all the architecture. Did you know that from Farringdon you can see the Shard with St. Paul’s Cathedral in between?

What else did I spot? Lots of people smoking and vaping, more than I anticipated. Hipster cafes where I stopped and rested, starting to write this post. A Ferrari mountain bike. Old writing and signs on buildings just on the main streets. New buildings and building sites. Builders looking bored, some being very busy. A few new building sites I hadn’t noticed, some nice facades, a new hidden Neros off Jermyn Street. And I went with the flow, just chilling out and enjoying myself, looking at the world to go by and take it all in.

How much more time do I have to enjoy some down time? When is it getting serious again to go back to work? When would I have to, when would I want to get back to the grindstone? I tell you all next week (teaser).

I learned about priority this week. I was focusing on two important things this week, and those were my only priorities, but only one at a time. This was important. I tried to blend out any thoughts that would interfere with my priority at the time. Mind games, voices in your head, external influences, ideas. Like meditating with your mind fully switched on. I think it worked well. Being in full control of your mind and thinking really helps.

Then there is another topic I am giving priority and I am looking into at the moment: My 40th. Yes, it is coming closer and I cannot deny it or make it go away. It is coming closer day by day. It will either be a party or a mini holiday – the prices seem similar. We are evaluating. I let you know what we decide, not if it is a party though 😉 Anyway.

There is one theme on Linkedin and Facebook since the beginning of the year: Make the most out of 2017. Celebrate life. I am not sure if that mood is connected to the, as it seems, high amount of celebrity deaths last year, or whether it is a general mood to get on with life and make the most of it? Maybe it has been like that every year, but I didn’t notice it that much. This year I do. As if we, as people, are anticipating the world to end in 2017. I hope not. I have so many more plans, and ideas and want to see so many more places. Yes, maybe I should start doing that soon. I don’t want to run out of time. I must trust that there will be a life beyond 2017, despite all uncertainty in the world.

Life seems to be a bit like evaluating things, making decisions, living with it. Jobs. Life. Parties. The way you bring up your kids. We had tantrums this week which brought back memories of having a toddler. Do you let them cry or use reasoning? I tried both, and the former worked in the end, falling asleep being exhausted. Will they learn from it? Probably not. Just another phase, until in a while that phase stops and another one starts. The oldest becomes more of an adult now, and you sometimes wonder how grown up they seem. Wowsers.

Life is moving so fast, and we are evaluating. We make decisions and we move on. The flow. Go with the flow, don’t get stressed about it and feel at ease. In the end things will work out, and you must believe in the end. Have trust. Things never stop. You must trust things will be ok, because they always will be. Don’t let others pressure you into a situation you don’t enjoy and don’t let others make you feel a certain way. It all works out in the end. Trust in it going to happen!

If the video below doesn’t show, please see this Joe Biden article.

But then there was one last thing I noticed this week. Whether it was Obama’s speech, his wife’s speech or Joe Biden: some great leaders and people you look up to that, in public and in very powerful positions, admit to something amazing: Emotions and feelings. It is not about crying but about bringing emotions back into what I would call ‘corporate and public life’. Ever since I have read and written my MBA thesis on Emotional Intelligence (EQ), I believe that the human aspects, emotions, feelings and the sharing of values is sometimes more important than red tape. Humanity prevails. I am moved by what happened in 2016. I have shed more tears and shared more emotions than ever before. Maybe that is why, as mentioned above, people are increasingly coming out with making 2017 the best year ever and to go for it. To show their appreciation, feelings and true emotions. Let’s do it. Let’s share more love and make 2017 happen!

I have a great feeling about it.

Love and kindness from my little corner of the world.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (415)

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2 weeks to Christmas. The kids are getting excited, and before I hear a ‘hello’ in the morning, it is ‘where is my advent calendar’. If I hear them say anything in the morning, as I might be out of the house at crack of dawn. Southern rail put an emergency time table on. Busier trains, less often….great. For 4,000 GBP a year. The wifi stopped working on some trains (I know it is a first world problem), yet what I am trying to say is you getting less and less service for your money. And the price is probably going up by 2.4% again next year. So whilst the train companies get richer, we get poorer and have a worse service. And no choice. We can’t switch providers or drive, really. I heard of the first few people that had to stop working in London as it was too unreliable due to the train situation. Whilst I take that with a pinch of salt, luckily most companies I ever worked for understood, it is probably the bitter reality. Is that ever going to end? Not this year, that’s for sure, but it has been ongoing for 8 months! And my latest app shows me: 1:40 in transit. Yes I work, and yes I study and read, but that’s over 3 hours a day. If you cannot plan that part of your day, it becomes quite stressful to be honest. So I had to cancel a few Christmas drinks already, and I dread leaving our Christmas party early just to be home and not stranded in London. Yes, whilst I could stay over, that just might result in a day on bus replacement services due to weekend engineering works. Not taking any chances at the moment, and I cannot win with Southern.

