Posts Tagged grateful

Sunday Column (428)

Another week. More travel. It seems as if the weeks just blur into one and I spend two days a week in a different place. I don’t mind, being away for a night, taking the Easyjet ‘bus’ from Gatwick to Europe. A 430 wake up call followed by a quick exercise routine, a meditation session, a shower and a ride to the airport. Then an almost two hour delay due to air traffic control strikes in France – I was on my way to Madrid. Those delays are annoying. Having just endured almost 12 months of conductor strikes on Southern Rail, I have no sympathy with anyone striking whatsoever. I keep saying it over and over again, I am thankful for the opportunities given to me in my life and wouldn’t want to jeopardise them due to strike actions or anything stupid like that. So I have little understanding for someone who would go to their employer and say ‘if you don’t do this, then we strike’. There are enough people out there that would take jobs and make it happen. Something I am missing?

Yes, there is an argument that if we didn’t have the unions, companies would do whatever they wish. They wouldn’t I don’t think. Companies have a keen interest in making their employees happy. To work with them, to empower them, to make work a nice thing to do. Maybe I am wearing some pink glasses here or something, but companies who are ‘abusive’ to their employees will not succeed. I cannot see that happen. Maybe I am listening to too many American podcasts suggesting that we are all in it together. That we can determine our destiny and people around us want to help us. We must be under that anticipation that an employer doesn’t want you to fail and want to do the utmost to make you happy and successful. After all they are spending money on you and your career. Mine does, and I am grateful for it.

Working in different places is critical. I love seeing the local teams, connecting and understanding the local challenges. Each market is unique, each view is different. Listen to their needs. It widens my horizon and gives me a chance to review what we are doing in HQ and whether we can change things, adopt some local practises, to improve things overall and to help moving the company forward. I enjoy that and believe it adds a lot of value to the company. I have another two weeks of travel ahead of me. Speaking at a conference in Germany which is tricky and challenging as it is a new corporate deck with a translation into German. I will master it and actually I am excited about it. Just in case I fly out the night before 😉 Then Sweden. Then I shall have a couple of weeks in the office before a family break over Easter. No flying then. As much as it is nice to travel, it is not glamorous and it does tire you out. At least I keep up my exercise routine and healthy eating (most of the time). Yet this week I felt a bit drained. The weather is to blame I guess?!

Further to travel this week I read an article in the FT about citizenships and Brexit. You can read it in detail yet the main take away for me was that if you lived here for long enough – and that is uninterrupted – you can continue to live here post Brexit. Or it should be fairly easy to get a passport/citizenship. Or you leave. I am not judging whether that is fair or not, but what I am saying is that if you have lived here long enough there is nothing you should fear. So why did I get the citizenship? Because I wanted to ensure I can stay and be with my family, plus I feel more British these days than German anyway. I don’t have plans to leave this country other than with my family and then we all would be foreigners elsewhere, on the same passport. That’s really it. I wanted to do it years ago but didn’t want to spend the money on it. Now I could and did it. The necessity felt slightly bigger of course. Anyway, this should all be done by next week.

If you feel I write too much about work, then please let me know. I just realised I wrote all about Brexit, travel and work without writing about work or family. If that makes sense? I love management studies, and I love work. That’s what I do and I enjoy it. Even my taxi driver said that, if he won the lottery, he would continue working. So would I, there is no way I could sit on my bum long enough doing nothing. I’d go up the walls. So I used the flight delay to catch up on some work, prepare a presentation, write part of this blog and think about life. I also caught up on some sleep mid air and arrived refreshed. Kind of anyway 😃

The remainder of the week was nice. It is nice to see trains running on time most of the time. It makes a huge difference to both my mood and my state of happiness. Plus the Friday ‘pale ale express’ session with the neighbours. Then I took the wife out for a meal on Saturday. Nothing fancy, just a very nice Thai place, a good chat and some ‘us time’. There is never enough of that once you got children. We are getting better in carving date nights out of our schedule, more than we used to. Then again the kids are getting older. Life becomes easier from a logistical point of view. Attitude, tantrums and questions and demands are the same pain as before, just different. Growing up I suppose 😃 Yes, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

I hope all is well with you and yours.
From our little corner of the world, I wish you lots of love and happiness.
Have an amazing week ahead, and please share this blog if you like it.
Volker

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

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

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (425)

A funny, mixed week that was. Lots of things going on at work and at home. Discussions, ideas, strategies. My head was spinning most days, days turning into a big blur. After two full packed days in the office where we made a lot of progress, I went off to lovely Milan. In the meantime the team even made more progress. I have the feeling we are winning. I know it is early days, just about a month in, but it seems like we are ‘getting shit done‘. It feels good.

