Posts Tagged good life

Sunday Column (427)

This week was different. In a good way I suppose, given it started out with a lovely Sunday meal with the family. We celebrated my wife’s birthday and her finishing yet another half marathon. Well done. I am very proud of her achievements. I originally wanted to eat a salad but ended up with some nice winter warming comforting Pizza – so much about losing weight again. My training is going well, yet before the 24 hour race I should really shed a few more kilos. I guess consistency with weight exercise is needed and more discipline on the food side of things. I am trying. Maybe not hard enough but pushing myself in regards to making sure to complete three 10K runs a week.

On Tuesday/Wednesday I attended an internal conference where eating and drinking healthy wasn’t an option really. I mean, knowing HR is reading my blog ;-), there is always an option, but less discipline I guess. One night to make friends with up to 180 people from our international territory. That’s a lot of people to meet, a lot of networking. A great event though and speaking as well as listening to our CEO was encouraging. I love what I am doing and believe this company is right. We are on a journey and it is a journey I enjoy. People I enjoy. Amazing technology. We are winning. And no, I am not only writing this since HR is listening in. I am writing this as I think there are similarities between my CEO, my MD and myself. This sounds weird, but besides the early morning routines (this sounds weird, doesn’t it), we also seem to understand and enjoy business. Different level of experience of course and backgrounds, and motivations, but overall I can spot a theme. That’s amazing.

I had probably one of the shortest commutes from the conference. It happened in Brighton. So when I got home Wednesday afternoon I caught up on some sleep and then on some work. The next day I was back at my 5 am routine. It killed me at the conference given I was in bed very late and naturally woke by 5, but on Thursday my 10K was refreshing. I started my physio exercises again and taking ibuprofen, so I am hopeful to get on top of my leg pain soon. I also had 9 hours sleep that night which helped immensely to get back to normal.

The remainder of the week was rather busy. A lot of things to organise, conferences to prepare, personal stuff to sort out. Two weeks out from my citizenship ceremony, which I found out is free of charge after all, the government agreed that the status of EU citizens would not change post Brexit. I feel at ease knowing that soon I don’t have to worry about it anymore. No one likes dealing with government processes I don’t think. So putting it all to an end to apply for a passport will be nice. A bit of closure. Britain is home for me. Here is where my family is and here is where I belong.

Trains seem to run fine at the moment. I don’t want to jinx it but since I started my job 6 weeks ago, I can take a direct train again to get to the office for 9 am. That is nice. An easier commute, reliable most days and a more convenient one. However, the train is older and doesn’t cope that well with the old tracks. So slightly more uncomfortable. I find myself typing this blog on Thursday morning. A sunny day, a windy day. The wind woke me up a few times at night. Winter is not quite gone yet, and according to the calendar spring wont’ t start until 21 March. Despite my wife thinking it is the 1st of March. I look forward to the summer, to more fun with the boys. outside, sitting on the patio. To enjoy nature and nature’s warmth. To connect with the roots. But let’s not get sentimental.

Life has been good to us. I am pleased and happy with what we have. My life as a whole. The challenges it comes with. The love from my boys and discussions we have. The challenges we work through as parents. The ‘treadmill weekends’ of going to parties and entertaining the family. I enjoy to be able to help, to make a difference to things. I am content yet hungry for more. I am eager to step up and take on more. And hopefully I will eventually. With patience, consistency and integrity, I am confident to take things further. Life is great.

Have an amazing week ahead.
Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (384)

A short week. A difficult week. An alright week. This week I thought never finished and I had to leave a lot of unfinished business on the table. That’s not like me. But what you going to do. Each day has only 24 hours. Prioritisation and time management comes in handy. The important and urgent stuff gets done first. And, come Friday, I was on top of things. Hammering out meetings and making progress, training new staff and having home runs. It can be done! Nothing is ever impossible.

We got a new starter at work. The same week the toilets didn’t work. He must have been well impressed. Plus me being rushed off my feet doesn’t help. Hopefully we have more starters soon. I guess we are getting somewhere. The industry seems to be at a pivotal point. We are at the points or take off with exciting product launches in the pipe.

