Posts Tagged life life balance

Thursday Flash (42)

Flash…

This week is a lot about doing more with less and things you shouldn’t do at all.

Let’s start with the things you shouldn’t do. As you can guess these are things hindering your productivity.

And this article I found useful, it is about why working more is getting you less. A strong point I made in my book and things I still feel challenged about around life life balance.

Last but not least, on the note of productivity, I found an article on a todo list that might work – I am not convinced, but it’s an interesting take.

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Thursday Flash (40)

Flash…

This week covers some smart things and some future proof personal development.

How to actually work smarter….not harder – which sounds like a no-brainer is actually very smart. Have a read, worth to take some notes on this.

How to enjoy your non work weekends – this is a great article on life life balance. I have been writing about this for a while, so enjoy!

Future proof your body: 17 things you need to do now to be healthy in later life – you might find some suggestions useful, others scary. Pick and choose!

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (457)

Monday Monday. Oh yes, nothing like a 2 hour drive in the taxi on a Monday morning to Heathrow. Longest ever; normally it takes 1.5 hours max. So a bit of adrenaline this week to get to my flight, which ended up boarding late, and everything was fine. Being rushed I ended up grabbing the wrong breakfast and feel just so much better about the week ahead 😉 BBQ Pork for breakfast. Yeah 🙁 Calm, breathe. Life is good, and fingers crossed, I have yet to miss a flight. 25 trips this year so far. That’s on average every other week, and more to come. Wow, the most I have travelled in years. And I keep saying it is getting less, but I haven’t got any more news on that at the moment. I believe it isn’t actually the travel as such but doing an additional job that takes focus away from what I wanted to do in the first place. However, I know there are changes on the horizon, and hopefully they will be good for me. One must believe that moving forward things will turn out the way they should. Believe in the future and that the dots will connect looking backwards. And they always will.

Weekends. Trying to spend more bonding time with the boys we went on a long walk down Littlehampton beach last weekend. It was nice and we all just love being close to and at the sea. The noise of waves coming on shore and then the water disappearing into the pebbles. It is great and calming, it makes you feel far away from home, on holidays. Balancing life.
We also upgraded to the latest iPhone 8 this weekend. A bit of a hiccup, we had to go twice as only passports or UK driving licenses are accepted for having a credit agreement – no German driving licenses or ID cards. But we got there in the end, and it was probably the first time I used my UK passport for something official. The new phone is great, but not much of an advancement in comparison to the 7, and just a slight improvement from the 6s I had before. The main differentiation is water resistance, wireless charging and an improved home button. Having a hardware contract with Apple now, means we are eligible for an upgrade from 12 months and have a 12 months pay monthly deal with Vodafone. This gives us the opportunity to get a new iPhone every year, something I always aimed for. But nowadays the innovation year on year is getting smaller, hence the need to upgrade yearly is less. Anyway, let’s speak about that in a year’s time, as technology and face recognition will move on.

In terms of data, it was easy to restore the iPhone. Everything gets backed up in the cloud but my gratitude journal didn’t. Since February I have been writing a daily gratitude journal which seems to have vanished. This is a bit of a shame. It is a great practise to reflect once a day on all the positive things in life. I wondered if I ever look back at it…guess for now I won’t 😔 I will no longer trust an app, but instead will write the journal on Evernote. Maybe it is my fault for not backing it up properly and then restore it, but then again if it isn’t an obvious process in the app. Never mind. The NHS app I used for 5 years with my BMI/weight data has also vanished, but luckily I had a back up in Evernote. I just love Evernote! So for anyone who hasn’t seen my posts about it, please do use Evernote to track everything. I write my blog on it as it syncs cross device and I can edit it on the go, then copy and paste it later. I collect my Thursday Flash links in it and take all my meeting notes on it. Evernote for everything!