Ever since I helped getting Milan and Madrid off the ground for a company I worked for a few years ago, I love going to Milan (and Madrid). It’s the people, the city, the smell, the taste, the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the alps – and being able to visit my new company’s regional office there and spend some time with the guys, was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the trip, and I found it very useful and fruitful to bring things together, learning a lot too. The team is super advanced and I learned a lot.

The flight was fun. After a rough night with kids waking me up at 3 am and a 5 am pick up by my taxi, I slept through the whole flight. Yet when approaching the airport we pulled up again last minute. Another plane was given priority due to a person falling sick on that plane. Fair enough. So we turned up and around and landed on the second attempt. That was a first for me. Next week I am going to Germany, which in regards to culture will be at the other end of the spectrum to Italy I suppose. I really enjoy those travels again and being part of a bigger international team. Working in international companies is fun, and we have some very smart people in the company.

Anyway, let’s not talk about work every week 😃 I spend most of my time with work, so it is good to get some downtime now and then. Last weekend I got little. Last weekend I was very jet lagged. This weekend I had to go to the Apple Store because my MacBook Air gave up on me, I cannot start it any longer. Maybe I just give it back and trade it against an Apple TV? However it turns out that the repair is probably more costly than it is worth in value, as I don’t really need it anymore. So before I find out next week, I got the new Apple TV and the kids (and I) are happy. New games, new fun. There are not many Apple products left I adore and would like to have. Maybe the new MacBook, the slimmer and nicer one, yet having an Air from work suits me fine. If I have to upgrade my iPad mini, I would potentially get a iPad Pro. Never mind, not for a long time I hope.

The main challenge is to see my boys so little at the moment. Because of travel, late trains home from work, them getting up later etc. And yet, when I do see them they seem to change so quickly. It is difficult to keep up with their development, their latest ideas on toys, their wish list for Christmas (already!), the things they enjoy doing. Although they spend most of their pocket money on toys this weekend, leading into half term. However, every night when I do see them, it is a new miracle of thoughts that are coming out of their head which I enjoy exploring and questioning. One responds nicely, the other one doesn’t like it. They are like chalk and cheese, so different, so differently motivated, it is a joy to see, however painful it can be too.

Balancing their needs and mine. Wondering if I am a good dad, do I do a good job? It is a job or is it fun? What is the desired outcome for the boys? You cannot treat it like a work project. I listened to a lot of podcasts travelling, and one of them was about a chess player. He got involved in chess heavily at the age of 6. Should I push my boys more into that? Anyway, just when you think things are going well, I ended up listening to a podcast of a woman who lost two husbands and had two kids, one from each. At least I think that’s what it was, as I lost track a bit dozing off. But it is a sad podcast about a family with lots of challenges.

Those are the moments I thank the greater universe for the health we have. I remind myself to eat healthier and drink less. To look after myself and the family more. To be a better dad. A better husband. To have more time for things. I am sitting next to someone on the plane who seems to write an academic article. Should I have written a phd after all? Should I have gone into academia? I sometimes wonder but I am very happy with what I do and the progress I am making in my career. So life is good and most people I know are healthy. I am blessed, truly thankful for what I have and hopeful that it stays that way.

It has been a good week. I am content and life feels right. I sorted my citizenship ceremony and look forward to become a full blown Brit. Did I mention there is another 88 GBP fee to attend the ceremony? It really seems as if getting the citizenship is also a money making machine. Never mind, I am almost there.

Have a great week, make sure to give your loved ones a big hug.
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (403)

What a week! It ended with a walk today where I took this picture:

hassocks-woods

Never know where your path is leading to. Yet you have to trust your intuition and faith. Take massive actions towards your goals. Be you. Succeed. You will be ok.

