Posts Tagged letting go

Sunday Column (506)

This week I listened to a podcast called. Transcende hosted by Jeff Riddle who I got introduced to a while back. Jeff and I had a good phone chat the other day discussing the way you can structure podcasts and exchanged some notes on learning around podcasts. Anyway, I listened to his episode this week. It was about finding peace with your parents and upbringing. I have gone through that, and won’t go into details here, but in life we make a lot of assumptions on what others think, and what is right or wrong, and how things are perceived. As I mentioned last week, the best advice I got in ages was to ‘not worry and live in the moment’ – have you tried it? It gives you almost a new perspective on life. Most of our thoughts and assumptions are, naturally, based on our perception and digestion of what we learn from our upbringing, with our parents being the biggest influence in life. It makes me think whether I have a good influence on mine….

The reason I share that is because I got a few comments from my post last week, wanting to constantly better myself. I do. Yet, I also enjoy just being somewhere, being in the moment and enjoy what I have. I don’t think one must exclude the other. There are clear tasks I want to achieve today, and there are others I want to achieve tomorrow. I seek to understand those, prioritise and work accordingly. Personally, I believe by putting the puzzle pieces together in the right order, and that includes your history, influences and future aspirations, life becomes the flow it should be. Giving you the confidence you need. I also believe that you need someone to help you with that, a coach, mentor or partner. Whatever it might be, but that must be the aim for high achievers. Would you agree?

There was another time of reflection this week. I was running before work, trying to keep up some interval trainings. It hit me unexpectedly, my thoughts went back to our holidays. It was warm, nothing to worry about, nothing to plan, just go with the flow. A mind and attitude flow that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Maybe it was because it was so much warmer, or it was a lot more different to home, but other holidays never gave me that relaxation and the feeling of being so close to my family. This year was so different, in a very good way. So I looked back at my holidays and for the first time in many years would have loved to stop the time. That’s how much I enjoyed it. Time to book the next one. Giving the kids are getting older, the holidays are more enjoyable too. It makes a difference to them.

It’s those moments you need to keep sacred. Last week I spoke about clearing out the now, the past, but cherishing the moments in your heart that you want to remember, not the ones that drag you down or back to a history long gone. All that whilst living in the now and being there with whoever you want to be with in the moment. It’s another balancing of things.

And then the decision was made. Marathon. That’s all I say. There is a chance and hope that I might get into the London marathon, as my podcast listeners would know. So I started training a bit beyond my usual 10K runs. I started running outside. At time of publishing I should have finished my third half marathon distance and I am on my way to run 18 miles (28K) next weekend. If all goes well, given I am travelling a fair bit over the next few months, I should run a marathon early November. Fingers crossed. The entry fee is paid 🙂

That’s all folks. Let me know if you like the mix of topical and private thoughts and what else you would like to see on the blog. As you can see I have a lot of podcast related, success related posts until end of the year on this blog. I also want to change my podcast concept next year. I also want to be sure to have focus on the things that matter. My job for instance which I really enjoy, a mix of operational and commercial, just right, dealing with lots of interesting and smart people. Is life falling into place? I think so. I am very content, and as my podcast guest this week said, success means contentment, means happiness. Yes, I am happy.

Love and kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (505)

You know, this week saw the beginning of season 2 of my podcast. I really enjoyed recording loads of material over the summer, meeting interesting, successful people and recording their stories. However, I also know that I probably end up having less time doing that moving forward. So this season is similar to season 1 maybe a bit more topical and next year I am planning to potentially shift the podcast a bit into a longer form concept. Let’s see how it goes.

I must say this weekend was fantastic. Life is about creating memories. I managed a 25K run, and it was fun, pleasing somewhat. It was weird, running through fog, cold patches as the sun came up, then warm muggy patches in the woods. I love where I live and whilst discussing Brexit a lot this week, I don’t want to leave. I am sure things will work out. Will I end up running a race after all? Maybe, I still haven’t made a final decision yet.