Germany. If short, I stayed two nights in Germany, Hamburg, this week. I went for a walk after work as I still can’t exercise, go to the sauna or gym. I overworked my back after the initial minor surgery, so I now need to wait until it heals properly. It takes longer of course. I reflected on my relationship with Germany, thought about whether I could live there again. I like Hamburg, enjoy the organised life and the city is just georgous. However, I also feel like that about Munich. In Germany, the cities are nice and green, not too big, and one can find a good life life balance within the city or close proximity. It is just right. But it doesn’t feel right. Just because things are ticking all the boxes doesn’t mean they are right for you. Logic doesn’t always prevail. Does that make sense? If your mind isn’t in it, it doesn’t make sense.

I suppose you can achieve the same in the UK but maybe not in London, maybe in smaller cities, or only at a price that is reserved for the few. Yet, I am very happy with my life in London, being able to have the best of both worlds, balancing both village life and city career. Germany yet somehow doesn’t appeal to me anymore. The latest elections aside, and the negative movement towards right wing politics, Germany is just another country – and where I grew up in. After moving to the US 25 years ago, I learned what life could be like in a wide open space and I enjoyed something bigger than what I had at the time. Germany, and to a certain extend Europe, is a place that can get too small. And if not physically, I feel like I couldn’t permanently live in Germany, as it would be too small for me. Not sure if that makes sense. Sometimes village life gets like that too, and without the escapes to London, it might not be for me either. Freedom – that’s what I associate with the open space I experienced. Like the pubs in New York that just have space. Or you find a 20 lane bowling alley in the middle of town with 15 pool tables. The space you have, the freedom you feel. And, as Europe moves towards Brexit, maybe Europe is just not the place to be in a few years time. We shall see.

Those are my thoughts this week. Of course there are more but I don’t want to bore you. Interesting chats about politics with a taxi driver in Germany. Booking of my next trip to Belgrade, Serbia, which will be new experience.
There were days I took the kids to school and felt very privileged to spend more time with them. They are my purpose and priority.

Another busy week and a week of no travel ahead. That will be nice and I have lots to do with the team this week in London.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (456)

Is it Sunday again? This week flew past. Literally. I enjoy flying somewhat, but as you know, long distance flights and change of sleeping and training patterns, I am not a fan of. I flew out to New York last Sunday. A packed plane. Not a week long trip like last spring, but this time it was a breakfast meeting with my new boss, team meetings, team social, team meetings and flight home. It could have been any city I stayed in. Home, taxi, plane, taxi, hotel, walk/taxi, office, taxi, plane, home. But it was New York, and it has its charm. I love NY. Seriously, this could be a city to live in. I was back early Wednesday, and the flight back was a bit bumpy. It was a good trip, and it feels like I am now where I wanted to be when I was a freshener at university: high jetting lifestyle.

That was then, in terms of objectives. What is now, is different. It took me all summer to finally go on a bike ride with my eldest last weekend. Bad excuses and not wanting to disappoint my youngest who still hasn’t managed to learn cycling. That is due to a muscle underdevelopment challenge he has. Nothing to worry about, but strength and muscle build up are difficult for him. Anyway, just going out and doing that bike ride felt good. No more excuses. On Sunday we did his homework together and my youngest won with a huge advantage in Monopoly. With my constant travel, and it isn’t as glamorous as I thought as a freshener, I want to make the most out of my time with the boys. Yet, at the same time, I need to carve out enough recovery time for myself too. It is that balance where I am still struggling and trying to find the right way of dealing with it. But I am getting better I believe.