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After my temperature last weekend, I stayed at home on Monday, without working, so I rested up. Tuesday I felt a bit better but if I compare the status of my wife’s virus with my stage, I won’t feel much better than I did on Monday for another week. Never mind, I just have to get on with it. I hope for the sake of the office that I am not contagious (don’t think I am, otherwise I wouldn’t go in!), and that my output isn’t affected too much. By about 3 pm my brain starts to shut down and needs some relaxation. 10 hour days don’t help I suppose. Fingers crossed it lasts! So whilst I am loosing a bit on the health front, I am also winning. And from mid week things felt better, and I even managed a run on Friday. Fingers crossed this was the last bug of the year!

Yes. I am winning. I am winning in the game of life. You know how I can tell? On Wednesday I had a day off (still having to use a few days before the end of the year) and I attended R’s nativity play. This was great. He was a Robin 🙂 The engagement from his end and the looks, and the shared breakfast, the play time at night. The boys love me being around. When I was travelling a lot to Europe, I didn’t see them for a few days but then worked from home for a day. They loved it. On the other hand, I now see them daily but for less time. Keeping the balance is difficult and the ongoing discussion with my wife is, whether it was the right decision to move out of London. We agree, it was, and that the current state of trains just don’t help the situation. We will get over it, and I will be able to win even more. Life just needs to fall into (the) place that it aligns with your values and proposition. With Jen hopefully going back to work soon and trains hopefully getting better, we should be in a much better place already come my birthday. The big one, you remember 🙁

Anyway…On my day off I decided to spend the afternoon with my friends and meet a start-up. I am crazy, I know. I love doing those advisory roles and helping people and discussing options. That’s what I enjoy doing, yet I was home for just after dinner, time for bath and bed time reading. A full on, full rounded day off. If I had felt any better, and the weather would have been warmer, I would have thought of having some good food, wine, chocolate and maybe a cigar. I haven’t had a cigar for a while but feel like it might be time to have one again – post bug, post cough. We shall see what Santa Claus will be having in s(t)ock for me 😉 But seriously, being able to just have time and not hurrying. Not worrying which train to take. To not worry and just wander around. To relax and spend quality time with the boys. This is nice, relaxing, healing.

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A friend of mine launched his business this week. Amazing. I have known James for many years and it is great to see that he is very open about his experience, his life and how he came up with what he launched: Measurematch. Another mate published a post on how he set up his own consultancy three months ago. It is fantastic to see how more and more people setting up their business to service the community and help others to understand the complexity of what we are doing. Something I think isn’t actually that complex. Latter is what I discussed with mentors, the knowledge just isn’t there and I feel like nothing is complicated but we have done it for a few years, haven’t we?

Another highlight of the week was that I finally passed my ‘Life in the UK’ test. Yes, the test that I need to become a British citizen. I studied for it in the summer but wasn’t allowed to take it as I didn’t have the right ID (mine was expired and cancelled and whilst they accept expired ones, they don’t accept cancelled ones). So I got my German ID card which took a few months and I studied for the test again. I passed. It was harder than I thought. Some of the questions were completely different to the app that I relied on. Yet I also used a different app before which I believe saved my life. Anyway, it is done. I now wait for my ‘residency permit’ to be approved – this was supposed to take 8-10 weeks but has now been ongoing since early August and should not take longer than 6 months. Then I can apply for naturalisation. Subject to waiting times, I assume at least another 6 months, I should be a British citizen by end of next year. Why I want to? Because I think that I will always live on the island. That I will always work and live here. And I like to be able to not worry about Brexit and what is happening with Europe. Yet, I also keep my German passport. The best of both worlds I suppose.

