Posts Tagged Mentors

Principles of Success – Mentors and Coaches (12)

Mentors and Coaches support your SUCCESS

This is the last chapter on my principles of success. Then again they are not mine, they are principles collected from my podcast guests at Stories of Success.

My guests have been fantastic. And whilst some of them have been my mentors over the years already, some became mentors to you and me in the course of this podcast. I love to do this podcast, interview people and understand the key principles of success.

However, as most of you realised when I did ask the question, most of these successful people didn’t make it to the top themselves. They all had mentors, worked with a coach on a long term commit and had input or help from more senior, more experienced people.

Having worked in the industry as a consultant and advisor for many years, I realised that when you are going into new projects, you are the experienced person, someone who has been there, done it. You are the one they look at for advice. That experience helps to examine situations, understand the concepts quickly and then figure out how to move forward and make a difference. The experience is what pays, not the time spend really.

And a coach is similar. Whether you want to hire me as a coach or if I am your mentor, whether I am your advisor or non exec director, however you want to hire me, there needs to be a fit in the way we work together and the way we communicate and cooperate.

Yet this is true for any coach or mentor. Get the best person you can work with and make sure you have great rapport that will result in a great relationship to work and play together. Because a coach and mentor should also be a friend, a sparring partner.

This is not about me. This is not about anyone else but you. You need to be ready to go out and ask the person you seek out whether s/he wants to help you to become successful and coach/mentor you. And if that’s a paid service or a non paid service, e.g. a more experience manager you invite for lunch once a month, that is up to you.

Make it happen today. Be the success you want to be.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

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Sunday Column (478)

I am thankful for the support and conversations I had this week. I cannot thank people enough whether they spend time making a nice comment about some work I have done, or wether they brainstormed with me over a coffee and a walk. Or some really experienced headhunters approaching me for the roles that would take my career to the next level. I feel like there is opportunity, and listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast interviewing Bob Metcalfe – oh wow, there is so much that can turn out well and of course it comes down to luck and serendipity, but who says I am not in the vortex now. Are things happening as we speak. And where do we end up? Wow. Wow. Wow.

As you can see I am enjoying my journey. That is of course until the cold reality kicks in and I realise that contracting only covers part of my costs at the moment, but there is more contract work on the horizon. I am trusting the path and that the dots will connect looking backwards. That is what I am learning with every podcast I am doing, and you will be pleased to hear that I am in the process of getting some female guests signed up. And another coach. I could spend more time making this into something bigger but fear it takes focus away from the job search. Maybe that’s for the next part of my life?

So this week started out with an interesting discussion on my podcast. Yes, I interviewed a friend and mentor and, given it was 9:30 on a Monday, we drifted in some deep philosophical thoughts around happiness and success. As we finished the podcast it felt like we have talked forever and connected on some deep values, a very intense start into the week.

What am I saying here? My podcasts on success help me a lot to reflect of what is important. Whether success is important and whether happiness is related to success. Or success related to happiness. And with some of my guests I drift down to the question of what’s important in life, and it most often is achievement, the journey, a good life, health and family. Most are high achievers and for them it is important to be top of their game and make a lasting difference. And a lasting difference seems to be set equal with a long and healthy life. It is also NOT set equal with money. Something I always thought growing up.

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Please not that I have now put up a page on this blog to refer to a reading list of books recommended on my Stories of Success podcast and books I recommend anyone to read. Check out those recommendations.
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My question, and this is unrelated to the above, is if it is an illusion we are living in. Have we not always expected to grow old in the same way as our grandparents did. Our parents and the generations before. I have. And, for whatever reasons, we seem to hear from more people that die young or are ill younger, and if I say young, I mean 50-60 years of age. Putting it into relation, I am sure the statistics don’t show more people dieing younger yet, but there seem to be more touching my life. Now we can philosophise as much as we like, and Anthony Robbins invested heavily in stem cell therapy to improve life expectancy (that’s the way I interpret it), but one thing is certain: we will not grow old in the way older generations have.

It is a fact. And the reason I am so sure about that, is that life is changing constantly. We work differently to the generations before us, we consume different foods, we consume different media, get different stimulus, we are living in more polluted cities, we have more reliance on money, ….and the list goes on. Our lives are already fundamentally different to our parents’ life at the same age. And you just need to look at our kids using tablets and iPhones at an age we weren’t even have computers. The exponential acceleration of technology, for better or worse, results in us having a different life when we are older. Whether that is computer and robot related, or better health technology, or us never reaching that age as we all die of some disease or blowing up the planet.