And the weather! Sunny London. You beauty. A funfair in Hassocks, play in the park, football in the street. Those were the days and they are here again.

Change is in the air. I had a good chat with a friend I haven’t seen for 13 years and he gave me some really good guidance. I felt like connecting to my interests and roots. To my inner self. I plan to do more of that soon. With a lot of change looming I will have to put a lot of my theories into action. And I will. For a better life and more love. So here I am, committing to change.

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In the name of change: the most important thing this week was to get a stand up desk at work. It’s great to have a company looking after your health. A nice lunch with a client in the first summer sun and a chat with some old friends. Life could hardly get better but spending time with the boys at the weekend.

Running took a backseat after a 17.5K on Monday I had to recover. So I just did my essential maintenance runs and some body resistance exercise. This was after the half marathon distance last Friday. I am finally getting fit and healthy. I feel like life is coming together. As if the petals of a flower are interlocking and spinning and taking off. It is happening. Not sure this is the best analogy. And boy did I need that massage on Saturday. Full MOT please 🙂

And one day we look back at the small things in our life that are now the big things. The things that matter now and make us moan are so miniature tomorrow. Learning to live life and enjoy the moment and what you have. The ever changing moment that goes away so quickly.

Life is positive. Life is good.

And we will eventually finish the bathroom and shower room. And do the drive way. And will get on top of things. And then…we start all over again.

Let’s stay happy. Stay positive, be good.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (362)

This week saw the start of the Syrian war, the time when Britain decided to attack the terrorism in Syria. I am not very political but I remember, as a teenager, to listen to the 6 am news one morning, that the US announced to go into war with Iraq. It must be 20+ years ago. I am still not sure if the world is a safer or better place since. I cannot make those decisions and will just accept things as they are. However, as of discussion with a fellow father, what are we leaving for our kids to be sorted. Essentially we have been at war with terrorism for more than 20 years, right? It is a different war to the world wars. That’s for sure. But isn’t war war?

Another of my lowlights this week was an early morning start. Not because it was early but more because it was early out of the door. And surprisingly to me, when you catch a 6.13 am train from Haywards Heath it is ram packed. That’s a 5.53 am from Hassocks btw. Crazy. No way you can work or get anything done. So I started writing this blog post on my phone 🙁 I am getting too used to be able to get a good hour of work done on the commute each way.

What followed that day was awesome. A really well attended panel discussion, 8 am breakfast meeting, delivered by a few people on the convergence of social and TV. Digital and TV. And it is coming together. Finally. We are far from connecting the dots but we are getting there. I am excited for next year. As the industry evolves, so does the attribution, the connection of the silos and the cross device connection. And we are in the middle of it. Amazing.

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Then my wife called me a Tidsoptimist this week. What’s that? Oh someone thinking they have more time than they do. And because of that they are late for things. Time, as it seems to me, expands. But it doesn’t. It is the same for everyone. It all started when I worked for a company that made meetings with agencies. I arrived in time and realised that 9 out of 10 meetings started 10-15 minutes late. So I started being 10-15 minutes late, to make my work flow more efficient. In London you can always blame the tube.

Having said that, even when moving closer to my clients, I was still late, as there was always something to finish off taking only a minute. And none of my clients mind, as it seemed to be the norm. I have gotten better again now, as the meetings become more senior. After all, I am still trying to leave a positive impression 🙂 So nothing to be proud of, just I get a lot more done really.

On another note I published another article on productivity. Whilst writing my next book chapters I realise that being productive is actually not that difficult. I also realised there had been one advice I got in 1997 that is still true today: only plan 70% of your time. As soon as you step over that red line something will be left undone. This is because you are having to account for the unexpected. For the unknown. The incoming pitch, the email from your neighbour to help or the information about something you need to action on.

Days sometimes don’t feel busy but turn out to be quite manic. And also over the summer I had little time to breathe and think. Sounds mad but if you don’t have time to think, things will be missed. So give yourself time to think, to breathe, stare out of the window and come up with some cool ideas.