No, in all honesty, I do not enjoy the weekly travel. It should get less now but I keep saying that for a few weeks now. Normally it is just one night a week, sometimes two. And that is ok, and particularly if it isn’t every week. Even New York was only two nights. For me, who works on a running and my new weight training routine and trying to improve my fitness, the constant travel makes it more challenging; this is particularly true as I overworked the scar on my back from the minor surgery I had a couple of weeks ago; I am now listening to the nurse and will stop exercising until it is healed up. Anyway, I am getting better to work around those challenges and the travel to achieve my goals, and whilst I am not shedding lots of weight, I am not gaining any at the moment either. This is a result, as muscles are heavier than fat anyway 😉

So much about travel and routines, and about having the feeling to neglect the boys every now and then. The fine balance between allowing yourself your own time, and doing things with the boys that they enjoy more than me. I am not beating myself up here, and wouldn’t in public, but I do want to share my feelings. The dads I discussed this with and who are in a similar situation, agree. It is a fine balance, and sometimes the weekend ‘hamster wheel’ just ends up wearing you out. Birthday parties, swimming, activities and taxi services. And then the pressure to be the bread winner and be the best you can be. I love my job and enjoy the work I am doing. And without a family I most likely would end up being a work-aholic. That wouldn’t work either.

Life-Life Balance is what I called it in my productivity book #BeBetter. Being able to balance your life at home with the one at work, and being a coach, mentor and trusted advisor to your spouse and children, whilst still pursuing and succeeding in a career. Living healthy on top of that and being a good husband. That is success. Either one of those could be classified as a success but you need to master all! That is key to not loosing it or loosing in life. And that’s really the content of my book, to balance the pillars of life, and making sure you are the one in the driver seat. You need to be in control of what you do and how you do it. Identifying when things like a bike ride is important or when you start a new project which is only between the boys and me. We want to make birds nesting boxes over the winter months. The shared experience and trust you build now will last a life time.

Coming back to New York, if only two days, was an experience. Once again, I fall in love with that city. It has space, you have a chance to buy cloths and food at a fraction of the price in the UK. I spilled gravy all over my jeans on the flight out and picked up (as a necessity) two Levis cheaper than buying one in the UK 🙂 Amazing. Food is just great. Particularly, but not exclusively, I love the burger and wine at the gate, just before you board the 10 pm flight. Then you sleep the whole way back home. And no one makes burgers like the Americans do. As a matter of fact I did sleep almost 5 hours on the flight back. The city just speaks to you, it attracts you, it is full of differences and great architecture. I love New York, you are just very special.

The trip was great. Getting the right heads together to discuss what is happening with our company moving forward. It feels good to be part of creating something bigger and amazing. Our ecosystem is ready for what there is to come. Or is it? I am not sure if I felt the jet lag or not, or if I just went with the flow, or I am just super excited, but the trip was great. Maybe it was to short to really get jet lagged. I will look back at this time in years to come to kick off something big, something industry changing. Isn’t that exciting?

America. Its service culture, its multi-culture, its burgers, its finger food, pool and bowling. I am going to miss you. Always will. Ever since I lived with you over 25 years ago, I have the urge to spend more time with you. That’s just the way it will always be. And I will be back.

Have a great week ahead, I am off to Germany tomorrow, not quite so exciting at all, and the flight is a lot shorter too 😉 No burgers at the gate for me, it is time to shed more weight.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (375)

I am sitting by the fire. A cosy 25 degrees, wine at hand, heating off, and just above 3 degrees outside. The temperature plummeted over the weekend. We donated blood on Friday, and it was late and I ate that little, that I almost fainted. So Saturday I felt drained. Not sure why, maybe a bug, maybe the donation, maybe the temperature drop. Maybe my old age 😉

So sitting here by the fire on Saturday night is nice. Cosy. Comfortable. A nice Shiraz, my paper and the kids are in bed. We had garlic chicken for dinner with 40 (!) cloves. No vampires for us tonight then.

I get a lot of positive comments about my blog, and appreciate every single one. Even if I get notified of spelling mistakes. I actually appreciate being corrected, no way of hiding my heritage, despite close to 15 years in the country. Let’s see how long it lasts with the potential Brexit looming.

