Posts Tagged happiness

Sunday Column (426)

Monday morning flights kind of suck. Although I should be used to them by now. The good thing? You catch up on your emails you got over the weekend, no replies until you are mid air, and a relaxing flight. Luckily I didn’t have to get up earlier than normal (5 am), so I was right awake and ready to conquer the week. Yet, having had little on the todo list, I enjoyed a relaxed flight listening to podcasts, dozing and enjoying a whole seat row to myself. And the hotel had a sauna. I know British people still think it might be odd to go to a sauna naked, and funny enough so do I now a bit, but it was super relaxing. A steam bath too. I enjoy a bit of spa life in the evenings, trying to not booze up and have fat German meat for dinner. I had it for lunch instead and rather enjoyed it 😉 Fatherland.

Now I still have this Easyjet Pluscard. Yes I jump queues and have fast track through the airport which is handy, and the seats are free to book, however looking at the boarding procedure, Easyjet just let’s people on the plane regardless of speedy boarding or not. I wouldn’t mind but some flights have problems with luggage on board, and children/families aren’t allowed to jump the queue either. I tweeted them a couple time before but so far I haven’t had a satisfactory answer. Children and elderly should board first. Then the ones that pay. Then the rest. This is not about being right but about caring from Easyjet. Everyone who has travelled with little ones knows what hassle it can be. Rant over 😉

Darren Daily, my daily motivational video I listen to at 5 am, reminded me to be happy in the now. I was very happy in the now on Sunday last week. We went to a nice National Trust place and the kids played, ran around, climbed trees etc. I was happy. They were happy. The wife was happy. Happiness is here and now, not when you earn another million pounds, own another car or finish the driveway. We often forget, and I find myself thinking and writing about it a lot, how good we have it and how much we enjoy life. Yes, there is always more to learn, always more to do. Sometimes we just need to stop and enjoy. I feel like I am at the point of doing that. Just as a plane accelerates, breaks through the clouds and almost seems to sail and glide on top of the clouds. To just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. To not push the envelope on things all the time, and just enjoy a bit of what there is. Stop to smell the roses.

My laptop of three years was officially announced dead this week. As I don’t need it anymore, a £400 repair to sell it at £350 or below doesn’t make sense. It seems a waste but my iPad mini set up with keyboard works just like a laptop. To be fair, I think I could easily work off a iPad Pro moving forward instead of getting a laptop again. We shall see. For the time being I have a MacBook Air from work and my iPad Mini for most private things; I shall try to sell my MacBook Air on eBay, or keep it and repair it when I need a laptop again. With most files and pictures now being in the cloud, the question really is for what you need a laptop for anyway. There is talk about having a computer screen at work, in a hotel or at home which just connects to your phone and this will give you access to all your files you need. Fully secure and fully functional. So all peripherals are sitting at one’s disposal and access to cloud based files happens via your ‘dock-phone’. I like that idea. It makes sense.

If you think back, at least for me, when I grew up it was all about owning a CD or vinyl. About having an amazing music system in the living room and owning a fast car. Nowadays it is all about sharing. Buying a part of the ownership, to lease cars, music and streaming movies. Less ownership, less hassle, less responsibility. It is much easier to have access to files these days. Remember libraries? I can’t help the feeling and enjoy the atmosphere of a library. Books, dust and more books. The comics I used to borrow and read. Then cycled back to the library and got new ones. Sometimes more than twice a week. Those were the days. Or at university, sitting in the library doing research, using one of the few computers available, slow, to look up magazine titles. All this can now be done from the comfort of your home. How nice and easy.

Overall I had a great week. The boys were on half term and came and visit me in the office. We had fun! The weekend was good too. My wife ran another race and we went for her early birthday meal. Nice. Life is great.

Be happy and enjoy life.
Love and Happiness from little corner of the world.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (424)

What an amazing week I had. I spend my week with some amazing people seeing some amazing things. As I started writing this on my flight to San Diego on Monday, I am not sure why I use a cable for my wireless, bluetooth headphones. I had to connect my keyboard to my iPad via wireless bluetooth connection. Is that dangerous? I guess by time of reading this, you will know. I am, in all honesty, not the biggest fan of flying. I have done it a lot in the past, but not the long haul flights with 8 hours time difference. Yet it seems so easy and with enough planning you keep yourself busy. Having proper thinking time, going through endless podcasts and audiobooks and preparing presentations is not a bad thing. Not being connected and constantly interrupted. And the odd glass of champagne – I got an upgrade 😉 That also means I got some sleep both ways and the flights overall were very bearable.