However, the week started with an amazing Adtech event. ATS, Exchangewire own Ad Trading Summit, which I have been attending since the summer of 2010. Ciaran put on an amazing line of speakers, insights and discussions around the real time bidding, programmatic advertising technology market. Well done! This was amazing. An industry get together. A catch up with publishers, suppliers, vendors, media owners and tech heads; geeks and friends. This year felt special, as I find that the industry is growing up, and maybe because there were a few acquisitions announced or talked about, a big tech IPO due soon, and all of those rumours bring the excitement back. dmexco is the largest global online and digital market show. It’s predecessor used to be a competitor show to one I launched and the founders of dmexco once offered me to join them for a sales role. Maybe I should have….hindsight. Anyway, 10 years on my friends have done very well and it is the second time this year, in the aforementioned 10 years, that I haven’t been to Duesseldorf (OMD) or Cologne (dmexco). That’s ok though.

My focus has changed. Not only do I feel more UK focused, I also feel more inward focused, both from a job and a personal perspective. I feel like my new job and challenge is what I was seeking. It is something that uses a different part of my brain, makes me use my intellect and people skills, yet has less pressure on sole revenue figures. Less travel. More home time. Less email strain. More fun. It is a change, and I openly say it, but it feels right and a change for the better. And I am not only saying that. I am convinced this is the step in the right direction. Thanks for the opportunity!

kansas

When you, like me, see an industry growing up. Changing. It feels great. When you are told that you put companies on the market and my name is in line with ‘TV Sync’, it is nice to hear. I achieved something. I made people rich, as someone said, but I also made myself rich. Not in terms of cash but in terms of experience, in respect to contacts and reputation. I am thankful for that. And whilst this sounds like a bit of a funeral speech, I am looking back at my career and feel like I have finally arrived. It has been a good journey, and it will continue to be amazing: that I am sure about. I feel a lot more balanced and content. Isn’t that a good thing? And I haven’t really started yet, have I? My careers is only started, the most important part has just begun.

The remainder of the week flew past. Meetings. Training. Pitches. Management. Kids up late. TV watching the100. New trainers. And on Friday: the Apple Watch. Wow wow wow. Steve. You would have seen a predecessor of that beast. I feel like 2011. When I researched tablets and realised the only device that does what I want and all others are modelled on is the iPad. When I searched for fitness devices 18 months ago I could find the one that was right for me. Garmin was the closest but it wasn’t wearable tech. Now with the Apple Watch I have the fitness tracker and wearable tech in one. I was waiting for it. What a treat. Given I only used it for a weekend, I am impressed by the technology. I mainly used it as a fitness device and still figure out which other added value it has, besides being a gadget and makes me use my phone less often for things like checking the weather, emails, timers, stock market and so on.

the100

And the kids? The kids settling in well in school and enjoy the time with the child minder. The wife started her journey back into work. Life is changing once again. It is a good change, feels like we are growing up. As a family. We went to London this weekend too. We can do things. We can experience things together. The boys understand it. They gain from the experience. It is a joy. We went to London Borough market, a bit crowded and more touristy than we remember it from 10 years ago. Then the underground and DLR to the Emirates cable car. Did you see my live video on Facebook? I was a bit scared to be honest but enjoyed the day out with the kids. When they wanted to buy books, yes physical books, I couldn’t deny them the educational piece, could I. Back home via Victoria with a bus. Yes, we love living close to London. Next time we are eying up the London Eye and maybe a river boat journey. We shall see.

And during my meditation and walks, I every so often get reminded to not take things for granted. To treat each moment as being precious. To be sure I cherish the love of my family. To be thankful for what we have. What we can give and the difference we can make. The responsibility we have for our life and the life of others.

I meditate on it often. I am feeling blessed and truly grateful.

Best wishes,
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (318)

We are back from holidays and since Wednesday I am back at work. Whilst it is great to be away, it was nice to come back home. A record driving time thanks to an early start resulted in a chilled out afternoon prior to going back to work. It feels like spring is finally on its way. My hands are still sore from the cold, and yes, I did put the fire on again this week.

Grateful. I think that word came up a few times in discussions this week. Grateful for a job, a good health and the ability to raise the kids, have kids, have a healthy family and a gorgeous dog. To have had a great and safe journey, no problems with the car, or traffic or forbid an accident. I stopped taking things for granted. Ever since the, at the end positive, diagnosis and uncertainty earlier this year, it seems as if we shouldn’t. I am almost a bit more spiritual as a result of it.