Then the little one and I enjoyed a fabulous football game in Brighton. It makes for a whole afternoon just to get there and back. And what fun we had. Who would have guessed that I enjoyed football that much, after I had never been to a game until 2 years ago. And now, we got the premier league at our door steps, why wouldn’t we go?

I wrote it before, life is about focus. So when the family disappeared for 10 days and I had some spare time, e.g. a long bank holiday weekend, I decided to crank out lots of content for my podcast and blog (watch this space over the next few weeks). Also, I started clearing out some old stuff. Every now and then I go through old folders, picture albums and decide whether I keep them or not. So this time, a lot more went in the bin than I had anticipated but it is good to discard pictures from 25 years ago, just keeping a few of good friends or special occassions. Clearing your mind, your house and letting go of things is important. As the only thing we can do is live in the now, and be present in the moment. That’s where we create memories, we don’t need pictures of them or post them on social media.

I also wanted to thank you for the positive feedback about my more topical blog posts, including the one around success which includes my podcast. Are we obsessed with success, or am I?

Maybe. And how are we defining it? When joining my fraternity in Germany many years ago, I transitioned into a ‘career driven personal development’ person, developing a sense of ‘always give your best performance to achieve the most possible results’. And of course there are limits for everyone, discussing this recently with a fraternity brother of mine, a mentor for over 20 years, there is always a new boundary to push and a new angle to develop on your personal approach, in order to push yourself further. This could be in a job or outside work, most things are mind games. My running training for instance. You can always improve a bit more. You compete with yourself not others.

I discussed that with an executive coach this week too, trying to find the best approach to get some professional help to push things a bit more. The last couple of years I have invested a lot in self finding, career development and have been battered by redundancies due to industry change. Life is a constant change.
I seem to have this urge to constantly better myself. I know a few people that do not understand that, but I love a great challenge. I strive of the learning I get from new exposure, people and concepts.

So to conclude, as I get deeper into my work and get busier learning new skills and apply my experience, the further I develop and apply focus. Hence my podcast concept will probably change come 2019; as I keep closing chapters, discard of the past in a physical and/or mental sense, I open new doors and opportunities. Exciting times.

As one door opens, another one closes. Or the other way around, as one door closes, another one opens. Similar things, aren’t they. And yet they can be seen differently.
Life is a constant change and I am learning to embrace it, enjoy it and think less about it. But I will be more present in the moment, the now.

Have a good week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (445)

Same old … no things are in constant change. It is hot in Europe and I truly enjoy it. Kind of….we really shouldn’t complain about the nice weather. I personally just don’t like it too hot. Anyway, the week was quieter than usual, so just a normal week, and part of it is due to the 4th of July bank holiday in the US. Happy Independence Day!

Then my old iPad mini keyboard broke. No, I didn’t (yet) buy an iPad Pro, but I replaced the 85 GBP Zagg version with a cheaper Tecknet version. Not the same, but I will get used to it I am sure. At the end of the day, I already made the decision to buy an iPad Pro, so now it is a timeline decision. Maybe I see how the connections change in autumn, and if we all get USB C ports instead of lightning connectors, and also there might be an upgrade to the iPad Pro 2 in spring. We shall see. Flying from Heathrow mid day in order to get to Munich in time for a dinner catch on Monday up resulted in a delay and things just didn’t go as planned or hoped. A short and exhausting trip. In the queue to the flight I met someone from Munich. He was from Liverpool originally, studied in Aberdeen about 10 years before I did. And he moved to Munich for his love about 17 years ago. Coincidence, I am not sure. People come in your life for a reason. Life is full of miracles and connections. What is the chance that I started to speak to him in the queue of all the 150 odd people I could have talked to.

This week was the first time I really got annoyed at the constant travel. Mainly because my family isn’t that happy. Not only do I hardly see my wife which annoys both of us, but also the boys are getting fed up with me being away all the time. Understandable. I also look forward to not travel next week. I guess there are a few busy weeks ahead before travel will mainly be for holidays with the family. And I cannot wait to enjoy some downtime with the family soon. The last few months were full on, enjoyable, but exhausting.