All those “posh” things don’t matter too much to me tbh. I enjoy them, don’t get me wrong, but I am far too much down to earth. Hence I happily admit a tear jerker of a movie called Brooklyn which I watched last weekend. It was about an Irish lady that leaves home for America to fall in love. A simple story, yet ever so timely with Trump trying to ban immigrants. The quote at the end reads: And one day the sun will come out – you might not even notice straight away, it’ll be that faint. And then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize… that this is where your life is.

It made me think. I arrived in the UK in 2001. As my teacher always said, when I came back from an exchange year in the USA in 1994, he didn’t think I would stay in Germany. Something had changed. I always wanted to go back stateside to live. Yet life hasn’t worked out like that, and I am far from complaining about the life I have. I am very happy. The wife is happy. The kids are and don’t want to live anywhere else either. That is nice. Yet, I sometimes wonder what if things had gone differently. But then we always will. And we make people in the country we move to ours, and whilst it feels like my wife has been part of my entire life, she has no connection to my past prior to me meeting her. That is odd but yet a lifetime since we met. The film definitely hit a spot.

In relations to that I got a letter whilst I was away: I become a British citizen! All application approved and I can pledge my allegiance to the Queen in the next couple of months to then get a British passport. So technically I am already a Brit I suppose. And a German. However, I keep both my German passport and my accent. It is good to know that I am not different to my family any more and I am part of what I have been living for the past 16 years. A new chapter I suppose, but I know where my life is. It is kind of an odd feeling. On the one hand it is a tick box in regards to Brexit and my life here, rather unimportant. On the other hand, you are giving up some of your identity (without loosing your German passport or nationality) and adopt more closeness to a country you chose to spend your life in. A bit of a step to become closer to things in this country. I cannot use my excuse of being a foreigner any longer either.

In other thoughts…when I was at the airport, going out, my youngest had a small accident. He hit his head, broken his glasses and my wife took him home. Nothing to worry about. You cannot be there all the time. But it is a shame that you cannot be there yet of course it is good that someone can. One thinks of what could happen on a long journey. Maybe I shouldn’t but I did. What if… The wife and I discussed it, and yet, we aren’t worried. We are both people that get on with life, we succeed in life. And if anything might happen, this would just be the end of the world for one. The other one moves on, gets on with life. But let’s not even think about it.

I enjoyed the companies of my colleagues on the trip. I am not only saying that but I do feel home. Friends in the industry, good guys, friendly, helpful and they are looking after me. I am still the new guy, ain’t I? It feels longer than 3 weeks. It’s good. It’s fun and I genuinely enjoy the new company. It is nice to feel welcomed and at home, thinking I can add value. The camaraderie, them making me sing my first karaoke in my life and us enjoying ourselves sitting in the sun in San Diego after a few exhausting conference days. I even got a sunburn. We went to the gym most mornings being jet lagged, had some good wine but never really stepped over the line. We met the CEO who is great and down to earth. I met with lots of colleagues from the US. It was amazing and I cannot wait to go back and learn more. Some of the stuff I saw in terms of technology is mind boggling. I am very excited to be part of the company’s journey!

Then it was my son’s 6th birthday party, and my dad’s birthday too. I arrived just in time for the cake. Jet lagged, tired, exhausted, sun burned and knackered. But nothing of that mattered the moment I got the longest hug in the world. The biggest kiss, him telling me all about what he has been up to since I left. And the other one too! We cheated a bit and didn’t get him any toys from the US as it would have been too much hassle to organise last minute with the delivery and all. So instead we ordered some PJs pretending they were from the US. Never mind, when you read this when you are older you will probably kick a fuss yet understand it. And I didn’t really say they came from the US anyway. So you will understand or might not even remember. You didn’t mind and were the happiest boys in the world. Boy did I miss my family this week!

It was a tiresome week. A kick off to a few weeks travelling. A kick off to my new job. A kick off to enjoying world traveller status. A well spent week. Thank you, yet it is good to be home.