Interesting enough I listened to Tim Ferris’ podcast this week where he interviewed Glenn Beck. I wouldn’t have heard of him, but in a nutshell Glenn was an alcoholic and his life was in a mess by the time he was 30! He turned it around and became a well known TV figure in the US, a celebrity and made millions. What a great story.

gratefulness

I am writing my own story. So are you. Every day of your life! Every day you should evaluate whether or not you are doing the things that are taking you forward, achieving your goals. What have you done to get where you have got? Are you being successful? Then don’t stop doing that and take it to the next level, improve on it rather than slowing down as you reached a certain level. Don’t take things for granted.

For the ability to serve, we are truly grateful – Rotary. For the opportunity to be grateful, I thank my wife and my family. Life seems content at the moment yet as you know me, I am not content, ever…really 😉 But that’s a different story.

For me personally, I am getting a lot clearer on what I want to achieve in life. This includes a healthy lifestyle, a great future for the family and myself. Define ‘great’: positive, loving, caring, grateful, helpful….we define it together, as a team. The Ballueder team, as I like to call it.

What I learned this week? That our dog is still pretty much a puppy and that rushing her into becoming a well trained dog won’t work. I also learned that spending more quality time with my kids is super important and I got so much more back. It is very nice to spend so much time with the family. It was so nice to be able to spend more time with them during the day being off work. I get to know them so much better than just seeing them at the weekend and partly during the week. I am blessed and grateful.

I also realised that travelling with kids and dogs for long distance in the car is less painful than anticipated. That the Euro to pound (GBP) ratio is awesome for stocking up on wine and salami. I “calibrated” that my attitude towards life is right and in line with what people would expect. I learned that there is a lot more I want to and I will accomplish in life – starting today!

With those thoughts, I want to leave you for the week. Easter and the four day weeks are over. Let’s get cracking!

Have a great one,
Volker

PS: I still haven’t checked Facebook for the past 10 days. So apologies for anything I didn’t miss. Facebook however starts sending me messages, one a day, making sure I don’t forget about the 1000 of messages, updates etc. I ‘missed’. Times of change.

, , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (315)

How has your week been?
How often did you hug your kids this week and tell them that you love them?
How often did you have the fire on, sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere in your living room – your home?

I did that a lot this week.
I also invested in a few new apps, optimising the set up of my MacBook Air. I am, after getting an external screen, now fully equipped to own a productivity machine at home rather than a ‘laptop’. New 2do app and SimpleMind mind-mapping will increase my productivity, making me less dependent on my iPad and having all tools in one place. I am pleased. My new post on productivity over at Linkedin is doing well. I got a lot done this week!

Also, this week started with great news. If the official confirmation will happen tomorrow, I was tested for some potential “illness” which of course I didn’t believe I had. Yet it had been a roller coaster ride, thinking “what if” and “what would happen to the family”. It makes you think, and gladly it came out this way. Maybe it was too premature to assume anything, but one has to check things out. I don’t think it was ever that dramatic, or I was ever really considering the option that anything bad would happen, but it was on my mind. It eats into your thoughts and it does affect your everyday thoughts. Yet it is over now, it is, and tomorrow I should get the official “all clear”. I am grateful.

And given all those videos on Facebook and elsewhere, showing how people don’t help other people that need help made me think too. I finished Anthony Robbins’ latest book on finance and investing and he finishes it off in terms of: ‘make a difference and help others if you can’. He started to pay for other people’s Thanksgiving dinners. Now he is paying for and helping millions of people get fed. Take a massive action to make this world a more positive place. Today. NOW!

Take massive action

What did I learn, thinking about the scenarios? I learned how to prioritise family. How to be with the family more. More intensive and giving them more attention. Putting my phone and distractions aside. How to cherish the moment, and how to enjoy life. Yet did I really? Yes, it made me think a whole lot and I am improving. I make sure I am. You know when you think of this lottery win, what you would buy and what you could do with the money? One is going on a similar “mind ride” yet less positive. And the lottery win as anything else might never happen, but you never know either.

I don’t think I am a better human because of it, and I don’t want to overdramatise things at all. Yet I like to think that the possibility of not being there in the future, so soon, gave me food for thought.

The rest of the week was less eventful. To be honest, I could do with a week that wasn’t. The first week for months without travel, without back to back meetings and a more relaxed atmosphere at work. It is nice to be able to take it easy-ish for a week 😉 More travel again next week.