This week has probably been the most stressful one for a while to be honest. Not only was work challenging, I even had problems sleeping. Not even wine helped. It got better towards the end of the week and I chilled out a bit more. Still doing my runs and exercises in the morning. I am feeling pretty fit.

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However, next week I am in New York. For the first time in 23 years I am going to one of my favourite cities in the world. Not sure how I can say that but then again how can one not like New York? It has been a long time coming with about three occasions I remember where I was supposed to go to NY but never did. Now I am going. The flights are booked. Will I get a chance to jog through Central Park or see any of the city? I tell you next week I suppose.

I am dreading the flight a bit. It’s a bit longer than usual and I just hope to get an aisle seat or extra leg room at least. We shall see. One day it will be business class, right 😉 I got a few European trips coming up, some from Heathrow as well, because Easyjet has been changing their flight timetable against my schedule. Less business friendly to be honest. Actually I am surprised but guess they have done the research.

The world of business, travel and life life balance. Nothing has changed, yet in between I am doing an office job which feels like an ever growing responsibility, strategic mission, sales and product development. I am enjoying the challenge and it feels good to push boundaries.

Life is funny in that sense. I was home early one night and decided to completely engage with the kids. And I read two books with the youngest and did maths with the oldest. That was fun! It was a real pleasure to be able to switch off. I seem to be able to separate work and life better the deeper I get into either of them. That’s a bit odd but it seems to work.

There haven’t been many other developments. Without wanting to comment on politics it scares me what’s going on in the US re elections. It scares me to think what people think and do and what they think ‘is funny’ and what consequences it might have. Yet we don’t need to look too far, considering the discussion around a possible Brexit. It also surprised me to learn that Saudi Arabia had to borrow money as the oil price is so low and Korea as well as Russia launched test missiles. Hello? Get over it and make peace, live in harmony and sort out global warming. Never mind, why would Ballueder be able to change the world?

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Yet I changed a bit of the world this week. We took on two cats that needed rehoming. So we now have three tabby cats that are lovely and get to know each other 😉 When I say three, one went AWOL but I am sure she comes back at some point. And she did on Saturday night, putting up a fight to come back in. We hope it all works out. The kids are super excited. So after the dreadful animal experience with rehoming cats and letting the dog go, we are on an up in regards to the Ballueder zoo. Fingers crossed.

So I shall raise my glass to all of you out there. To those that don’t have a living room that is nice and cosy. The ones that are unhappy. I have been thinking a lot recently about my responsibility for others. For the world. The world we live in. I mentioned it in last week’s post.

You know sometimes you are waiting. You are thinking. And you are evaluating. Then you think you should do something and never do. Because there is always something that is not 100%. But nothing ever is 100%. What holds us back? What drives us on? What makes us decide?

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (370)

I start this blogpost in the air. My second flight of the year. I am in a Fokker, a KLM Cityhopper, from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam. I just spend two great days meeting clients in Germany and now I am heading to another meeting in Amsterdam, flying back on Friday night.

I miss the family. At time of travel I spoke to the wife twice but hadn’t managed to speak to the kids. Busy. When I landed I managed FaceTime at Amsterdam airport. It isn’t easy but they don’t know any different. Also I am not gone for too long. Not that often. We trying really hard to balance life and work. Life really is what we balance. And in the end I managed an earlier flight home, surprising them to be home for dinner.

It is fun and seeing it in any other way doesn’t make sense. Whilst one hotel wasn’t up to the ‘Ballueder standards‘, the ride there was. I managed to catch a Tesla. It was futuristic. It was amazing to sit in that car. That feeling was like being in the future already. Wow. That reminds me that we are still looking at cars. The Skoda Superb was thrown in the mix and surprisingly the Mazda CX-5, a mini SUV, which could kind of be a nice family car. Test drives to follow in a few weeks time. Interesting development, as I didn’t think there were that many cars out there that could host us, as the price level we are looking at.