Have a fantastic week everyone, love to you all,
Volker

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Sunday Column (418)

Happy New Year. Hope this year turns out to be what you are wishing for. I have been waiting for this year to happen since I was a small boy. Yes, I am turning 40 this year, and it was always going to be a mile stone for me. Oh dear, you cannot stop time, and why would you want to? It has been a great journey so far, and I just continue to enjoy the ride whilst it lasts. I believe it was Tim Ferris who put a thought in my mind the other day: if you live to 90, that means you have about 2,600 (52*50) weekends left – or he used other examples of less occurring events. Time doesn’t stop and we all have the same hours in the day. Make the most of it. Work, live, be happy and make others happy. And that’s the key for 2017 for me I suppose.

Darren Hardy is talking about looking back, to take stock and move forward into the new year. I do. I naturally do and enjoy looking back. For me, from a professional point of view, 2016 was a great experience and learning. I finished a job this summer after 2.5 years. It was a successful one, 3 company names, one acquisition and a lot of evangelisation. I enjoyed that, deeper discussions around data and more channel sales, an interesting product. Then my first consulting project. Privately, I enjoyed it too. The boys are growing up, some great family holidays, lots of improvement in the house and I sometimes even sit there and go ‘what next‘. What will 2017 bring.

I have dreams and hopes. I have plans. I want to achieve more. I am far from done with my life or ambitions. Coming of age, I am entering the most existing times of my career, the second 10ish years. Time to put the pedal down and change the world. A job and idea at a time. I am excited about my career, yet it needs to fit in with my life, e.g. the kids’ and wife’s ambition. We work it out. We always have done, we always will. You must trust in the future, in life moving forward and the great universe to assemble to make it work for you. And things in life come at the right time, they come to you for a reason, and things happen for a reason. I am a strong believer of that and have a lot of faith. Many moons from now we will be looking back at life and paths we took, just to realise what we learned. That is taking stock. I do that yearly. And I examine a lot, and question and accept a lot.

We must choose and win. We cannot stop and smell the roses all the time, yet never forget to do it regularly. No one said life is easy. It certainly isn’t. But it isn’t that difficult either if you are organised and willing to give. Coming of age I notice the changes I have been through and changes of which I know others went through too. Life is similar for most of us, some are open about it, some are not. And whilst you keep meeting the same characters, you also find new mentors, new guidance and gain new input and understanding. Life is funny like that. But I am a big believer of embracing it. I am keen on challenging myself in 2017, publish my next book on productivity, and also start writing on my next book idea. I cannot stop thinking and improving and working. I love what I do.

So as this year is coming to an end, I came to a hold a bit. The last week I was standing still. All my energy was put towards the family, some reading and meeting friends. Wow. No emails, no work, no powerpoint, no strategy discussions. Just going with the flow. Looking back and realising how lucky we are. How others haven’t been that lucky. Some who lost their fight with cancer, some who won their fight. Life and death are so close together and, besides the celebrity deaths across the UK and Germany, there were some personal losses too. I used my downtime to refocus a bit and decide on what 2017 and beyond should look like. Let’s hope for it to be good and long lasting dreams.

Come Tuesday life is back. I got meetings lined up, things to explore, and hopefully decisions to make.

For you and yours, all the best for 2017. May your dreams and wishes come through.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (412)

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The week started off nicely after a relaxing weekend. Desperately needed. Finally, after 4 years in our house, the work started to get our driveway done. Those who know me know what that means. On the one hand it means that we got all renovation done in the house, yet started over again thanks to the wifey, but it also and foremost means that we soon can park more than one car off street. It will be practical and a feature to the house. Parking is awful in our cul-de-sac thanks to commuters and people going on holidays from Gatwick, parking their car for weeks at a time. We are now independent and Daddy can consider his mid life crisis dream. We shall see. It feels like a long journey in this place comes to an end. We made it ours.