This fact fascinates me, and I’d love to get involved in the development of some of those technologies that might make our life easier and better. One day, I believe so anyway, I come up with an idea that will change people’s life. That is when I will get self employed and go for it. I just haven’t had this yet, but given all the podcasts, when you deeply know you need to do something to make a difference, you will. I sit patiently and observe my thoughts. And maybe it is something small. And different to what I thought it might be. And it won’t be about money. Who knows what the future holds.

For now I am back at work. Not in a full time position but I am doing some contractual work. That keeps me occupied and stops me from going stir crazy. It is fun, I can make a difference, and maybe it leads to some full time employment – one way or another. I said to someone last week that I feel that things fall into place and I am now in a place I wanted to be 3 months ago. But 3 months ago, maybe me or the universe, things just weren’t ready. Timing, patience, believe and positive thoughts are what drives us forward.

Serendipity. And who listened to my 2nd published podcast with Caspar Schlickum knows, I quoted him a lot today. I am grateful for mentors and grateful for giving back. Latter I believe I have done this week too. Give and take. Greater unconsciousness.

Love and kindness to you, wherever in the world you are.
Volker

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Sunday Column (405)

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I feel tired. Maybe the weather change, maybe the wine, maybe just being on the edge of winter? The fire is on, I am finalising my blog on Sunday morning. Not that it is that cold, but why not. However, I also feel full of energy. I am bursting to put more hours and effort in to get things done. Make this my world, my day, my minute. Make time work. Make this my life. Somewhat, over the last few months, I feel more in charge of what is happening than I have ever done before. This is a new but amazing feeling. As my American friends would say, I am pumped!

Beer. Football. Fun on a Saturday afternoon. Fish and chips, take away pizza and a curry. Am I turning into a Brit? No doubt I still have my German accent, yet I feel, after 15 years, things are coming together, and I am more settled than ever in this society. I love this country. Passport or not, am I turning my back on Germany? Slowly but surely I am I think. Whilst I still have my roots there, no travel is required to the fatherland at the moment, so I get little exposure to it. So maybe I am just properly settling down… nothing wrong with it, life is good, I am happy.

Brexit or not we keep investing. Hopefully into something money cannot buy, but health for my back and sanity: a new bed and memory foam mattress. A bit beyond what I wanted to spend, but I feel this is an investment worthwhile. Our first bed after uni was IKEA. The mattress lasted a few years, then it was gone. Then we had a futon mattress. 4 years, it is gone. Now a memory foam one with 8 years guarantee and 40 days return…we cannot go wrong with that one I don’t think.

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On the note of health and my wife completing her first marathon, I am getting obsessed with my Apple Watch as a fitness device. Whether to track my runs, or to see how often I stand during the day, how much I move or how well I sleep. The health app and my watch keep me right. A gentle reminder on my arm suggests to breathe, take a minute out and refocus. Nice. I need those reminders and find them useful. I remember too well that my colleagues at uni in halls of residence laughed at me, when I had my first palm pilot, and it reminded me of things. And they said, is that to remind you to breathe, Volker? I didn’t then. My device now does. I think it’s funny now. They probably don’t -) Particularly this week whilst I suffered from the evil man flu. Trying to not fall asleep in meetings and getting any sympathy of course doesn’t work, so a bit of focus on the inner self was useful.

And I am now competing with my friend Adam on performance on a daily basis. How many steps did he take? How long did he stand up? A nice competitiveness. I think my wife needs an Apple watch too. Christmas coming soon.

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Another thought this week. Whenever I start a new job I am getting consciously aware of new people reading my blog. Often I get asked, based on my bio, whether I am a Buddhist, and I guess I am. Why, I wonder, am I classifying myself as a Buddhist. And I guess the answer is relatively simple. As simple as most things in Buddhism. For me it is about the philosophy. The bit about being in control of your thoughts, to be able to help and to be a good citizen. But foremost it is the philosophy of calming your mind, being mindful and present in the moment. Focusing on the one thing that is important. It isn’t a religion for me, it is a certain commitment to be a good human being and focusing on improving my mindfulness. It is that simple really.

Being a good dad. A good father. A good husband. A good manager. I was told this week by an ex colleague of mine, that I am very good with people. A huge compliment. I love people. I love working with people, developing them. One of my biggest things. Hence I love my new job. I can so see how I can help and impact the workflow and people. I enjoy that. Yes, there are things I don’t like, but there always are some in any job. I only started and got a chance to meet the big boss this week. You know, and I would say that, meeting the founder is impressive enough, but meeting the guy who has the vision beyond your little world is impressive … Jim Rohn said to surround yourself with 5 people that help you develop. I am improving my 5. And hopefully I am to others what they are to me.