Today we were supposed to meet with an old uni friend of mine and his family. Unfortunate they had to postpone last minute. We never spend enough time doing those kind of days. We don’t take enough days to just wander and chill. See comment about about not being rushed and hurried. To meet friends. To carve out time for longer than a pint. To not worry about everything else going on. We should. We should stop every now and then and take stock. Smell the roses – I haven’t used that phrase for a while. Apologies if those posts are less inspiring at the moment, but the winter blues has set in. The mad rush to Christmas. There are a lot of things to balance. We try to finish as much as possible before and then realise on the 23rd that we can’t finish it all. That’s fine. We then postpone and go and have a good Christmas break. I will be working a couple of days, catching up on a few emails, some reading and conference videos. And I will wander, I will take time off with the kids and chill. To rejuvenate.

Hope you are planning your festive break and life is good for you!

From my little corner of the world, have a great week ahead!
Volker

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Sunday Column (397)

bright side

I have been to Scotland over the last week. A long drive up, a short and delayed flight back. I love Scotland. It is a peaceful country. It feels kind of rough and you feel close to nature. Whether that is the rain, the cold or the rocks and trees. It is an outdoor country where you don’t necessarily have the weather to be outdoors much. So the coal and peat fires go on. The heat from the natural resources keep you warm. You are close to the heart of yourself, the earth and close to what’s happening deep inside this planet. We did a 25K run which was nice too. Very connected to the elements I have to say.

That’s how I feel. I also felt a bit detached from civilisation. Whilst of course Tesco is still there, same products and offers, which gives you the consistency you are not necessarily longing for, there are a lot of new things. Paying with Apple Pay got a reply from the waitress that ‘this is the first time she has done this’ or looking at the mobile phone reception, you might think you are somewhere in the bush in South America. Other than that, it feels so good to be there, and maybe it is because of these isolation that it does.

Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

I relaxed a bit. My MIL helped with the kids, I had snoozes, was cooked for and enjoyed some down time. I shared my bed with my eldest and he was literally heating the bed whilst outside it was down to 3 degrees. Yet it was bright light at 9 pm at night. So when I came back to London it was dark at 9 pm, I thought of putting the fire on and with the drizzle it felt like October or November even. Autumn arrived, the summer is over. Yet we managed to have a great sunny day out on Saturday – boy’s day out.

So I chilled out on the flight back, to turn on my phone and got a message from someone on Facebook. Nothing too uncommon but that I haven’t spoken to her for 21 years. If I say I had forgotten about her, some memories came back. We met 21 years and for some reason she went through some old stuff discovering my name, looked me up, and got in touch. That was rather nice. A blast from the past. Sometime in 1995 our life lines touched. We then went off in different directions. She got a kid, I got kids, I got married and to be honest, the past 20 years, I probably forgot who she was, and this is not meant in a negative way. I am fascinated by those stories of people that come to your life and the reason they do. Some show you a different side to yourself, sometimes you help someone and sometimes you just have a fun time together. So it is without offence that I forget about people sometimes. I discussed that with a friend this week, that we both had friends we tried to find closure with. A few years ago I sent out a couple of letters to reach out to people, thanked them that they were part of my life, and that I never intended us growing apart without clearing some things. Some never got back to me, and of some I don’t even know if they ever got my letter. That’s life I suppose. Life’s little stories.

ppl in life

This week was very productive in terms of getting a lot of reviews done for my next productivity book. No, it is far from being finished, yet I made some progress this week. Now a lot of tidying, adding and stuff to do. But my hope is that by end of year this should be finished. Fingers crossed. All depends on undisturbed time I suppose, which is getting less. There are so many plans moving forward and life will change a lot. But it can only get better, as things always improve in life. Things change for a reason, and those reasons are always worthwhile. I have been meeting up with interesting people over the past few weeks. Again, everything happens for a reason, some reasons to be discovered further down the line. Job opportunities, product discussions, industry discussions, chewing the fat, discussing life over lunch and wine, partying even with friends. I am having a great time. Every now and then I am in the position to reach out to my network and give back and receive. This was one of those weeks, amazing people!

People are fascinating, so is life. It seems a theme this week, which makes me think how much I appreciate the life I have. The people that are close to me which I miss. The people worth dying for if you like and the people that are close to me, part of my life, and the ones, like above, who came into my life. And I could fill a whole life just to speak to people and philosophise on things, but then I have to focus again on everyday work, and do what I have to and what I want to do. That’s happening too. And then you bring focus back into your life and push back on some meetings. You naturally prioritise.