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Whilst we enduring the mild weather, we still get a bit of mud into the house. All be done by next Friday they say. Everything is going to be done some time, isn’t it. No, I am not having thoughts about dying yet, still far too early and too many dreams to finish, but we had a big presentation this week. I knew it would be done by 11.30 on Thursday. I knew that a few weeks ago. The same as I know that some other meetings, next Tuesday, next Friday etc. are coming and going. And they will be over and I will survive them. Some I have prepared better than others and some I have to shine and sell, others I just ‘attend’. My point I am trying to make, and this isn’t different to any other job I ever had, is that time doesn’t stand still. We have all the same time, 24 hours in a day to be precise, and we sometimes start with the end in mind, the task for a presentation. And as we go along the journey unfolds, and eventually we will get there. You don’t let yourself fail, do you? And if you fail, that’s good, as you learn from it. So not that failure is bad but you wouldn’t want to fail on purpose. At a presentation on Friday someone quoted Edison, not that he tried to invent the lightbulb by failing but by trying 1000 different ways. Language is beatiful, isn’t it?

Life is intense at the moment. This is due to work being busy and I am still finding my feet. But I am settling in very well, really enjoying the challenge. I finally find a bit more of a routine and seem to get things done. That’s what I like. And I enjoy being busy. This week I also managed to catch up with some friends, long overdue, which I haven’t seen for a while. That was very nice. I also managed to to do my back in. Despite having pain last week and a massage last weekend, I must have pulled a muscle in my back. Spasm whilst running and difficulties getting out of bed. Ibuprofen and a bit of rest should do the trick, but one feels unable. I find I almost got addicted to running and exercising, so not knowing what to do with myself at 5 am is difficult 😉 I pass the time, don’t get me wrong, I am actually reviewing the next productivity book at the moment, so a bit of extra time helps. Not being able to follow your passion and get that energy out of your system is difficult though. I’ll make up for it. In most areas life seems to fall into place. Exciting.

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Home. That’s the place I am far away from London and work. It is not so much that I am bothered by either, but about having a physical distance to the place I spend my week at. Looking out of the living room window and seeing a lot of green, a lot of trees and being able to walk into woods or fields within 5 minutes of leaving the house is priceless. Nice clouds, lovely sunrises and sunsets. A short drive and we are at the beach. The fire in the wood stove that goes on when we are cold and the gym in the garage for my every day routine. The place I feel safe and happy, confident and relaxed. And so does my family too. Peace. Looking at recent house prices it also seems as if we gained a bit on the house over the years, which of course doesn’t really matter. We are here to stay.

Yet, with the nights getting longer, and it getting darker and colder outside, it is nice to sit down, relax and reflect. Where has my journey taking me? Where have I been coming from? What have I learned? I am content. Happy.

From my little corner of this world, I wish you a nice autumn and relaxing weekends. Not long before Christmas now.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (387)

The old bank holiday weekend. In Britain that means an increase appetite for BBQs, that is weather permitting. As so often, unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking that good, maybe dry but not too hot. Summer hasn’t really arrived yet, there is hope so.  And yes we managed a lovely park run on Sunday and a BBQ. Hurray!

Let me update you on a few things. I didn’t go on my trip to the states this week. There were business reasons which made sense to postpone that trip. That left me with a rather unplanned week, which I could use to get on top of forecasts, planning, pipeline, Salesforce, and preparations for a conference I am speaking at next week. On Wednesday I shall go to Berlin for a few days to speak at the Ad Trader Conference. I remember its origin in the summer of 2010 in London. A pub, funny enough now opposite the biggest ATD in town, a dark room, and a few entrepreneurs that wanted to do this thing called ‘real time bidding’. That was then, now this conference attracts a few hundred people each year, and RTB became programmatic. Amazing.


On the private side of things are updates too. Firstly I caught up with a friend of nearly 25 years on Monday. Man it was good to speak. To take the time and compare notes and realise this person has the same challenges I have, the same issues, fears and challenges, dreams and opportunities. Yet we live far apart. The beauty is we are so familiar to each other that it doesn’t matter. Latest next year we should be able to catch up in person again! So whatever you think, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, no matter what it looks like.

The bathroom is finished. 6 or so weeks! The finish is not as envisaged but we glad it is all working. Kind of anyway. We found out why the tap/sink is leaking and this was fixed this week. Temporary I should add. Manufacturers problem. The bath still needs to be examined as it moves and shouldn’t. We are kind of confident it was fixed correctly (how can you not fix a bath correctly), so maybe another manufacturer’s fault. Given the money we spend on it….but never mind. If we have to replace the bath tub, then this is what we have to do. No choice. And we will get through that too. It all works out in the end.