We also managed to get all out Christmas presents ordered. The tree is up and cards sent. We went to Winchester to see a friend and his family. Christmas is all about the children. I totally enjoy looking at last year’s Christmas pictures, and the ones before, to see the glow in the kids’ eyes when we put up the tree. The future, the love, the activities, anything we do, is about the children. And then there is Syria.

It is a bit of a damper for Christmas. However, we decided to give some money to a charity supporting a child that got cancer and the hospital he is in for which they collect money or unused toys to give to the kids for Christmas. Isn’t that nice. Nice to give. Nice to be able to make other kids’ Christmas as special as our own.

No, life for me isn’t about myself. My job is for myself, and my goals. But the greater things in life, they are about the children. And they are who really matter in life. Everything else is just not as important. No matter what it might be at the moment. If you are with your kids, the only thing that matters is them. If you are with clients and something happens to your family, everyone understands if you had to cancel a meeting. It is everybody’s first priority. It took me a few years to learn that too.

We had a blessed and great week overall. Despite some lowlights. We also had plenty of Christmas lights and sparkle!

We are truly grateful.

Love to you all,
Volker

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Sunday Column (237)

A lucky commuter week is behind me. I got a seat two days in a row and yet was away for two days this week. I sometimes think I am crazy to commute an hour into London, then another 30 minutes within London, to reach my place of work. I suppose it doesn’t bother me because I use the time on the train to read, catch up on videos and TV shows or write this blog. If I didn’t, I couldn’t do that daily commute. And this week I finished reading a book, caught up on TV and wrote the blog. Productivity!

What still beats me is that train companies charge a horrendous amount for my travel without giving me value for money. Using the only peak hour service from Hassocks to London Bridge this train is “standing only” unless you are lucky like I was this week. Crazy. I keep telling them and hope it changes eventually, yet the way it looks my company might have an office over in the West End of London, meaning I can use many of the Victoria line trains, before anything changes on the London Bridge services. Or maybe Farringdon….

So I continue to complain to both Southern Rail Services and First Capital Connect Trains, latter putting awfully old trains on for my journey home. The main challenge is that they won’t change and we, the commuters, don’t have any power to get them to change. We rely on the trains and don’t have a choice. We complain, won’t be heard, get frustrated, yet are helpless in the end.

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Germany also sprang to mind when I sat down to write this column. Firstly because trains are more modern, more on time (yet not in my experience) and somewhat empty when I use them. Yet, I have been standing on commuter trains before between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, and I have been thinking whether Germany’s infrastructure is really that much better? It probably is. I just don’t want to compare it any longer.

This week I went to the biggest European Online Marketing show, dmexco, in Cologne. A trip down memory lane as I visit this show, and it’s predecessor, for seven years now. A good trip to show my boss how different Europe is to the UK and what the European digital landscape looks like out there. He was impressed, we had amazing meetings and it was good to catch up with the industry that forms my home. A small industry. I love being part of it.

I feel ok about Germany too. My second trip within 10 days. I actually enjoy being in the fatherland. A trip to see friends, working on conferences, visiting exhibitions. Networking, meeting people and looking at how the country and it’s landscape has changed. I enjoy going back. I enjoy seeing my friends overcoming obstacles and doing well. I experience a different Germany compared to years ago.

I often get asked whether I could imagine returning home. The answer surprisingly would be ‘yes, if I have to’. The bureaucracy and ‘black and white’ thinking is a safety net I would enjoy in Germany, despite it would do my head in at the same time. The solid foundation of each business decision, the mulling over of decisions, the fear of lack of quality but no fear of failure, the aim to do really well….Germany is build on solid principles and measures. A productive society, a strong work force, a profound education system. However, I would be scared to come to political and social boundaries, limits to expand beyond my own means.

Re-reading the paragraph above I am not sure if it makes sense to everyone. You never know where life takes you. I spoke with an old friend of mine earlier this week suggesting one needs to ‘just go for it’. Unconventional. Taking the risk and trust that the universe, the karma, the greater unconscious, will be good to you. One needs to believe that things work out in the end.

I do.
I believe.