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As always I am working late nights when on the road, exercising early mornings despite my cold. I love pushing boundaries. Over 100K run this month! I am confident that in 2016 things are soaring to the next level. This is true for various aspects of my life. We should finish the house renovation, have a first package holiday with the family, career, fitness, engagement with kids, personal confidence and strengths in multiple ways. Life is awesome.

I want to give more. I want to make more happen. And I will. 2016 is a pivotal point I think. Ask me again in a few months time. Or 2 years from now looking back. Connecting the dots. Contributing to that is village life and us getting more engaged in the local community. My wife is a member of one of the running clubs and we went to their annual party. That was fun, and fascinating to see how popular running and exercising got. Great!

I am grateful. I am appreciative. What you don’t appreciate, depreciates. Tony Robbins. Stop to smell the roses, live the moment, work hard, play hard. You can probably tell I am on fire. But that is it. I am so knackered at the weekends, but I am on fire. Not sure that makes sense but I am pushing boundaries and then rest up for the coming week. Yet, weekends are great. Playing chess with the eldest, cuddles and reading with the little one. We are having lots of fun!

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Last but not least there are two more decisions this week. Firstly, after a non successful 4 weeks but 2 weeks long dry January, there will be more periods of less alcohol. However, I want to worry less about my alcohol consumption and don’t believe, given the statistics, that I have to. Hence I stop counting my alcohol intake. Whilst I always said that if you monitor things, that you can improve on them, I don’t have to improve on it. I had some really interesting chats about it, and I am done with counting alcohol, I don’t need to anymore I believe. It makes me more paranoid than it is helping me to count everything. Similar is true for food calorie intake. I did that for a few monthlong periods but haven’t done it for a while as I am quite aware of what I am eating. So I will stop counting and simplifying life a bit more.

And the second decision is to change my supermarket. I move away from Tesco as we complained about their ongoing quality issues. However, when the delivery truck was 2 hours late we complained properly. Yet when discussing the issues with a customer representative, she only saw the delay of the van as the issue and, despite us mentioning it in emails and in conversations, she was oblivious to everything else we complained about over the last few months. They didn’t see the bigger picture of us changing. Result: I let go. I cannot hold on to Tesco and went back to Ocado. For now anyway 🙂

My best thing this week? Coming home of course. Cuddles from the kids. Being super productive late night and up early in the gym. When I am achieving. When I am disconnecting. Fire and ice. I love those extremes as much as I hate them. And yet I am not complaining.

A lot of thoughts this week were around my chosen life and industry. What do we do and why. And I am happy. I am in a sweet spot I like to believe within our small world.

Then I stop and smell the roses. Say thanks. Meditate on what life is all about and hug my sons.

Have a great week.
Love and Kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (365)

This year flew past. Yet, I have been saying that every year. And there is nothing else than looking back at 2015 and saying: this was a successful year. I am truly grateful for my family, my wife, my boys and the life I am living. I am grateful for my job and my friends, the amount of good I can do by giving to others. I am just happy.

It has been, as every year, a year of ups and downs. Ups in terms of development from a personal perspective, but also from a house perspective. We build a shed, renovated and got a few new bits and pieces. On the other hand, we didn’t have a big holiday, had a first and last camping trip, and didn’t go anywhere far away. Hopefully we change this next year.

From my perspective, there have been a few changes though. As I am getting closer to 40….I discovered my fashion style and really settled for green trainers. I love those. Further I didn’t go cycling once this year but instead ran about 900K since January, did sixty 10 minute work outs with kettle bells, did about 2,000 push ups since May and lost around 10kg pending the day of time I measure myself. Since I embarked on a Low carb high fat diet in the run up to Christmas, e.g. I loosened my routine a bit, I seemed to have gained a few kilos again. Not long and I will loose them again.

Oh and I did 2 hours of front planks too! I lost circumference and almost got a flat stomach…I wish 😉 I got fit though, probably the fittest I have ever been. If nothing else happened, I did get fit in 2015, with a 5 am routine, long walks, a variety of work outs and a diet focusing to eat less carbs; I wrote a paper on weight loss here: How to lose weight.