Two trees made their way into our back garden. This is to block out neighbours’ views. A new bush to cover a dry area and break up the looks a bit and then we started on the evening patio in the garden plus the extension of our current patio. Things are happening. We are doing all that in favour of the drive way which we pushed back to the end of the year. No rush. The car should arrive in August, so all will happen in the end. Time will pass. It all works out in the end. My mantra in all ways of life at the moment.


Friday saw a nice get together of the local dads. You begin to feel a bit old. Conversations are middle aged man like. Lol. Vasectomy, kids, wife, family life, local shops, DIY etc… As a matter of fact I am feeling a bit old. Tired, headaches from the change of weather, a sore throat, and exhausted after a 14K run. And I was planning to do another half marathon distance this weekend. Maybe not. Time to sit down, relax, meet the MIL and spend time with the kids. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.
You might have seen it on Facebook. I am reflective. There are a lot of those loose ends I was writing about last week. Things you are not happy with. Things that are not as you would do them. Things that you disagree with. Things that make you worry and not sleep at night. Most people would call it stress. A call on Friday added to it. What will the future bring. No matter what we are going to be ok.

I got a nice compliment last week from someone saying that she liked the quote ‘that one should trust in the future, and things will work out’. And they must. Maybe things are different to what you expect them to be. Maybe it needs some more learning for some people to address and understand the issues you have. Maybe you have to change your perspective. Maybe you are the one causing the issues? One must examine all angles, sit down, map them out, brainstorm and come up with a solution. Not all solutions are taken off our hands, there are still a lot we can influence and do. And this works for any situation. Being able to objectively reflect on your life is key. To sit down, meditate, reflect. And one day you look back and all your issues have gone. And you are annoyed at the energy you put in worrying – but that’s life. 

Should we have got a different bathroom? Should we have prioritised the driveway? Would it have made a difference? Probably not in the greater scale of things. 

Trust in the future. Visualise you sitting there at Christmas. Glass of bubbly. All worries gone, nothing there to stress about, a new year and new start ahead. Things will work out. They always do. Even if you cannot see it today. And whilst this is easy to say, there is nothing we can do about it either. Talk to friends about it, map out a plan and have a massive trust in things working out. Put your energy towards your confidence and trust. Visualise the positive outcomes. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

Watch Tony Robbins for some extra motivation.

With those (wise) words I leave you to it. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Maybe we get the weather for another BBQ after all, wouldn’t that be nice? Kids playing in the garden, the smell of freshly cut grass, the meat being cooked on the open fire. It takes me back years. The Shiraz at hand, a football to close to the fire and a laugh with Nanny. 

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (383)

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend! I even had Friday off and enjoying a mini holiday. The weather has been ok, sunny yet cold. We went for a nice walk, made bow and arrows and had the fire on. I know….we are having a relaxing weekend really. Good food, too much food, nice wine but also plenty of exercise. I was desperate to run the length of a half marathon and so I did. I really enjoy the challenge of long distance running, so you never know what I might run next…

This week is somewhat decision time upon us. There are many lose ends I feel and trying to tie them all up needs decision making. One of them is the car. We spend last weekend and part of this weekend to go through features, benefits, pricing, ideas, necessities around a new car. The finance offers for a new Skoda Superb are just too superb to ignore. So we are set on the car, we are set on the offer yet have to find the best offer in town. Maybe we can make a decision as early as next week, we shall see.

No doubt there is a basic decision on whether we need a new car in general, whether we want a new car and whether we want to afford a new car. The answer to most of those questions is yes, yet it isn’t an easy decision making. You also need to take into consideration what else is going on in your life.

And that is a lot!

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Starting with some family discussions. We are thinking a lot on the private side of things as well. Should we stay the way we are, should we change. What needs to change internally to keep up with changes on the outside. Lots of decisions and discussions are being made.

And then we are renovating the bathroom. That took a lot longer than anticipated but it slowly takes shape. Some more minor things to do and then one room should be done, another should get done over the next two weeks. The driveway might not get done until autumn, yet the trees will be planted in a couple of weeks time. Then we need to decorate, make decisions on things, change a window and so on. It never stops. I couldn’t do it without my wife, Jenny, who does such a great job organising things. We are getting somewhere, and we are happy. That is the main thing of course but sometimes things are just overwhelming.

