Posts Tagged learning

Sunday Column (490)

I remember this girl in school who everytime it was summer, she had hay fever. It never affected my friends or myself and whilst on the one hand we felt sorry, on the other hand we never understood. Whilst being over 40, you don’t expect to develop new allergies, and looking at my exercise diaries over the past four years, there is a pattern emerging. Going back to a conference in 2015 in Berlin where I had a bad night’s sleep, some booze and had to get some antihistamine tablets, blaming the beer. Today I know it was and is hay fever. Being tired, sluggish almost, itchy eyes and irritation. Who would have guessed all those years back that I will suffer from hay fever, and consistently around mid to end of May. Whatever trees are blossoming – oak, birch, pine or ash.

Life is changing. Nothing in life is a constant but maybe your family. I drafted another article which I hope will be published next week, where I discuss the consulting role vs. the permanent role in adtech. We all had to get GDPR ready for the past 2 years, yet companies still aren’t ready. The deadline is next Friday. 5 more sleeps. The expectations are that 20% of advertising will be diminished or less targeted, making it less effective, so advertisers spend less money, affecting the industry. And then there is Brexit, and I definitely want to be Brexit ready. Life isn’t all plain sailing. I am so curious to see where we are in a year from now, two years even. I hope we are still where we are today, I like it here, and the setup is nice, but will it be the best we can do for the family. What do we sacrifice and for how long?

Yet I am in the middle of organising a street meet in our cul-de-sac. I would like to get most neighbours together and make sure we are building a strong community. Most of us plan to live here for life. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know everyone, share some experience and greet more knowingly on the street. You know what I mean, life is too short to not know who you share your street with. That’s my opinion anyway. But I have always been outgoing, like to meet new people and I am curious about others.

In other news, besides the lovely wedding this weekend, on Sunday last week, just because I hadn’t had time to see my barber, I asked the wife to cut my hair. Luckily she did and when my oldest saw me, he said ‘Daddy, did you put some grey hair colouring in’, which is ever so charming. Of course he doesn’t mean that in a bad way, and maybe it is me having a mid life crisis (again!) to realise that I am now older than others, and more mature, and carry the decisions and lead by example and being the person I have to be. Not sure that all makes sense, but it is great to see how the boys start to understand my humour (not easy!) and how they grow up ‘under the influence’ of myself. What I am trying to say is that you see how they pick up certain things, good and bad, from their parents. Bless.

Stories of success

Those are my main thoughts this week. It has been a busy week and a lot of things I do at the moment are about timing, about having the right conversations, balancing things. I met an amazing start up which I can only promise a certain amount of days due to other commitments. But I really love what they are doing, so I was very honest to see what we can do. You know, it is as if now and then you come across those opportunities and you know you want to get more involved. And then there are those logical decisions, and they are good too.

Worry less and live more. Or as my podcast guest this week said: be fearless. Not the podcast that is live at the moment but the lady I interviewed this week. I will share more info when the recording goes live but the amount I learned from her in an hour interview was more than I had learned in the week before combined. Thank you.

That’s all folks, enjoy your week ahead. Mine will be busy, good busy! And of course if my grammar is too bad, please let me know (@L).

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (485)

Let me start with last week: thanks for the feedback that allegedly my blog sounded a bit miserable. You know, maybe it did but I am not. I am not 100% sure if that makes sense. The job search of course can be frustrating and tiring but on the other hand there are a few exciting opportunities out there. Patience, trust and ‘letting the universe do its thing’. I am good, don’t worry. As a matter of fact, given I haven’t been searching that intensively for that long due to some other things that were going on, including a contract and family matters, I am very happy with my progress. I have definitely accelerated the search again and also, with the end of the financial year (or start of it), things are picking up. 🤞🏻

On Tuesday and Thursday I had the kids. The wife was working. I was waiting to hear from a few companies and also had a few calls, a podcast recording that didn’t happen etc. So you cannot be fully with your kids when you have other things on your mind. The focus needs to return, and in order to do that I need to let go and be in the moment. Every time you take redundancy, or really every time you are taking time to reflect, you end up getting better in understanding what really matters in life. Having had 5 redundancies so far, 2 because of office closures and downturn, both in 2009, and 3 because of company take overs and mergers (you have to love adtech), one learns a lot. I always bounced back and got stronger. Other industries don’t experience this very much but our industry is very prone to those circumstances. And the higher up the food chain you are, the longer it takes to settle again. So all normal, and yes it takes longer every time, but GDPR (the new data legislation coming into play in May) isn’t helping at all.