On the plane I started to reflect on H1. My first 6 months in the current job. My wife going back to work. Achievements I have made, reducing coffee, publishing my book and moving forward with evolutionary coaching. To understand how learning works and how the “One Thing” allows you to focus and makes everything else unnecessary or easier. Yes, I am striving to apply further productivity techniques to constantly improve my work flow and strive for perfection. One of my staff asked me for the recipe the other day, the recipe to stay on top of everything all the time. Inbox, Google’s add on to Gmail, and the snooze and reminder function are crucial for me. The last 6 months have been busy but good busy, I truly enjoyed them and I genuinely love the work I am doing and the people I work with.

I am happy and slowly try to teach the boys two important things: one is that happiness comes from within. You cannot buy it. You cannot buy it with a great and expensive car for instance. And I have to admit that the Jaguar is nice but whilst it makes me happy, I am not attached to it 🙂 That took the lesson a bit to far, and the oldest said he lost me there. Fair enough. The other lesson is that they need to think. For them to listen, use their brain and then speak. That’s another difficult one for a 6 and 8 year old to understand. They are doing very well. And the weekends and time I do spend with them, they are understanding if I am tired and cuddle up in the movies and are good pals. Until of course they start being typical children and do your head in. Then we go back to play UNO, and I did not count the amount of games we played since they started end of last year. They love it. Same as Trivial Pursuit. Monopoly is next again I suppose, we haven’t played it for a while.

As we go through those phases I have been thinking how they turn out when they are older. Will they become engineers and little brains? We don’t want to dictate them what to do. They already are little brains of course, but what will drive them on. What will they teach their kids and when am I ready to let go? Let them get on with their own life? When will I have enough trust? When did my parents, if ever? They do now – I think. I hope so anyway 🙂 As a responsible parent I need to find the cut off point. And I am sure this will come over time and I will understand when the time is right. My wife surely will support me in my decisions. We will not be able to always watch over them. That’s one of the hardest things to learn as a parent. I think so anyway. And when letting the eldest walk with his mates the last 500 meters to school….that is a first step of independence. Wow. Letting go already?

It was a good week. I got a new white board in my office, a new stand up desk, and I made progress on a project. That strives me on. And I managed to take the wife out for a meal, play UNO with the boys and got cuddles.

What else to ask for?

Love and Kindness from my little corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (340)

Next week I will be travelling again. A big UK conference, then the biggest online marketing exhibition in Germany, dmexco. 20 meetings scheduled. Lots of friends and partners to meet. This is going to be fun presenting ourselves for the first time since the merger as a combined company. I keep you posted next week.

However, the greatest thing this week was R starting school. Now our two boys are in school. It is an odd feeling, particularly for the wife, to have free time and no one around. Yet it is nice to see them being tired, challenged and full on. They are very proud to be at school and enjoy learning. Whilst R was a bit apprehensive I am confident he will settle in. Didn’t we all?

It is a bit like fitting a square peg into a round hole. A child from play to serious learning, step by step, they are made to follow a routine and system. I am not too certain if I fully agree with that, however at least in our country they are educated to free speech and open thinking, being able to form their own opinion. This is something I strongly encourage. Also, compared to Germany, I like the school uniforms, so no one actually looks richer or poorer than their pals, making class differences obsolete, focusing on the character and education. And if they continue to associate learning with fun, I am a happy dad!

For me it is like the first step of letting go. Next is college, then university if they wish. Then they will go all independent and we can only guide them to a certain extend. As a friend of mine, whose last child just graduated from uni, said: my job is done here, they are now grown up. Yet of course we still seek our parent’s advice as long as we live. Support, love, and of course when we have kids, we like the grandparents to help. The cycle of life. No progression in technology will stop us from those basic life principles.

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In other news, the latest iPhone was announced, an even bigger iPad. A more sophisticated entertainment machine, aka Apple TV, and sure there is more to come early next year. Luckily I am due an upgrade, so plan is to get the new iPhone week after next, then exchange my current ipad for an ipad mini…and maybe the iWatch for my birthday…we shall see.