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I have been pushing myself hard, yet found a time and place to put things into a routine. A habit. And whilst doing so, I have been writing on my next book on productivity. Just last week I finished an early first draft, however it is still a lot of work todo. Stay tuned. I am still debating if I aim for a 2016 or 2017 publication, pending progress and aspect of the book.

The kids and the animals would have been a theme this year. We decided in August to give back Rosie, our dog. This of course wasn’t easy, yet it was something we had to do. If I follow my belief that things happen for a reason, I guess there will be a reason sometime in life where I look back and think I am grateful for the experience. We since got a cat, Teddy, who is the most loveliest spoiled cat I have met ever! He is more like a dog, hence a good ‘replacement’ for Rosie.

Life is good. The kids are growing up. It is hard to believe the eldest is turning 7 next year. Time goes on and I have been at my job for 2 years; we got acquired this summer and things are changing. I learn a lot. Things are good and I enjoy the challenges ahead. We opened an office in Germany and I embarked on a few consulting jobs on the side, keeping me busy and advising start-ups. I love business!

Yet, at the same time I love my family and balancing the two is hard. With a commute of 90 minutes each way I get a lot of writing, reading and working done, but cannot play with the kids. Hence one of my main things for 2016 is to make more undisturbed time with the kids and family. I want to be able to put distractions aside and carve out more intense family time if that makes sense. I want to live a life full on, work or life side. I want to stop looking at emails as often as I do. I want to get fitter than I am without working myself into the ground. I want it all with as little effort as possible :-p

There are a few things I want to achieve in 2016. I want to be able to give more than I did this year, to help those that need is more than me. I’d like to be able to help others more, to give. Whether that is money or time, for business or charity, doesn’t matter. We are all in this together.

I worry about climate change. About what kind of planet my kids will inherit and how they will survive. Then I do not worry about them, they will be fine. They are winners. They are a team, looking out for each other, looking out for themselves. Helping others. I will make sure they will always value others as high or higher than themselves as we are here to share. That is true love, that is happiness. At least for me.

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Whilst writing this it is stormy outside. Over Christmas I wanted to give my body a rest, a well deserved break. However, given the sluggish feeling after a couple of days of binge eating and drinking, I did two long runs this weekend. Yet over Christmas I enjoyed to be engaged in building lego, taking super heroes apart and sharing the love. Building a fire, and keeping the family warm and safe. That is what I do, putting them above me.

And whilst I reflect on 2015, I am eager to see 2016. More changes, more challenges, more building work and yet we might be able to get the first full house renovation done. That means four years in the house and we did every room at least once! We will start over again, no doubt. But not next year. I would like to do the drive way, but there is no urgency. Yet, hopefully we can do that too.

Time flies, remember.
Remember those days when you were a kid, and your parents were planning all that and you took things for granted. They were just there, things were just happening. And you never wondered when and how they did it. Those were the days.

We are now doing things and making things happen. We are the magicians, at least in some tiny eyes.

Love and Blessings to this world. I love you and hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

See you all in 2016.
Greetings from my little corner of this world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (304)

The first post of 2015. Funny that. Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope you had a great start!

I will post some motivational and new year planning thoughts on Linkedin tomorrow, so watch out for another post. And, this year will see a lot more productivity and personal development thoughts over at tidWOWs.

We started off well, sound asleep by midnight, and a long walk with friends and kids in our woods around Hassocks. Afterwards we had coffees, good chats and lots of homemade chili. What a day to start the new year!

So what’s in stock for 2015? What are your plans?
We got our car repaired as it failed its MOT. That wasn’t the best start. Then, I decided, after losing all the fat around my waist, that I need to get rid of is my belly. Nothing better than starting the year with a “dry January“, e.g. giving up my beloved wine and any alcohol for that matter. Time to beat the belly. A better routine, some more physio to improve my running and a lot more focus on weight exercise to shed off the extra belly fat. Wish me luck!