For me the learning this time around, is that I need to be more in the moment with the kids, and secondly I need a hobby. As the wife isn’t allowing me to get a motor bike, the next thing to decide on is a car. Something for the weekend, to tinker with and get the boys involved into mechanics. I think it is going to be a Landy but maybe, it is going to be something different…..a Jaguar or so 😉 Anyway, there are other things that are more important first.

My podcast guest next week explains ‘being in the moment’ very nicely. She has been reflecting a lot and a lot of things have been thrown her way. I cannot wait to share her story. This week’s podcast surpassed earlier episodes for downloads. If you haven’t seen my first quarter summary of my learnings from the podcast, please read the Stories of Success Summary Q1. A good catch up with a friend got me another idea on what to do. ABC, always be closing, and moving forward. Chin up and keep on walking. The path will open up to what the universe has in stock for you. Visualise the outcome, and things are going to be great. They will, no doubt. Believe.

No more!

On Tuesday the boys were desperate to watch Liverpool against Manchester City. One supports the first, the other the latter team. So it was a late night for them, watching Liverpool progressing in the Champions League and Manchester City I guess will most likely win the Premier League. Maybe we have two winners this year. If Liverpool vs. Bayern are in the finals, then we might see a cousin fight coming up 😉 Oh the joys. I have never been more interested in football than now, and even contemplating to put my name down for a season ticket with Brighton.

Explaining life to the boys however seems almost too difficult just now. They ask about my job, why I am not in the moment, why I am on my phone and other things. They do not understand the concept of stress, pressure, restlessness and that daddy needs to plan things. And the latter is a big part of my life which is why I prefer going into a permanent role. This will work out eventually, it needs to be the right opportunity though.

One day the dots will connect looking backwards and the learning will increase and the resistance already has. Don’t live someone else’s life. Be the change you want to see. Enough about that. The universe does what the universe has to do, as a friend of mine said, and that is true.

We finished this weekend with a 1 mile run by the eldest and a 10K run by my wife at the Brighton running weekend. She had to downgrade from the marathon due to the eye operation earlier in the year. It is difficult to plan life sometimes, and you have to take it as it comes. But life never gets you down as you always get up again. Never ever give up, life it too precious. We also managed two (!) BBQs, washed the car and got the garden furniture out. Spring!

Make the most out of life and therefore I am ending this with a positive note 🙂

Volker

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Thursday Flash (47)

Flash…

An article worth reading about the nostalgia on the internet. You might get some flash backs afterwards 😉

Then I read: Top five career lessons learned. It is all about experience and what you learn from jobs. So that’s fun!

And last but not least, and I recently read a whole book about it, there was a good find on bad body language and which behaviour you find difficult to quit. Take note!

See you next Thursday.
Volker

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Sunday Column (439)

Hello friends. I noticed that, if I am awake early on Mondays, that this is good writing time. So I am on another flight. Just about 16 hours after I disembarked my last. Yet the last one was for fun. My wife took me to Edinburgh for the weekend. It was amazing. Not only did you not have to worry about the kids but could do all the grown up things kids are not interested in. Culture, sight seeing, castles and whisky tastings. Plus, my wife took me to a restaurant, allegedly the best one in Scotland, the Witchery, where I ate the best steak I ever had in my life (and I had a lot), and I discovered the most interesting and tasting Italian blue cheese I ever had too. What a great weekend. Thank you again.