I am sometimes wondering what the future holds. Technology wise, whether we will have a chip implanted that pays for things or tracks our whole body’s chemistry? I stopped paying with cash as much as I can and it is a lot easier than I thought. Of course, as a Buddhist, I should focus on the now rather than dwell on the past or future. Yet, one must be allowed to think what the boys will do for a living, what their work will look like, what our retirement will be like and whether we make it at all to retirement age? Not doom and gloom, but diseases, technology advancement, and accidents might kill us before we even got a chance to finish off our bucket list.

We don’t know. And that is how it should be. Being able to influence it a little bit by eating healthily, exercising and doing our part, we might just be ok. Let’s hope so and stay positive, and focus on the present moment. Let us tick off those items on the bucket list as we go along and let’s not aim too high. Maybe we keep a few we never achieve, just so we never run out of ideas and goals. Something that keeps us going.

That’s it really for the week. Enjoy life as it is.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (270)

A four day week, and it was a good week. I got on top of a lot of things at work, made a huge amount of progress. That is good I suppose.

I also almost completely shook off this cold. A nasty cough that wouldn’t even let me sleep at night. I haven’t been ill after a stint of three months’ illness at the end of last year (whilst still working of course), and this year with exercise and sauna routines I try to tackle the bugs early. Yet this one came when the guards were down, at stressful times, and hit the whole family. We got over it.

I watched a good movie this week, the rise of Ghenghis Khan. It was on the BBC and highly enjoyable, a Braveheart in Mongolia. Not bad at all. The BBC seems to have a few good movies on recently, and of course great period dramas.

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The picture btw features a super hero drawn by my eldest, hanging on the screen next to my desk at work. My replacement laptop came, it is working without problems, and most other customer service niggles have been resolved, or I have let go.

This week I read a book about letting go by Zenhabits, Leo Babuta, which inspired me to not stress out about things any longer but to let go. Is it going to work? Can I, with my stiff German attitude, ignore the inferior service industry I am exposed to? Let’s see how the next few months develop. I already didn’t moan about…. 😉

In all seriousness. A friend of mine decided to stop saying ‘busy’ when asked how he was. You ever noticed that? Of course we are busy, constantly challenged but we chose this environment we work in. I enjoy it. Yet, even I say I am busy, not well, or tired. An easy way of answering a generic question, instead of saying ‘Yupp, I am fine’. Or, yes, isn’t this the best day in a long time?

Why aren’t we more positive? Because we are stuck in the daily grind, stuck in a rod of routines trying to constantly strive to be better, aim higher and succeed further. So little things in the now disappear to be unimportant, we don’t notice them. If you haven’t seen the video about ‘looking up’ that went viral, google it. We aren’t seeing what’s going on around us anymore.

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I don’t have all the answers. Yet, one of the healthier things to do is to question and analyse your habits. Whilst people’s feedback might be harsh and over exaggerated, it also helps you to lift the veil of your own bad habits. The use of your phone in bed, or whilst being at the till. The patronising tone in your voice or the joke at the wrong time.

Letting go, being able to chill, to not worry and annoy oneself about things that one cannot change. That is what I am aiming for. The ‘super’-balance. The alignment of focus, energy and prioritisation. Doing with life nothing else than you do with parts of your life, focussing on what’s important.
Simple.

Have a great week ahead.

Yours,
Volker

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Sunday Column (206)

I have been in Germany with the family this week. A train to the airport, a “funny” train between terminals, a slightly delayed plane (as a family we haven’t had a travel where the plane was on time yet), an ICE train and a small train before Opa picked is up. 9 hours of travel. The boys loved it, were behaved and the ICE train even had a compartment for families. A luxury journey.

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It was my dad’s 70th birthday, an occasion to meet the family, the kids to play and bond with their cousins, and all of them to bond with Oma and Opa. We had a good time. We drank lots of wine as we stayed up late chatting away and catching up. Normal I suppose. We enjoyed it. There is a lot of things happening in the family. My brother is building a house, dad got his first ever smart phone. Lots of great food, home cooked meals, fresh rolls (Brötchen) and lots of play with old childhood toys.