On that note, Colin managed to cycle without the stabilisers on his bike this week. Needless to say I am proud. Very proud. Seeing my boy grow up. Seeing him being proud of his achievements. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

Free falling. Jump off the cliff and trust in a soft landing.
Maybe with a parachute. Maybe not.

Have a lovely week.

Volker

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Sunday Column (189)

Where to start this week. The good things first. I was in Milan for work and it was fantastic. Seeing an industry crying out for RTB (real time bidding), asking for monetization for inventory and technology is fantastic. I had fantastic meetings with both Influential Italian industry leaders and international visitors to the the show. Watch out, Italy is coming!

On that note: I love Italians. My sister in law is Italian, but also their life style. The honking when traffic stops in its tracks, the old woman wanting something, the noise and buzz in the streets. This country and its people are about living. Life is important. Culture and family is important. A great attitude to life paired with a good Southern European attitude. La dolce vita.

When flying over to Milan I was astonished about something. There were plane spotters on the flight. We hadn’t even landed when they took their binoculars out to spot and note down planes. I have seen them at airports before, or the other species, train spotters, at London Bridge. For some reason I cannot understand their motivation. Whilst as a child of seven or eight I noted down car license plates, as an adult I hardly keep up with my day to day life, would love more time with the family or read more. I personally think chasing something you cannot collect physically is just a bit odd. Bird watching I can understand, seeing something alive and moving, understanding nature. But plane numbers, train numbers, not sure. Each to their own though.

As I get older I might take on more odd hobbies too, you never know. I saw those retired guys down in Hassocks with their steam engines, or the elder running the Jack & Jill windmills. For now I find it odd enough to wash and polish my car at weekends and being all middle class, middle age. Oh dear.

Just to keep you posted on a few things. Lufhansa, after engaging with me on twitter, decided to apologise and give me 150 Euros to spend in their world shop. Nice, and much appreciated. If that had happened sooner it would have been better, but hey, I am not complaining. I am still cross (middle age, right?) but happy they are making the effort to make me happy. Now I need to decide what to buy 😉 it wasn’t money I was after but the apology and that is what I appreciate most. Of course, I don’t mind a wee pressie 😉

To the bad things. I wrote about that last week and now it starts to haunt me. Cancer. A good industry friend from Italy was diagnosed with Leukaemia. He is recovering well but only a few months ago we enjoyed la dolce vita over diner and drinks. One of my best friend’s dad got diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, but it came back now and he is having a major operation next week. We can beat cancer if we notice it early enough. We can try to cure it but we NEED to prevent it. In a discussion this week I was reminded that there is enough medicine out there to cure most diseases like Malaria but they are unequally distributed. And pharmaceutical companies still want to make a profit. Is that right?

20121012-075358.jpg But I am not sure if I can judge that as black and white as it sounds but in the greater scale of things we need to make sure that we look after ourselves.

Hence I am doing the research I am doing into nutrition, what to eat and how to live healthy. To my, rather positive, surprise Britain is a country that ranks well in the table of cancer rates. Number 22. Germany is number 16, Italy 18, Spain and France in the early 30ies. I didn’t expect that. USA, NZ and Australia are worse. I need to research if there are specific cancer per country, like pancreas in the USA or skin cancer in Australia. But as a British nation we are doing well. Better than Germany to my surprise. Does that have to do with diet or attitude? I believe the latter plays a major part in illnesses in general. How you approach it, how you deal with it, and whether society talks about it. We Brits, as I might allow calling myself after 11 years, are eating a lot of wrong food (deep fried Mars bars as an example) but also drink a lot – but I believe we worry less, have a good time and frankly don’t give a shit about lots of things. It’s going to be ok.

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Of course that is not the case for everything but what I am trying to get at is that we are a lot healthier than we think we are. A few other notes. As of next week I will intrude a fast day a week. Mondays from now on I will not eat or very little. The idea is that if you eat consistently across the day, your cells grow and grow and grow. Whilst if you ideally fast for two days a week, your cells stop multiplying and use your body’s energy to survive. That keeps the body on track. For the interested reader google for articles on “intermittent fasting”. Of course you are supposed to loose weight too. I started putting on weight again as I still haven’t been able to go running again. First my back which after last week’s treatment seems almost worse again, put my exercise regime on hold for four weeks. Once I was back on it, the evil man flu strikes from which I am still suffering. I hope to be back on track soon. Fingers crossed. I actually need exercise, it balances me.