And I guess that’s how we all live our lives. Bound to our own little back yard, own little circle of friends which every now and then expands. And you suck a few new ones in the circle and you get sucked into other people’s circle, and then you continue as you were. A pulsating way of extending your horizon and circle of influence. I am pulsating. I am breathing. I am alive and I am enjoying my life and my circle of influence and friends. I appreciate you. Thanks for being part of my journey.

Have a fantastic week and make the most of the summer!

Volker

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Sunday Column (379)

The week started with a trip to Hamburg. A night and back again. I am getting used to the regular flights and short trips again. This time I didn’t take my running gear. An unbalanced run the week before paired with a 13K over the weekend left me tired and my knee(s) aggravated. So some needed rest and a treadmill run on Thursday was all. I am cautious of not pushing myself too far and not to injure myself seriously.

I have been thinking a lot over the past few weeks. See last week’s column, that life could be over quickly without you knowing. Things might change. What is important in your life, what do you cherish. Where do you put most emphasis on, what is it that you enjoy and should do more of. I will cover that in more detail. Anyways…

When leaving home my fish tank was playing up. The temperature dropped and I worried a lot. Thanks to my wife and some last minute rescue measures we seemed to have avoided some major fish losses. I had just added some loaches to get rid of the snails, and feel that the ecosystem within the tank is striving.

Actually not my fish but almost ;-)

Actually not my fish but almost 😉

My eldest wrote me a card to wish me well for the trip and he hopes that I will be meeting some friends. I did. It is nice to see them grow up and also understanding German (my sons, not my friends 😉 ). When my parents were over for Easter, they spoke German to the boys and the eldest clearly understood. Maybe there is hope and as they get older they get more of an interest to learn the language. I don’t think they will ever be native but if they manage to communicate and get by, it would be fantastic. Having had 1-on-1 time with both of them over the last few weeks really helps to seal the bond. It also helps me improving my football skills 😉

The remainder of the week passed very quickly. I spend two days in Germany, back to back in meetings, catching up with the local staff, and having in depth conversations about the industry. It is interesting to see the differences in markets and attitudes towards product deliveries. It is good though, and I do enjoy the work I am delivering, as we are pioneering in a new space, leading the pack for second screen advertising. But hey, I don’t want to market my company here, do I? 🙂

A good friend of mine invited me for lunch on Thursday. A healthy, good lunch, and a wonderful chat. Those type of chats and friendships last for a long time to come. He was joking I should mention him in my column, however, here we go 🙂 Thanks mate!!!

As I write this blog I pass Gatwick Airport on the train. Sunset. The daylight saving time and all, we are back to having light travelling home from work. I look at the sunset and think about the things to come. I keep forgetting about the past, putting it aside. We are launching new products at work. We are renovating the house and finish it the first time around. The wheel is turning and we are going faster and faster. Then I listened to two podcasts this week that told me to sleep enough and take it easy. Don’t get the burn out. I am not afraid, I look after myself. I am trying to anyway, being more easy going than I used to be (at least I think so) and more pro-active, forward looking than I used to. My thinking is changing.

The Germans have this saying “gut Ding muss Weile haben” – good things need their time. There is no need to rush and make too many avoidable mistakes. You hear it coming – time to stop and smell the roses. When flying this week, way after my working hours (in case you reading this, boss), I decided to not work but chill out. To sit and read, doze, listen to music and just take time off to think and reflect. I manage to split work and life. I am learning. Still. I am growing. I am proud of my personal development.

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

I am also proud of my wife. 12 years this week that we met. 9 years this year that we got married, had kids, a house etc. In another 12 years the kids would have left the house and another 12 I am probably still not retired. Wow. That means I have only been through the first third of my career. I am just warming up and boy, I am ready to go! Patience, Ballueder, Patience!

Life is good. I remind myself daily and make sure that life is going to stay as it is. That it won’t get worse or we stop looking after ourselves and the kids. No, I want fun, love, and live.

Have a great week. Summer is on its way!

We managed a first bike ride at the weekend. The little one on the tag along bike and I. We sat down, smelled the freshly cut grass, enjoyed the sun and some sweets. We laughed. We loved.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (361)

Taking massive actions towards a goal is liberating. I wrote an article on that which I will publish on Linkedin for the new year. Goals are associated with starting a New Year, a new beginning.