Matt Cutts, ever since I was first introduced to him back in 2008, has a 30 day challenge every month. Maybe something I will consider this year. I keep thinking about it for 7 years now, gave up alcohol or meat for a month, but maybe this year I should look into doing something each month.

The idea is to let go or do something additional for a month. Whether this is giving up booze or writing a chapter of your book every day or just not checking Facebook for a month: it is entirely up to you. Making a difference to a fellow human for a month by helping someone on/off the train or across the road. We shall see what I am going to do this year and if I am working with those 30 day challenges or just add things to my motivation in order to lose weight. The other big aim is to get even happier, more engaged with my family.

The aim of all of my efforts in 2015 is to become a better family man whilst not losing out on my career. Balancing the ultimate home experience with the best work experience. Hope that makes sense. And part of that is to be more in the NOW, more engaged with the kids, be healthier and fitter (and setting an example). Actually, I just want to take the status quo to the next level. Modest as it might seem.

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So balance is the key word for 2015. I anticipate some exciting times in my job and career in 2015 which will challenge me to stabilise that with the family time. To balance the train journeys with todos on and off the main job. Having enough family time whilst also having me-time and wife-time, ensuring friends and family are catered for. Whilst I am not the most popular person in the world (or am I 😉 ) – I do like to be sociable and hence need to prioritise how to spend my spare time, and with whom. Due to these constraints I have decided to not continue as a Rotary member. Whilst it breaks my heart as I am strongly believing in the good that Rotary offers, it was a decision based on travel, work and home commitments, paired with the thought that Rotary will still be around in a few years. Maybe I join the local club post retirement.

All of that will lead to the decision on our holidays this year, and maybe a new car, some home improvement works but nothing like last year. Who knows what we can afford, needs doing and how to progress in 2015. Without a crystal ball it is difficult to see what is going to happen.

So there is to 2015. A year my gut tells me will be very exciting, very positive and it will lead to something bigger and better. In other words, I will progress in life this year. If that is work or private, or what it is, ….. make sure to stay tuned so I can tell you all about it.

Have a great 2015. A great start back to work.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (261)

Whenever I am at the barber looking at myself in the mirror for minutes at a time, I notice how old I got. Not only the grey hair but the crow feet, the wrinkles in my face. Midlife crisis? Maybe.

At the same time I am managing better in terms of life life balance and exercising. This includes an investment into new trainers after two years in my old ones. Over the past few years I learned a lot about looking after myself. Stretching before exercising and how to exercise for better results. I am doing ok I believe, for an amateur anyway.

Wearable tech, whether a wrist band or an iPhone watch, will soon be a common item to have too, in order to monitor your health. I am looking forward to this, not that it doesn’t already exist, but I want to see which wearable tech is making the mark. I already monitor my sleep, my moves, my alcohol consumption and have a diary for my exercise. I am doing ok, and by monitoring all this, I am aiming to improve all of it.

There is room for improvement. There always is. And if there is a week without exercise or to much drink, I am not beating myself up for it. Life is there to also be enjoyed and I do.

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What we want to achieve in life is down to us. Our dreams. Our goals. Our actions. We decide how we react towards a threat or challenge or opportunity. We decide how others make us feel. We are the ones in charge of our lives. Of course, we influence how others feel too.

I might repeat myself, but Steve Jobs, when coming back to Apple from NEXT, got rid of the museum in the office to rid the place of anything old, its past. Instead he got the company to look forward. His successor this week was talking about, and allegedly very intensely, to shareholders that not every action of a company needs to result in revenue. He was alluding to sustainability, working conditions and so on. I suppose it is a cultural thing.

Whilst of course Apple is a different size of company, and not every company can afford doing the above mentioned, the idea should be engrained in every entrepreneur. Working in sales I am always revenue driven, yet sometimes you have to take a hit for the bigger picture.