The other occasion of course was Rohan’s 2nd birthday, hence the celebration as birthday twins was for 70+2 birthday 🙂 So lots of attention was given to our wee one as well.

Up to a few years ago I wrote a lot about Germany and my love hate relationship. I think that has now passed. I moved on. I actually enjoy coming back as I don’t compare Germany any longer to what I have. Yes they have nicer trains, warmer and better insulated houses, higher quality in a few day to day items, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I am very happy and content with the life I have, and I moved away from trying to be 100% perfect. I like to think so anyway. I feel like I moved on. I found my own purpose.

Despite that I am not sure whether to speak German or English, to feel at home or not. But as opposed to former visits I just embraced things I enjoy. Like the above mentioned rolls and home cooked food that took me back in time. I can let go. I can and actually do enjoy my time in Germany now. The journey back in time becomes a nice journey. I believe that over the last few years I have settled, embraced what I have and was able to let go and focus on the positive things in life. My outlook is positive in all aspects of life and that is what I focus on. Here and Now. Positive!

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Also I was able to switch off from work. I relaxed, felt like I was living at home again where everything is taken care of. Hotel Mama with unlimited wine, food and fun. No worries. At the birthday party I met with friends of my parents who have been some kind of mentors for me over the years. Contacts that helped me grow up and understand the world. People who have seen me through all my stages of life but the last 15-20 years. This is difficult to comprehend I found. Those people used to baby-sit me, nurse me, comfort me, teach me or were just there for me. Now they are 70+ enjoying retirement and grandchildren. They of course loved to see our kids and how I got on in life. Whilst my parents keep them updated, it is nice to personally touch base with them. Again, a much more pleasant journey than anticipated. I actually look forward to going back to Germany again.

My dad used to be a teacher. In 1995 he got the chance to build a new school as a principal. As one of the guests pointed out my dad’s career and reputation as a teacher is amazing. He pushed himself to help others, to progress and have more influence. I suppose that is where I got my drive from and my urge to help others, to help develop others. My drive to succeed, take on new projects, seeing them through and coaching younger people to progress in their life. I guess I learned a lot from you, dad, and never realised it before. Maybe you taught me much more than I have ever realised before. I just hope I will be able to be such a good teacher for my two boys also.

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On the fun side: I must look like my dad too. Asking Colin who the person on the picture above was, he said “daddy” not hesitating once. Since then he started noticing slight differences and it is “Opa”, however there is a slight resemblance, wouldn’t you think?

It was nice being back home. My wife and I managed a night out, ate some nice Gyros and we showed C the fresh fruit market. The weather was beautiful with snow and cold winds but it limited us in doing too much. So we just spent the right amount of time in Detmold, hoping to go back for longer maybe next year in the summer. The journey back seemed quick with two brave boys pulling through to the end. They fell into bed being absolutely exhausted. C was still recovering from all the input he received by the weekend. We just chilled out.

I went back to work on Thursday. Lots to catch up. Lots to do. Back to the grindstone. I am back in my routine. Kind of anyway. A few pints with the Hassocks crew on Saturday night and “our home cooked” food Friday and Saturday. It is good to be home. It is good to be settled. We are not creating the memories for our boys for them to experience what I did this week. The circle of life I suppose.

A good week comes to a close. Thank you Oma and Opa.

Love,
Volker

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Buddhist Thoughts: no attachment

There simply is nothing to which we can attach ourselves, no matter how hard we try. In time, things will change and the conditions that produced our current desires will be gone. Why then cling to them now? – Master Hsing Yun, “The Indescribable”

I often write about attachment and letting go. One should not worry about material possessions as they are replaceable and not really important.

Things, over time, change and desire changes. That means the attachment, the item of desire becomes obsolete.

So why bother now? Why cling on to something now well knowing it won’t be a desire to own in a few weeks/months/years.

Moving house and getting rid of clutter, realising that true happiness comes from shared love and joy of enjoying the moment, has made me realise that attachment is something we make up with our mind.

Let go. Little things, bigger things.

What stays is memory and the feeling in your heart. Forever.

Have a good one,
Volker

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