At the weekend we had good friends over for cheese fondue and the odd glass of wine and whisky. I love being a host. A kilogram of cheese between four of us, good wine and good times. Good chats. And another muddy but fantastic walk in the South Downs.

And quality time with my boys. They missed me this week when I was away. I try to ignore it but it isn’t easy.

Nothing like a good life, isn’t it?
La dolce vita.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (182)

Now this week passed very quickly. A trip for an important meeting in Germany on Monday, humid 30 degrees. Tuesday an away day with the UK team at go-ape that scared the living daylight out of me. For anyone not familiar, you climb up a tree, balance on things, jump off things and so on. A scary but great character and team building day. I am still sore today. Surely not the best thing for my back as towards the end of the week it was worse again 🙁 Wednesday I went to Bournemouth for client meetings and Thursday/Friday I spend in the office wrapping things up for our office move and before I am off for a week. The family was away so I decided to take a few days off to bond again, pick them up from the airport and be the nice family guy 🙂 more later.

20120825-174630.jpg The weather wears me down a bit. Seven hours sleep, still tired. A few beers, a glass of wine and then: police helicopters and eight (!) police cars chasing a copper theft in Hassocks. No good sleeping. After a first burglary in 33 years, a murder of some junky by another, a suicide and a bank raid attempt, I do start wondering where we moved to. I love it though. Nice neighbours, great outdoors, peace and quiet. Most of the time anyway.

I spend some time cleaning the fish tank this week, really getting into it. Definitely a good investment to get this aquarium, really enjoying it. I look back at the week and ask myself what I have achieved? I made a life better, improved a situation long term, sorted another major improvement, motivated a few folk, supported a few folk, and really moved things forward. Not bad. I learned a lot, and enjoyed myself.

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If I look at my life like that I realise how much I actually enjoy it on a daily basis. I have a good job, fantastic colleagues, good friends and an amazing family. Nothing else to wish for. A lottery win maybe. But overall it is great. I look forward catching up with my boys this week. Family time. And my wife of course. In the meantime I catch up on some more sleep before they are back.

So far on Saturday I managed some errands in town, got a deep tissue massage, slept a few hours in the afternoon, watched two movies, stayed in the bath until my skin got wrinkly, and cooked myself a great diner with good wine.

When have you done that last? I love my wife for that.

So good night 🙂
Volker

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Garden impressions

Below are a few pics. Colin busy in the garden our new 30 meter washing line, and our Eucalyptus bush in front of a lovely blue blossoming bush whose name I always forget.

Life is pretty good. Lovely weather in London.

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Sunday Column (4)

Now in my 4th week writing my Sunday column, I am thinking more and more back on what I have done each week.

I think this week was stress free but I am not sure. I got new insoles to cure my shin splints but when I went to the gym on Saturday, I still got the old pain. Hopefully it is just a period of getting used to the insoles and things will sort itself out. I would love to do a 10 K run and who knows, even a marathon. However, to do that I need no pain 🙁

Wednesday was a busy day. I met an old client from Germany. That was great. She is very interested in coaching and therefore we had lots to talk about. It was good speaking to her and figuring out what needs and wants people have – I haven’t had such an interesting, in depth conversation for a while. Very interesting.

The rest of the week went rather quickly. Honestly, not much happened. Work was busy, but I don’t really want to speak about work. Things are progressing. So it is good.

Yesterday I spent the whole day sorting out my veggies. Will post some pictures later this week. We had our first BBQ on our new BBQ which was delivered squint but I guess it will do the job.

wooden BBQ

Today my wife is painting the hall and stairs, so hopefully we finish the hall this week. However, we also got some laminate to put down in 2 weeks or so – that is for the landing. So overall, our DIY efforts taking shape.

Have a good week.

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