Yes, I could happily do only fun things without worrying, but one has to put the hard work in to see the results. And for a company this is revenue. For your workout this is a healthy lifestyle. For monitoring your sleep and life, it is all about self improvement, optimising what you need to do.

Let’s be realistic. Nothing is ever perfect. Life just isn’t like that. It will never be. But with the right attitude, tools and determination you can make it pretty good. Make this dent in the universe. If we all make that little bit of a difference, then the overall accumulated difference will be huge.

Before I drift further I will stop. Things like greater conscious and sustainability come to mind. And, that life will just happen regardless. Hence you better be prepared. No matter what, life goes on.

What a lovely weekend we had: sunny weather, cutting the grass and sorting out my little bit of natural garden.

So make the most of it and go with the flow.

Have a lovely week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (232)

This was an eventful week. Where to start?

Let’s have a look into the past first.

10 years ago I did my Master Practitioner in NLP. Writing about it this week I realised how time has flown past. Crazy to think that I was about to embark on my MBA and just finished my engineering degree despite the fact I never really liked engineering as such.

20 years ago this week I moved to Kansas, USA, to a small farm town, to a big farm, and learned a lot about life in the forthcoming 10 months. I guess that is where I got the appetite to leave Germany, explore the world and live a ‘wild life’. Did it ever happen?

Life has changed over the years. I have changed. For my Rotary Club I need to prepare a presentation about my professional and personal life. What to add? What has been important? I might just share it with you here.

I could get philosophical now. My wife and family of course are important and have changed my life all over again. And I am still learning to be a good dad and family guy. But I want to speak about something else.

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No, not the teddy on the picture. This week we had a rough night with R waking up asking for his shoes. I wonder what he was dreaming about? C was sick. And that before an ever so important interview. Never mind. We grin and bear it. My espresso consumption has skyrocketed since May.

This week I launched my book. A long time in the making, several attempts over the past few years, I finally sat down and put my thoughts on Productivity of Life together. A holistic view on how I think life could be a bit better, more organised, more enjoyable and ultimately more successful for everyone. It is a scary thought to put your brain’s content out there thinking someone might want to read it. What if people don’t like it? What if they think it is useless?

Confidence! I have enough experience in the field and put a lot of effort into this book. Lots of references to further deepen your knowledge. I am sure you must like it! 🙂 Seriously, a book is one of those life achievements, a lot of learning and a result where I hope I can help people with.

Have I achieved it all now? The house, the family, the book? Far from it. I am only taking off in life. Every time I stop and reflect on where I am in life I think of the next leap. I am eager, ready to roll up my sleeves, get on with what I need to do and work on myself and my career, not forgetting my family!

I just mentioned to the boys this morning that would like to take them to India, the Taj Mahal, and to Lhasa, Tibet. Whilst I started crossing things off my list of things to do in life, I suppose I only just started.

Life life balance. There is enough for everyone in the world, they say. A nice analogy I heard this week, similar to “follow your heart” or “true beauty comes from within”, was that whatever you reflect on the outside doesn’t have to be your inside. For me that means you might be shiny on the outside but inside you still need to work on some issues. Who you trying to impress? Do what you like on the inside, be who you are, reflect it on the outside, be happier and impress that way. Is that clear to you? I am still thinking about it, but like this personal development thought.

Now to some future news. I accepted a job offer on Friday. Naturally I am very excited. I am starting next week. More to come next week.

So we had a good week. We had friends to visit and tried another place in the South Downs for walking and lunch, and we met with friends at a National Trust venue. We haven’t met them for 2 years. Time flies. But life is good. That is the main thing.

Last but not least, two things to mention. My attempt for Schweinshaxen or pork knuckles didn’t go too well. On the other hand we watches Planes in the movies. That was just great.

Have a great week!

Volker

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