Later in the week I got a belated birthday present. Two actually. One was the picture of a Buddha my youngest drew. I love it. I even got two copies, one for each office. How sweet is that? The other a book of pictures and quotes collected by my wife from my closest friends. It was very emotional to read the impact I can have on lifes. I love you too guys, and this is only the beginning. 40 is the time you turn up the heat, put your foot down and enjoy the wind in your hair. Because you can. Because you don’t know how much longer you can do it either.

So as I wander through the airport on Monday morning, I am tired. Of course I am. The cold I had is still lingering around. Maybe it is more of a hay fever. The weekend was exhausting. I am happy though and that’s what matters. I am trying to think how we best plan our holidays over the next year(s). Also, I am listening to my podcasts again. This time it is all about passion. That someone should not necessarily want to be like someone else, but everyone is an individual. Realising you don’t want to be Steve Jobs or Anthony Robbins is the first step to realise that you are not like them. As I have learned over the years, it is about what you can take from any of those individuals and how you can put it together to form your self. The podcast guest suggested that you shouldn’t quit your job and start working on your passion. A passion is still what you do in your own time. And if that takes off from a side project, so will be it. Those podcast paired with the book I am reading about evolutionary coaching just make a lot of things come together. What an amazing life we are living, and slowly it all seems to make sense. The dots are connecting more than ever before. Wow.

Discovering your passion as something like ‘helping others’ and ‘developing others’ is great. That’s what I did. And if you as a reader of this blog or someone reading my productivity book is interested in what my opinions are, then please share and get engaged. I am just someone with some strong opinions on certain topics. I believe I know how to set up a productive work life scenario and work efficiently for others. I believe I am mentally strong and have a good working routine. A routine that allows me to cope with the workload and life load. And whilst doing all that, I still have a lot of fun. I cannot see myself being the Jim Rohn or Darren Hardy or Anthony Robbins but I can envisage to offer seminars for lifes’ little tricks in years to come. Not in my 40ies though 😉 And one of the reasons is that once I stopped university, I started learning. Life experience, personal development books and so on. Experience of others that helps me to go through life. And that experience is something I’d like to pass on. But I am far from perfect and yet have many years of (life’s) training to come. Embracing this makes it even so exciting. Evolution at its best.

Bad news this week are coming from Manchester. A terrorist attack killed teenagers and hurt a lot of people. Terror at a ’teenager event’. 22 people died. A 22 year old was named by the police. I am speechless. Those kids had their whole life ahead of them. A 22 year old, someone who just started out in life, what did he know? Was it hatred or religious reasons or just someone being confused. At time of writing I am not sure, but in the end it doesn’t matter. It is awful. My thoughts go out to those affected. And it impacts things in London. Fear of attacks, disruption and anger. United we stand. We will get through this, terror will never win.

In other news, as I still recovered from the weekend, I took it easy this week. A lot of work to catch up on, not too crazy tbh, and I managed to even fit in two saunas. I got a haircut in Hamburg (never as good as home) and caught up on a lot of catch up TV. I haven’t done that for a while, so a relaxing and very productive trip at the same time. Some me time to catch up on important things, testing my new Asics trainers which aren’t as good as the Nike. My pain creep back up running in the Asics but not in the Nike trainers. The weight of the shoes, the way I run in them etc. So the Asics are going back. I might still try some Ultraboost, but at least I am getting back on track. I even managed my first 10K in ages on Friday. Somewhat I haven’t been in a good place with running and the 24 hour race is coming closer with only eight weeks to go. So I better find the right trainers and the right mojo to make it. It’s going to be epic. It must be. Another wall to climb, to break through and move forward from.

When waiting for my plane on Wednesday I was wondering why those trips are so draining. And my conclusion is that you cannot do both of your jobs 100%. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I enjoy what I do. I chose my job to make it successful and be there fully, giving my best and make sure I have an impact. But by doing two jobs, it seems as if I do one or the other, and both only 90%. That is just not satisfying to be not as good as you could be because of restrictions you cannot change. Not sure that makes sense. Nevertheless the support from my boss, HR, colleagues is overwhelming. A great place to work. And so much more to learn and walls to climb. I definitely put my ladder on the right wall here.