Jim Rohn. Anthony Robbins. Freedom Fast Lane. The Mentee. There are virtual mentors and instructors, coaches and helpers, yet having people in the real world that talk sense makes you feel good. Who are your 5? Who are the five people that influence you? I enjoy sitting in the middle of receiving but also giving. Helping and being helped. One grows, all together we improve and grow for a bigger purpose. I enjoy that, an environment I strive in.

Hopefully, so will my boys. I haven’t seen much of them this week but when I did, I feel like the bond is improving day by day. I want to be a good dad. A good friend and sparring partner. A coach. All their life. That is my purpose. And the only way I can achieve that is by gaining trust.

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You know, trust is key in any relationship. It takes ages to build, and once destroyed it is difficult to regain. I remember in one of my start ups they gave me the trust to be the sole account holder, I mean kind of. So, when I left, in theory they had to cut my card. They trusted me for so long, would you trust them? Yes you would. And still today you would. This is the key to any relationship. My wife, and we had a great night out on Saturday. Let’s work on that in our lives to improve the relationships we own. Let’s make time for each other, rech out and share trust and love.

I wish you well.
Have an amazing week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (212)

Happy Easter Sunday (Column).

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At the beginning of the week I read a quote which stated something like you are formed by the people you surround yourself with. This gave me to think as I am an advocate to surround myself with people who challenge me, ask me awkward questions and pinpoint mistakes I make. I see this as the only way to constantly improve myself, have people to rely on when needed, and from a work environment I always have the best talent out there. That of course is only true if I adhere to a certain standard myself 😉

At work, in families and many clubs, we cannot choose who we work or socialise with. We assume that people in the same group have similar interests, characters and ideals as ourselves. This is not always true which from my perspective must be seen as a challenge. A challenge to grow, identify patterns and practise different ways of dealing with people of certain character. As with many characters you will come across them all your life, no mattering which environment. You will always have the same character challenging you, the same character you get along with, and the same character that drives you up the wall.

With a fair bit of patience, practise and persistence you learn how to deal with them all. You grow and will be able to help others grow on those challenges. I personally find protégées in companies, usually entry level with less experience, which I can mentor. For myself I choose my own mentors. Some are officially chosen, some are mutual beneficial relationships and some are coincidences. So far I always managed to find a mentor or two that can give me independent advice on how to grow as a person and make the most of my career or life. A fantastic concept.

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This week we said goodbye to a great business mentor who came over from our US company to help the integration for a year. He took a year out of his own career and life to live the company’s culture and way of life for us in Europe. A huge dedication. He now went back state side and will be truly missed.

As written in a blog post previously, people come into our life for a reason. Some only stay a moment and disappear, however they leave an impact or thought for you to follow up. No matter how small the mentor’s input, how short live the appearance, the influence counts. Any influence really. Embrace it as it makes you a better person where you are.

Another big influence in my life is coffee (maybe not the best change of subject). This week I had my first ever de-caffeinated espresso. It tasted a bit different but not too bad. My 10 cup a day habit of espresso and coffees needs to change, hence the trial 🙂 I keep you posted.

Next big influence is family. They count as mentors too. In a different way I suppose. A partner is a mentor, friend and critic in the same person. Whilst biased and almost always on your side, this person is brutally honest. At least that’s how it works for us, and I think for most good partnerships. Of course children are mentors and big influencers, usually in an innocent way. Needless to talk about the influence we got on them as parents.

Regarding man flu, or viruses in general, we got properly hit this time. The cold weather is supposed to continue until mid April, making British Gas happy. Tuesday I had to go home early and Wednesday I worked from home, nursing an ill wife and two ill-ish boys. If you don’t have family close by you are stuck. Whilst the law allows for this leave, I can never leave my emails untouched for longer than five minutes when at home. Difficult. I got more done than expected, however since I am not 100% myself this didn’t help. We get over it. One by one.

Again, no training this week. I tried cycling but was still too weak. Easter was well overdue to chill out and relax. Recharge of batteries needed, quality (healthy) family and friend time. Next weekend my parents are over. Some but only little DIY projects we want to tackle and lots of time to catch up. Again, about time.

That’s really it.

Have a happy Easter
Volker

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