Posts Tagged new york

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 (376)

Hello to this week’s column which seems to really gain on popularity given the latest stats.

My Monday swimming is going well. It was fairly empty this week, as it seems that New Year resolutions are wearing off, so people stopped going first thing on a Monday. This is nice as us regulars, a lot of retired people and myself, get a more room in the pool. I aim to go bi-weekly and alternate with my cross trainer. Despite travelling I keep up exercising and on average manage 5 days a week.

The main challenge around it is that I eat a lot of crappy food to keep up the energy, which is fine as I am burning a lot, but if I stopped exercising tomorrow, I might gain a lot of weight again. A #firstworldproblem I suppose but still, my aim for Q2 is to get leaner and ‘meaner’. We shall see.

I did my run on Tuesday before heading to the airport, as I had to go to a meeting in New York. I have not been to NY since 1993 when I moved to Kansas for a year as a foreign exchange student. So this was somewhat of a treat. Very exhausting travel, yet very rewarding to be back in such a wonderful city. NY is special, no doubt!

Being on a long haul flight makes me think. Not that I am on a long haul flight often, but when I am, I like to wind down. The thoughts are about being disconnected. About missing out and not being able to do emails or call loved ones. On short haul flights it is a couple of hours, like a meeting. But long haul is a working day. And flying back in time, New York is 5 hours behind us, makes the day even longer.

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I guess life is what you are used to. And what you are getting and wanting to be get used to. And that is somewhat something we all know yet don’t apply on a daily basis. Makes sense?

Whether this is to have kids, take on three cats, change the layout of your house, changing jobs or dealing with any kind of change. Whatever gets us out of our comfort zone will make us learn. It will make us grow. It will help us pushing and extending boundaries.

But if we are not going to get used to things, we are just dealing with them. Then we learn behaviour for the next time. Same reaction. Same worries. Only by getting used to things we remove those worries. Sales works similar, where the first meeting to present a new product is pushing boundaries. Ten meetings down the road you will be used to it. It will be easier.

Guess by the time the kids leave the house and we prepare for retirement we have seen and learned it all. And we pass on to our kids what we have learned. Some learning they will take on and accept and apply. Some advise they will ignore. Just like we have done. Just like our parents have done. Some things never change I suppose. Sending them on a world trip, which I have never done, might expand their comfort zone and gets them to look beyond every day life. Will they do it?

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Coming back to my trip. I watched the story of Lance Armstrong on the way over. It is amazing, in a bad way, what he got away with in life. Like a bad sales person selling who is overselling on capabilities. I am glad it backfired. He destroyed hope in people. It was very unethical.

I also managed to go through a few podcasts that I had downloaded for while. If I listen to most management and productivity gurus and experts, I realise a few things. One is that I need to stop reading more personal development books. It is getting repetitive. I believe I have all the tools to make life happen. Yet, I have to stop more often, smell the roses and examine where I am, what I do and which 20% of my efforts result in 80% of my positive results. Time to tweak life perspective a bit and re-assemble, then move forward more focused and stronger.

2016 seems to be the year I am on the runway…I am getting onto that plane, ready to take off. Which airline will I be on? Which class will I be in? How long will it take until we reach flight height? Where am I going? Who am I taking with me? Who is the pilot? A nice analogy for life. I know who my co-pilot is and she was truly missed this week!

Before I get too sentimental…that said…when I was sitting in the bar at the airport waiting for my flight home I was reflective. Very tired. It was 2 am UK time, only half seven in NY. I had run 10K in Central Park, trying to catch some fast runners. Then I met a social media celebrity and some good friends. I soaked in some sights and some atmosphere. I love New York. Got a T-shirt too.

Life is good. Work was very productive. It was a good week. America is great. Space, friendly people and an energy one doesn’t find in Europe. Shame. If I was younger I might consider moving here. Or would I? It is great working in the space I am in, exciting times ahead. We are getting ready for lift off.

Yet travelling makes you tired and coming home is the nicest bit. I missed the kids. I missed the wife. At the weekend I tried to get back to my normal schedule.

Whilst I sit at the bar and bite into an amazing burger with fries accompanied by a glass of Californian CabSav, I realise how awesome life is and what opportunities lie ahead. Full throttle ahead. The opportunity is now.

I hope you have a great week.

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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