However, I enjoy things as I used to. It is a cracking challenge, lots of fun with some really great people and amazing tech. Things are good, and I am not complaining. I am just tired this week, that’s allowed sometimes too I suppose. As the week moved on, my tiredness turns sleepless due to the heat. I am up most nights at 4:30. So I fit in the above 10K, a cheeky 5K and time with the boys before school. Challenging at times, but hey, isn’t that fun. 40 – life is only just beginning. Only now got I the tools to break through those walls. Keep them coming.

From my corner of the world, have a great week ahead. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend! Sun. Summer is almost here. BBQ. Family!

What else to live for?
Volker

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Sunday Column (342)

What I learned this week was a lot actually. I read another personal development book and managed to listen to a few podcasts. I love learning and constantly increasing my input from a variety of sources.

Putting last week’s tiring show into perspective, my job after the merger, I believe we are now getting to the point to move beyond phase one of integration, just in time for Q4. Without wanting to reveal or bore anyone about any work details, the exciting bits are discussed. My US colleagues have been over this week and I am more than excited to pull the throttle to open the floodgates. Rock’n roll!

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Yet, aside work, my wife is still recovering from her accident which happened two weeks ago. Time is a healer. Time, however, is the most precious thing we own. A few weeks ago we were at Littlehampton beach. Whilst the kids were happily playing, and the wife was bathing – yes it was still warm(ish) – I was contemplating about life.

What had I achieved in life so far? Two healthy boys, both now in school, the renovation of the house almost complete, and married to what I believe the best woman in the world. Our 8th wedding anniversary is around the corner. I am happy. Truly happy. Life is treating me well, and I have worked very hard to get where I am.

My life ticks a few boxes of the Tony Robbins’ six Human needs. Yes, sometimes more uncertainty than certainty, and I definitely prefer certainty, but I get significance and love. I could have a bit more significance or responsibility in one or two areas of my life, but nothing I ‘must have‘ at the moment. As of above I am learning and growing, and I am in a position I can and do contribute to others.

I can help others. This for me is one of the greatest gifts I received in life. I am able to help others develop, grow and be part of something bigger. I help clients and sell them a superior product. This is something I genuinely enjoy. And whilst this sounds all like I am a boring person, every now and then I enjoy letting my hair down.

I noticed, particularly when not at home, that I enjoy going out and party. I guess it is because I don’t have the kids’ responsibilities or a wife telling me off 😉 It is the balance between hard, very hard work, and play hard attitude. I have been brought up from my early tele-sales days to play hard but to focus even harder at work. When you spend a whole day, meeting after meeting, bringing in the revenue, you need to let steam off somewhere. Have you seen the wolf on wall street? Important is that you deliver.

wolf

Supposedly I am jumping around a bit here. And why am I writing about this? Simple: I have been thinking about this a lot. About the why I love the hard work, and which need it fulfils. And, what the other side fulfils. In times of change, and at work I am going through changes, I like to evaluate. I want to make sure that the change ahead is in line with my needs, values and direction. This is important for me, and I also make sure this is important and there is alignment for my staff.

Life is fantastic. I am not complaining. Things could always be better, but they could always be. The grass is always greener. Yet, it will always be grass. Nothing is ever perfect. And wouldn’t it be boring if it was? Maybe, many years from now, I will be looking back and realising which part of life I was playing at this moment, and looking back at other part of my life just now, boy, I have come some way. Why I made one decision over another. And why we chose one path over the other….life is in life’s hands if you like.

Let us rejoice in the beauty of life.
Its challenges and its sorrows.

Let us celebrate life to move beyond where we are today. Let us grow and be great.
Let’s get shit done! GSD.