We are happy, healthy and have food on the table. I have a good job and enjoy the space I am operating in. As a matter of fact the bit of the industry I am working on is just forming properly, so lots of things happening! What is there not to like.

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Yes, I now need reading glasses. I have headaches, aches, pains from staring at screens all day. I am hopeful the new specs will help me see what is going on more clearly, and release some of that pain I am suffering from. Age, I am getting older, I just did, but not the big one yet. Still one year to go. Yet I feel fitter than I ever did and healthy and all. Just a lot of strain, which seems to get more as you get older 🙁

So there is a lot going on in our lives. Once most of the things have settled down and we have made most of the decisions we needed to do, we can move forward and enjoy life a bit more again. More easy. I guess I am just not the type to be all cool about things when I can see there is so much more to be done. And when it is all at ease…then I get bored again, work more on my book and will be busy again. Life goes in cycles. 6 months cycles some people would suggest. But life isn’t all bad, life actually – in majority – is very good. And we must appreciate that. Daily. Never forget!

We also got a sneak peak to Colin’s next school he goes to in September. A proper tour, met one of the head teachers and I think it is all good. I was impressed with the school actually and it strengthened our choice of moving to Hassocks. Life is good, as I said, and sometimes you forget how well you have it.

Drinking water, hot showers, all there. A roof over your head, a steady job, health.

In those moments it is good to just sit down, calm down and appreciate what you have and what you got. To stop. Smell the roses.

Enjoy the bank holiday.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (371)

This week didn’t look busy at all at first. Yet I never stood still. My brain never stopped processing. I never had enough rest to be honest, waking up regularly at night thinking about things. I feel like things are happening.

The news is out too. I got a new job. An additional job: strategic advisor to a start-up. I agreed to be a non executive director or strategy advisor for a start up in the programmatic TV space called Video Agnostic. An area that truly interest me and I believe needs a lot of evangelism and understanding in and of the programmatic landscape. Being able to advice top notch developers on go to market strategies, and helping with getting traction in the market place, is a great challenge and a big honour for me. I will continue to spend my days working for my current employer yet also help Video Agnostic too.

I have done some strategy roles in the past. Helped start-ups, defined go-to market strategies etc. So this isn’t new but more official. Lots of plans ahead. I am looking forward to play a pivotal part in the programmatic TV Space in the UK moving forward.

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Also I had loads of interesting meetings this week. Programmatic is flying, syncing the silos of off-line and on-line is gaining momentum and we are busy. Our social platform gains more and more traction in Europe too. It is nice to see things are coming together.

In other news I went to the dentist. Not good. Another filling. Then another friend turned 40. I am getting closer to the magic number myself. Wiser I suppose. However 40 used to be old, now coming closer to it, it is more like 50 or 60 being the barrier. Looking back in one of my reflective moments I realise that I am very happy and grateful for what I have achieved in life so far. And that I was a young dad and father. That a lot of people shifted priorities whilst I soldiered on. It makes me feel young and old at the same time. With us anticipated to live longer, life events happen later. Will we all get more out of life though?

That of course depends on our vision and how healthy we stay. It depends on our life style and life choices we made. There is no right or wrong answer. We decide how we want to live our lives, decide on where we set priorities. Whether that is the local community or the work community, the wider ecosystem, family of course We are here to make a dent in the universe. And within my small little world, my closest and dearest, I have a big impact already. I am making a difference and change the world for the better.

That means to me that I can shape the future. And given the state of the world we should be proactive. We must help the future generations to look after this planet, to come up with ways to save civilisation. This might be too futuristic and daunting, but engineers, futurists and technologist will be key to survival of mankind. Having watched Martian the other day makes me think – what would we need to achieve to colonise Mars, to save Earth and venture out to continue living. And what is the likely cause of death? Cancer, epidemics, viruses?

I don’t know. And I want to end this post on a high. I like spreading myself a bit, I like connecting the dots and make life happen. Whichever meaning it has to you!

Love and kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (364)

The year is coming to an end. Same procedure as every year. We are trying to cramp as much work as possible into the last week before Christmas, starting work early, finishing late, and then realising that the day before Christmas, we got most things done, and the rest we postpone to the new year. Every year we are going through this rather stressful cycle. It is what it is and we are doing it for years, don’t seem to learn. Maybe, and a lot of my clients are doing it, I should take 3 weeks off around Christmas to avoid the pressure and the stress.