My knee after some running two weeks ago is still sore. I had enough todo at work, attended lots of client meetings, a conference and followed up on a lot of stuff. Yet it was nice to not have to work 24/7 for a week and managing to see the family a lot.

At the weekend we had a spontaneous visit from the family: my cousin and husband were here. We also went for a forest educational walk organised by the friends of my oldest’ school. It is nice to be involved in the community and feel at home in the village. A new car tyre, a chat with the local Scots and pulled pork and wine was just what I needed. Not being able to run makes you sluggish but I hope to be back up and running (literally) very soon.

Next week is already the last week of March. This quarter, as aforementioned, really flew by. It is good, I love what I am doing and there are lots of prospects moving forward. 2015 is going to be amazing.

Take massive actions NOW. Don’t waste time thinking about doing good. Just do it. We are here to make a dent in the universe, start somewhere today.

Have a great week,
Volker

, , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (302) – Year review

Merry Christmas, or as close as a blog post can come to it. With Christmas now being a few days away, and me finishing off work on Tuesday, it is time for my yearly review. Having said that, this year was full of so many great memories, experiences and excitement, I just want to summarise a few thoughts in this post. Maybe I do another one or look back at a few events soon. All I can say is that this year passed quickly, in a good sense, and that I developed a lot as a father and person.

Let’s start with the most important thing: health. I have been constant with my weight, lost a lot of it and feel really fit. Two sick days and a healthy period throughout the winter so far (fingers crossed) make a huge difference to last year when I was ill months at a time. I am happier, healthier and fitter. And, I am grateful for this. Next year should see an improvement even to step up the game. This will include running with the dog I hope and maybe some different sports I could add to the mix. My recent visit to the physiotherapist gives me hope that I will be pain free on my 10K adventures. You never know, they might turn into 15 or 20K….

The next biggest thing in my life: family. One could argue family goes over health but what is the family worth without health? We were married 7 years this year, knew each other for 10. We got two healthy amazing boys and a lovely cat and now a dog. We are truly blessed with what we have and we both know and appreciate it. Without them, their love, trust and commitment I couldn’t do the job I enjoy and live the life we do. They give me both strength and purpose in life. I love you all!

The house got an overhaul and thanks to family support we got a lot of things done. One is never finished with a house but the next things are more cosmetic, so no rush 🙂 Having said that, the outbuilding (shed), new carpets and driveway are all planned in my head at least.

My job is going well. 2015 might bring some changes and I hopefully find more time for personal projects on top. Overall I am in an exciting space of the industry where opportunities and challenges are close together. An amazing and exciting place to be. I am very happy with that.

On that note, tidWOWs gives me a focus outside work to pursue and build a reputation as a coach, productivity expert and personal development trainer. I will continue to write my articles and research topics for that blog. I enjoy it and it is a hobby which of course is very much work related.

xmas

One of my new year resolutions is to find more mentors, people that can push me to achieve more: A-Players. I still have a long working life ahead and realised when visiting my fraternity in Germany, that within the fraternities there are different attitudes to achievement and success. Most of the people there are achievers, great students and fantastic managers. Pushing the boundaries and succeeding. I look forward incorporating some of that work into my productivity studies, modelling other’s success.

There are things we didn’t do enough this year and there are things we want to do more next year. That is to spend more time together as a family, visit more friends and maybe going to visit Germany. Yet we are thankful and grateful for what we have and have achieved. We have been able to donate a few pennies to charity which fulfilled us with joy. We could help other people to achieve things in their life. I am looking back at 2014 thinking we have done well, we have been good people yet also think we could do so much more. The highlight most probably was our campervan trip. Proper family time, independence and sunny weather.

2015 is about refining for me on one hand – that will be around family and work life balance and managing my private interests. Yet on the work level it is about acceleration and reaching the pivotal point that should catapult me up and beyond from where I am now. Prospects are exciting and we haven’t even started 2015 yet. Things looking great.

I might have a short post next week, however please enjoy the festive season. Look back at the year and be grateful for what you have and thankful for what you have achieved. When feeling blessed and acknowledging what you have, what is happening in the NOW, one can move things forward, moving on.

Enough from me.

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

Love with you all.
Volker & Family

, , , , ,

No Comments