Have a fantastic week.
V

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Sunday Column (234)

Can you believe it is September? Show time. There are two conferences and two exhibitions I go to this month. Plus of course my usual work load and commitment. I am loving it. Fast pace. It is going to be a great month! All fired up!

But back to review last week. The night in the tent. It was better than anticipated yet maybe a bit early for the youngest. Having said that, maybe next year it will be great to get away as a family. Anyone selling a used tent?

The kids are my main priority at the moment. I really try to focus on them when I am at home. They stay up the odd night during the week, and in the mornings I see or hear them too. C now goes to the loo at night and then back to his own bed. Normal you might think, yet for me such a big step in his development. He is becoming independent. He is growing up so fast and starts school this week too. My eldest wearing a school uniform. It feels like he was just born yesterday. Where has the time gone?

I am still learning to do all those things the kids love. Letting go and go for kids’ stuff if you like. Reversing my growing up and stiffness a bit, and enjoying the involvement. Time will tell how much I succeed, however it goes in line with my Rotary and Buddhism really: others above yourself.

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It is weird writing this as I am, as repeatedly told over the last few weeks, very open with my feelings. Nothing to hide. Nothing to pretend. I am just a dad learning to get better every week, sharing my experience. Maybe I won’t be the best dad in the world, but I will try.

And you get so much back. Little anecdotes, learning patience, explaining the world, or persuading them to do something they don’t want to. Ignoring tantrums is another one. Leaving your phone turned off or out of reach. Being 100% in the moment with them.

Yes, having grown up with a dad that was home from lunch time, I still get used to be out of the house all week. This is particularly true after 3.5 months at home. I am the bread winner. C asked me if I enjoyed work, and when he is older, he likes to go to work too. And he will. He will, similar to me, become a ‘workaholic’. In a good way that is. I love my new job for instance, and I am not only saying that!

On Friday I organised a night out for the local Hassocks dads, as most of our kids will go to school together, most of the families have moved here over the past couple of years. It is good to see so many familiar faces as in the ‘everyday life of things’ we don’t manage enough ‘man time’. The odd chat at a birthday party between changing nappies isn’t enough. We will repeat that and make it a regular occurrence.

I am doing all that because I enjoy connecting to people. My LinkedIn network is growing daily and I decided this week (you probably read it) to send an email to all my contacts. It is a scary moment to think that you send over 3,000 people a message of what you have been up to recently. Yes, I do that every day on twitter and every week here on my blog, actually I live a very public life, however sending people an email was a new experience. I hope it was well received, it definitely was sent with good intentions. And most of the feedback was positive so far.

At the weekend I met with a really good friend from university. I haven’t seen her for 4 years, yet it was like I just saw her last night. What I mean by that is that it is great to have friends who you don’t see for a long time, then you see them again and it is like no time has passed. Thanks J!

This really concludes my thoughts of the week. Only my second week in the job yet I feel like I have been there forever. I am excited about the prospects. My first email campaign and lots of learning re my family. And a lot of networking on the way, meeting new and interesting people. That is what I do. That is what I enjoy.

Have a lovely first September week.

Love and Kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (227)

IMG_1733 What else could you wish for but a week of sunshine. It takes a toll on body, sleeping habits and water consumption, but hey, this is good, right? Why complain about a heat wave we were waiting for for many years? And, I am still off work and can enjoy it.

To cover the job hunt: It is, as always in a small community of digital marketing, a balancing act. You don’t want to jeopardise people’s friendships over favours. But friendships outlast company gigs. It is about you, the whole life is about you and not the association with a product. Once you realise that, choosing becomes easier. Having said that, there is one cutting edge product/company I’d like to work for 🙂

When I think cutting edge, pushing boundaries and making things happen, I keep getting back to this free fall pictures from Redbull/Felix Baumgartner. I cannot say how much I am impressed by this guy and his attitude to stress, personal development, making things happen, getting things done. Wow.