Never mind, I enjoy a year’s end. I usually get some time to clear out my desk drawers, to clear old folders, tidy things, update my Salesforce and get order into my life. Until January that is 🙂

The kids had their last day at school. They are off and are looking forward to Christmas. They are excited. That is what is most important just now. Christmas. And the kids. How can we make those days special for them? How can we succeed in them always remembering their childhood Christmases as being special?

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Then there were sick bugs this week. Whether the cough triggered the spewing or it was a combination of both – it is 12 degrees in December, global warming is happening, and whilst it all sound a bit gloomy, I believe the Paris treaty to combat Global Warming is a step in the right direction.

It makes me look back to my childhood. Besides the Christmases, I do remember being part of a nature group protesting against global warming and using certain gases (CFC/FCKW) in spray cans. Did it help? Not sure, but I did my bit and still do my bit when and where I can to preserve energy and to recycle.

Let’s not get too gloomy as December’s lack of light already does that for itself. Life is good. Everyone is in a festive mood, is having a good time and is looking forward to some time off. Well deserved.

What will 2016 hold for us. For your family? For business?

I will write a post looking back next week. I think it will be nice to reflect on 2015 and then subsequently looking to the next year. Like every year. There are unknowns, and lots of things that might change. There are opportunities. There are threads. No one knows what the new year will bring.

Let us rejoice, and let us find some time with our families. Let us go into ourselves. Let us reflect in the run up to Christmas. Let us sit down at Christmas, have a great time, and appreciate what we have. As anything we do not appreciate depreciates. My new mantra.

Have a wonderful Christmas and give those in need and those you love your fullest attention. Share the love in anything you do.

Love and Kindness from my corner of this small world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (348)

Another week full of travel. I am getting used to sleeping in hotels again, and somewhat enjoys it to be honest. It feels like you getting a lot of work done and making progress constantly. Being connected these days via 4G, 3G or wifi makes working on the road so much more pleasant than only a few years ago, not to mention 10 years ago when wifi in hotels was the exception rather than the rule.

Next week I am off again to speak at a conference on breaking in the offline and online silos – connecting TV to digital marketing. I am exciting.

For me, with my 5 am routine, I am up early anyway. So even if I take the red eye to Europe, I have time for my daily exercise and meditation practise before the taxi picks me up.

I often take a moment before I sneak out the door to check on the boys, to tug them under the blanket, sit at their bed or watch them for a few seconds. It is a feeling of wanting to protecting them from the cold or any evil by pulling the blanket back up. They don’t worry half as much as we do about things. Their sleep must be a lot more peaceful than ours. Sometimes they talk and you get the feeling they are awake or sense you are there. I am sure they do. Life must be a lot simpler as a child, wouldn’t you think. A shame we don’t really remember ourselves. Those moments are precious and it almost seems as if your life comes to a stand still, is put on hold, even for only a split second.

When I am out of town I miss the boys. They don’t really yet want to speak to me on the phone. I look back, to think of the day they were born for instance. Little did I know how to hold a baby then, and still today I am not comfortable to hold a newborn. I didn’t have any experience or confidence. It all changed, and now I am sitting with them prior to going to work to understand what makes their life tick, what they enjoy in school or why or if they were sent to the head office.

There are new challenges as parents. Speaking to a friend the other day, I understand that as they get older their rooms, requirements, furniture etc. will all change for them. Life isn’t static, you never finish bringing them up or caring for them. There are new things to master. Life is something I know more about than baby things. I can now help them more, to understand life, to figure out what they like to do, make them better humans and participate in their life. I can mentor and teach them, offering guidance and support.

Happiness Father

The challenge is on. The next 10-15 years I will be spending making them better human beings if they want to listen to me and be willing to speak to me. And if not, we will have different conversations. Who knows what life will have in stock for us?

What a unique opportunity is given to us parents. To influence. To engage. To love and connect. A growing connection of trust. Seeing on a daily basis how their thinking changes. How they evolve and become adults.

We shouldn’t wish life away. I enjoy it. Every minute of it. The now – when did you last press the pause button and reflect on your life to see how grateful you should be. How great is life? How much has life given you and is giving you right now? Reflect on what you have, and cherish what you have. Share it with the ones that are less fortunate. Isn’t that what happiness is all about?