I am saying that as there has been a few things on my mind this week. Even to the extend of me being ‘scared’ of flying to Munich on Monday. I was drilling on something. Watching Mad Men and looking at the world of advertising and realising that sometimes you just have to make decisions. Maybe it sounds cheesy but it takes time to process things and make it happen. A hidden entrepreneur somewhere I suppose 😉

You cannot always change what you do, but you can try. You can go for gold. You can aim high and then take those massive actions to make it work. And that is what I am doing. And it feels great.

I am really enjoying to make decisions. Taking on the responsibility, and more often than not, I make it work (sorry for the arrogance). And if not, I put my hands up in the air and we look at a different solution. Even if things are not as new or crazy as they seem, being able to just look at them and making the changes needed, gives you a satisfying feeling.

Taking massive action

Really, I am going at 100 miles an hour. However, on the outside I am calm. I have the feeling of not being stressed whilst getting massive things done. Working abroad in a hotel room having evening and mornings to get stuff done is brilliant. Besides the exercise routine, work load and all, I managed to get a few articles done, organised some things in my life and took the above massive action.

Towards what? Life goals I suppose.

Being in the fatherland, in Munich, I got recognised as being foreign: North German 😉 When I then tell the taxi driver that I am actually living in London, they begin to be friendlier again LOL. I love Munich and if there was any place I’d move to in a future life it would be here. Simple. An amazing city.

I missed the boys this week, yet had a lot of them last weekend. I managed to sneak off with them on Friday afternoon to attend the local ‘Hassocks’ Light Up’ parade, celebrating the switching on of the Hight Street Christmas lights. Less than 4 weeks it is to Christmas. That’s mad. It came around very quickly.

At the weekend we had some friends staying over. We only manage to see them properly once or twice a year. That means lots of wine and whiskey, and of course my wife’s famous cheese fondue. What a night! Generally a fantastic, somewhat satisfying weekend.

Whilst I can’t say I am looking forward to it, yet I did ask Father Christmas for a small present, I am excited for the boys. Seeing R to be mesmerised by Father Christmas. They seem to be so grown up about it and excited about Santa coming down our Chimney, which is the wood burners pipe, diameter around 15 cm tops 🙂 Never mind, I am sure he manages, as long as they are believing it.

Have a great December and stay well.

Love and Kindness,
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 😉

mercedes

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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Sunday Column (249)

Hello all,

In all honesty, I am not sure what to write this week. My cold is still not better, actually worse again end of week with temperature and all. The kids aren’t well, we just don’t seem to be able to shake off those winter bugs.

But we are well. In comparison at least. I have been thinking about things. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are better off than most people in this world. A friend was diagnosed with cancer, another has cancer in his family, another is on holidays at a fancy destination and my friend who is depressive and I should really catch up….f@ he’ll. No offence guys, what’s happening?

I guess I have a big heart, I love and want to help everyone. Above isn’t meant to be complaining, no it is to give you, as a reader, the insight into my emotional life. Balancing that with the ongoing search for happiness, constant push to outperform at work…life can be daunting, couldn’t it?

But it isn’t. Life is actually darn good! I have a roof over my head, food on the table and an amazing wife which I absolutely love. My rock, my balancing weight, my support, my benchmark, my fun, my life really. I am a very dedicated family man, love my wife and kids to bits and this is and will always be my main focus. No matter what, no compromise.

But because my wife is as great as she is, I started dedicating so much time to others. Helping others is such a great part of my life. I might actually step this up a notch soon too. I just was voted assistant secretary in my Rotary Club for next year. Not the biggest move, yet a big part of what I believe in: helping others, raising funds for others and making other people’s life a bit better.

There is no place like home they say. There is no place like being able to give beyond your means, not from a financial but involvement point of view. No greater gift than lying in bed at night thinking how, if small, you have improved someone’s life. For me this is the greatest inner satisfaction.

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Just whilst typing these sentences I look around. I am on a train yet again, listening to Newton Faulkner (that might explain my sentimental outlook this week). Couples kissing, sitting next to each other smiling, people hanging on to their thoughts, looking like they are stressed, reading the paper or trying to frantically getting reception on their phone.

Yes, they all have their own story, life, death. Their own parcel to carry, their own burden.

You know what I did this week? I still had holidays to take this year and all my meetings for Friday got postponed. So I took that day off. I took the kids to school, went I to town for a lunch with a close friend who I admittedly didn’t spend enough time with over the past few months, and I just enjoyed myself, wandering around the shops, chilling out. Uninterrupted “me time”. I let go and had fun, just in time to be home for bath time. I loved it. I was beaming. I needed it.