I have had a lot of time to reflect over the past few weeks. I heard stories from old colleagues, feedback from them and so on. I believe the worst thing sometimes is to get confirmation that some thoughts you have are right. And the thing I need to learn, still, is to let go. I am not talking about my old company but about life in general. Don’t hang on to things you missed or what could have been. Also, be confident about your knowledge, trust your gut and be prepared to stand up for your opinion. We all make mistakes, but take the step, make the decision for better or for worse. Don’t look back but forward. Be bold. Let go and focus on yourself, your life, as this is the important bit. Everything else will sort itself out, so don’t waste your energy on other people’s problems but make them part of your solution. Hope that makes sense. It is a bit like an energy exchange.

What you are made of, what you want to achieve in life, and what defines you doesn’t always have to be related to your work. For me it often does and I enjoy working. Always have done and the next position won’t be different. I enjoy building new things, driving things forward, making things happen and working my butt off. That’s me. Hands on. Networking. I almost think that for the past few years I neglected some things. I need to improve that. Who do I think I am having figured it all out. There is so much more to learn. And now is the time, I enjoy learning.

Another thing that made me think this week was Joe Cross who fastened with fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days, lost lots of weight, and cured himself from a disease. The body is capable of curing itself if you give it the opportunity. If you having a roller coaster ride you eat for comfort, you ease your stress with alcohol or you smoke. That is not the way forward, convenience food will kill you! I will try parts of that diet and wish I had seen this when I first took voluntary redundancy as I could have tried this out for the past 60 days. I could be quite slim and really fit now 🙂

Another quote I came across this week says: Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. I couldn’t agree more and cannot wait to follow my passion! It is about positive stress, so defined by a close friend and mentor, enjoying the strain you have and turning it into passion, and ultimately profit. Onwards and upwards, let’s get things done.

On that note, the kids love learning and asking things too. Colin for instance said the other day: look dad, the sky has the same colour as the ocean. It will take a couple of years for him to understand how everything is connected but it is so good recapping it for yourself and appreciating how complex life is. Don’t get too hung up on it though. It might just do your head in trying to explain a few things but isn’t it great to help the little explorers to conquer life and understand it? I enjoy being a teacher, dad and mentor. Family life really eases in at the moment, I enjoy being around the wee people. I even managed two hours with R the other day. Not easy but I managed. I cannot wait to see them grow up and being able to support them. Make their life the best they can have. And they will decide how to define that of course, however showing them the odd shortcut will help either way.

Maybe a bit of a reflective post this week. I hope you understand. Putting things into perspective is very important for me, not taking everything for granted. That is true for work, life, family and health. I want to be around to see my kids grow up.

Btw, you might have noticed that I changed my profile picture. Do you like it or do I look too serious?

Have a great week,
Volker

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Inspirational Thought: Failure

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~ Thomas Edison

Quite frankly, can you fail?

I don’t believe you can. You can only ever learn from your mistakes, and as long as you do that, you cannot fail.

Edison tried a lot of ways and eliminated a lot of solutions until he found what worked.

Don’t give up.
Believe in yourself.

Patience and persistence will lead to success.

Have a great day,
Volker

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Buddhist Thoughts: Learning from difficult people

Just before Christmas, think of the following. It states my most practised and my most admired principle of Buddhism:

Eventually we will find (mostly in retrospect, of course) that we can be very grateful to those people who have made life most difficult for us.
– Ayya Khema, “When the Iron Eagle Flies”

I love that! I have been using this approach for many years. Whether it is a boss or whether it is a challenge at work, or at home. All those challenges you come across in life need to be solved in order for us to move on. If we master the challenge we get to the next one. If we die before we master the challenge, we will be confronted with a challenge that resolves a similar issue in our next life.

Hence, whenever you think you can escape life (suicide) or a situation (change jobs, avoid certain individuals), rest assured you come across the same situation again until it is resolved. The suffering, the ongoing samsara, will be part of this and future lives. The suffering will ease by solving one challenge, but the next one is around the corner.

Until we resolved them all. Until we become enlightened.

Buddha bless, have a great Christmas.
Volker

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