And pay? Yes you get paid for your efforts. My oldest wrote me the sweetest note the other day. Without anyone suggesting it to him, he wrote a note that I am ‘the best daddy in the world’ and ‘thank you for my new bed’ (note: we got him a new bed you might have guessed). It moves me deeply to see so much understanding of the world from my own son. For him to think of this and share the love. Encouraging that behaviour, praising it, will hopefully lead to a great human being as a grown up that will make a difference. However small.

And one day they will be grown up. Coming home from college, university or visit with their own family. And that is when I want to lean back and see in my sons what I see in myself, now. The ability to influence, to enjoy life and love unconditionally.

Whilst I am thinking about this, I grab my bag and look one last time at their peaceful expression, sleeping, all tucked up. I will be back, I am back home soon. The taxi is waiting and I leave into the dark night for another red eye and the joys of travel.

Have a wonderful week. Pause for a moment and enjoy what you have, what life is giving you.

Love and Happiness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (345)

This was a good and successful week!

Having a purpose in life and finding your identity is a great skill to have. Just this week I finished reading another book on destiny and success. On how to structure your life and thoughts to achieve what you want to achieve. I started writing more seriously on my second book and finished drafts for the first chapter. Onwards and upwards. Nothing like getting things done early morning on the train to set yourself up for the day.

Somewhat I got carried away with a few wine and ale nights, yet again managed to catch up with loads of people and done some great networking. Amazing.

On the opposite side of things I did sign up for a 24 hour run. My challenge in 2016. A team of people to run a relay of 10K for 24 hours. This is going to be my ‘wall’ – Kevin Jorgenson spoke about his free climb record at a conference this year and suggested everyone should have a ‘wall’. 280 days to go.

Q4 is in full swing with lots of different ups and downs, meetings being moved, cancelled and decisions for next year to be made. Yet on top of that I managed to network with great people, spend time having coffee with key influencers and made some significant progress. Things are moving in a very right direction, and I enjoy the buzz of Q4 and the industry as a whole.

Then I helped someone very close with an application and the next step in life. This gives me much satisfaction to actually being able to influence one’s future and helping someone to find their purpose, identify and future. That plus helping with career choice, selling oneself and assisting to go beyond your comfort zone. I enjoy doing that.

I am happy. I enjoy my family and had a great morning this week when my youngest woke up early and didn’t want to go back to bed. So we had breakfast together, lots of cuddles and read a few books. All that before the rest of the family woke up. It was a special morning, a special time and connection. I cherish those moments and I am now able to push work and disturbance aside to truly be with him in the moment.

This is important for me, and it is so important to give kids this undivided attention. I am grateful for being able to do that, and my weekends have changed a lot since I got kids. They are my main priority. They are what my weekends are made of!

Making the progress both at home and at work satisfies me deeply. Building lasting relationship and being approached for a big project make me realise what I read in the recent book: the best time of your career is to come from 40 years onwards, and you reach your prime when you are 50+. Yes, let’s go for it and really ramp it up over the next couple of years to avoid the mid life crisis and make life happen. And, it is happening already!

I am up for it, are you? How far can I push myself? What else can I achieve?

wall

As you might be able to tell, I am buzzing with excitement what life still has to offer. That is without losing focus on what life offers now! I managed my runs this week. I had endless discussions around what is the best thing to do and what I want to achieve with my running. For me this is about fitness, not about running distances, yet I will utilise it for my challenge.

At the weekend we managed to catch up with an old mentor of mine from university. She now lives with her family fairly close by. It was good to see her and catch up on how life has changed over the past 10+ years. We both got married, have kids, established in our jobs etc. Chewing the fat with someone who knows you when your main purpose in life and your identity was different. Changing your identity and belief systems are key to success. Being able to realise that you can influence anything in life and that being fit and healthy can be a life style choice rather than something you think you can never achieve, is a realisation that came to me over the last few years.

I finish the first draft of this post as I pull into Victoria station in London on Friday. It is a gloomy day, but it is Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend and finishing off some key projects at work. It is a day filled with meetings around video and data. Not a boring day at all 😉

Hope you had an amazing week yourself!

Stay well,
Volker

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