I guess this post is very reflective, on my emotional state, and my thoughts on what’s happening in this world. The year draws to a close, I reflect. This year has been an up and down but overall it is up. As always, I see the positive in small things, and I am a very positive person!

Not long till Christmas now. Have a great last week. I cannot wait for the kids’ nativity plays and hugs, kisses and stories from them. Life is great. And you, my friends, the ones I mentioned initially, you will be fine. I will help where I can.

Buddha bless,
Volker

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Buddhist Thought: Evil Beast

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind. Buddha

You notice the slight but essential differentiation.

A beast or animal might hurt your body. It might rip off an arm.

But an evil friend, an evil human being, might actually wound your mind. S/he might hurt you deep inside, kill parts of your thoughts and freedom.

As they say: keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

Watch out!

Volker

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Sunday Column (204)

This week I finished Kofi Annan’s autobiography. One of the closing sentences were ‘A Swahili proverb holds that “You cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail”‘. I like and dislike this quote.

On the one hand the proverb tries to tell me that if the wind is blowing in one direction, there is nothing we can do. On the other hand it says to change direction to make use of the wind. Then again it tells me, whatever the wind, just go with the flow, don’t go against it. Do you see where I am coming from?

I like to go with the flow. Enjoy having my sail in the wind and make progress. That’s fun and easy even. I also like to go against the wind. Stir things up, question rules and challenge people. I cannot just turn around and go with the wind. Not my style. Of course wind can never always blow in your sail, so sometimes you go through rough or unpleasant rides. Way of life. Am I missing something the proverb wants to tell me? Do I look too deep into it?

Anyway. Annan’s book was good. A good summary of his work and thoughts, challenges and successes. However, it seemed written a bit in a politically rather than personal manner. Guess that was to be expected from a man of his calibre.

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Then I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman from the Brighton area who, same as me, has lived abroad for the past 13 years. And his conclusion, after all that time in Germany, was that he can’t stand the British way of life. Just like me! Only vice versa 🙂

When mentioning that to a friend from another country, I got told it is the same for her. This leads me, based on my small sample, to the following conclusion: if you voluntarily leave your country to adopt a new way of life in a different culture, there are two motivational directions:

– away from the current, soon old culture
– towards the new, soon daily culture

This leads, in my sample, to a love hate relationship with your current or old culture. I dismiss certain “German” attitudes and don’t like their way of dealing with things. However, in my case, I love the Britishness and culture here in the UK. Additionally, at least in my case, I find it nice to look back at my childhood and German values I was brought up with. This will always be home for me. But in regards to business or day to day stuff, I adopted the British culture to be “the right one”. Funny that. This would explain a lot of things 😉

On Wednesday I attended a function, an event from a new potential hobby of mine. A group looking to help others in need, a charity if you like. It was a sit down dinner, discussion and to my surprise no alcohol. I really liked that. I attend another function next week and keep you posted on developments.

Thursday was a fun day. I got soaked going to the train station. At the train station the trains were cancelled or delayed by more than an hour. A train had broken down on the tracks just outside Hassocks. So I ended up working from home, getting loads of admin done, studying on the back of our sales training, exchange with the US office and general strategic stuff. I love those days. In the afternoon I popped out to get my hair cut and I spent lunch building “fire stations” with my boys. With Colin being “confined to quarters” with his chicken pox, he appreciated someone else playing with him. I ended up working much later than normal but I don’t mind that really.

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However, this week was slow. Not work wise but more me feeling slow and tired. My wife has a cold and I woke up every morning with a sore throat being really tired. So some bug must have got the better of me. Nothing major, “man flu” enough but not too bad. Just this tiredness and exhaustion….but I shouldn’t moan. With feeling physically exhausted there was no running. No exercise. Just a massage on Saturday.

On top of that our fridge is about to die. We aiming to change the kitchen layout to accommodate a non build in fridge, e.g. if we were to replace the one we have with the same dimensions we pay an arm and a leg for a low quality fridge. Not a long term sensible solution. So my wish to buy a nice mountain bike might have to be pushed back for a few months until we recovered from this expense. The joys. Life 🙂

To conclude I had a fantastic weekend. I spent lots of time with the boys. Brighton, Sea Life, shopping, swimming, friends around for pizza. And I had another night out on Hassocks. It turned out to be a major piss-up so I was glad to leave when the shots were coming out.

Never mind 🙂 Getting old.

Have a great week everyone.
Volker

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